The most significant milestone a football club can ever achieve is when they record an unbeaten streak in their respective leagues. A streak’s importance is precedent to a team’s ability to exhibit their dominance over their opponents.
The value of an unbeaten streak can change according to the level of competition they face in their leagues. According to recent figures, La Liga ranks in second place, thus awarding the English Premier League’s first spot.
Teams in the EPL, therefore, have had to fight hard to draw games. Hence their ability to win games flawlessly is a fact that has to be lauded as such. The unpredictability of the league stands as proof to the point mentioned above.
The PL consists of many teams who have inducted themselves into a particular category called the Big five. Teams like Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United. Arsenal and Chelsea make the critical components of the Big five. These teams coincidentally have performed in a stellar manner since the conception of the EPL in 1992, and thereby, their names will be mentioned in the list.
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Disclaimer: There are a few teams whose absence would cause discomfort to their fans, but that does not discount the milestones they have gained in their prestigious run in the EPL.
Without further ado…….
The teams who have the 10 longest unbeaten streaks in Premier League history
10. Manchester United 2016-17 (25 games):
This would come as a shock to the fans of the Red Devils. But the fact that the United team under Jose ‘the one’ Mourinho has made itself onto this list is impressive.
At the time of taking over at Old Trafford, Mourinho had lost his credibility of being a great manager in the Premier League. In his last season with Chelsea, Jose left the Blues in the sixteenth position.
Hence, his arrival at United invited a lot of criticism from the Manchester side fans who wanted a manager similar to Sir Alex Ferguson to help their team. Under the Portuguese manager, Manchester United had a slow but steady start in the 2016-17 Premier League season. In the first game of the season, they beat Bournemouth by 3-1. Following the win at the Vitality Stadium, United won two more games and then lost to Manchester City.
Then the Red Devils did a bit of waiting, and on November 6th, 2016, they kickstarted their 25 games unbeaten streak with a 1-0 victory over Swansea away at the Liberty Stadium, marking the fifth win for Mourinho with Manchester United.
In their memorable unbeaten streak, the Red Devils beat Mourinho’s former team Chelsea (2-0) and champion Leicester City (3-0). These victories allowed the Manchester side to accumulate a record of thirteen wins and twelve draws.
The Red Devils could have found themselves in a better position on this list if they had secured more wins than draws.
9. Nottingham Forest 1995 (25 games):
Ever since 1990, many teams in the Premier League have displayed their skills in the highest level of English football. Over the thirty-one years since the birth of the EPL, teams in the top flight have lost out their status as top teams. Nottingham Forest, unfortunately, had to go through such a situation as well in the 1996-97 season in the EPL. But, before their exit from the top flight of English football, Forest had a great run in the Premier League.
It all started after their return to the EPL in the 1994-95 season. For a team that had been proclaimed as a symbol of past prominence, their return had shocked the other teams in the league. The Reds started the first game of the season against Ipswich Town and beat them by 1-0.The win boosted their confidence, and they won the next 10 games in the EPL; however, the streak came to an end with the 2-0 defeat to Blackburn Rovers on October 29th, 1994.
This became a blessing in disguise for Forest, and in the last twelve games of the season, they went on another unbeaten streak and continued that into the 1995-96 season. The streak extended by a further 13 games, as Nottingham Forest accumulated fifteen wins and ten draws. Alas, fate intervened once again in the form of Rovers, and Forest succumbed to a 7-0 defeat.
Thus their 25 game streak came to an abrupt halt, with Forest capitalizing on the streak to position themselves at third place on the PL points table.
8. Manchester United 1998-99 (29 games):
Hardcore Manchester United fans have been praying for the day that their team can play at the United squad-level from the ’90s. It would seem that their prayers have been answered as Manchester United find themselves at second place on the EPL table.
It would be hard to believe, but there was a point when the Red Devils were considered as the biggest team in the World in the 1998-99 season. They possessed names like Peter Schmeichel, David Beckham, and Andy Cole in their team at that time.
Therefore, it did not shock their fans when they created an unbeaten streak of 29 games in the Premier League season. United began the season by dominating Nottingham Forest by 3-0 on 26th December 1998. Just like their start, in the following games, United recorded fourteen wins and six draws in the remaining nineteen games they had left to play in the Premier League.
Manchester United returned in the next season with the same vigor and recorded six wins and three draws. In a twist of fate, Chelsea, who became a victim of United’s unbeaten streak, turned destroyer and poured water over the burning ambition of the Red Devils, as they beat the Red Devils by 5-0.
However, United did not lose faith as they went on to win the Premier League with a point advantage over Arsenal.
7. Manchester United 2010-11 (29 games):
Another Manchester United team makes their way into the list, and this time it’s a blast from the recent past. They have to give credit for their success to Sir Alex Ferguson as the Englishman took the initiative in taking the club from Manchester to the top of European football. Ferguson counted on Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and Dimitar Berbatov, etc., to achieve this. The reason why this season, in particular, became essential for fans United was because of an unbeaten streak that they recorded in their fight for the title in the year 2012.
In the previous season, they had recorded four wins and one draw, thus making themselves unbeaten. The 2010-11 season, in particular, had been interesting for the Red Devils as they continued their run of form by recording fifteen wins and nine draws. When their streak broke on February 5th, 2011, at the hands of Wolverhampton Wanderers, United had a record of 29 games unbeaten.
Additionally, they became runners-up in the UEFA Champions League that season.
Despite their lack of a UCL title, the 2011-12 United side are ranked above their ancestors due to their overall performance in the league, which resulted in them winning the company with a two-point advantage over second-placed Chelsea.
6. Chelsea 2007-08 (29 games):
Chelsea and Manchester United have a shadow rivalry that is only visible when these two teams meet on the battlefield. This time, however, Chelsea have been ranked higher than their rivals.
Before the commencement of the 2007-08 season, Chelsea had won the EPL title twice in the years 2004 and 2005. Nonetheless, in the year 2007, the Blues equaled the unbeaten streak of the 2011-12 and 1998-99 Manchester United teams, a task that they have achieved previously (shall be discussed later).
This task did not come easy to them, and they had to work hard to get to this milestone. The first game of the 2007-08 season ended in a nail-biting fashion as Chelsea narrowly beat Birmingham City by 3-2 on August 12th, 2007. The win led to a short-term streak of two wins and one draw, which eventually ended at Aston Villa’s hands on September 2nd, 2007.
The Blues did get another chance later on in the last 21 games of the 2007-08 season, and they recorded fifteen wins and six draws. Similar to United, Chelsea waited in patience for the next season and dominated in the first eight games by recording an unbeaten streak of six wins and two draws.
Even though they gave it their all, United beat them out for the EPL and Champions League titles. Their twenty-one wins and eight assists beat out the records made by the Red Devils; hence their higher ranking is justified.
5. Arsenal 2001-02 (30 games):
Arsene Wenger’s entry and Pat Dixon’s exit proved to be positive for the Gunners. Since then, they have been a force to reckon with in the Premier League. During his long 21 years of service, the Frenchman has seen through many campaigns with the Gunners and received Sir
Alex Ferguson’s praise. In order to be more consistent, Wenger and Arsenal decided to break the 29 games unbeaten record of Manchester United.
To do this, they had to start the season in a firm manner, and they did that with the demolition of Middlesbrough by 4-0 on August 18th, 2021. The rest of the calendar season had a lot of ups and downs. Later on, towards the final 21 games of the 2001-02 season, the Gunners recorded eighteen wins and three draws. In the following season, they extended their unbeaten streak to 30 games by recording seven wins and two draws from 9 games.
In this way, they won the Premier League title, but they lose out on the top four spot to Manchester City due to the number of games they have won being lesser than the team from the Etihad Stadium.
4. Manchester City 2017-18 season (30 games):
Manchester City as a team has won the Premier League title four times, and that shows their quality over the other teams in the league. However, they had failed to achieve for a long time, an impressive unbeaten run in the league to further assert their dominance.
In the 2017-18 EPL season, this achievement made its way onto the many other milestones the Citizens had accomplished. Similar to Chelsea, they too worked hard to break the record of their rivals. They started the 2017-18 season with a 2-0 win against Brighton Hove & Albion. After the victory, they recorded an unbeaten streak of 21 games consisting of twenty wins and two draws.
This in itself is an impressive feat, but it became more special for the Sky Blues because, in the previous season, they had recorded a streak of six wins and two draws. So, overall the Cityzens recorded an unbeaten streak in 30 games.
Thus they beat out the streaks of five time-less squads of Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal combined.
3. Chelsea 2004-05 (40 games):
Yes, it is Chelsea again.
The Blues may have struggled to cross the thirty-game streak in the 2007-08 season, but they beat the record by 10 games in the 2004-05 season. Just like the hidden rivalry between Chelsea and United, the Blues and the gunners have a similar shady rivalry.
So, beating the Gunners unbeaten streak of 30 games, became a target at Stamford Bridge. To do this, they won the first game of the 2004-05 season against Manchester United on August 15th, 2004. They had another short-term streak (same as 2007-08) of seven games which consisted of five wins and two draws, losing it to Manchester City by 1-0 on October 16th, 2004.
Soon another chance to making a streak presented before them. Thus they recorded 29 games unbeaten, which consisted of twenty-nine wins and six draws. In the following season, they continued the same way by recording a flawless run in eleven games with ten wins and one draw. Thus they recorded a streak of 40 games unbeaten and proved their dominance.
2. Liverpool 2019-20 (44 games):
If there should be a manager who can break the hearts and records of most of his opposition, that person would be Jurgen Klopp. After rebuilding his team from the ground up and winning the Champions League with them, he put a request in front of the Reds to win the Premier League. They, however, went above and beyond and won the EPL title and going 44 games unbeaten.
By doing so, the Reds broke the second-highest unbeaten streak in the Premier League recorded by Chelsea in the 2004-05 PL season. The reds rivalry with Manchester City granted them the competitive advantage needed to break the streak.
In the previous season, the Reds accumulated a record of thirteen wins and four draws. Then in the 2019-20 season, Norwich became their first victim on August 9th, 2019, as the Anfield side recorded twenty-six wins and one draw. Nearing the all-time streak record, Liverpool went into the game against Watford unprepared, and the Hornets beat them by 3-0 on February 29th, 2020, and made them regret their overconfidence.
Thus Liverpool broke Chelsea’s record by four games but failed to beat the team who had broken all records in the 2003-04 season.
1. Arsenal 2003-04 (49 games- Invincibles):
Nowadays, when a football fan talks about big teams, many names are mentioned, like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. At the same time, there are constant debates or banters between fans of the big teams in England. Though they all respect and honor each other, one team is the object of ridicule for other clubs and their fans, and that club happens to be Arsenal.
It is the harsh truth, but the Gunners have forgotten their true calling in the EPL. The true calling that they have ignored is the Invincibles season that the Gunners secured in the 2003-04 Premier League season.
Under Arsene Wenger, they had already won two Premier League titles, and they were looking to add a third to their trophy cabinet in the 2003-04 season. Coincidentally, the only other record that they had to break was one that they themselves had achieved in the 2001-02 season.
Though they never planned for a flawless season, it ended up as such after they won two games back-to-back in the 2002-03 season against Southampton (7-1) on May 7th, 2003 and Sunderland (4-0) on May 11th, 2003, thus igniting the flames of a hot streak for the Ginners
In the 2003-04 season, they went unbeaten in all the 38 games that they played and recorded 26 wins and 12 draws. Even after the conclusion of the season, the Gunners maintained their form and recorded 8 wins and 1 draw in nine games in the 2004-05 Premier League season. Thus their run of 40 games up until May 15th, 2004, received a boost of 9 more games, and hence the most significant record of 49 games unbeaten was recorded.
Though Arsenal has maintained the streak for many years, it could be broken in the near future. Team’s like Liverpool dream of breaking such a prestigious record, but until then there is no one who can beat Arsenal (at least in this one area).
The list and the article has therefore concluded.