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Invincible still, Invincible always

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The 2003-04 Arsenal squad is still the Premier League G.O.A.T.

FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-BURNLEY
It’s gold.
Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images

Watford 3 - Liverpool 0. Pop the champagne bottles Miami Dolphins-style, Gooners. Arsenal are still the only Invincibles. Played 38: won 26, drew 12, lost 0.

For a while, I’d been toying with the idea of writing about what Liverpool equaling and bettering the 2003-04 record would mean, how we might try to process that as Arsenal fans. It would have been a blow. The Invincibles are woven into the fabric of the club and are a part of our identity as Arsenal supporters. It can never be taken away from us, but not being the only club to have managed the feat would have somehow lessened the feeling.

I thought it was going to happen, in fact, I predicted it would at the start of the season. Sidenote: even though I was also wrong about Liverpool not conceding more than one goal in any match, they have a good shot at averaging giving up less than one a match. They’re really good.

That this Liverpool team couldn’t do it says all that need be said about how difficult a feat Invincibility is. On March 1st, Liverpool’s magic number is 12 points. They will probably break Manchester City’s record (19 points) for the largest first-second differential in Premier League history. They don’t just beat teams, they dominate them. I repeat: they’re really, really good.

Just as you could with the 2017-18 Manchester City side and perhaps the 1998-99 treble-winning Manchester United side, you could argue that Liverpool are a better team than the Invincibles. Any of those three might have been able to beat the 2003-04 Arsenal side, but we’ll never know.

What we do know is that the Invincibles didn’t lose a single match. Those teams all did.

People will try to poke fun at Arsenal supporters basking in the glory of a feat more than fifteen years old with “but look at your club now” or some variation. They’ll say you can be unbeaten by drawing 38 matches. But that’s not Invincible. We were Invincible. We won the league without losing. All season.

More than fans of any other sport, football fans love to cover themselves in the glory of their club’s past achievements. Ours is the most glorious of any of them. Arsenal went an entire league season without losing, and for good measure, tacked on another 11 matches before finally falling. 49 straight. Liverpool couldn’t match that feat either; they only got 44.

Line up all the excuses and explanations you want. Try to tell me how winning 100+ points is a more impressive feat. Talk is cheap. Your trophies are silver. Ours will always be gold.