Tuesday 15 May 2012
Arsenal's 'Invincibles' of 2003/04 have been voted the Best Team in the Premier League's 20 Seasons Awards.
A panel of leading football figures, journalists and commentators backed the extraordinary achievement of Arsene Wenger and his players as they became the first - and, to date, only - team to go unbeaten through a Premier League season.
"My target is to get Arsenal back to the Invincibles level"
- Arsene Wenger
"I am very proud of this and very happy," said Wenger upon receiving the award. "I told the players at the time that they could achieve something special once we were champions - being invincible.
"And they did it. At the time they didn't realise how much it would mean in the future, but I'm very proud of the achievement of course.
"My target is to get Arsenal back to that level.
"I feel personally that we are not far away from being able to fight for the championship, and let's hope we can show that next season."
Arsenal's class of 2003/04 were the first team to not lose a top-flight match since Preston North End in 1889 - and the Gunners' season was 16 matches longer.
Arsenal's squad had defensive steel and creative flair in abundance, with the likes of Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole in defence, captain Patrick Vieira anchoring the midfield, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg providing the width - and Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry providing flair and goals up front.
"It will take a special team to do that again"
- Patrick Vieira
Their final record in the 2003/04 season was: won 26, drew 12, with 73 goals scored and only 26 conceded, and they ended up winning the title at a canter by 11 points with Henry the League's leading scorer on 30.
Speaking in April, skipper Vieira told premierleague.com: "Can anyone do it again? Never say never because in football anything can happen. It will be difficult to do it but I am sure a team will.
"I think it will take a special team to do it. Of course you need luck, but overall you need to believe as a team.
"When you achieve something like that as a team it is really special because people will talk about it until it gets beaten - and you never know how long it is going to take. It was a fantastic team performance."
Goal Difference: +47
There were 300,000 fans who voted in the Premier League 20 Seasons Awards casting over 4.2m votes in five categories: Goal, Match, Save, Goal Celebration and Fantasy Team of the 20 Seasons.
In addition, there are also six panel categories: Player, Manager, Team, Season, Most Memorable Quote and Fantasy Team of the 20 Seasons.