The Only Invincible Season


The Only Invincible Season - Arsenal 2003/04 - Arsene Wenger

Liverpool shockingly lost 3-0 to Watford on Saturday, hence ending their 44-game unbeaten run, as well as ending their hopes of finishing the season as the second-ever invincible title winners.


As a result, Arsenal's remarkable 2003/04 season remains as the sole unbeaten season in Premier League history, a team that has often been referred to as the "Best team in the history of the Premier League".


So why not take a look at what made that Arsenal team so special?


Whilst Arsenal were on quite a bit of an unbeaten run in the previous season, that run was ended by none other than a 16-year-old Everton schoolboy, Wayne Rooney. Rooney had come on and helped Everton secure a 2-1 win in the final minutes over Arsenal, scoring his first league goal in the decisive fixture, ending Arsenal's 2002/03 unbeaten run at 30 games.


However, Arsenal then kicked on, and after a few dodgy games, they started to pick up form once again, and eventually, the following season, they won game after game, and whenever they seemed like they were going to lose, they either fought back to win the game, or else to scrape a draw.


This was highlighted in "The Battle of Old Trafford", a game against Manchester United that ended 0-0, after Ruud van Nistelrooy missed a penalty late on, in a game that was filled with drama, as Patrick Vieira saw red and a total of five Arsenal players and two Manchester United players were handed fines for the on-field antics that stirred the game up.


Arsenal's relatively quiet transfer windows meant that they could hold on to the team that Arsene Wenger had trusted so much, and the team continued to grind games out in the league, at the expense of other competitions, being knocked out of the League Cup and the FA Cup in the semi-finals to Middlesbrough and Manchester United respectively, who both went on to win the cups. Whilst they lost two of their opening three group stage fixtures of the UEFA Champions League, they still managed to top their group, but they only made it as far as the quarter finals, being knocked out by their city rivals, Chelsea.


However, they did manage to continue to win in the league, and eventually secured the title without having a single loss, the first time that this was done in the Premier League, with the only other English team to have done it being Preston North End back in the 1888/89 season, when the league was still the English Football League.


As Arsene Wenger and the whole club were rewarded with a unique gold version of the Premier League trophy, they continued their form into the next season. However, this was short-lived, as Arsenal were once again troubled by Manchester United, having their unbeaten run ended at the 49-game mark, losing 2-0 at Old Trafford. Van Nistelrooy got his revenge, celebrating wildly, and the game was marred by a series of unprofessional tackles and it came to be known as "The Battle of the Buffet", after things kicked off in the tunnel after the game, as Cesc Fabregas threw a slice of pizza at Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and Wenger went on to call van Nistelrooy a cheat after the game. Wenger was then fined for his comments and van Nistelrooy was also handed a three-game ban. In the 2-0 defeat, there were allegations that United new-boy, Rooney had dived for a penalty, and then he went on to add the second goal, sealing the game.


Whilst Liverpool's 2019/20 team might be one of the greatest teams the Premier League has ever seen, one cannot argue that there might never be a season so perfect when it comes to the league, as the one Arsenal had.