Inspired by Arsenal's unbeaten season in the 2003/4 English Premier League season, Sydney FC star Josh Brillante says the Sky Blues have set their sights on becoming the Hyundai A-League version of ‘The Invincibles’.
Arsenal famously surged to the English Premier League title without losing a single match in the 2003/04 season.
Under the guidance of Arsene Wenger and with stars like Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires, the Gunners won 26 and drew 12 of their 38 league matches.
And while it’s still early, Graham Arnold’s Sky Blues are on course for their own unbeaten campaign after an incredible start to Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Season.
Saturday night’s 1-1 draw against Brisbane Roar was the first time in seven rounds Sydney has failed to pick-up maximum points.
Brillante admitted the squad has their sights on replicating the feats of Arsenal by going through the entire season without defeat.
“We’ve been watching some of their [Arsenal] clips and talking about them and what they did as a club and why they were so successful,” Brillante told www.a-league.com.au.
“So far we’ve been on the run we are and it’s definitely been brought up. There’s no reason why we can’t do it.
“We were talking about [that Arsenal team] before the season even started.”
One of the Sky Blues’ club partnerships is with company XVenture, who specialise in working with top-level clubs and athletes around developing closer connections between players and team success.
Brillante said it was during these sessions with the company’s CEO Mike Conway, that the Arsenal reference and going undefeated was first discussed.
“Mike came in and he just talked to all the players about togetherness and working as a team and the mental side of things,” the midfielder explained.
“That [Arsenal’s unbeaten season] was something that was brought up with all the players.
“Anything is possible if you go into the games with the right attitude like we have been doing it can keep going and going. There’s no reason why it needs to stop.
“It’s just attitude and the training during the week. Everything we put into that shows on the weekends.”
And that’s certainly been the case so far this season.
With the exception of the narrow 1-0 win over Wellington Phoenix in Round 3, Sydney has dominated most of their opposition and often finish over the top of teams late in matches.
And while there’s still another 20 games to go to achieve their lofty goal, Brillante thinks the ingredients are there to create history.
“We’ve got a great vibe here, the atmosphere, the positivity within all the players is great,” the 23-year-old said.
“Everyone gets along so well and everyone is playing for each other on the pitch which is important. Everyone gets along off the pitch as well.
“It all just gels and works for us and transfers onto the pitch. And in games it makes a huge difference.”
Ange Postecoglou’s Brisbane Roar set an Australian sporting record of 36 matches without defeat in 2012, but that was over two different seasons.
The Sky Blues have the chance to increase their unbeaten run to eight games when they host win-less champions Adelaide United at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
And next July in a friendly in Sydney, the Sky Blues meet the Gunners. What a story that would be if they were to meet Arsenal as Australia's version of "The Invincibles".