How to Reincarnate the Invincibles

2003/04: The Peak of the Invincibles’ Success

by K-PO, proud member of the Gooner Forum and Blog Manager

We are close. Very close indeed to being as great, nay, as Invincible as the legendary Invincibles Team was.

—–Henry——

—-Bergkamp—-

Pires—–Ljungberg

–Vieira–Edu—–

Cole——–Lauren

-Campbell-Toure—

—–Lehmann—-

This is the legacy. These 11 men who fought through 38 games, and did not lose even one of them. How can we recreate that with the team that we have?

Well, what did Henry bring in 2003/04? He brought 39 goals and 11 assists. If Adebayor leaves can Eduardo bring that? Well, Eduardo, in his first 31 games for Arsenal, which is the number of games before his injury, he brought 12  goals and 8 assists. Not as good as Henry’s first 31 games, but it was his first season after having played in a very different league for several years, whilst Henry had played in Italy and France before moving to Arsenal. So, can Eduardo bring the goods that Henry did for Arsenal? Yes, but not in the same way that Henry did. He will bring the assists and the goals, but not in exactly the same way.

Bergkamp. Dennis Bergkamp was a different, different class that will never ever be seen again. But we’ve got the closest thing to him. And that’s Robin van Persie. Along with Cesc he is the most talented player on the team. van Persie’s vision and how ridiculous ideas for things to do on the ball (i.e. the goal against Milan, how the hell did he think of doing exactly what he did??) can eventually be almost as good as Bergkamp. In his career, Bergkamp made 393 appearances for Arsenal, and scored 106 goals in 11 years. van Persie has been with us for 4 years now, and truly loves the club. In those four years he has been able to bring 133 games, 43 goals, and 15 assists. He’s a quarter of the way there, and he’s only been fit for two of those four years. That is evidence of how great he can be. Just please, please, please, stay fit Robin! If you look at his injury record he is not injury prone, he has had bad decisions made about him, and has been very unlucky. Last October, he happened to land in a way that injured his knee for the Dutch, and against Manchester United, he made an awkward step and broke his foot.

On our bench next year we will be able to house two strikers, and they will be Bendtner and Vela. Both among the best young strikers in the world, and will provide firm competition for Eduardo and Vela, and they also have Sunu and Barazite behind them. Our striker situation is fine, even if Adebayor leaves. We could even start Bendtner, who would provide a height advantage. Also, he and van Persie showed that they can work together at least twice in the last campaign, and use Eduardo as a super-sub.

Next is ol’ Bobby Pires. Another amazing member of the Invincibles, and Rosicky is supposed to be his replacement. Rosicky IS injury prone, but his is also a great player, showing many times that he can be a good replacement for Pires, if he could only stay fit. If he cannot stay fit, Nasri and Traore would both be happy to take his place, and both of them WOULD bring the goods, I know Traore would, he could become a true legend if he replaces Rosicky and stays as Arsenal’s left winger until the end of his career. He would form an incredible relationship with Gael Clichy aswell. I think that Traore should play left-wing for Arsenal, and I convince myself more and more as I write this.

On the right, Theo Walcott has proven all of his doubters wrong, and I believe he can stay and bring back to life the energy, flair, speed and goals that Freddie Ljungberg once brought to the team. That’s all I’m going to say.

Cesc Fabregas. He is the difference, he is what will make the current team better than the Invincibles. He provides the spark, the creation and the determination that Edu/Gilberto couldn’t bring. We all know of his quality, and he has just proven it once again by winning EURO 2008 with Spain, and was my man of the match in the semi-final vs. Russia. But the main mystery this season is who will partner him?

That is the only question left, the last piece of the puzzle for me. The best option is Yaya Toure, and with Barca reported bidding 30 million pounds for Adebayor, all they have to do is add Yaya and it has to be a done deal. That’s all I want this summer, for us to sell Ade and Hleb and get Yaya. All I want. I don’t care about Nasri or Ramsey or Bischoff, all I want is Yaya, and this Generation is complete. But I doubt we will buy him, since we have Lansbury, Denilson, Diaby, Merida, Coquelin, and Frimpong in the ranks.

In defense, I don’t think there’s anything to say about Sagna, Clichy or Almunia, they were all brilliant. Kolo Toure and William Gallas looked like they were forming a good relationship in the first few months. but we were proved wrong after Gallas proved that he is the farthest thing from a captain and Kolo hit shit form. So, we need Nordtveit to replace Gallas in the next two years. Gallas is coming to the end of the line anyways, and Nordtveit is good enough, he should be a regular on the bench next season. We need a new Sol Campbell is what we need.

This is what I think/hope we will see most of the time next year, and for years to come:

—–Eduardo—–

—–van Persie—

Traore——-Walcott

—Fabregas-Toure–

Clichy——–Sagna

—Toure–Nordtveit–

——Almunia—–

Bench: Fabianski, Song, G. Hoyte?, Nasri, Denilson, Vela, Bendtner

20 Responses to How to Reincarnate the Invincibles

  1. Gooner says:

    1st!!!!!!!!!!!1

  2. Henry says:

    —–Van persie—–

    —–Nasri—

    Vela——-Walcott

    —Fabregas-Ramsey–

    Clichy——–Sagna

    —Toure–Nordtveit–

    ——Almunia—–

  3. Henry says:

    2nd and 3rd

  4. josh says:

    crazily optimistic post. I am a passionate gooner and I think the only members of the existing squad who would get into Man U’s team are fabregas, clichy and sagna, the rest are either unproven, injury prone or down right dodgy.

  5. Kayo says:

    I really hope that’s not how arsenal shape up over the next two years, amunia is decent at best, not a great keeper by any stretch of the imagination. Traore is more than 2 years away from becoming a class winger, he barely looks classy playing there for the reserves. Not sure about Eduardo and RVP together but i’m not going to make a judgement on that yet.

    Toure, Clichy, cesc and sagna are the only players i’d swear by.

    if fit there are not many players better than rosicky, or robin so they’d be in my team as well.

    our other players are probably more than two years away from being at the invincibles level

  6. adwig says:

    I’m sorry to say i agree with josh – it’s complete wishfull thinking.

    Too many if’s, but’s and maybe’s….. After all the talk the starting 11 you predicted looked a bit slight compared with what was arguably the greatest side in Arsenal’s history.

    That’s not to say we won’t have a great season though – I’m sure we will.

  7. Big Scoop says:

    Gk Frey
    RB Sagna CB Mexes CB Lucio LB Clichy
    DM Denilson CM Xavi
    RM Inesta AM Fabregas LM Walcott
    CF Adebayor

  8. Anelka says:

    it would be interesting to see arsenal play in a barcelona type formation… with a three pronged attack with adebayor heading that attack (assuming he stays of course).

    I would like to see Diaby cement his position alongside fabregas in the midfield… he definitely has the talent to make the position his own.

    Additionally i think you are forgetting about one person who in my opinion is set to be a big star for Arsenal… namely Alex Song… i could easily see nordveit and song together in central defence.

  9. cliffeh says:

    I’d rather see Nasri or a fit again Rosicky on the left side of midfield over Traore.
    Traore of what I saw of him last year will be a great understudy to Gael Clichy.

    I agree on Yaya Toure, he would be a great aquisition to the team. I think Wenger saw Diaby as the natural succession to Vieira but I dont think it ever worked out for him.

    Eduardo, Van Persie, Bendtner, Wallcott and Vela have enough goals in them and I dont think we really need to buy another striker.

    I would rather invest in someone like Zapata at the back

  10. Mongo says:

    Is this a joke?

    Rosicky replace Pires? You are clinically insane if you believe this.

    RvP is class but will he ever stay fit? On past form that looks unlikely.

    Eddy replace Henry? Look I like Eddy and he is a fine player but Henry was arguably Arsenal’s greatest ever player. Eddy is not in his league and I doubt he ever will be.

    As Kayo said, Almunia is not good enough. Gallas/Toure doesn not work.

    There is no way to replace the irreplaceable. Le’s face it unless there are major changes in the way we do thing we are destined to be also-rans for a few years. We need to supplement the youth policy with proven quality which we won’t do with an overly stubborn manager and more importantly a hopeless borad of old-farts who have no idea.

  11. Samuel says:

    In two years you say? Nasri will be in that first eleven, and I am certain Denilson will start to form a terrific partnership with Cesc. Fabianski will have done what Almunia did to Lehmann to our Manuel by the end of this season. And Nordtveit will be playing as many games as Song is now. Unfortunatly I don’t think Rosicky will still be here. Also, the bench will be so important to our greatness.

    The team of the future does to me look like a trophy winning side, but to compare them to possibly the best team of my lifetime is an unfortunate thing every Arsenal team will have to face until Wenger retires. Personally, I see our future great team:

    Fabianski
    Sagna Toure Song (he looks better every game I see him) Clichy
    Signing/Ramsey? (I don’t see Theo staying there past this year) Fabregas Denilson Nasri
    RVP/EDS Bendtner

    with a back-up worthy of competeting with Liverpool:
    Mannone (maybe? When Manuel’s place goes and he leaves, someone might be signed)
    Signing/Eboue? Nordtveit Kinda-Gallas-Replacement-Buy/Miguel Pedro
    Ramsey? Merida Diaby/Lansbury Traore
    Theo Vela/Barazite

    Scattershot yes but exciting also. I have a hunch that if we buy an Ade replacement, he might be older or on loan or something to give Nik and Vela some time and EDS/RVP to sort their injuries. And I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar happens while Wenger waits patiently for Nordtveit.

  12. Sandy says:

    This is a ridiculous post… Almunia is going to land us into massive trouble unless he has a truly great keeper breathing down his neck!!!

    We don’t have proper cover at the back! Fabianski is NOT good enough to provide cover!

  13. Samuel says:

    Mongo: While people try and get players to live up to previous expectations, we are never gonna get anywhere. It’s great and all if you are Leo Messi, but look at how many great careers every other new Maradona had. Eduardo or Bendtner or whoever should not have to deal with being Henry’s replacement, especially as we can see from Adebayor’s actions what a failure such an ideal can hold.

    It’s also absurd that a team that spent less than Newcastle every year while building possibly the biggest stadium in the country can start to be considered also-rans as we nearly won the title and the champions league in the time the purse strings were pulled tight. When we ride out the wave, life as a gooner will start to look much rosier, it’s ok, AW will have enough money to buy every 20 year old wonderkids as the eye can see until there is the couple Leo Messi’s in a land of burnt out Argentinians who played 4 good games once.

  14. SB says:

    Mongo,

    are you a joke?

    “overly stubborn manager and more importantly a hopeless borad of old-farts who have no idea.” <=== no real arsenal fan says things like this. Ive been an arsenal fan from birth and ive lived with a 5 minute walk from highbury and now a 2 second walk from the emirates. I (and most fans) have never even began to question wenger or the board. Wenger and the board have made us the club we are today, dont ever disrespect them you fool.

  15. kpoafc says:

    Guys I am not saying that the squad I mentioned will replace the Invincibles, they are just the next Generation. And Mango, Rosicky is not even included in my starting 11, I didn’t say Eddy would replace Henry, and I said in the article that Gallas/Toure isn’t good enough.

    However, Almunia is good enough, and what matters is that Wenger thinks so, which I know he does because he gave him a new four year deal a month or two ago.

    What has Manny done to have us doubt him? And whatever he has done, he has surely regained our trust this season. All season long people said he was an “accident waiting to happen,” but for the entire season that accident never came, and he kept us in a lot of very important games, especially vs. Chelsea at home, were he made some seemingly impossible saves on Obi Mikel and Shevechenko, and against Milan at the San Siro, where he kept out Pirlo’s free kick when it seemed it was going in.

    He is faultless for our disappointment this season, that can only be blamed on Senderos, Gallas, and Martin Taylor.

  16. Tony says:

    Toure in the middle??? Wenger has already said he doesnt have the stamina to play there. I really fancy alex song to step and prove himself in that position as the fabregas foil. And Carlos Vela will be our left winger if he continues developing as he is. Wow what a prospect walcott on the right and vela on the left is. They’ll scare the life out of defences with their speed. I personally think Gallas is the weak point in the team. Clichy Sagna world class. Almunia isnt world class but he’s not a bad goalkeeper who i think is becoming more mature and improving all the time. So if Nordtveidt is all he’s cracked up to be i’d have him on the team. But in a perfect world we’d sign a world class keeper, centre back and defensive midfielder. Either way the squad has to be stregthened or we’ll be looking at falling away towards the end of the season again

  17. Julian H says:

    This post is optimistic not for talking up our current squad and huge potential from the younger players (both of which points are valid) but for understating exactly how good the elite of the Invincibles side was. Henry, Pires, Bergkamp and Vieira have been impossible to replace, and there is simply no way that any of the current squad (bar Fabregas) are at that exceptional level of talent and influence. Persie, Rosicky and Eduardo are great players but we cannot assume any of them (yet alone all of them) will both avoid further injuries and hit top form.

  18. Eddie Mcginty says:

    I’m sorry I agree with alot of your article but Almunia needs to be bettered. He may have not made any blinding mistakes but thats not quite good enough. He wasn’t saving shots that would be saved by worldclass keepers, and he also just doesn’t know when to come out in 1 on 1’s eg the man u match, if he had stayed in goal they wouldnt have scored. instead he came out hair blazing. love him but should be 2nd Keeper

  19. Mos says:

    there’s a lot of choices to choose but we a little bit lack at right wing.
    And i don’t know why wenger still keeping eboue? do you think ramsey can play on the right wing? im not sure, probably nasri, but since adebayor will obviously be out, we can’t play crosses. i think wenger probably pack the middle that’s why he bought nasri and ramsey. diaby is getting there, he probably lack in defensive, well, he just got back from a broken leg.

    for Nordtveit, like wenger said, he lack of strength, and that’s important. Until he bulk up during the holiday, he probably get the chance. Gallas already past his prime and slow. i think alex song would probably be suitable.

    i saw nasri played in france and he played on the left wing.

    So, my conclusion ~~ if adebayor goes, he probably pack the midfield.

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