A large part of the cult of personality around Arsene Wenger has to do with his Invincible (in the league) season. With all due respect though, the 2003-04 vintage of Arsenal truly was one for the ages. The team made its mark with some tight defending, beautiful offensive play, and generally being a mentally and physically tough unit to beat on any given day of the week, and pretty much impossible to beat for 49 games in the league around that period.
While a number of fans have recently taken to questioning Le Professor and his tactical intelligence, surely, this season is strong evidence of the fact that the man can most certainly mix it with the best. Of course, customary credit has to be given to his recruitment and scouting program for finding and developing players with such different skill sets and football education into the kind of lethal force they eventually became.
The brilliant uMAXit Football have done a fine job expounding and simplifying the normally hazy and jargon filled world of tactics with this video. The video wins brownie points for its brevity for sure, and additional savouries may also be allotted to their team for the coherent and concise delivery of the material.
As hinted at earlier, this was a team that comprised not just talented individuals, but an intelligent bunch of players that got together to make magic on the field with their unique blend of strength, speed, and skill. Players like Kolo Toure, Gilberto Silva, and Jens Lehmann were added to a previously successful squad to turn it into this machine.
Interestingly, as the video also points out, this wasn’t a team that was overly attacking, overly defensive, or a purely counter attacking team. Like many teams that are fondly remembered long after their prime has passed, this side was a very balanced one; it could attack, defend, and counter with equal ease and effectiveness. More than the dry numbers, perhaps this is the element that made it a truly special side.
Therefore, the question naturally arises, can this be done again? From a purely footballing standpoint though, the increasing competition in the Premier League makes it an impossible dream to harbour. Perhaps it is one more suited to the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich- the financial juggernauts who hold a hegemonic domination of their calm seas.
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