As the Gunners gear up for a new season, Gilberto recalls the making of the historic Arsenal Invincibles

As Jens Lehman settles into his new coaching role at Arsenal, another Invincible Gilberto, recalls the time when Arsenal last claimed the Premier League title in historic circumstances.

When Arsene Wenger first spoke about Arsenal remaining unbeaten for a whole season, many in the game looked on with smirks of derision and worse. It was the 2002-03 Premier League season and having been eight points clear at the top, the Gunners were on course to retain their title. That was until they threw away the lead at Bolton Wanderers, only to then surrender their title in a 3-2 home loss to relegation threatened Leeds United.

Arsenal look to keep Alexis and add more on top

It was the most uncomfortable of his twenty-one seasons atArsenal, yet despite a sustained period of unprecedented fancalls for his removal, Arsene Wenger sat smiling in Sydney, still very much in charge of the Gunners ahead of his side’s pre-season tour down under and to China. His side duly despatched Sydney FC 2-0 and West Sydney Wanderers 3-1.

Next stop Shanghai and a penalty win over Bayern Munich with scores 1-1 at full time. Alex Iwboi’s level level was a brilliant injury time response. Now Beijing and Chelsea, before Arsenal return for Emirates Cup duty back in north London at the end of July, the preludes to Wenger’s new two-year contract extension. In 2019, we could then be at a definitive juncture to his time at Arsenal, but for now, Wenger was beaming alongside the FA Cup trophy his side claimed last May with that dramatic 2-1 win over Premier League champions Chelsea.

Arsenal announce record signing of Lacazette

Arsenal completed the signing of France striker Alexadre Lacazette on Wednesday. The former Lyon man signed a five year deal for an initial fee reportedly to be £45 million and rising to £52 million with add ons. Lacazette competed a medical on Tuesday and becomes the Gunners’ second summer signing following the arrival of defender Sead Kolasinac from Schalke. Lacazette is now Arsenal’s record signing, surpassing the £42.4 million paid for Mesut Özil from Real Madrid.

Sead Kolasinac joins Arsenal in five year deal

Arsenal announced the arrival of defender of Sead Kolasinac who will officially join from German side Schalke when the transfer window opens in July. The Bosnia-Herzegovina international arrived in the N5 on a free transfer, and becomes the first summer signing for Arsene Wenger. Armed with a reported £150 million, Wenger will look the add more signings having signed a two year contract himself a few weeks ago.

Top Gunners! Wenger claims record FA Cup win as Arsenal beat Chelsea in Wembley final

FA Cup Final
Arsenal 2 Chelsea 1
Alexis 4, Ramsey 79, Costa 76

This one meant so much more. How much more was evident as Arsene Wenger proudly brandished the winners medal his brilliant Arsenal side had just earned the club he has served for over two decades. Wenger has now won a record seven FA Cups at Arsenal, for a total of thirteen in the club’s history. With the 2-1 Wembley destruction of Chelsea, the Gunners re-enacted the outcome from their 2002 victory at Cardiff’s Millennium stadium. Anyone remember that one, and it’s only Ray Parlour quip? Wenger said he’d be keeping this medal, its significance all the greater in the context that he has now won more FA Cup’s than Liverpool and Chelsea have done in their respective histories, and that takes some doing. Alexis Sanchez gave Arsenal the lead in a game which they dominated. Mesut Özil had an effort clipped off the line, and Danny Welbeck had further chances to increase the Gunners’ lead. Reduced to ten men when Victor Moses was shown a second yellow card for a blatant dive, Diego Costa levelled, only for Aaron Ramsey to get the winner once again with a diving header from substitute Olivier Giroud’s cross.

Koscielny sees red as ten man Arsenal beat Everton

Arsenal 3 Everton 1
Bellerin 8, Alexis 27, Ramsey 90+1, Lukaku pen 51

Arsenal will play in the Europa League for the first time, but if that is to be under Arsene Wenger, we will still, have to wait and see. The Gunners duly obliged in their part of the bargain with a well fought 3-1 win over Everton. However, Liverpool’s win over relegated Middlesbrough and Manchester City seeing off Watford at Vicarage Road, meant that this result would be academic in the grand Champions League scheme of things. Goals from Hector Bellerin, Alexis Sanchez and a beauty of curler from Aaron Ramey in time added on was however all the more significant because Arsenal were forced to play the majority of the match with ten men when Laurent Koscielny was shown a straight red card for a late tackle on Enner Valencia. Despite their numerical advantage, the Toffees were only rewarded when Romelu Lukaku struck from the penalty spot to make the scoreline 2-1. The debatable award given when Nacho Monreal was adjudged to have handled the ball. Replays suggested otherwise. From that point, the visitors attempts to storm the Arsenal defence were held back, indeed but for some fine saves by Joel Robles from Danny Welbeck in particular, the Gunners could have easily seen an increased margin to their win.

Alexis double up strike sets up last day  top four Premier League finale

Arsenal 2 Sunderland 0
Alexis 72, 81

Arsenal’s Champions League ambitions will rest on the outcomes of final day of the season following Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Sunderland. The Gunners are a point behind Liverpool who face relegated Middlesbrough in their final Premier League game at Anfield, while continuing the Merseyside theme, Everton come to the Emirates in a game which Arsenal must win. Third placed Manchester City travel to Watford in their last game. The Gunners would need an unlikely high scoring Watford win and a Boro win or draw whilst themselves beating Everton for a top four finish. If the Reds see off Boro however, Arsenal’s outcome could be academic meaning that they would face a run in Europe’s second tier club competition for the first time. Whether that is under Arsene Wenger isn’t yet known, however he will have been heartened to see his side eventually ease past a dogged Sunderland, where another Alexis Sanchez double was the difference. Alexis has now netted 23 Premier League goals, just one away from Everton’s Romelu Lukaku.

Arsenal storm to 4-1 win at Stoke

Stoke City 1 Arsenal 4
Crouch 67, Giroud 42, 80, Özil 55, Alexis 70

Arsenal ripped apart Stoke City with a swagger of play which asked a pertinent question of their notorious hosts. Olivier Giroud’s double, one goal either side of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez strikes as Stoke had to retort to attempted strong arm tactics and a hand from Peter Crouch which briefly saw a 2-1 scoreline to the Gunners. Is that all you got ? Wenger’s side would have wondered as despite the noise from the partisan home crowd, all you could hear in the end were the voices from the travelling section. “ 4-1 to the football team,” they taunted their traditional long ball adversaries. Mark Hughes’ men had no idea, no direction and in the end no points as Arsenal inched to a within a point of fourth place.

Alexis and Giroud score to keep top four finish hopes alive

Southampton 0 Arsenal 2
Alexis, 60 Giroud, 83

Arsenal are looking like they actually mean business at the business end of the season. With a fourth place finish however no longer in their control it is a shame that the Gunners hadn’t taken care of business much earlier in the season as they did here against Southampton. Second half goals from Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud ensured the Gunners won for the fourth time in six games. The win sees Arsenal move up to fifth place, on sixty six points, a point behind fourth placed Manchester City on the same number of games played, and four behind third place Liverpool, but with a game in hand over the Reds. A fourth place finish is crucial for Arsenal in their pursuit of consecutive Champions League football under Arsene Wenger and just as vital, in keeping Alexis. The Chile striker has that sprinkle of gold dust which sets him apart from other players, and he was the instigator of Arsenal’s latest win.

Xhaka and Welbeck strike less than three minutes apart to sink United

Arsenal 2 Manchester United O
Xhaka 54, Welbeck 57

Two minutes and 9 seconds. That was the time between both the Arsenal goals from Granit Xhaka and Danny Welbeck which sunk Manchester United at the Emirates stadium on Sunday. Arsene Wenger smiled on as his side beat a Jose Mourinho side in the a Premier League encounter for the first time since the Portuguese arrived in England 17 years ago. The win keeps alive the Gunners hopes of another top four finish, but that aspiration remains out of their hands. Arsenal will need to win the remaining five games and hope for slip ups from those above them to see a Champions League opening for next season. The Arsenal win ends United’s 25 game unbeaten run.