Simply the best

26 wins. 12 draws. 0 defeats. That was Arsenal's record this year in the English Premier League, and as far as I'm concerned, they are absolutely in the discussion for best single-season team of all time...in any sport.

As far as the English game goes, only one other side has achieved a similar feat -- Preston North End in the 1890s went 24 unbeaten to win the title in that season. However, Arsenal played 14 more matches alone, not to mention having to compete in the League Cup, the FA Cup, and the European Champions' League.

Not only did Arsenal beat the teams they were supposed to, they also did the business against the best the English game has to offer...to wit:

10/21 @ Manchester United: 0-0
10/21 vs. Newcastle United: 3-2
11/4 @ Liverpool: 2-1
10/18 vs. Chelsea: 2-1
2/21 @ Chelsea: 2-1
3/28 vs. Manchester United: 1-1
4/9 vs. Liverpool: 4-2
4/11 @ Newcastle United: 0-0

In the League Cup, which is admittedly an inferior competition, the club still made it to the semifinals using mainly the Under-21 players...including a stunning 5-1 demolition of Wolverhampton Wanderers. The FA Cup was a heartbreaking experience in the end, but the run to the semifinals included two 4-1 wins, a 5-1 win, and the excellent 2-1 defeat of Chelsea before we finally fell to Manchester United (who actually had a pretty good season against us, all things considered). The Champions' League was even more of a roller coaster -- the awful 0-3 home loss to Inter Milan, the dire draw against Lokomotiv Moscow, the bad loss to Dynamo Kiev. But, the Arsenal got rolling against Kiev at Highbury before the now-legendary 5-1 win at the San Siro against Inter. Of course, we demolished a hurting Celta Vigo side in the round of 16 before the unfortunate loss to Chelsea in the quarterfinals -- a deserved win for them, which had to be the highlight of their season.

Now, let's not forget the players. Any talk about this team has to start with the incomparable Thierry Henry, the man who got robbed in the World Player of the Year voting. He netted 38 times in all competitions, and I'd tell you how many assists he had on top of that if I could fucking FIND it anywhere. Robert Pires came agonizingly close to the 20 mark, hitting the back of the net 19 times (amazing for a left winger).

I would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart:

The First-Choice 11: Jens Lehmann, Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell, Kolo Abib Toure, Lauren Bisane-Etanne, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira (captain), Gilberto Silva, Fredrik Ljungberg, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp

The Legend: Martin Keown

The Reserves: Ray Parlour, Graham Stack, Pascal Cygan, Edu, Nwankwo Kanu, Sylvain Wiltord

The Future: Jeremie Aliadiere, David Bentley, Jose Antonio Reyes, Gael Clichy, Ryan Garry, Phillipe Senderos, Stuart Taylor, Michal Papadopulos, Quincy Owusu Abeyie, Cesc Fabregas, Ryan Smith, Josh Spicer, Olafur-Ingi Skulason, Frankie Simek, Justin Hoyte, and Craig Holloway.


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