37 Comments

Would Arsenal’s 04 Team Win In 2014 ?

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.

  1.  Would that squad win the league now?
  2.  Would any of our current players make the team?
  3.  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.

37 comments on “Would Arsenal’s 04 Team Win In 2014 ?

  1. not just cashley but the much worshiped paddy would have been off to city as soon as he could, he was trying to leave before he did as it was and city would have been a lovely destination for him.
    the comparisons of world class players can only be made in relation to other players at the time, at that time French players ruled the world and didn’t stay in their own league. Scandinavian, Dutch, Russian and most of European players seemed to be heading to the premier league. In contrast Spain now the rule the world with their players mainly playing in their own league, this is the case for Germany too. With both leagues attracting players from Portugal and Brazil and eastern Europe respectively this means players are now less available and cost more to bring to the premiership.
    Through in the extra dynamic of the money clubs all round the world attracting players from Asia and Africa and the pool becomes even smaller.
    Obviously you then have to consider that in 2004 we would have been second or even first choice for players coming in we are now well down the pecking order even for those smaller number of players choosing the PL.

    Like

  2. To me, plenty of our players would get into their squad, if not their first team. Ozil will definitely get in, but where would he be accommodated on the first team regularly?

    Rosicky would definitely be in the squad. So would Koscielny, Mertesacker, Sagna. Arteta would be an alternate option for Viera. Walcott would be in for his searing pace and finishing. Giroud would be a good, different option to Henry. Cant leave out Cazorla. Ramsey would be in the squad too. Szczesny would be the talented goalkeeper who is an understudy to the mad Jens (as though Szczesny does not have enough mad moments). Wilshere would be the talented young academy player breaking into the squad. We need a bigger squad capacity!

    Sounds like I dont have a good idea of just how good the Invincibles were or I am heavily biased towards the current team. Both.

    Like

  3. SA ,thats the point .The Invincibles did not have that quality as squad players. The first 11 was great,but the squad not so good.

    Like

  4. yeah PG. Surprising that the relative lack of depth didnt affect them.

    We have a very good squad this season. While injuries have affected us, players have been able to step into the team and keep the flow going. The next challenge on that front is to handle the Theo problem for the rest of the season.

    Like

  5. their was some quality in the 2000-4 sides van b , judas and edu , reyes ,wiltord and Freddie was a back up player for RP. We also have to remember first teamers didn’t play in the league cup which made our record in the comp remarkable, young players like cesc, theo and the massive head of bently all played. Teams I would argue were not as strong lower down the league and in lower leagues meaning rotation was a lot easier

    Like

  6. Interesting post and conclusions. It’s always difficult to compare teams outside of their historical context, but I think you have argued your case well. I agree that the invincibles first team was strong but the squad would definitely have benefited from some of our current players.

    Like

  7. PG.

    I was not around when you had your discussion concerning ‘world class’ in relation to players, so it set me to pondering as to its meaning, as it gets to the crux of how we measure the comparative attributes and values of players.

    The definition of ‘world class’ is relatively straight forward on the face of it – a world class player is one who is rated among the best in the world.

    That bit is easy, but as you implied, it is how you arrive at which player fits that description which is more complex.

    Who decides whether or not a player is world class? Well I guess that it must be the overall consensus opinion of the fans; the other professional players; the managers and the coaches; and perhaps most importantly the media as they have the power to sway opinion, especially of the undecided.

    In addition, as with all things human, it is a moving judgement, because minds get changed and opinions with them, so something or someone who is the flavour of the month in January can be cast into the bin of oblivion with the rest of the no-hopers in February.

    For what it is worth, as of the moment, 🙂 I find myself in agreement with you, that only Sagna and Kozzer would be in contention to be included in the Invincible team.

    Of course I reserve the right to change my mind if someone puts up a good case for exclusion of these two and for the inclusion of alternates! 🙂

    Like

  8. Considering the transfer rumours this post was well timed!

    According to Aunty Bleeb:
    The Gazprom Laundrette in Fulham have put in silly bid to sign a player they sold for peanuts a few years ago to one of the Portugeezer’s homeboys when they spent squillions on Luiz.
    If Gazprom did not keep signing overpriced players to stick on the bench or to force to play with the reserves (not a lot of coverage of the Malouda situation last season, he’d been a Key player in their last title: Imagine the Expert meltdown if that ever happened at AFC?), maybe they would have been able to keep hold of Matic at the time, but I don’t think that fits the, um, the business model. I do like the look of those Mercs with black tinted windows and gold plated alloys.

    The Emir of Abu Dhabi is also rumoured to have bid £30M for the teenage left back at Southampton. They are said to be looking for a training partner for Rodwell, seems like a good bargain to me! Don’t worry, he’ll get to keep his passport.

    Like

  9. arse_or_brain
    January 12, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Do you think more teams play much deeper in recent years compared with ’02-’05?
    Teams leaving less space. Is that is one possible reason we saw the later introduction of players like Ade and yes Bendtner to the squad?

    We shouldn’t forget the 07-08 team as a useful benchmark both in tactics and personal. Not sure if any from that team apart from Sagna would make the 02-04 starting eleven, but Abu Dhabi looked to that 07-08 team, their style and tactics, and to that squad itself (Na$ri became a target later on) when they brought their own title winning team.

    I found that thinking of the composition of the 07-08 squad helped me to understand & appreciate the scale and extent of the rebuild that happened over the last two seasons. Like hunter wrote, the jigsaw is almost complete: that is if we assume a squad with three different types of striker was the model (Eduardo, Ade, JvC), but I’m starting to guess that the coaches might have felt there was a three there in Giroud, Podolski and Walcott. I have no idea. Even without a new striker coming in during the Summer I was happy to consider that the terrifying rebuild was more or less complete, and I think the current table confirms that feeling. Momentum has been returned to the club and the camp, and that’s what we all wanted to see.

    Squad players Manninger and Wreh are remembered for having made a difference in the past. If Arsenal go on to clinch a bauble in 2014 there will be unlikely heroes from this current squad.

    Like

  10. many question george. but no definite answers to them.
    i believe the 2004 arsenal team can win the league even in 2014 but not sure they will be invinsible. rather than compare the squad with our present squad, i’ll rather compare them with the city squad. vieira and yaya, gilberto and fenandinho, company and campbell, lauren and zabaleta. but the other players in the present city first eleven are not as good as the first elevn of the invinsible.
    i have to say that city have a bigger squad but the invinsible will beat city home and away.

    Like

  11. Interesting point about the comparative depth of the squad and the effects of injuries SA.

    I have often wondered if Thierry, rather than having virtually indestructible fitness for almost every season at Highbury, had suffered the same sort of pattern of absence as Judas Van Sicknote, month after month on the bench at times of the season when we needed our main striker banging in the goals.

    Like

  12. Which players we wanted to keep have gone to City and Chelsea? I can think only of Cole and Nasri. The point about not being able to build the Invincibles is a more interesting question since 03-04 the team was at a peak but aging–Chelsea was rising under Abramo but few of our players would have been poached at that stage: Bergkamp? Pires? Vieira maybe. Henry stayed and then left to Barca. As to whether it could have been built–Vieira would likely have been poached in 2001-3; he’s gone to City now for the money. And he was crucial. Campbell would have gone from Spuds to City or Chelsea. Maybe Henry would have left too. So it would have been difficult, I agree, George. Possible but not as likely. And about winning the league, the issue is that mid table PL sides have become so much richer through big tv deals. Still an unrivaled first 11 even vs. the oiligarchies.

    Like

  13. Our current squad are provably more talented and skillful -on average of course. There are other intangibles that a make a squad great, or in the case of 04 immortal.

    There were some real muckers on the second XI in the 04 squad.

    Like

  14. Finsbury,
    without doubt teams often copy success and many teams including Manchester utd played a more expansive game after Arsene s early victories. In latter years teams have copied the deeper more boring style off managers such as Maureen. Although city have spent milllions at least they go forward

    Like

  15. talking about any of this presnt team that can make the first eleven. i go for koscielny to patner campbell. sagna definitely better than lauren. ozil for me should be at the level of bergkamp of 2004 if not better. i like to squeeze walcott in but ljunberg is a different animal. cashley was at his best then even though gibbs is far better than him presently.
    sir szcz will def make the bench, ramsey too.

    Like

  16. “ozil for me should be at the level of bergkamp of 2004”
    What the fuck?????????????

    Like

  17. limestone,
    henry will NEVER move to city. he left for barca because he knew he was no longer useful to us. was getting injured and slowing down. if henry was still at his best’ he wouldnt have left. i will even argue that wenger wanted him to go at that point so that adebayor can develop. remember he wanted to know if wenger would renew his contract so that he too may stay but wenger didnt assure him. but to say he would have join city or chelsea is against everything henry stand for in arsenal. i remembered he didnt even want to play against us in the champions league. and when he was brought on, he was not his usual self. henry was a gunner and will ever remain a gunner.

    Like

  18. yes george.
    Ozil will never be as good as bergkamp but in 2004 bergkamp was already thinking about retirement. he retired the next season when he could only come in as an impact sub. i love bergkamp but in 2004 he was 36 or so.

    Like

  19. the squad players for the invinsible include kanu, wiltord, edu, palour, reyes, keown,

    Like

  20. He played another two seasons.
    Even now he would be our best player.
    (sometimes I surprise myself with my stupidity)

    Like

  21. And Kanu,Parlour and Keown were spent forces.
    Reyes only came in the second half of the season,simply because we were not strong enough in depth

    Like

  22. yes george, most of the subs were spent forces. we were just lucky that the first elven were healthy and lucky with injuries. the more reason i laugh when some idiots moan about jenkinson and monreal today. i dont know if we have subs like those two for our fullbacks in the invinsibles

    Like

  23. Interesting post GEORGE .thanks for the read. In my opinion you are comparing apples to oranges in one crucial aspect. This team of today hasn’t reach its potential yet. Team of 2004 was mostly there or abouts. There was a magical fluency and understanding between them that was orgasmic to watch at times. This team of today is on its way but not there yet. There is togetherness And brotherhood between them that is going to breed that understanding and soon after the fluid moves . Bit like the silky fluidity of a Cobra attack. individually I think the 04 team had more maturity as we had some great leaders on that team. I can see it happening with this team also .
    TR, MIKEL , SACKER , BACARY . I could go on. The whole team is looking up to them and therefore they are playing FOR each other. I can’t wait to see them hit full stride.
    Total football .

    Like

  24. That squad had Pires, Henry, Vieira and Bergkamp. It’s the equivalent of having Cristiano Ronaldo (Henry), a better Yaya Toure (Vieira), a younger Andrea Pirlo (Bergkamp) and Andres Iniesta (Pires) in the same team. Of course they win in 2014.

    Like

  25. As much as I hate the oilers and Nasri, it’s never good to see a player get hacked down the way he did. Given the way he was bullied out of the 2010 France squad by that prick Evra, I hope he misses only a few months and can make it back in time for the world cup.

    Like

  26. GEORGE
    have you read Mathew sayeds writeup on ARSHAVIN??

    Like

  27. shoot GAINS
    both shitty and pool could have and should have dropped points today. Newcastle got robbed by the ref.

    Like

  28. No Kam ,have you got a link.

    Like

  29. Gains,we had all those players in 05 and finished 10 points behind Chelsea.

    Like

  30. I was hoping Shitty would drop points, but, although they made things hard for themselves, I thought Liverpool was going to win at Stoke.

    Like

  31. You’re right, George. I find trying to compare different generations a bit pointless anyway.

    Like

  32. Gainsbourg

    Top response: they were world beaters then, their equivalents would be now.

    Like

  33. GEORGE
    I just went to his personal web sight. To journalism section.

    Like

  34. Web site… bloody hell

    Like

  35. the squad of 2004 finished 10 points behind cheski for several reasons. lack of squad depth, injuried to key members of the squad, age telling on some of them, loss of form and most referees licking moreen’s arse coz he won the champions league the previous season

    Like

  36. wow what a great topic….reverting when noone can see me at the office…

    pires ..iniesta ? = ahahahahah genius

    😛

    Like

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: