A surprising fact that isn’t unheard of in Gunner history. For many London fans, this tremendous start to the season reminds them of the 2003-2004 campaign. That of ‘The Invincibles’ in which the team led by the legendary coach Arsène Wenger went on to win the league title without defeat.
Arteta’s boys and ‘The Invincibles’, two dream teams:
Both Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal this year and Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal of the 2003-2004 season have several similarities. One is that both teams are made up of a mix of young players and older players who have the perfect balance to succeed.
Even so, the current Arsenal squad has a lower average age than in 2003 and is one of the youngest in the Premier League.
David Raya, Rice and Gabriel Jesus are reminiscent of those Lehman, Viera and Bergkamp who still resonate strongly in the memories of older Gunners fans.
Raya and Lehman are a lock in goal. Rice and Viera share the ability to bring order to the midfield with their defensive strength and ability to get into the box, while Gabriel Jesus and Bergkamp bring their experience to the forward line to convert chances into goals.
Thus, in both teams, there is one figure who stands out above the rest. A player with a special talent on whom the fans have high expectations, as they are capable of doing with the ball whatever they set their minds to.
In this case, we find on the one hand a young Thierry Henry, fundamental in the team of ‘The Invincibles’, and on the other hand, we have the great promise of English football, Bukayo Saka. The British-Nigerian striker is the key player in Arteta’s team.
Saka has been outstanding for several seasons, but this could be the season of his consecration, the one that will lead Arsenal to win their first Premier League title after twenty years without doing so, precisely since the 2003-2004 season, the year that saw Henry’s consecration as a legend of the North London team.
A more competitive league:
Despite having very similar conditions for both teams, there are also some significant differences. The biggest one between the 2023-2024 season and the 2003-2004 season is the level of competition and difficulty of the fixtures.
As time has gone by, the English Premier League teams have been closing the gap in terms of level, each putting together very competitive squads.
You only have to look at how teams that are usually at the bottom of the table are able to stand up to the teams that make up the so-called ‘Big Six’, making them lose multiple points.
Another factor that didn’t exist before is Manchester City’s overwhelming dominance in the league. The Manchester side have won five of the last six English championships, making them one of the strongest teams in Europe.
Will Arsenal be named ‘The Invincibles 2.0’? A very difficult feat in this day and age, but not impossible for Arteta’s boys, who continue to break barriers every weekend on English soil.
Translated by Marcos Rodríguez.
Main image: @Arsenal.