Arsenal 'Invincible' compares PSG to legendary 03/04 Gunners side

Pascal Cygan believes that Paris Saint-Germain are very similar to the legendary 'Invincibles' he was part of in 2003-04. Is he right? Or is there more to being invincible then just winning?

The Arsenal Invincibles are the yardstick for every Premier League team to compare themselves with in regards to an annual domestic performance.

They went the entire 2003-04 season undefeated - leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

But when you think of this team you think of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires or Patrick Vieira. I doubt you immediately think of Jeremie Aliadiere, Jose Antonio Reyes or … Pascal Cygan.

The latter Frenchman appeared in 15 games that season and despite his reputation as potentially one of the worst defenders Arsenal have ever had - he didn’t do too bad for himself after leaving the club in 2006. He forged a decent career in Spain with Villarreal - although will forever be posterized by that marvellous Ronaldinho overhead kick.

He was never truly a stalwart member of the Invincible team - but he was still there, in the trenches and today has told the French press of the similarities between Arsenal, and Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG are currently top of Ligue 1 on 37 points and are unbeaten in the league this season - and the question posited to Cygan, as an ‘Invincible’ himself, was just how similar the two teams are.

And this is what he said:

“There are a lot of similarities between the two teams. There is a real team spirit and it is a group that has a lot of foreign players, like we did back then. There will come a time when they have to let up in Ligue 1. Laurent Blanc [PSG manager] will want to preserve his best players for the big matches and that is when their undefeated record will be most at threat. At Arsenal, Wenger was extremely careful and next to me on the substitutes' bench there was Wiltord, Bergkamp – players of international class who the opposition feared as much as our first team. It's not exactly the case at PSG today.”

So while he sees the similarities he does not see PSG going the season unbeaten although on paper I am not sure about his comments about their bench. Yes Arsenal had the likes of Wiltord and Bergkamp regularly on the bench … but they also had Pascal Cygan.

For me the difference between these two teams was simply how they were assembled. Arsene Wenger toiled and broomed Europe for top talent and found it - meshed it together and gave it a purpose and blanketed English football for a year.

PSG ran around with a chequebook for two years and bought whoever they fancied.

They should be going seasons unbeaten with the money they have spent in an ‘inferior league’ like France.

If they do go the campaign unbeaten that would be fantastic, but it would not make them ‘Invincible’ like Arsenal were - it would just be a poor tribute act.

image: © Matt and Kim Rudge

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