Ten Years Ago

Clive Mason

On this day, 10 years ago, Arsenal became Invincible

The final whistle blew, and Alan Parry's commentary summed it up: "May the fifteenth, two thousand and four: history has been made! Played thirty-eight, won twenty-six, drawn twelve, lost exactly none". The history books were rewritten, and Arsenal became the first side to go through an entire English First Division/Premier League league campaign unbeaten since the Preston North End side of 1889 (the first season in English football).

The Invincibles had, of course, sealed the Championship four matches earlier, with a 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane, and getting them to remain unbeaten was, according to Arsène Wenger, one of his hardest jobs in football. The players, according to him, did not see the big deal in being unbeaten, and wouldn't until after the end of the campaign. For the manager, though, this was sweet, sweet revenge towards though who had laughed when he claimed in 2002 that his side could go unbeaten. Alright, Arsenal may have lost six times in 2002-03, and finished second, but Wenger had the last laugh:

Somebody threw me a T-shirt after the trophy was presented which read 'Comical Wenger says we can go the whole season unbeaten.' I was just a season too early!

Arsenal, though, made it difficult in those final four games. A dull 0-0 draw with Birmingham followed the draw at Tottenham, and Jose Antonio Reyes rescued a 1-1 draw away at Portsmouth, with Jens Lehmann making a vital save. Reyes seized upon an Edwin van der Sar error to score the lone goal in a 1-0 victory against Fulham, bringing Arsenal to the brink of history: a home match against an already Leicester City.

Leicester, though, didn't play along, with Paul Dickov turning in Frank Sinclair's cross at the far post in the 26th minute to make it 1-0. Dickov, a former Arsenal man, had gone into the crowd while heading the ball home, and didn't care about the implications of the goal; he liked the party-pooper status.

It took Arsenal until the second half to rescue the match, with the effort led by Dennis Bergkamp. Picking the ball up in midfield, he played a glorious ball over the top for Ashley Cole, who was taken down for a penalty. Thierry Henry stepped up, and made no mistake, sending his penalty into the bottom corner. 20 minutes later, it was 2-1, with Bergkamp again the architect: he waited, and waited for a runner, and when it came from Vieira, he played a magical defence-splitting pass, meeting the run. Vieira calmly slotted home, and Arsenal were nearly there. Martin Keown came on in his final match for Arsenal, and then the job was done, and Arsenal were Invincible.


X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Short Fuse

You must be a member of The Short Fuse to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Short Fuse. You should read them.

Join The Short Fuse

You must be a member of The Short Fuse to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Short Fuse. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker