The Debate: Manchester City ’18 or Arsenal ’04?

On an end-of-season Debate special, Paul Merson, Geoff Shreeves and Craig Bellamy argue whether Man City's 2017/18 title win trumped Arsenal's Invincibles of 2003/04.

In an end-of-season Debate special, Paul Merson, Geoff Shreeves and Craig Bellamy argue whether Man City’s 2017/18 title win trumped Arsenal’s Invincibles of 2003/04.

Pep Guardiola’s men concluded their triumphant Premier League season on Sunday afternoon, with Gabriel Jesus scoring the stoppage-time winner against Southampton that ensured the City side were the first to break the 100-point barrier.

The Gunners, however, completed an unprecedented 38-game campaign without recording a single defeat and addressing Shreeves’ question as to which team was more successful, Merson plumped for his former employers.

“It is a hard one because both teams are phenomenal,” he said. “If you look at both teams and you weigh them up, you’d probably take half of the Arsenal team and half of the Man City team, it’s not like all 11 from one team would get in.

Manchester City made history by becoming the first team to reach 100 points in a top flight season and win 32 games.

“I’m just going to go with Arsenal. To go the whole season undefeated, you have to dig in in certain games to make sure you don’t get beaten and there would’ve been certain games in that season where they didn’t dominate football matches, they had to dig in and hang on.

“Sometimes you need that and that went missing in certain games with Man City, in the Champions League and against Liverpool and Man United.”

Bellamy – who scored 12 Premier League goals for City between 2009 and 2011 – agreed with his fellow guest, reminiscing about Newcastle’s clash with Arsene Wenger’s men during their ‘Invincibles’ season.

“I was lucky enough to play against the Arsenal team that went unbeaten and we had them at St James’ Park for Newcastle. Of course, we all want three points but we wanted to be the first to beat them.

“For the first 10 minutes we were on top, but then for the other 80 minutes they were by far the better team. They would have had that for the last two or three months because they hadn’t been beaten all season and then to see it out and go a whole season unbeaten, just puts them ahead for me.

He added: “This Man City team is probably the most I’ve enjoyed watching a team in the Premier League. The game understanding they have is ridiculously high and that comes from the manager and the coaches.

“But I believe that if Pep Guardiola had that Arsenal team, they would not just have gone the season unbeaten, they would have broken every record going with the players they had.”