It would seem to be a distant reminiscence, however Chelsea and Arsenal have been the 2 finest golf equipment within the land not too way back.
The Gunners’ invincible crew of 2003/04 and the Blues’ record-breaking 2004/05 aspect can each declare to be the most effective in Premier League historical past.
Since then, properly, it’s not been all that dangerous for Chelsea, though they’ve by no means recaptured that whole dominance of the mid-to-late noughties.
Arsenal, alternatively, have been on a slippery slope to obscurity ever since Patrick Vieira held the Premier League trophy aloft in 2004.
That is still the Gunners’ final league title, they usually have fallen to new lows below Mikel Arteta this season, at the moment languishing in 15th after nearly half the season has handed.
Forward of their match towards Chelsea on Boxing Day – dwell on talkSPORT – it’s tough to recollect a time each groups have been so low within the league desk when assembly, with the Blues meandering in fifth place.
Do not forget that 2-2 attract December 2004? When Thierry Henry did that ingenious fast free-kick and John Terry scored probably the most John Terry header ever? These have been the times.
Among the gamers on the sector that day have gone down in historical past as a number of the best in Premier League historical past.
However who have been the most effective? In a bid to remind Chelsea and Arsenal followers of the glory days, we’ve put collectively this mixed XI from the naughties.
Goalkeeper – Petr Cech
In all probability the best resolution, this one.
If the Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ had a weak point, it was Jens Lehmann in objective.
The German had nothing on Petr Cech, who went a record-breaking 1,025 minutes with out conceding a objective within the 2004/05 season.
Cech saved a staggering 24 clear sheets that marketing campaign, on his option to changing into the goalkeeper with probably the most shutouts in top-flight historical past.
He performed for Arsenal too afterward, so we’re positive Gunners followers gained’t thoughts this one an excessive amount of.
Proper-back – Lauren
Arguably probably the most underrated and underappreciated member of the ‘Invincibles’.
It was a really robust name between Lauren and Gallas, however the Cameroonian will get the nod.
Whereas Gallas was versatile and capable of play anyplace throughout the again line, Lauren was up there with the most effective out-and-out right-backs within the league on the time.
Plus, in contrast to Gallas, Lauren didn’t refuse to play for his membership and kick up a fuss once they didn’t settle for switch request!
Centre-back – John Terry
At any time when pundits bang their heads collectively and attempt to provide you with a kind of all-time Premier League XIs, the identical outdated points crop up.
Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard? Rio Ferdinand or Sol Campbell? Thierry Henry or Alan Shearer?
One factor that’s by no means up for debate is John Terry’s place within the aspect.
Whereas many disagree over whether or not he needs to be accompanied by Tony Adams, Ferdinand or Campbell – Terry is at all times there.
That’s as a result of he’s probably the most profitable captain in top-flight historical past – and round 2005 – in all probability the most effective centre-back in world soccer.
Centre-back – Sol Campbell
Kolo Toure and Ricardo Carvalho definitely wouldn’t look misplaced on this crew, however Campbell was simply one thing else.
A rare defender, Arsene Wenger signed Campbell from Tottenham as a result of the Gunners’ attackers simply couldn’t get previous him.
Wenger later mentioned ‘it was as if he was indestructible, such an influence unfold from him’.
Left-back – Ashley Cole
One other man who has performed for each golf equipment, however solely stays liked by one.
Extremely, Cole was a member of that well-known ‘Invincibles’ squad however went on to attain extra success at Chelsea, successful one other league title and including the Champions League to his trophy cupboard.
Like fairly a number of gamers on this crew, Cole was thought-about the most effective on the planet in his place round about 2005.
Midfield – Patrick Vieira
Many imagine the departure of Vieira signalled the beginning of Arsenal’s sluggish decline during the last 16 years.
Whereas the Gunners have been blessed with proficient strikers in that point, they’ve by no means actually changed the long-lasting French midfielder.
His exit led on to the lack of Arsenal’s aggressive edge and with out him, they developed a status as a smooth contact.
Vieira by no means would’ve stood for that. What a participant he was.
Midfield – Frank Lampard
A midfielder, and but he has extra Premier League targets than each participant on this crew, together with (spoiler alert) Henry.
Simply the 177 top-flight targets for Lampard, which we predict is sufficient to earn the present Chelsea boss a spot on this crew.
Ahead – Robert Pires
We’ve gone with Pires on the wing in a 4-2-3-1 system, relatively than including an additional midfielder in a 4-3-3.
It was tough to miss Claude Makelele, given the Frenchman actually had a whole place named after him throughout his time within the holding function at Chelsea.
However we figured a crew with two defensive midfielders can be a mighty disservice to a number of the attacking play these groups have been able to – and Pires was simply so good.
Don’t fear, our supervisor of alternative Jose Mourinho will change Pires with Makelele the minute we go 1-Zero up.
Ahead – Dennis Bergkamp
You’ll be able to clarify why most gamers on this crew have been nice with chilly, onerous stats – however Bergkamp was totally different, you kind of simply needed to watch him.
Bergkamp is likely one of the most magical gamers ever to put on the Arsenal shirt – in some way his contact, imaginative and prescient and ability was simply higher than everyone round him.
Solely he may do numerous the issues he did.
There’s a cause Bergkamp has a statue exterior the Emirates: his finest moments will even be immortalised within the reminiscences of Arsenal followers.
Ahead – Didier Drogba
Arsenal followers can testify to the standard of Drogba, he scored towards the Gunners each time they performed Chelsea!
Sure, we’ve bought three conventional centre-forwards on the pitch they usually don’t precisely match into your traditional 4-3-3, however we’d have Drogba at centre-back if it was the one option to get him within the crew.
The best way he used to defend corners, that may not truly be the worst thought.
Ahead – Thierry Henry
The Frenchman had a swagger and audacity about him which, you could possibly argue, hasn’t been matched since.
He was a kind of uncommon gamers who did issues simply because he may and others couldn’t, for the easy pleasure of leisure.
Unsuitable-foot passes, fancy flicks, mazy dribbles, and through-balls that might make Kevin de Bruyne jealous – that’s what units Henry aside.
There was one thing magical about watching him – and we guess there can be an identical feeling watching this crew, if we ever bought the prospect.
talkSPORT will convey you FOUR dwell and unique Premier League matches this Boxing Day, together with Arsenal vs Chelsea at 5.30pm!