Arsenal-Manchester City: New Gunners Invincibles to Reign Again?
Arsenal look set to continue their impressive 16-match unbeaten run against Manchester City this weekend with a host of stars in contention to return.
The Citizen's were the last side to beat the Gunners in the league, on Oct. 22 of last year.
Arsenal's current form has got me thinking about their last long unbeaten run, that of the 'invincibles' of 2003/04.
Their 49-game streak was the largest in English football history.
So I've decided to investigate whether Arsenal's current squad showing any signs of becoming a force like the 'invincibles'.
The 2003/04 squad looked like this;
1. Jens Lehmann, 3. Ashley Cole, 4. Patrick Vieria, 5. Martin Keown, 7. Robert Pires, 8. Freddie Ljungberg, 9. Jose Antonio Reyes, 10. Dennis Bergkamp, 11. Sylvain Wiltord, 12. Lauren, 13. Stuart Taylor, 14. Thierry Henry, 15. Ray Parlour, 17. Edu, 18. Pascal Cygan, 19. Gilberto, 22. Gael Clichy, 23. Sol Campbell, 25. Kanu, 28. Kolo Toure, 30. Jeremie Aliadiere, 33. Graham Stack, 37. David Bentley
It is a very good side, with tremendous depth.
Keown, Wiltord, Taylor, Cygan, Clichy, Kanu, Bentley and Stack didn't play big roles in the title win.
But the side was full of seasoned players: Lehmann, Cole, Vieira, Pires, Ljungberg, Bergkamp, Lauren, Henry, Gilberto, Campbell.
There were surprise packets like Kolo Toure and Edu, with experience in Lehmann, Parlour, Keown, Vieira, Bergkamp, Campbell and Cygan.
Young guns included Reyes, Aliadiere, Bentley, Clichy, Stack and in the youth team, Cesc Fabregas.
The current squad is;
1. Manuel Almunia, 2. Abou Diaby, 3. Bacary Sagna, 4. Cesc Fabregas, 5. Kolo Toure, 7. Tomas Rosicky, 8. Samir Nasri, 9. Eduardo, 10. William Gallas, 11. Robin van Persie, 12. Carlos Vela, 14. Theo Walcott, 15. Denilson, 16. Aaron Ramsey, 17. Alex Song, 18. Mikael Silvestre, 19. Jack Wilshere, 20. Johan Djourou, 21. Lukasz Fabianski, 22. Gael Clichy, 23. Andrei Arshavin, 24. Vito Mannone, 25. Emmanuel Adebayor, 26. Nicklas Bendtner, 27. Emmanuel Eboue, 28. Amauri Bischoff, 30. Armand Traore
When comparing the squads, the current roster has experience in Almunia, Gallas, Toure, Silvestre and Rosicky.
There are also a number of players who are becoming more experienced, these are Fabianski, Clichy, Sagna, Fabregas, Eboue, Rosicky, Arshavin, Nasri, van Persie and Adebayor.
Then there are youngsters/young guns; Djourou, Traore, Denilson, Diaby, Song, Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott, Vela and Bendtner.
The main point here is currently Arsenal don't have enough players in the 'seasoned' and 'experienced' list to be winning a league title right now, let alone an unbeaten one.
They seriously lack a Gilberto/Vieira in central midfield, but a lot of the other bases are covered.
Given Arsene Wenger's track record, this team can be expected to rise again. This could be considered similar to the period between the 1998 and 2002 league titles.
Players like Pires, Ljungberg, Vieira, Wiltord, Henry, Parlour to name a few were developed in that time, in the same way Nasri, Arshavin, Rosicky, Adebayor, Walcott, van Persie are being developed now.
On this evidence, Arsenal will return to the top soon enough.
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