A quiet day so I have updated an old post.We will look at the Villa game tomorrow.
Some time ago we had a discussion about what “world class” is in relation to players. Of course we could not agree on what it meant, let alone which of our current players the definitions actually applied to. Some, like me, had almost a team full of world class players whilst others begrudgingly considered Ozil may be on the fringes of being that good.
Anyway, that got me thinking about when we did have a team full? The Invincibles? Or have we ever? Was it the greatest team the Premier league has ever seen, or did the stars align and give us a gift from the football Gods? Indeed, was it even a gift or is it a curse, an achievement that means that we will forever be underachieving in the minds of some of our more demanding fans?
I have actually heard people say that we failed to build and progress from that team .What did they want, a season where we won every game? What then, would we have to improve on that?
So, for the sake of argument, I want to ask and then answer some questions about the class of 04.
- Would that squad win the league now?
- Would any of our current players make the team?
- Would they all have been playing in sky blue by 05?
Would that squad win the league now? I am not sure it would.
I have no doubt that the first eleven would still be the best in the league, but I am not convinced the squad players were good enough to cope with the strength of the current league. I believe every team is better than they were then, all bar United and us that is. We say there are no easy games in the Premiership now; well I think there was then.
They ended the season with one more point than last year’s champions. Would they have dropped more than one point in last year’s league? I think they would.
On the other hand, perhaps they would have turned some of the end of season draws into wins.
In 05, basically the same team, finished with seven less points and twelve points behind the Champions. There is an argument to be made that if Chelsea were not a better team, they did seem to have bought a better squad.
The thing we are told now is “Teams win games, squads win championships” .The numbers would seem to suggest that the 04 squad would now be found wanting.
Would any of our current players make the team? For me, Sagna and Koscielny (for Kolo) for sure, but that is about it.
Would they all have been playing in sky blue by 05? The way things have gone, I believe that our team of Invincibles would not now be given the chance to stay together. As soon as Chelsea started paying inflated wages “Cashley” headed for the hills.
Because we have won nothing for eight years, players could claim they are left because they were ambitious to win silverware. That was hardly the case for young Mr. Cole. For him it was the money. Simple as that. Imagine how many would have headed up the M6 with the riches on offer today. Remember Ashley was a Gooner; if anyone should have been loyal, it was him.
I suppose what I am saying is that people, fans, do not always appreciate just how much the Oil Money has changed the game. My contention is that not only would the greatest eleven ever seen, a team with five(I think)of the best players in their positions in the whole wide world, would have struggled to win today’s league ,but it could never come to be in the first place. While at Highbury we simply would not have had the money to resist the advances of the Oily clubs.
We did have it though, didn’t we, us, no one else? Just us. And we will have it forever thanks to a certain French genius.