Back in the 1888-89 season when the Football League officially began in England, Preston North End went on to win the title without losing a single game. It was an achievement many thought would never be repeated.
More than a century later though, Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles went 38 league games without a defeat to win the Premier League. The streak was later stretched to 49 games; a record that is yet to be matched in English football.
A commanding Liverpool team, led by their maverick manager Jurgen Klopp, came close but had to settle with a 44-match unbeaten streak after Nigel Pearson’s Watford produced an upset by beating the Reds 3-0 at Vicarage Road in 2020.
Wondering which team went the longest without a Premier League defeat? Here’s the list:
Arsenal (2003-04): 49 games
Arsenal are only the second team in English football history and the first in the Premier League to go unbeaten in the entire season. Whether it was the greatest ever team in Premier League history is up for debate but Arsene Wenger’s men achieved something that is yet to be matched.
Arsenal’s streak of 49 games without a defeat started in the 2002-03 season when they defeated Southampton and Sunderland in their final two matches of the campaign. After a run of 38-games without a defeat in the 2003-04 season, the Gunners carried their form in the subsequent campaign.
The team didn’t drop points in their opening nine games of season, but were eventually defeated by Manchester United 2-0 in the famous Battle of the Buffet where Cesc Fabregas infamously threw a slice of pizza on Sir Alex Ferguson in the players’ tunnel at Old Trafford.
Liverpool (2019-20): 44 games
Liverpool’s only defeat in the 2018-19 Premier League season came at hands of Manchester City which eventually cost them the title by a point. The team, however, ended the campaign without a defeat in their final 17 matches.
Phew...— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 29, 2020
The Reds carried their form to the 2019-20 season, winning 26 and drawing one of their opening 27 matches. Arsenal’s record was in jeopardy but on came Watford and inflicted a crushing 3-0 defeat, ending Liverpool’s unbeaten run at 44 games.
The Reds won 39 of their 44 games at a rate of 2.77 points per game and scored 104 goals during their run. In that time, Sadio Mane scored the most goals (27) followed by Mohamed Salah (24) and Roberto Firmino (12).
Chelsea (2004-05): 40 games
It took little to no time for Jose Mourinho to turn Chelsea into title contenders when he first arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2004. In his debut season with the Blues, Mourinho lost a solitary game as Chelsea lifted the Premier League title.
His only defeat that season came at the hands of Manchester City on October 16, 2004. Chelsea bounced back in style following the defeat with a 4-0 win over Blackburn and this victory kicked off their unbeaten run which stretched to 40 games.
The run lasted for 12 months and two weeks and was eventually halted by Manchester United in matchweek 12 of the 2005-06 Premier League season. Chelsea won the Premier League that season as well despite losing their unbeaten run.
Longest unbeaten run in the Premier League
|Team||Years||Number of matches||Start date||End date|
|Arsenal||2003-04||49||8th May, 2003||24th October, 2004|
|Liverpool||2019-20||44||12th January, 2019||29th February, 2020|
|Chelsea||2004-05||40||23rd October, 2004||6th November, 2005|
|Manchester City||2017-18||30||8th April, 2017||14th January, 2018|
|Arsenal||2001-02||30||23rd December, 2001||19th October, 2002|
Featured photo: AFP / Jim Watson