Arsenal's 2003-04 Title Winning XI: Where Are They Now?

Thierry Henry of Arsenal
Thierry Henry of Arsenal
Abhishek Arora

Manchester United have the most number of Premier League Titles (13), followed by Chelsea (5), Arsenal (3), Manchester City (3), Blackburn Rovers (1), and Leicester City (1).

Any Premier League aficionado will love to keep a track of its most prominent players and where they are now. Today, we take a look at one very special Arsenal team -- who lifted the trophy in the 2003/04 season -- and were Invincible on their way to the title. Out of the 38 matches, The Gunners had 26 wins, 12 draws, and 0 losses.

The Gunners became the Champions first in 1997-1998, then in 2001-2002, and finally in 2003-2004. However, it is intriguing to get know the team of the 2003-04 season better as that is the team which was unbeaten in all their matches and that added the feather to their cap. Some of those players are in fact still active footballers in different parts of the World.

Here is the Arsene Wenger's Arsenal that created history in 2003-04 and where they are now:

#1 Jens Lehmann (Goalkeeper)

Jens Lehman of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premiership match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park on March 18, 2007
Jens Lehman of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premiership match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park on March 18, 2007

The German goalkeeping legend kept 15 clean sheets out of the 38 matches during the 2003-04 season. He featured in all of Arsenal's matches in the 'Invincibles' season and also holds the record for most consecutive clean sheets in the UEFA Champions League -- 10. The 6 ft 3 in goalkeeper left for VfB Stuttgart in 2008 before returning to play for The Gunners in 2011.

After his departure from Arsenal in 2008, Lehmann worked on his coaching badges. He became a part of The Gunners' backroom staff in 2017 but was axed in 2018 following the departure of legendary manager Arsene Wenger. After being a part of the coaching staff for only one year, being asked to leave did not go down too well with the 48-year-old.

In a statement, he said, " It was a good experience working with the players as one of the assistant coaches. But the attitude from our 2004 group is not needed there anymore.”

Jens Lehmann has his own website and is actively involved in doing Social work. He works with the Dekeyser & Friends Academy and spearheads a project the aim of which is to educating and coaching fellows of football.

Jens Lehmann worked assistant to Arsene Wenger
Jens Lehmann worked assistant to Arsene Wenger

#2 Ashley Cole (left-back)

Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole

37-year-old Ashley Cole is an Arsenal legend in his own right. Considered one of the best defenders of his time, the English footballer made 32 appearances for the 'Invincibles' team.

Cole has had an extremely decorated career as he won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups with The Gunners, followed by one Premier League four FA Cups, one Football League Cup, and one UEFA Champions League with Chelsea. A total of seven FA Cups medals makes him the player to win the maximum FA Cup Winners' medals.

The defender was also an integral part of the national team and has 107 caps for The Three Lions. After spending a season with Serie A club AS Roma, Cole moved to Los Angeles Galaxy -- a Major League Soccer Club - on Jan 27, 2016, and has been with them since.

#3 Patrick Vieira (Defensive Midfield)

Patrick Vieira of Arsenal battles with David Thompson of Blackburn
Patrick Vieira of Arsenal battles with David Thompson of Blackburn

Patrick Vieira was the captain of the Arsenal side when they lifted the trophy in the 2003-04 season. The French footballer formed a formidable partnership with fellow countryman and manager Arsene Wenger to lead the team to unseen heights.

The midfielder has three Premier League titles, three FA Cup titles, and 3 FA Community Shield titles to his name during his stint with Arsenal.

He was a no-nonsense player and known for his aggressive and highly competitive style of play. Patrick also has 107 national caps to his name and was part of the 1998 FIFA World Cup winning team. A nine-year stint with The Gunners was followed by stints with Juventus, Internazionale, and Manchester City before he retired from professional football in 2011. He then became the Youth Co-ordinator of The Sky Blues.

On June 1, 2013 he was appointed as the manager of Manchester City U21. His big Managerial break came when he was appointed as Head Coach of the senior New York City team on 1 January 2016. Currently, he is serving as the manager of OGC Nice -- a French Club which plays in the Ligue 1 (first tier).

#4 Robert Pirès (Left Midfield)

Robert Pires
Robert Pires

Another French footballer part of the 'Invincibles' team, Robert Pirès was absolutely instrumental for The Gunners during his illustrious career. He made 36 appearances for Arsenal (coming on as a sub in 3) during the 2003-04 season and scored 14 goals.

Voted as the 6th greatest player in the club's history, Pirès wreaked havoc for the opposition on the left wing. The 44-year-old won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups during his stay with The Gunners.

After leaving Arsenal in 2006, he plied his trade with Villarreal for four years and then Aston Villa for a solitary season. Pires made a comeback in 2014 to play for Indian Super League side FC Goa and finally announced his retirement from professional football on 25 February 2016.

Pires can be currently seen providing match analysis of UEFA Champions League matches on French television, is the brand ambassador of Tag Heuer -- a Swiss watch company, and of bwin -- an online betting platform. He is also one of the ambassadors of La Liga and working to boost its image to the World alongside other former La Liga players.

Manager Arsene Wenger of Arsenal talks to Robert Pires
Manager Arsene Wenger of Arsenal talks to Robert Pires

#5 Freddie Ljungberg (Attacking Midfield)

Freddie Ljungberg, U23s Head Coach of Arsenal
Freddie Ljungberg, U23s Head Coach of Arsenal

Swedish international Freddie Ljungberg was one of the main men for Arsene Wenger to create chances up front. The Gunner made 30 appearances (3 of which were as a sub) during the 'Invincible' season. He was a part of the Swedish national team for a decade and had 75 caps for them.

After departing from Arsenal in 2007, Freddie had brief stints in England (West Ham United), Scotland (Celtic), the United States (Seattle Sounders, Chicago Fire), Japan (Shimizu S-Pulse), and India (Mumbai City FC).

He was named the Swedish midfielder of the year 6 times overall, 5 of which were consecutive (2001-05). Ljungberg also had the honour of becoming Premier League Player of the Season during 2001–02 season. Freddie Ljungberg is currently Arsenal's U23 coach.

#6 Dennis Bergkamp (second Striker)

Dennis Bergkamp
Dennis Bergkamp

Dennis Nicolaas Maria Bergkamp is also one of the most legendary players to don the Arsenal jersey. After playing at Ajax for 7 years, he made a move to Inter Milan but had two disappointing seasons there. Post this, the Dutchman moved to Arsenal in 1995 where he rejuvenated his career.

The 49-year-old won three Premier League titles with The Gunners, along with four FA Cups and three Community Shields.

If one wants to learn to play with composure, then they should closely watch Bergkamp's videos. He was one of the most complete footballers, with immense ball skills, creative ability, mindfulness, and sense of the game. The technically gifted player would write his name in history books as one of the club's greatest of all time.

Bergkamp has 87 goals for Arsenal in 315 appearances. During the 2003–04, he played in 28 matches (coming on as a substitute in 7) and scored 4 goals. In the league's 26-year history, his goal against Newcastle United is voted as the best of all time in Premier League.

He also featured regularly for the Netherlands national team and scored 37 goals in 79 appearances for the Oranje.

Post-retirement, he served as the assistant coach and striker trainer of Ajax. He worked alongside former Dutch national team-mate Frank De Boer for over 5 years.

After the departure of De Boer, Bergkamp's role became more focused on field training, and youth players hence he was mostly behind the scenes. In December 2017, Bergkamp was sacked after constant poor outings of the team and freed from his duties.

#7 Laureano Bisan-Etame Mayer (Right-back)

Laureano Bisan-Etame Mayer
Laureano Bisan-Etame Mayer

Lauren was the Wenger's most trusted right-back back in 2003-04. He featured in 32 (coming on as a sub in 2) out of the 38 matches for the 'Invincibles.'

The Cameroonian footballer spent 7 years with The Gunners. Prior to this, he spent his time at Spanish clubs. The 41-year-old was a part of the National team which won an Olympic Gold Medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Lauren has 2 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups, and 2 Community Shields with Arsenal. The right-back also scored 7 goals in the 159 appearances he made for them.

The 41-year-old had brief stints with Portsmouth and Córdoba before hanging up his boots in 2010. He has since taken up commentary and can be seen sharing his opinions on the game on mainstream media channels.

#8 Thierry Henry (Striker)

Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry

Arsenal's goal-scoring machine, Thierry Henry, had an excellent 'Invincibles' season as he went on to score 30 goals in his 37 appearances. The 41-year-old holds the record for the maximum number of goals in an Arsenal jersey -- 174 goals in 254 appearances. The prolific striker is also the top scorer for his country -- France -- with 51 goals in 123 appearances.

The duo of Henry and Dennis Bergkamp was a spectacle to watch on the field. Great skills, exceptional dribbling ability, composure and pace -- the Frenchmen had all the traits of the perfect striker.

El Mimo also specialized in the no-look pass and was also the penalty and free-kick specialist for Arsenal. The legendary forward has two Premier League titles, 2 FA Cups, and 2 community shields with The Gunners. Besides Arsenal, Henry has also plied his trade with top clubs such as Monaco, Juventus, and Barcelona. He also had a stint in Major League Soccer with the New York Red Bulls before retiring on 2014.

Alongside Roberto Martinez, Henry successfully managed Belgium to the semifinals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. However, they lost to France -- the eventual winners and Henry's home nation -- in heartbreaking fashion in the semis.

Henry is currently focussing on his coaching career full time.

Thierry Henry of Arsenal
Thierry Henry of Arsenal

#9 Sol Campbell (central defender)

Falcao and Sol Campbell
Falcao and Sol Campbell

The backbone of The Gunners, Sol Campell, was solid as a rock in defence. The English footballer spent the majority of his career (9 years) with Tottenham Hotspur and has a Premier League career spanning 20 years. He made 144 appearances for The Gunners, scoring 9 goals.

The 44-year-old also has 73 caps for England and also became their 2nd youngest captain ever when he led the time thrice at just 23 years. Portsmouth and Newcastle United are the other clubs he represented before announcing his retirement in 2011.

Like many great players, he took to coaching and completed his UEFA Pro Licence in May 2016. He was the assistant manager of the Trinidad and Tobago national side in January 2017. He was also an integral member of the FIFA Technical Study Group at the recently concluded FIFA U17 World Cup in India.

#10 Kolo Abib Toure

Florent Malouda of Chelsea is closed down by Kolo Toure of Arsenal
Florent Malouda of Chelsea is closed down by Kolo Toure of Arsenal

Ivorian Centre-Back Kolo Toure formed a lethal unit with Sol Campell. He made 37 appearances (1 as a sub) during the 'Invincibles' season. Overall, in his 225 appearances for The Gunners, the 37-year-old has 9 goals.

He spent 7 years at Arsenal before moving to Manchester City (for 4 years) and Liverpool (for 3 years). The centre-back also had a brief stint with Celtic in the 2016-17 season before calling it a day. He has two Premier League titles (one with Arsenal and one with Manchester City), 2 FA Cups, and 2 Community shields. In addition to his club career, Toure was also an integral part of the Ivory Coast team and has 120 national team caps (the second highest in number).

Since retirement, he has been a part of the coaching staff of under-23 Ivory Coast teams for the African Nations Championship.

In September 2017, the UEFA B licence holder was signed as the technical assistant of Celtic. He also works alongside Marc Wilmots as the assistant coach to the Ivory Coast national team. Yaya Toure is his younger brother.

#11 Gilberto Silva (Defensive Midfield)

Gilberto Silva
Gilberto Silva

The Brazilian midfielder was the pivot between the defence and attack for the 'Invincibles' team. He joined Arsenal in 2003 itself after plying his trade with Brazilian first-tier club Atlético Mineiro. Silva attained the ‘elite Champions League level,’ only the third Premier League midfielder to do so after Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes.

He made 32 appearances (3 as a sub) during the 'Invincibles' season and scored on 2 occasions. Overall, the 42-year-old has 17 goals in his 170 appearances for The Gunners. The midfielder also has 93 caps for the national side. He is often referred to as the "the invisible wall" of Brazil for his style of play as he shadowed strikers, pushed them back, cut off long balls.

Silva plied his trade with Panathinaikos, Grêmio, and childhood club Atlético Mineiro after his time at Arsenal before hanging up his boots in 2013. Post-retirement, he became a pundit at a Greek TV Channel. He was also made the director of football at ex-club Panathinaikos for 7 months in 2016.

Currently, Silva works with a UK based charity which organizes exhibition matches for homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers.

Eduardo César Daude Gaspar, Nwankwo Kanu, Jérémie Aliadière, Martin Keown, José Antonio Reyes, Sylvain Wiltord, Ray Parlour, and Pascal Cygan were the other crucial members of the Arsenal squad during the 'Invincibles; season.

Edited by Nishant Jayaram
Article image

Go to article

Quick Links:

More from Sportskeeda
Fetching more content...
App download animated image Get the free App now