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The Arsenal team of 2003-2004 was recently voted the greatest premier league team ever. Going a season unbeaten in any sport, league or discipline is something that is pretty unquantifiable. Our Tigers have achieved the incredible from a position that many thought was beyond them in December 2011 by winning the league and staying unbeaten. They have literally shown unbelievable belief!
That year Arsenal had a man German called Jens Lehmann between the sticks. Ben our own keeper only conceded four goals since January in the league…4! His confidence has grown with the team and where as a year or so ago you wouldn’t have heard him, now you just cannot shut him up organizing his players! Sometimes redundant for large periods, he would have to react in a split second. That is the sign of a fantastic goalkeeper.
Sol Campbell was the beast at the back for the Gunners in that year, and almost mirroring that, James came in to the side just before Christmas an immediately solidified the Tigers defence. A tough tackling old fashioned centre back with a passion for headed goals, throughout the season his physicality and positional play have saved us time and time again. Bearing in mind it’s his first full season playing for us and playing Mini soccer in general, it’s a fantastic feat. One of Sols partners at the back was Ashley Cole a tricky left back with pace Speed and an eye for a killer pass or a shot from long distance. Look no further than Tim, who at times can give you a heart attack by doing a Cruyff turn on the edge of his box, but at other times is simply sublime from free kicks, corners in fact just about anywhere on the pitch Tim hits a shot from, he manages to worry keepers! Tim used to lack concentration and is another player who has played everywhere but more recently he has used his position well and you can actually see him reading the game, covering runs and standing up to attackers and not diving in, an example of how much he has learnt and taken on board this year. The spectacular strike from just inside the half will live long in the memory!
With a silky touch and vision that sometimes is too great for that of the people around him Robert Pires was an immediate success at Arsenal, much like Ethan has been for the Tigers. He Towards the end of last year there were doubts on whether Ethan had enough physically to get by in games. As the season progressed he nothing short of shut everyone up. The final game of the season was his “piece de resistance” playing at left back when many others thought he couldn’t. Solid, and never out of position, the boy can pass the ball a bit as well! Another boy who has come a long way in a short space of time…very Pires like! Whereas Arsenal had Freddie Ljungberg zipping up and down the wing we had the mercurial Alfie, tenacious and fearless in every tackle with a “they shall not pass” attitude, versatile and flexible he has played virtually everywhere this year and excelled anywhere he has been put! As I have mentioned before, like a German U-boat, Silent but effective! There always has to be a workman in the team. Someone who digs in and just gets things done. Gilberto Silva was the grafter and Tyler has been for us. There was a tendency for him to run out of steam before the end of a game but he has made sure that this season there is no chance of that. Chasing down goalkeepers and lost causes like a Jack Russell chases a tennis ball, every team needs a Tyler. Weighing in with some important goals his determination and energy have often revived a flagging team and given them the impetus to kick on and finish teams off.
Footballing masterminds come along once every now and then. Dennis Bergkamp was a genius, blessed with a full range of skills. Vision, strength, speed, skill, accuracy, ingenuity all of these things combined to make him one of the most dangerous men in the league. Although Marco joined us late (and that means arriving late for games as well!) he still made a Bergkamp like impact. Being able to run with the ball, beat people and turn he has been a threat to every team we have faced. Another part of Marco’s developing game is crating space for other team mates and making that final pass, he can only get better as his hat trick against Welling Utd shows! We can’t wait to see what he can do next year! Thierry Henry. I don’t need to say anything else. Now I have likened Frankie to RVP previously (He scores when he wants), but for the purposes of this team-analogy Frankie is TH14. Top scorer, target man, striker extraordinaire. Another player who just gets better whenever he plays. He always looks like he can score, and wants to score, and will score! Not just a goal poacher, he can hit them from the half way line and they go in! Some of his goals this year have been sublime, first time finishes, volleys you name it! Bearing in mind he was a midfielder he has taken to his new position like a duck to water. I’ve played him out on his own up front before and he still lead the line and still worked hard. Give him a chance and he will score. He is our top marksman!
So…every team needs a inspirational captain, a Bobby Moore, a Tony Adams. Patrick Vieira was the fulcrum on which Arsenal were built for many years including the one of the invincibles’. Our own Captain fantastic was Aiden. A defensive midfielder who could still play the ball and take people on, scoring goals and tracking back. If there was ever a player that the term “box to box midfielder” was written for then it was him! Scoring with headers, left foot volleys and sweet side foot finishes he has inspired the rest of the team by example. I have seen him have a shot in the oppositions half and then be back in his own box making a tackle as the other team have broken away. Some of the mazy runs he makes are simply astounding. I cannot say how proud I am of him and how much he has improved as a player technically and mentally over the last few months. Always one to talk to his team mates and support them on and off the pitch. Aiden, we salute you!
And so that was our invincibles! Unbeaten in the league in 2012. Hopefully throughout next season as well! Here are some stats for the team this year!
- 120 days unbeaten!
- Best record in the C league
- Most points in all the Selkent Under 9s leagues
- Least number of goals conceded anywhere in the Selkent Under 9s leagues
- Scored in every game
- Most clean sheets in the league!