2003-04 Arsenal Away Shirt Size Large
Era: 2003-04 (Used for the 2003 FA Community Shield match and for the 2003-04 Premier League season)
CONDITION: VERY GOOD
This legendary shirt remains in very good condition, a tremendous feat given that at the time of writing, is now 18 years old as the club crest, Nike swoosh and felt O2 sponsor are just superb! With that being said however, the yellow is starting to discolour in parts and the material does display some wear.
Pit to Pit Measurement: 22 inches
Shirt Length: 30 inches
Made by Nike in their template of shirts introduced in 2003; the dimensions of this shirt would suggest that this shirt could also fit a size extra-large!
Nike would craft their latest yellow Arsenal alternate strip by taking heed of the classic bright yellow and royal blue collared shirts worn by the club between 1978-1972; including their 1979 FA Cup Final triumph over Manchester United, however this shirt would be by synonymous with a creating a new chapter of the clubs history as their ‘Invincibles’ class of 2003-04 became the only team to ever win the Premiership going unbeaten! As made reference to earlier, this would be first ever Nike away shirt that took direct inspiration from the late 70’s and early 80’s with the use of the collar and royal blue accents; a move away from the navy motifs more commonly associated with Nike’s Arsenal yellow/amber away shirts. This shirt would be worn as Arsenal were beaten in the FA Community Shield by Manchester United, as well as the ‘Battle of Old Trafford’ on 21/09/03, as well as the memorable 2-1 win at Anfield over Liverpool on 04/10/03 and the 5-1 demolition of Portsmouth in the FA Cup on 06/03/2004!
Arsenal would owe their disappointing unsuccessful title defence in 2002-03 to their poor form in the 2003 portion of the season, however, there was a Community Shield win and successful FA Cup title defence to savour, however, both fans and the club were expecting more from their team in 2003-04. David Seaman’s departure at the end of the season would pave the way for Jens Lehmann to arrive from Borussia Dortmund.
Arsenal would see off Everton 2-1 to kick off the new season and would rattle off 4 wins from their opening 4 games to set the pace for the rest to follow! They would hold their breath and thank their lucky stars as Ruud Van Nistelrooy smashed Jens Lehmann’s crossbar with a last minute penalty in the 0-0 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford, and would leverage that result by overcoming last season’s 3rd, 4th and 5th place teams in a row – Newcastle, Liverpool and Chelsea respectively! It wasn’t until 2004 however that this team began posing the big question: could they go all the way unbeaten?
Arsene Wenger’s team would add the late Jose Antonio Reyes to their already talent bustling attack, and ‘The Gunners’ would win no less than 9 games in a row between January 10th and March 20th, and only Louis Saha’s late equaliser at Highbury on 28/03/2004 prevented a 10th win. The momentum would halt ever so slightly, however, the club would surpass their title win at Old Trafford 2 years earlier, when they claimed a 2-2 draw away against arch-rivals Tottenham which saw Arsenal crowned as the 2003-04 season champions with 4 games to spare! Arsenal would enter their last game of the season at home to Leicester City looking to make history as the only team to ever go unbeaten in the Premier League for all 38 games! Paul Dickov gave Leicester the lead, fittingly, it would be Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira who would score the goals as Arsenal won 2-1 and made history, they are – The Invincibles!
Interestingly, the season began by losing on penalties against Manchester United in the Community Shield, and there would be agonising heartbreaks in the domestic cup competitions as they reached the semi-finals of both the Carling Cup and the FA Cup, but would fall to Middlesbrough and Manchester United respectively.
In the UEFA Champions League, Arsenal would be stunned at Highbury 3-0 by Inter Milan in their opening game, however, they would rally back from no win in their opening 3 games to eventually top the group and defeat Inter 5-1 on 25/11/03 at San Siro! Arsenal would reach the quarter final where they would be eliminate by Chelsea during what was their only ‘blip’ during the season.
As the ‘Old Guard’ continued to transition; this would be the last season in an Arsenal shirt for the legendary pairing of: Nigel Winterburn and Ray Parlour both left the club, while two of Arsene Wenger’s most beloved recruits: Nwankwo Kanu and Sylvain Wiltord would also leave Highbury in the close season!
The notable players that season were:
Thierry Henry, Jérémie Aliadière, Jose Antonio Reyes, Dennis Bergkamp, Sylvain Wiltord, Nwankwo Kanu, Robert Pires, David Bentley, Freddie Ljungberg, Ray Parlour, Edu, Gilberto Silva, Cesc Fabregas, Patrick Vieira, Lauren, Kolo Toure, Pascal Cygan, Gael Clichy, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole, Martin Keown, Jens Lehmann
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