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Everything you might have forgotten about Arsenal’s Invincible season in 2003/04

Yaya Toure in an Arsenal shirt? A Swiss wonderkid signing? Pre-season losses? It's everything you've forgotten about The Invincibles

The year was 2003, the stadium was Highbury not The Emirates, and Arsenal fans couldn’t be more in love with their manager, Arsene Wenger.

But how much do you actually remember about how the invincible season unfolded, both domestically and in Europe?

Arsene Wenger: Part-time manager, full-time Roadman

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Arsene Wenger: Part-time manager, full-time Roadman

A 16-year-old Spaniard arrived on a free transfer from Barcelona

Forget the signings of Jose Antonio Reyes and Jens Lehmann because a certain mulleted Spaniard, plucked from Barcelona’s academy, was the arrival that really caught the eye. Wonder what he’s up to now?

‘They’re called barbers, Cesc, and they’ll sort that s*** out in a second’

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‘They’re called barbers, Cesc, and they’ll sort that s*** out in a second’

And Arsenal won the battle to sign the hottest property in Europe

Real Madrid, Man United and Liverpool all got dealt a massive custard pie in their attempts to sign the most highly-rated young defender in Europe. Yes, we are talking about Philippe Senderos.

Senderos in a better time, when jewellery was allowed and encouraged on the pitch

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Senderos in a better time, when jewellery was allowed and encouraged on the pitch

But Arsenal’s pre season was shambolic

Arsenal opened up with defeat to Peterborough United, followed by draws against Barnet and Austrian minnows SC Ritzing. Not exactly the form of champions.

This lad tamed the invincibles

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This lad tamed the invincibles

Which scuppered an Ivorian midfielder’s chances of joining The Gunners

“Completely average on the day,” said Wenger of a young midfielder’s showing against Barnet. Over a decade later we can all agree Yaya Toure was (another) one that slipped through the net.

A ‘completely average’ player who’d go on to dominate Arsenal several times throughout his career

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A ‘completely average’ player who’d go on to dominate Arsenal several times throughout his career

Chelsea came calling for Thierry Henry

Wenger  had to stand strong when Chelsea, backed by Roman Abramovich’s endless supply of money, targeted Thierry Henry in a bid for worldwide domination.

If Carlsberg did training

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If Carlsberg did training

Arsenal bottled their first competitive match

Tim Howard was the hero as a Man United beat Arsenal on penalties in the Community Sheild, with Francis Jeffers sent off for kicking out at Phil Neville. Needless to say Jeffers was sent out on loan before the transfer window was closed.

His commentary isn’t that bad, Franny

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His commentary isn’t that bad, Franny

The Invincible season was nearly over in September

Harry Redknapp’s collection of veterans nearly spoiled the party before it had begun, as Portsmouth went ahead against Arsenal. But Robert Pires executed one of the worst dives ever seen to earn a penalty, which Henry converted to save a point.

Don’t touch him, he’s very fragile!

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Don’t touch him, he’s very fragile!

They thumped Inter at the San Siro

This wasn’t the Inter we see nowadays. This was a back four of Ivan Cordoba, Javier Zanetti, Fabio Cannavaro and Marco Materazzi. But Arsenal hammered them 5-1, with Henry scoring twice.

Poetry in motion

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Poetry in motion

There was a vintage group of League Cup kids

Selecting youngsters has become something of a watermark of Wenger’s cup sides, and this was a bumper year. Graham Stack, Jerome Thomas, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, Justin Hoyte and Olafur Ingi Skulason were just a handful of cult figures never to be seen outside of League Two again.

Can you name him?

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Can you name him?

Only one man played every Premier League game

Can you guess who? Yep, bat s*** crazy goalkeeper Lehmann played in every Premier League game as Arsenal conceded a division-low 26 goals. Vorsprung durch Technik.

Now you see why they called him Two Bottle

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Now you see why they called him Two Bottle

Efstathios Tavlaridis made more appearances than Fabregas

The young Greek was nicknamed ‘The Bull’ but there was nothing particularly muscular or aggressive about the defender, who now plays for Aris.

Classic Efsta

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Classic Efsta

39 goals in all competitions wasn’t good enough to win Henry the Ballon d’Or

What did the man have to do to win the award? Even Pavel Nedved, who scooped the honour with his perfectly rounded bob, admitted Henry was more deserving.

The Most Perfect Hair in Europe award winner

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The Most Perfect Hair in Europe award winner

And the football oracle that is Paul Merson predicted it all

The man who is now synonymous with making a mockery of the English language on Soccer Saturday said, before the season started, “If they keep their best players and they all remain fit week-in week-out then they will not be beaten.” We bow down to you, oh special one.

The Oracle

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The Oracle