Longest unbeaten Premier League runs: Will Arsenal Invincibles ever be surpassed?

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Arsenal Invincibles, referring to the Arsenal team that went through the entire 2003/04 Premier League season unbeaten.

They beat Leicester City 2-1 at Highbury on 15th May 2004, in what was their last game of the league season. They ended up as Premier League champions with 90 points, with a record of P38 W26 D12 L0.

However, their unbeaten league run also extended into the 2004/05 season, where they were eventually beaten 2-0 by Manchester United at Old Trafford, meaning their run lasted 49 games. Nonetheless, we have taken a look back through the archives of the five longest unbeaten runs in Premier League history, and also question whether Manchester City's current unbeaten run could surpass them…

Arsenal Invincibles White Hart Lane
Arsenal famously secured the 2003/04 Premier League title at White Hart Lane – ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images – Photo by Icon Sport

Longest unbeaten Premier League runs: The top 5

5. Manchester City (2017-18) – 30 games

City's longest unbeaten Premier League run under Pep Guardiola currently is 30 games that happened between 2017-18. This was the season of the famous City Centurions, who amassed 100 points, becoming the first and only Premier League side to date to reach that total.

It was Liverpool who ended City's unbeaten run in January 2018, beating them in a 4-3 thriller at Anfield, and was only one of two league defeats in their entire league campaign.

4. Arsenal (2001-02) – 30 games

Arsenal actually feature twice on this list, with another 30-game unbeaten run to dig our teeth into. This was during the season the Gunners won the domestic double of Premier League and FA Cup, and Arsene Wenger famously said it was his dream to go a full season unbeaten, which he eventually did.

Arsenal's unbeaten run was ended by a certain Wayne Rooney, who would later help Manchester United do the same in 2004. This was in October 2002 on his Everton debut, where the then 16-year-old helped his boyhood club to a 1-0 win at Goodison Park with a spectacular strike.

3. Chelsea (2004-05) – 40 games

Chelsea were a defensive machine in Jose Mourinho's first spell in charge of the club, and the season after the Invincibles, he guided the Blues to their maiden Premier League title. They conceded only 15 goals in that campaign, which remains a Premier League record, and only lost once.

Their unbeaten run was ended by Manchester United in the 2005/06 campaign, as a Darren Fletcher goal gave the Red Devils a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford in November.

2. Liverpool (2019-20) – 44 games

The second-longest unbeaten streak in the Premier League belongs to Liverpool, who stopped City's potential six consecutive league titles, and seventh should they emerge victorious once again at the end of this season.

The Reds won the 2019/20 at a canter, but after the season was disrupted half-way through because of the COVID-19 pandemic, their unbeaten run ended with a shock 3-0 defeat to Watford, and they would go on to lose three matches in that campaign.

1. Arsenal (2003-04) – 49 games

Alas, Arsenal's incredible 49-match unbeaten run has still not been topped in the Premier League era. 38 of those games came in the Invincibles season, and the streak would eventually be ended by their then arch rivals United.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side recorded a 2-0 victory at Old Trafford in the 2004/05 season, with Ruud van Nistelrooy scoring from the penalty spot after famously hitting the crossbar from 12 yards in the same fixture in the Invincibles campaign. Familiar Arsenal tormentor Rooney then added a second to seal the win.

City beat Spurs 2-0 to keep their unbeaten run going and put them in pole position to win the Premier League title – Mark Cosgrove/News Images/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon Sport

Longest unbeaten Premier League runs: Could Manchester City surpass the Invincibles?

City are currently on a 22-game unbeaten streak in the league, after beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 away from home on Tuesday night. That result has put them two points clear of second-placed Arsenal going into the final, where they know a win against West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium would give them an unprecedented fourth consecutive Premier League title.

Should they avoid defeat, that would put them on 23 matches unbeaten, and they would have to remain unbeaten for at least the first 27 games of the 2024/25 season to break Arsenal's record. Given how ruthless Guardiola's side are, we certainly would not put it past them.

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Adam Clancy

Adam is a lead writer on Football Whispers. He is a big Arsenal fan, and also follows his local club Wealdstone, made famous by The Wealdstone Raider, of whom he has interviewed. Adam also follows darts, boxing, cricket and tennis, among many other sports.