With the Blues title rivals Arsenal proving out to be disappointing yet again, the major talking point is not the title race but whether or not Jose Mourinho’s team can march through the season undefeated like Arsenal did in 2003-04.
With 11 league games unbeaten for Chelsea since the start of the season Jose Mourinho might be playing it down for right now but, without a doubt they’re starting to resemble Arsenal’s Invincibles.
When you factor in the end of last season; the Blues are now 19 games unbeaten in all competitions with their last defeat coming against Athletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals. As it stands, Chelsea’s longest unbeaten run in all competitions is 23 games, achieved twice before; once with Jose Mourinho as manager between 23 January and 28 April 2007 and under the management of Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti between 4 April and 23 September 2009.
Arsenal “The Invincibles” XI (2003-2004 season)
Arsenal’s unbeaten 38-game season consisted of 26 wins and 12 draws. Arsenal’s Invincible’s (2003-2004) vs Chelsea’s Inevitable’s (2014-2015) Here’s what made that great team tick:
Thierry Henry was immense throughout his Arsenal career and scored 30 goals in the Invincible campaign from 37 games and 39 in all competitions that year. Defenders were powerless to prevent him from scoring almost too many logic-defying goals. Diego Costa is a completely different beast; his phenomenal record is the best of any foreign player in their first seven Premier League appearances. The £32 million striker is adept with both feet and good in the air combined with great finishing. The Spaniard already has 10 goals to his name in 9 games and has much more to show in the time to come.
Arsenal had Ljungberg on the right and Pires on the left, Vieira and Silva through the center making those crucial runs and serving the ball on a platter for Henry. The Blues, on the other hand, have magicians like Eden Hazard, Fabregas and Oscar, who bring in genuine quality into the side. They link up with ease providing crucial breakthrough when needed, making them quite spectacular.
No matter how strong an army can battle in attack, yet a precarious defense will definitely cause a downfall. The Gooners had a perfect combination of strength and skill, attributes you can see in Chelsea now. In 2004, Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure were a unit ready to dismantle any type of attacking force. This year Terry, Ivanovic and Matic are enforcers allowing Hazard, Oscar and Cesc to disconcert opponents.
Heroes in central midfield
Gilberto Silva, nicknamed the “Invisible Wall” was the heart in central midfield. The Brazilian was powerful, worked hard and stopped threatening attacks with incredible skills. The Blues have their own version of the “Invisible Wall” in Nemanja Matic who has been performing courageously in the middle of the park. The Serbian’s dominant and aggressive display has helped Chelsea accomplish the wonderful run that they are ongoing now.
Arsene Wenger in 2003-04 had enough weapons in depth to cover for dips in form or injuries. The Invincibles had Ray Parlour, Martin Keown as backups. Chelsea certainly relies on playmaker Cesc Fabregas for crucial attacks. Similar to the Invincibles, Chelsea are packed with great talent on the bench. There’s World Cup winner Andre Schurrle, Brazilians Ramires and Filipe Luis. Czech international Petr Cech is ranked amongst the top 5 goalkeepers in the world. You can’t see a stronger bench across Europe at the moment.
“I think it is possible to be champions – before the season started we considered ourselves contenders but in modern football, especially in the Premier League, I don’t believe in an unbeaten run” – Jose Mourinho
Arsenal’s Invincibles hardly had weaknesses, much like today’s Chelsea. The Blues are blessed with great talent and physically they are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League. Mourinho’s men are a force to reckon with; they are exceptionally effective and brilliantly ruthless, which might prove to be the difference in breaking Arsenal’s unbeaten record.
Edited By: Ojas Tripathi