In this article I will be looking at a position by position comparison of the team Arsene Wenger used in the match against Aston Villa and the team predominately used throughout the famous 2003/04 unbeaten season.
03/04: Jens Lehmann
13/14: Wojciech Szczesny
Lehmann played in all 38 games of the season in what was his first season for the Gunners. He was already an experienced keeper after playing for Schalke 04, Milan and Borussia Dortmund.
Although he would sometimes make errors when rushing out he was overall a fairly decent keeper. Szczensy is much more prone to mistakes than Jens was most probably because of his lack of experience. Overall I think you have to go with Lehmann being the better keeper, for now.
03/04: Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure and Lauren
13/14: Kieran Gibbs, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Bacary Sagna.
Looking individually the current back-four are just no match to the one Wenger fielded in the unbeaten campaign, bar maybe Sagna compared to Lauren, although he appears to be becoming more prone to mistakes as he gets into his 30's.
The highest number of goals conceded in a game by the "Invincibles" four was two. The current crop couldn't even match that against Aston Villa, who are not meant to be anywhere near as strong a side as Arsenal.
03/04: Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Gilberto Silva and Freddie Ljungberg
13/14: Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Although the two sets of midfields are set up differently I will still try and compare them as listed.By looking at the two sets it is clear that there is a lot more experience in the 03/04 side.
Also an advantage they have is the presence of Vieira protecting the back four.This is a position that the fans still beg Wenger to properly replace since the departure of Vieira.
The combination of Wilshere, Ramsey and Chamberlain could prove to be very effective in the future as they are still young but in the current they aren't up to the level of the likes of Pires and Silva.
It is also important to mention Santi Carzola who will more than likely be placed in the midfield throughout the season. He is a very important player to the club and lifts the quality of the midfield.
03/04: Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp. 13/14: Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott
Attacking has always been a vital part of Wengers' style of play. Having the clubs highest goal-scorer along with one of the classiest players of the Premier League era alongside each other doesn't hurt either and the magic the two of them created won a lot of games.
Unfortunately Giroud and Walcott don't possess that ability to be difference makers, although Theo's speed can be lethal it can become predictable and has been shut down by many defences. Henry also scored 30 goals that season while it is unlikely that Giroud or Walcott could manage that feat.
By comparing it shows that although the current squad has a lot of very promising young talent there are areas where they just lack class.
With the transfer window winding down we will wait and see who Wenger brings in. If you're an Arsenal fan you will hope for a clinical striker, true defensive midfielder and an experienced goalkeeper.
The only signing made in the summer transfer window of 2003, underlining how important it is having a team who are all familiar with each other is important.
This is something that must be remembered before Wenger is possibly fired for not buying every available player on the market!
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