Freddie Ljungberg, the longest serving Arsenal player in the current squad joined the Hammers yesterday. So that leaves Lehmann, Gilberto and Toure as the only remaining “Invincibles” of 2003/4 in the team.
325 matches and 72 goals might not look like a good record when you single it out like that. But when you look at it as a whole for the team where he played alongside such goal scoring players like Henry and Bergkamp, it looks impressive. He played a key role in the unbeaten streak of 2003-04 season where he not only scored some vital goals but also assited in many.
Is it bad for Arsenal? Yes and No again. Yes because we are losing one more experienced player. No because he did not play any significant part in the last campaign. And he had started to lose his strength and those sudden burst of speed in the midfield, of what we saw of him last season.
Arsenal have an impressive mid-field pool but they need to add the goal scoring touch or some long range shooting skills to their repertoire for the coming seasons. I would like to see Wenger promote some of the youngsters to play in the senior team. Eg. Nacer Barazite who will be seen in action in Malaysia for the World Club Youth Championship next month can be made to play a few matches and his temperament can be tested. I would not mind if Wenger goes and buys one more experienced goal scoring midfielder because that is what we need to get better.