2003–04 FA Premier League
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The 2003–04 FA Premier League (known as the FA Barclaycard Premiership for sponsorship reasons) was the 12th season of the Premier League. Arsenal were the champions and Chelsea, who had spent heavily throughout the season, were the runners up. Arsenal ended the season without a single defeat – the first team ever to do so in a 38-game league season and the second team overall (the first was Preston North End in 1889, 115 years earlier, during a 22-game league season).
3rd Premier League title
13th English title
|UEFA Cup||Newcastle United|
|Goals scored||1,012 (2.66 per match)|
|Top goalscorer||Thierry Henry (30 goals)|
|Biggest home win||Portsmouth 6–1 Leeds United|
(8 November 2003)
Chelsea 5–0 Newcastle United
(9 November 2003)
Arsenal 5–0 Leeds United
(16 April 2004)
|Biggest away win||Wolverhampton Wanderers 0–5 Chelsea|
(20 September 2003)
Leicester City 0–5 Aston Villa
(31 January 2004)
|Highest scoring||Manchester City 6–2 Bolton Wanderers|
(18 October 2003)
Tottenham 4–4 Leicester City
(22 February 2004)
Middlesbrough 5–3 Birmingham City
(20 March 2004)
|Longest winning run||9 games|
|Longest unbeaten run||38 games, the entire season|
|Longest winless run||14 games|
|Longest losing run||6 games|
|Highest attendance||67,758 |
Manchester United v Southampton
(31 January 2004)
Fulham v Blackburn Rovers
(12 April 2004)
Having qualified for the Champions' League the previous season, Chelsea were bolstered by a £100 million outlay on world-class players, a spree funded by the extensive financial resources of their new owner Roman Abramovich. Manchester United's attack was as strong as ever thanks to free-scoring Ruud van Nistelrooy, but the midfield was weakened following the £25 million pre-season sale of David Beckham to Real Madrid, and the centre of defence suffered a more severe setback after Rio Ferdinand was ruled out for the final four months of the season after being found guilty of the "failure or refusal to take a drugs test". The case of Rio Ferdinand started a debate about punishments relating to drug testing in football, with there being differing views on whether the punishment was too harsh or too lenient. Ferdinand's club sought to make direct comparisons with an earlier case of Manchester City reserve player who had in fact committed a lesser drug testing offence and as a result escaped with only a fine. City themselves had just moved from Maine Road to the City of Manchester Stadium.
Arsenal, meanwhile, had only signed German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann in the 2003 close season, but French striker Thierry Henry was instrumental in Arsenal's success. Away from the Premier League, Arsène Wenger's team suffered disappointment in the cup competitions. They were knocked-out by League Cup eventual winners Middlesbrough in the semi-finals. They lost their defence of the FA Cup (which they held for two seasons in a row) after losing to eventual winners Manchester United in the semi-final. Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League quarter-finals by Chelsea (3–2 on aggregate). These blows in the FA Cup and Champions League came within a few days of each other, and it was feared that Arsenal might squander their lead of the Premier League for the second successive season, but Arsenal thumped Liverpool only days later. Arsenal's Invincibles finished the season with 26 wins, 12 draws, 0 defeats and 90 points.
The three relegation spots were occupied by three teams bracketed together on 33 points. Wolves and Leicester City followed the trend of many other newly promoted Premier League clubs and were relegated just one season after reaching the top division. The other relegation place went to Leeds United, whose playing fortunes had dipped in the past two seasons after David O'Leary was sacked as manager and club debts had risen so high that many star players had to be sold. As a result, Leeds were finally relegated from the Premier League after 14 years of top division football – just three seasons after they had reached the Champions League semifinals.
In his third season as Middlesbrough manager, Steve McClaren had guided the Teessiders to their first ever major trophy – sealed with a 2–1 win over Bolton Wanderers in the League Cup final. McClaren was also the first English manager to win a major trophy since Brian Little guided Aston Villa to League Cup success in 1996. He was also the first manager to take Middlesbrough into European competition – they would be competing in the 2004–05 UEFA Cup.
2003–04 saw a number of managerial changes in the Premier League. Glenn Hoddle was sacked as manager of Spurs in September, with Director of Football David Pleat taking over as temporary manager until the end of the season. He was then replaced by French national coach Jacques Santini, who was in the charge for five months before being replaced by assistant first team coach Martin Jol. At the end of 2003–04, Frank Arnesen was appointed Director of Football for Spurs.
Leeds United sacked Peter Reid in November and installed first team coach Eddie Gray as interim manager until the end of the season, as they could not afford to buy another team's manager out of his contract. Gray was unable to save Leeds from relegation and was sacked by the club's new owners, who installed Gray's assistant Kevin Blackwell as their new manager.
Gordon Strachan quit as Southampton manager in March and was replaced by Plymouth Argyle's Paul Sturrock. Just after the start of 2004–05, Sturrock handed in his resignation and was replaced by Steve Wigley who spent three months at the helm before being replaced by Harry Redknapp.
At the end of 2003–04, Gérard Houllier was sacked as manager of Liverpool despite having won four cup competitions (including three in one season) during his six-year spell as manager. Liverpool then turned to ex-Valencia coach Rafael Benítez as the man they hoped could win the league title which has eluded Anfield since 1990.
Despite guiding Chelsea to second position in the Premier League (their highest league finish for half a century) and to their first ever Champions League or European Cup semifinal, Claudio Ranieri was sacked after four years in charge at Stamford Bridge. Roman Abramovich then appointed José Mourinho as Chelsea's new manager. Mourinho, who won the 2004 Champions League with Porto of Portugal, was given a three-year contract.
Personnel and kitsEdit
Promotion and relegationEdit
Teams promoted from 2002–03 Football League First Division:
Teams relegated to 2003–04 Football League First Division:
|Pos||Team||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Pts||Qualification or relegation|
|1||Arsenal (C)||38||26||12||0||73||26||+47||90||2004–05 UEFA Champions League Group stage|
|3||Manchester United||38||23||6||9||64||35||+29||75||2004–05 UEFA Champions League Third qualifying round[a]|
|5||Newcastle United||38||13||17||8||52||40||+12||56||2004–05 UEFA Cup First round|
|11||Middlesbrough||38||13||9||16||44||52||−8||48||2004–05 UEFA Cup First round[b]|
|18||Leicester City (R)||38||6||15||17||48||65||−17||33||Relegation to 2004–05 Football League Championship|
|19||Leeds United (R)||38||8||9||21||40||79||−39||33|
|20||Wolverhampton Wanderers (R)||38||7||12||19||38||77||−39||33|
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored.
(C) Champion; (R) Relegated.
|Total goals: 1,012|
|Average goals per game: 2.66|
|Home \ Away||ARS||AST||BIR||BLB||BOL||CHA||CHE||EVE||FUL||LEE||LEI||LIV||MCI||MUN||MID||NEW||POR||SOU||TOT||WOL|
1 ^ The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
Colours: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.
For coming matches, an a indicates there is an article about the match.
- Most wins – Arsenal (26)
- Fewest wins – Leicester City (6)
- Most draws – Newcastle United (17)
- Fewest draws – Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur (6)
- Most losses – Leeds United (21)
- Fewest losses – Arsenal (0)
- Most goals scored – Arsenal (73)
- Fewest goals scored – Wolverhampton Wanderers (38)
- Most goals conceded – Leeds United (79)
- Fewest goals conceded – Arsenal (26)
|2||Alan Shearer||Newcastle United||22|
|3||Louis Saha||Manchester United/Fulham||20|
|Ruud van Nistelrooy||Manchester United||20|
|5||Mikael Forssell||Birmingham City||17|
|6||Nicolas Anelka||Manchester City||16|
|Juan Pablo Ángel||Aston Villa||16|
|Robbie Keane||Tottenham Hotspur||14|
|Month||Manager of the Month||Player of the Month|
|August||Arsène Wenger (Arsenal)||Teddy Sheringham (Portsmouth)|
|September||Claudio Ranieri (Chelsea)||Frank Lampard (Chelsea)|
|October||Sir Bobby Robson (Newcastle United)||Alan Shearer (Newcastle United)|
|November||Sam Allardyce (Bolton Wanderers)||Jay-Jay Okocha (Bolton Wanderers)|
|December||Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)||Paul Scholes (Manchester United)|
|January||Sam Allardyce (Bolton Wanderers)||Thierry Henry (Arsenal)|
|February||Arsène Wenger (Arsenal)||Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal) & Edu (Arsenal)|
|March||Claudio Ranieri (Chelsea)||Mikael Forssell (Birmingham City)|
|April||Harry Redknapp (Portsmouth)||Thierry Henry (Arsenal)|
LMA Manager of the YearEdit
PFA Players' Player of the YearEdit
The shortlist for the PFA Players' Player of the Year award was as follows:
- Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
- Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
- Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
- Jay-Jay Okocha (Bolton Wanderers)
- Alan Shearer (Newcastle United)
- Patrick Vieira (Arsenal)
PFA Young Player of the YearEdit
The shortlist for the award was as follows:
- Glen Johnson (Chelsea)
- Scott Parker (Charlton Athletic/Chelsea)
- Wayne Rooney (Everton)
- John Terry (Chelsea)
- Kolo Touré (Arsenal)
- Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City)
PFA Team of the YearEdit
Goalkeeper: Tim Howard (Manchester United)
Defence: Lauren, Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell (all Arsenal), John Terry (Chelsea)
Midfield: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires (both Arsenal), Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
Attack: Thierry Henry (Arsenal), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United)
PFA Fans' Player of the YearEdit
FWA Footballer of the YearEdit
Premier League Fair Play AwardEdit
Behaviour of the Public LeagueEdit
Given to the best-behaved fans, Arsenal won this, thus achieving a fair play double.
Premier League Manager of the YearEdit
- "English Premier League 2003–04". statto.com. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
- Harris, Nick (18 December 2003). "Motive is always considered in deciding guilt". The Independent. London. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
- "Club History". Manchester City Football Club.
- "BreakingNews.ie – 2004/05/17: Wenger gets Managers' Association award". Archived from the original on 26 September 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2009.
- "Henry retains PFA crown". BBC News. 25 April 2004. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
- "Henry leads PFA nominations | BreakingNews.ie". Archived from the original on 26 September 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2009.
- "Thierry is the tops again – and it's a big 'hats off' to divisional winners Darren Huckerby, Neil Moss and Lee Harper! | The PFA Awards | Give Me Football". Archived from the original on 26 September 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
- "Pfa Fans' Player of the Year". Sky Sports.
- "Henry named FWA player of year | Article from Xinhua News Agency | HighBeam Research". Archived from the original on 30 September 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
- "TheFA.com - Fair Play to Gunners". 27 October 2004. Archived from the original on 27 October 2004.
- "BreakingNews.ie – 2004/05/17: Wenger gets Managers' Association award". Archived from the original on 26 September 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2009.