Shaun Bartlett: Chiefs can be like Arsenal’s Invincibles

2014-11-04 12:01

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Former Bafana Bafana and Charlton Athletic striker Shaun Bartlett believes Kaizer Chiefs can emulate the invincible Arsenal team of 2004, which finished the season unbeaten in the league.

“I think Chiefs have what it takes to go all the way. They’ve been very impressive. At the moment there’s no team in the country that comes close to them,” Bartlett said.

Amakhosi are undefeated in the league so far with a blistering start that saw them win eight consecutive games and then draw a match.

Chiefs aim to maintain their run against AmaZulu at the Moses Mabhida Stadium tomorrow.

The team has some way to go though if they are to duplicate Arsenal’s record, which stood at 26 wins and 12 draws in the league.

Bartlett’s Charlton finished seventh in the English Premier League during the season that saw the Gunners register an unprecedented feat of no losses on their way to becoming champions.

Charlton grabbed a point from Arsenal in their first meeting after a 1-1 draw, but lost 2-1 in the return match as Arsene Wenger’s charges stormed to the title.

Having played for Chiefs between 2006 and 2008, the Bafana Bafana legend said it had been an incredible experience playing against that historic Arsenal side, and felt it could be the right time for the local Premiership club to make history.

“It was amazing to watch a player like Thierry Henry, who was a nightmare for defenders and, as an opposition striker, you couldn’t help but admire him.

“Maybe the time has come for South African football to have its own great side. Arsenal started in similar fashion to Chiefs so we’ll see what happens at the end of the season.”

Bartlett, coach of First Division outfit Golden Arrows, said the key for Chiefs was to focus on one game at a time.

“Everybody always talks about how it’s not about the start but the finish. My thinking is that a good start sets a team up for a good finish.

“It allows the team to build a positive spirit, which will benefit them in the long run.”

Bartlett hailed Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter’s influence and tactical acumen, which saw them become the only local team to win 15 consecutive games in all competitions.

“Stuart is a shrewd tactician who knows how to mould players and instil intelligence in them. I worked with him at Bafana and he is one of the best coaches I have had the pleasure of playing for,” Bartlett said.

Chiefs have conceded three goals in nine games so far in the league and the 41-year-old said a strong defence would be crucial to reaching the milestone.

“Once a team has a solid defence then it allows the team to go on the attack with confidence. The rest takes care of itself really.”

Chiefs’ 2004-2005 title-clinching team was the closest to completing a season unbeaten with only two losses, 17 wins and 11 draws.

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