Arsene Wenger’s team back in 2004 made history when they won the Premier League without losing a single fixture. And the streak continued into the 2004/05 season, lasting for a record 49 games and was only halted by a controversial encounter against Manchester United.
Their sheer dominance on the pitch and resounding victories in a single Premier League campaign earned them the title of the ‘Invincibles’. The Gunners registered 26 wins and 12 draws in the 2003/04 campaign but what set them apart was the blistering form of their attack – Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.
Henry and Bergkamp were at the peak of their powers at the time while winger Robert Pires pitched in with crucial goals throughout their streak. Henry netted a total of 39 goals in 48 appearances during their unbeaten run and has since been voted as the greatest player in Arsenal’s history.
The Frenchman’s partnership with Bergkamp who was nearing the end of his career was indeed a perfect lesson in speed and tricking the opposition’s centre-backs to near perfection.
In midfield, Patrick Viera held fort through his extraordinary vision and became the heart of Arsenal’s starting lineup. The German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann and Swedish midfielder Freddie Ljungberg’s invaluable contributions only strengthened the Gunners’ resolved during their pursuit of the league title while Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure held the fort to deal with any attacking threat with ease.
This was evident as they failed to score on only four occasions – 0-0 draws with Birmingham City, Newcastle United, Fulham and Manchester United respectively and conceded only 35 goals - during their 49-game unbeaten trot.
Due to Arsenal’s exceptional achievements in 2003-04, the British press attributed the nickname “The Invincibles” to the team and the maestro orchestrating the entire concert was Wenger. The Gunners’ manager had a knack of finding obscure talents and turning them into world-class footballers.
As a token of gratitude for Wenger’s exemplary 2003-04 unbeaten Premier League season, the league commissioned a unique gold trophy to commemorate this remarkable achievement.
The Gunners racked up a total of 121 points from their 49-game unbeaten streak, a record that persists till date in the Premier League era. Manchester City came close in the 2017/18 season but a loss to Liverpool ended their unbeaten run in the league.
There might be innumerable debates about the golden period of Arsenal’s history, but the 2003/04 season was truly majestic for the Gunners as they etched their names in eternity with their impeccable display 15 years ago.
Feature image courtesy: AFP/Odd Andersen