2003/04 gave us Arsene Wenger, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, and Arsenal’s Invincibles.
This season (can we still call it that?) has provided us with a new unforgettable title-winning crop.
From here on out, Pep Guardiola, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, and the rest of Man City’s 2017/18 champions, will be known as the Centurions.
Gabriel Jesus’ last-gasp winner against Southampton meant that City became the first team in the English top flight to achieve 100 points in a single season.
As Gary Lineker mentioned on Match of the Day, even if you retrospectively awarded three points for a win to all the title-winners from back when a positive result was rewarded with only two points, no team would have reached a century.
Additionally, No top flight achieved 100 points in the era of 42-game seasons.
Naturally, City broke a host of other records as well their record points tally: most wins, most goals, most away wins, best goal difference, biggest winning margin, least time spent trailing, and a few more.
Objectively speaking, in the most literal sense imaginable, their achievement is greater than that of the Invincibles.
It is not our intention to diminish Arsenal’s memorable feat — far from it.
We simply believe that City deserve the appropriate credit for what they have done.
The objective of league football is to get as many points as possible.
Avoiding defeat for the duration of the season is a good way of going about it, but there is no trophy for the team who avoids defeat the most often.
Yes, Man City lost two games, Arsenal lost zero — it’s understandable how this simple comparison could stir fans in profound ways.
However, here’s another way of looking at it…
Arsenal dropped points in 12 games, City dropped points in six games.
Other Premier League teams have racked up more points than Arsenal’s 2003/04 tally (90).
Chelsea last year, being the latest example.
However, a century of points feels like an appropriate milestone to acknowledge fully.
For comparison, PSG, with Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe having thoroughly enjoyed themselves, will finish on 95 points if they win their final Ligue 1 game of the season.
And they play in a ‘farmers’ league’, right?
We are ashamed of ourselves for sinking to the needless one-upmanship that often pollutes online discussions.
Both teams and achievements deserve to be celebrated and remembered for a long time.
We were lured in after seeing a vast number of fans on social media (not just Arsenal supporters either) show greater appreciation for an unbeaten season than a 100-point campaign.
Perhaps the idea of an invincible season has a greater romanticism about it?
The Invincibles could look down upon their opponents at the end of the season in the knowledge that none got the best of them.
That is not true of Guardiola’s City — the defeats to Liverpool and Man United are undoubted caveats.
But in the purest sense, from an unbiased perspective, they are the greatest champions in English history.
There are other factors to consider in terms of the two teams.
Much has been made of the resources available to City, and the quality of the teams outside the top six, or lack thereof.
Taking everything into consideration, a valid argument could made for the Invincibles being a superior team.
However, in terms of the achievement, regardless of the specific teams involved, City’s Centurions have the edge over Arsenal’s Invincibles.
Sorry, but that’s just how league football works.