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The year Arsenal became Invincible

There's a book coming out you should look for.

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The man, the myth, the legend
The man, the myth, the legend
Paul Gilham

If you're not in the habit of reading good football journalism, first off why not, and second off, you need to get to know the work of Amy Lawrence. She writes for the Observer, she's a lifelong Arsenal fan, and she is an excellent writer and coverer of all things Arsenal and Premier League.  She's also just written a book!  And it's a book about the 2003-04 Invincibles season! Today in the Guardian, they ran a couple of extracts from that book, and they make for pretty interesting reads.

That first link is an interview with Wenger in which he talks about that season, the players, and how they came together to create the most memorable season in modern English football history.  My favorite bit is right there at the top:

Arsène Wenger was in his car, making his way out of Highbury after a game that had not gone to plan. A boy saw him, pointed his finger, and shouted: "Hey, Wenger, I could play for Arsenal!" The manager looked at the boy and replied drily: "Yes, I am sure you could. But the question is: ‘How well?'"

That right there is why I could listen to Wenger talk all day, about pretty much anything. His sense of humor is so dry you could gag on it, and he doesn't pander. But we knew that. This piece also has a lot you may not have known, like how much he values intelligence:

You have players with talent every year, but to achieve something special, first of all you win it by little margins that at some stage of the season become very tight, and you need your players to respond with intelligence to get through these difficulties.

But he also values a bit of toughness, as he spoke about the reaction within his team to the Martin Keown/Ruud van Nistelrooy penalty incident:

I was very proud to see that. They were guys who were ready for a fight. Sometimes when you want to see the solidity of someone, you think could I go for a street fight with this guy?

He also talks a bit about trying to prevent a letdown after winning the league with four games left, trying to convince his players to become "immortal".

The other link up there is a rundown of Wenger's assessment of each player from that Invincibles team, from the "underestimated" Lauren to the "guy who could do absolutely everything", Thierry Henry.

I have no deep analysis of these articles to provide - I just wanted to bring them to your attention to have you read them and get excited for the book's publication on the 23rd.