Thursday, July 30, 2009

The End of the Invincibles

From 7 May 2003 to 16 October 2004, Arsenal went 49 league matches w/o a loss. The squad of the 03/04 season was dubbed "The Invincibles" since they were the 1st team since Preston North End to go an entire season w/o losing a game... & by the '90s, the season was 16 matches longer than it had been in the 1880s. Their 26 wins & 12 draws that year obviously sent them to the top of the league w/ a line-up that has yet to be matched by any other team... or by Arsenal themselves. Yesterday, Kolo Toure was sold to Man City (where he will join up w/ Adebayor) for a rumored £14m as he became the last of the Invincibles to leave Arsenal.
*"Mad" Jens Lehmann: Goalie, sold to Stuttgart (summer of 2008)
*Sol Campbell: Defender, sold to Portsmouth (summer 2006)
*Ashley Cole: Defender, sold to Chelsea [cash plus Gallas] (summer 2006)
*Lauren: Defender, sold to Portsmouth (January of 2007)
*Freddie Ljungberg: Midfielder, sold to West Ham (summer of 2007)
*Patrick Viera: Midfielder (Captain), sold to Juventus (summer of 2005)
*Gilberto Silva: Midfielder, sold to Panathinaikos (summer of 2008)
*Robert Pires: Midfielder, sold to Villarreal (summer of 2006)
*Thierry Henry: Striker, sold to Barcelona (summer of 2007)
*Dennis Bergkamp: Striker, retired (summer of 2006)

In hindsight, the departure of every one of these players seems to have happened @ the right time. Only Henry (& to a lesser extent, Viera) have had success since they've left... & only Henry's 2nd season in Barcelona was successful. Hopefully, Wenger uses the money they've made this summer well. A new striker & another defender look set to come in & maybe another central midfielder too. We'll see. The current squad is looking strong again though w/ the arrival of Nasri, Ashavin, & Vermaelen over the last year & Eduardo & Rosicky finally fit again after long injury problems. Perhaps this season will finally see the reawakening of the fire power of this fully armed & operational Gunner's team.


jason said...

Are you just being an optimistic fan or do you honestly believe Arsenal will compete for the top spot? They're solid in the midfield, but like you said, they need to shore up that defense and get another good striker. They should have kept Adebayor. I'm thinking it's going to be tough for them to even finish in the top 4.

dan said...

Freddie Ljunberg captained the MLS All Stars--that's how I spell success!

Andre said...

Top 4 will be no problem.

jason said...

Do you think Man City climbs into the top 4? If so, who's out then? Man U? I'm thinking Liverpool & Chelsea have to be up there.

Andre said...

I think Man City are going to stuggle than peoplee realize. Adebayor and Santa Cruz didn't have the year last year that they had the year before. And neither did Robinio. Tevez will be egood anywhere he goes, but other than him, their attack is still lacking.

I seems like Man U could struggle, but then again, they pull points ot of their ass when they need them.

Liverpool could struggle too. Macherano and Alonso are leaving w/ no one strong enough coming in.

Rumor is that Ribery is going to either Man U or Chesea so whoever lands him will be fine.

My picks for the top 10:
1) Chelsea
2) Arsenal
3) Man U
4) Liverpool
5) Everton
6) Tottenham
7) Man City
8) Sunderland
9) Fulham
10) Hull

(flip flop Chelsea and Man U if Man U gets Ribery)

Before you jump on my Arsenal @2 pick, they're supposedly signing Huntelaar, Hangeland, and Viera soon.

jason said...

Man City looks great on paper, but I agree, I think they'll find a way to screw it up. I don't see how their attack is lacking though. I think Robinho is going to recharged by getting those other guys around him. He got pissed and sulked when they couldn't get Kaka last year.
I think your boldest picks are Sunderland and Hull in the top 10. I'm hoping Blackburn can avoid relegation, but I bet they hang around the bottom all year. I'd love to see Chelsea edge out Arsenal for top spot though!