Home » Tournament in Focus » - English Premier League » The Invincibles (Part Five)

The Invincibles (Part Five)

Continuing with the series looking at some of the key matches during the 2003 – 2004 season, during which the Invincibles team of Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal went through the entire campaign unbeaten.

For Part One please click here; Part Two here; Part Three here; and Part Four here.

9th April 2004, Arsenal v Liverpool

Although many things went right for Arsenal during the 2003 – 2004 season, there were also low points, and two occurred within a few days of each other at the start of February.

First, they were beaten in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, a single gaol from Paul Scholes enough to give Manchester United victory in a match played at Old Trafford.

And then they suffered more disappointment by losing at home to Chelsea in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final a few days later, having drawn the away tie.

Confidence was understandably a little shaken ahead of the visit of Liverpool to Highbury, and nerves were not helped when Sami Hyypia headed the Merseyside club ahead with just five minutes gone.

The Gunners were initially stunned and Liverpool had further chances to increase their lead before the home side finally sparked into life.

Gilberto won the ball in midfield, found Robert Pires who looked up and found Thierry Henry, who produced a composed finish to draw his side level. But Arsenal sighs of relief were short-lived as Michael Owen restored the visitors lead before half-time.

At that stage, the unbeaten record was in danger, but, not for the first time, they responded with character.

In the 49th minute, Henry and Freddie Ljungberg combined and set up Pires who finished crisply past Jerzy Dudek.

And, a minute later, Henry produced a moment of magic. There seemed no danger when the striker picked up the ball just inside the Liverpool half, but he set off on a mazy run that left defenders trailing in his wake, dumping Jamie Carragher on his backside before sliding the ball home.

And, with 12 minutes left, Henry claimed hs hat-trick, taking advantage of slack marking and a through ball from Dennis Bergkamp to bundle the back into the net.

Even Liverpool manager Gerard Houlier was forced to admit the Gunners had played like Champions in the second half.

25th April 2004, Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal

In 1971 Arsenal had clinched the league title at White Hart Lane, the home ground of their deadliest rivals Tottenham Hotspur, and they had the chance to di it again this time as well.

The Gunners took the lead with a goal scored at breakneck speed. Spurs had a corner which was cleared to Dennis Bergkamp on the left wing. He then crossed for Arsenal skipper Patrick Vieira, back defending in hs own penalty area one moment to slide in at the other end the next.

It was soon two, with Bergkamp and Vieira combing this time for Pires to pass the ball into the net.

The Arsenal fans began already celebrating, although, to their credit, Jamie Redknapp pulled a goal back. And then, in the 90th minute, Jens Lehmann foolishly gave away a penalty when he reacted angrily, believing that he had been fouled from a corner.

Robbie Kean scored but the draw was enough. Despite warnings from the police, Arsenal came back on the pitch afterwards to share the moment with their fan and paid for their impudence when their coach was chased all the way down Tottenham high road by irate Spurs supporters.

Leave a Reply