27 Nov How do Guardiola’s Manchester City compare to Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’?
Manchester City came from behind to beat Huddersfield and set a new Premier League points record after 13 games.
Pep Guardiola’s men, though, still have some way to go if they are to match the Arsenal “Invincibles” campaign of 2003/04.
Here, Press Association Sport’s Jim van Wijk takes a look at how the two teams match up.
Just stick to the facts
On November 22 2003, Arsenal had played 13 Premier League matches, won 10 and drawn 3, with a points total of 33, scored 28 goals and conceded 10.
City have dropped just two points so far, in a 1-1 home draw against Everton in August, while plundering 42 goals and eight conceded.
On statistics alone, City certainly boast impressive numbers.
However, Arsenal had come up against both their then direct title rivals – drawing 0-0 at Manchester United and beating Chelsea 2-1.
Case for the defence?
Title challenges are won from the back – or so the Arsenal Invincibles defence will tell you.
Pascal Cygan, Kolo Toure, Sol Campbell, Gael Clichy and Ashley Cole were all in the team, marshalled by Brazilian midfielder Edu, when the Gunners won 3-0 at Birmingham in their 13th league fixture.
City, meanwhile, look more than comfortable based around their back three of Kyle Walker, skipper Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi.
Although City are seemless in transition, the vintage Gunners edge this one – on intimidation factor alone.
Sergio Aguero took his Premier League tally to nine with a penalty to equalise at Huddersfield, before Raheem Sterling bundled in a late winner – and City have goals everywhere in their squad.
The Invincibles, meanwhile, were led at St Andrew’s by Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry.
Both men, you suspect, would still stroll their way into any modern Premier League side – before beating three men, cutting in from the flank and lashing the ball into the top corner.
Concentrate on the league?
Arsenal struggled in their opening European games after losing 3-0 at home against Inter Milan – whom they would later defeat 5-1 in the San Siro – and only edged past Rotherham on penalties in their League Cup tie.
City, meanwhile, have comfortably progressed through to the Champions League knock-out stage.
However, the Premier League leaders almost slipped up at home in the Carabao Cup when they needed a penalty shoot-out to see off Sky Bet Championship promotion chasers Wolves.
The best of the rest
Manchester United are some eight points adrift of City, with a gap of 11 to Chelsea and 12 to Arsenal.
Even at this early stage, it would be difficult to see Guardiola’s side allowing such an advantage to be whittled away.
Arsenal, though, looked to face much more of a challenge, just a point ahead of Chelsea after 13 matches.
United were only two behind and Charlton – remember them? – were fourth, but some nine adrift of the top three.
Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles, however, went on to finish on 90 points, 11 clear of Chelsea – which just about sums it all up.