Were Arsenal’s invincible team demolished too quickly?

A brief chat on Twitter surrounding the above tweet made me do a little bit of research, looking into whether they Arsenal 2004 invincible side was demolished too quickly.

formation

Of the 11 who are widely considered as the staring 11 of the invincible side, 6 of them were gone in 2006. Two more left in 2007, 1 in 2008 & 1 in 2009. Over 50% of a successful side sold or released within 2 years of its greatest success.

On the face of it, it is easy to make an argument for Arsenal’s invincible team being demolished too quickly. But when you dig down, a different story potentially comes up.

Jens Lehmann
Left Arsenal: 2008
Age when leaving: 38 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 7
Joined: Stuttgart

Lauren
Left Arsenal: 2006
Age when leaving: 29 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 22
Joined: Portsmouth

Kolo Toure
Left Arsenal: 2009
Age when leaving: 28 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 29
Joined: Manchester City

Sol Campbell
Left Arsenal: 2006
Age when leaving: 32 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 20
Joined: Portsmouth

Ashley Cole
Left Arsenal: 2006
Age when leaving: 25 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 11
Joined: Chelsea

Freddie Ljungberg
Left Arsenal: 2006
Age when leaving: 33 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 18
Joined: West Ham United

Patrick Vieira
Left Arsenal: 2005
Age when leaving: 29 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 32
Joined: Juventus

Gilberto Silva
Left Arsenal: 2008
Age when leaving: 32 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 17
Joined: Panathinikos

Robert Pires
Left Arsenal: 2006
Age when leaving: 33 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 33
Joined: Villarreal

Dennis Bergkamp
Left Arsenal: 2006
Age when leaving: 37 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 24
Joined: Retired

Thierry Henry
Left Arsenal: 2007
Age when leaving: 30 years old
Premier League games played in last season: 17
Joined: Barcelona

Of everyone that left, only Ashley Cole, Kolo Toure, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry could have been considered as both in their peak, and still first team players.

On the 4 that were in their peak – Cole, Toure, Vieira and Henry – they were certainly not forced out of the club.

With Ashley Cole and Patrick Vieira, they engineered their own exit’s. Bitter, acrimonious and sad. Thierry Henry was always going to play for Barcelona at some point in his career. And when Kolo Toure left, there was certainly a feeling that his time at Arsenal had come to a natural end.

The majority of those who left were the wrong side of 30 and clearly past it – as shown by the clubs they joined and their performances for those clubs. Most had also lost their place in the first 11 before they left Arsenal.

So did Arsene Wenger dismantle the invincible side too quick? Or was it just a natural end to a bunch of players who were at their peak together and their powers were on the wain?

KeenosAFC

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