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Arsenal 2022/23 vs Invincibles: Combined XI

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Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles were the last Arsenal side to win a Premier League title and, since, there have been ups and many, many downs for the Gunners faithful.

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Mikel Arteta, however, has the north London club on the up and the current crop at the Emirates is even better off at around the halfway stage of the season than those unbeaten heroes were all the way back in 2003/04.

Arsenal currently look a formidable side and, while others falter, continue to push towards a first title in nearly two decades. Without having secured any actual silverware, though, can those players compare themselves to the club’s last title-winning squad?

Well, we have in any case. Here’s a combined XI of the current Gunners and the Invincibles.

Jens Lehmann

Lehmann was a beast for Arsenal / Phil Cole/GettyImages

Aaron Ramsdale is actually on course to record more clean sheets than Lehmann managed in the 2003/04 season but, having managed 15 of them, as well as conceding just 26, over 38 Premier League matches, the well-rounded, efficient German beast between the sticks has to be named in this side.

Benjamin White

White has made the right back spot his own / Gareth Copley/GettyImages

While Lauren enjoyed a great season the last time Arsenal lifted the Premier League, White’s consistency and resoluteness have been immaculate and have seen him rapidly become a Gunners favourite.

The Englishman already has more assists than Lauren managed throughout 2003/04 and, arguably, plays a bigger part in the side’s overall on-field success.

CB – William Saliba (2022/23)

William Saliba

Saliba has solidified Arsenal’s defence / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Saliba might have himself been doubtful of his Arsenal future after a third loan out after his arrival in 2019, but the young Frenchman is now one of the first names on the team sheet.

He has been an impenetrable force at the heart of Arteta’s sturdy defence and has started every league outing so far. Kolo Toure might have been hugely prominent in Wenger’s Invincibles, but Saliba’s mammoth showings earn him his place here.

CB – Sol Campbell (Invincibles)

Sol Campbell of Arsenal

Sol Campbell was colossal for Arsenal / Pete Norton/GettyImages

There is no replacing the iconic Campbell, however.

Gabriel might be putting in weekly passionate and solid performances this term but Campbell’s instrumental role in the Invincibles side that lifted the Premier League in 2004 can’t go unnoticed. The Englishman was named in the PFA Team of the Season for his contribution to Arsenal’s unmatched feat that year – although being named in this team might even top that.

LB – Ashley Cole (Invincibles)

Ashley Cole

Cole was one of the best left backs ever / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Oleksandr Zinchenko might be a significant cog in Arteta’s revolution but Cole is simply one of the best left-backs of all time. The Englishman was also named in the Team of the Year after lighting up the Premier League during a sensational 2003/04 campaign.

RM – Bukayo Saka (2022/23)

Bukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka makes it / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Freddie Ljungberg probably left his best season in an Arsenal shirt for the 2004/05 campaign, although was still superb in the Invincibles side.

Saka, however, has been beyond superb this term, scoring and assisting at will from his talismanic platform. The England international is a menace for defenders, an example for attackers, and a sheer joy for fans – at 21 years of age, his place in this side is unquestionable.

CM – Patrick Vieira (Invincibles)

Patrick Vieira, Freddie Ljungberg

Vieira scored an iconic goal at White Hart Lane / Ian Walton/GettyImages

As is the place of Vieira. Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey both play important roles in Arteta’s system, but Vieira performed at a superior level to almost everyone else in the Premier League at the heart of Arsenal’s 2003/04 giants, captaining the side for large parts of the season. Powerful and graceful at the same time, the legendary Frenchman was an absolute monster in central midfield.

CM – Martin Odegaard (2022/23)

Martin Odegaard

Odegaard makes the modern Arsenal tick / James Gill – Danehouse/GettyImages

Not as physically imposing as Vieira, Odegaard has developed into a similarly inspiring leader and is arguably the most important cog in Arteta’s very well-oiled machine.

The 2022/23 season has seen the Norwegian midfielder come on leaps and bounds and, although Gilberto Silva complimented Vieira extraordinarily in 2003/04, Odegaard’s influence, creativity and, at times, mesmerising performances see him claim a spot in this side.

LM – Robert Pires (Invincibles)

Robert Pires

Pires thrilled crowds in his heyday / Ben Radford/GettyImages

Classy, fluid, dangerous and thrilling to watch, Robert Pires was elegance personified on the left flank. The 2003/04 season was the second of three consecutive campaigns he hit at least 14 Premier League goals, while also assisting nine as Wenger’s men lifted the title unbeaten.

ST – Gabriel Jesus (2022/23)

Gabriel Jesus

What? No Bergkamp? / Harriet Lander/GettyImages

Before you start screaming at your screen, Jesus has been chosen over Dennis Bergkamp for the sheer impact his arrival in the summer of 2022 has had.

While Bergkamp started just 21 games for the Gunners in the 2003/04 season, Jesus started every league fixture until injury forced him out after Christmas; while Bergkamp registered four goals and seven assists that year, Jesus already had 11 goal involvements to his name well before the halfway point of the 2022/23 campaign.

Bergkamp’s genius is undoubted, but when comparing Arteta’s 22/23 side to Wenger’s Invincibles, Jesus takes it.

ST – Thierry Henry (Invincibles)

Thierry Henry

Henry enjoyed an extraordinary season as Arsenal topped the Premier League in 2003/04 / David Rogers/GettyImages

There’s no doubt over this one. While the indescribable Henry never endured a poor season at Arsenal, 2003/04 saw the Frenchman hit different heights – unplayable is almost insulting.

30 goals, six assists and countless defenders shaking – of course Henry makes this combined XI, he was the first name on the team sheet.

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