Club by club: Longest unbeaten start to a Premier League season

Date published: Wednesday 30th August 2017 6:05

With Man United, Liverpool, Huddersfield, Man City, Watford, Southampton and West Brom still unbeaten this season, we take a look at each club’s longest unbeaten start to a Premier League season.

 

Arsenal – The whole season (2003-04)

The Gunners didn’t just show other teams how to start a season properly, they also had the perfect middle and end. Led by Arsene Wenger, ‘The Invincibles’ went an incredible 49 matches without losing a league match, spanning from 7 May 2003 until it came to an end on 16 October 2004 when they lost in controversial circumstances to Manchester United. They won ten out of their first 13 matches in 2003-04 and romped to the title by a huge 11 points.

 

Bournemouth – 0

It is all still relatively new to the south coast side with the 2017-18 campaign representing only their third-ever Premier League season. In their maiden 2015-16 term they started life with the big boys with two narrow 1-0 losses to Aston Villa and Liverpool, before getting their season up and running thanks to a 4-3 victory over West Ham. Similarly, they lost their first two matches of last season, and a 1-0 defeat to Tony Pulis’ West Brom side in their first match this campaign means they are yet to register an unbeaten run from the start of a Premier League term.

 

Brighton – 0

2017-18 is Brighton’s first season in the Premier League and it’s fair to say they have struggled so far. Although their performances haven’t been too bad, it’s their inability to find the back of the net that has hindered them. An opening day defeat to Manchester City was an excellent show of defensive resistance before Sergio Aguero broke the deadlock in a 2-0 loss. Another 2-0 defeat followed to former champions Leicester, while their latest match against Watford ended 0-0. No unbeaten start for Chris Hughton’s men.

 

Burnley – 1 (2017-18)

They came, they saw, they conquered in west London. It was one of the greatest results in Burnley’s history but not the most impressive unbeaten start to a campaign. The Clarets recorded their first opening day victory in a Premier League season against Chelsea this term with a 3-2 win at Stamford Bridge. Their three previous campaigns in the Premier League have seen them lose their opening day matches and never build up an unbeaten start. Victory over Chelsea wasn’t backed up, though, as they lost the following match 1-0 to West Brom at Turf Moor the following weekend.

 

Chelsea – 14 (2014-15)

In a season of great success, Chelsea recorded their longest unbeaten start to a Premier League campaign. Jose Mourinho guided the Blues to the title in his second season back in the Stamford Bridge hotseat by finishing eight points ahead of nearest challengers Manchester City. Brilliant seasons from Eden Hazard and Diego Costa coupled with the tightest defence in the league – only conceding 32 goals – meant Chelsea were the league’s dominant force. They won 11 and drew three of their first fourteen matches before a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle on December 6 ended their longest unbeaten Premier League start.

 

Crystal Palace – 4 (1992-93)

Palace played in the inaugural season of the Premier League – starting with a four-match unbeaten sequence. The only problem for the Eagles was that they drew all four before going on to lose the next three matches, giving them a poor total of four points after seven matches. Not the haul you expect when you hear of a decent unbeaten start. Blackburn, Oldham, Tottenham and Sheffield Wednesday were the opponents as they bagged seven goals and played out four score draws. They were eventually relegated on 49 points from 42 matches – the joint-highest total of any club to have ever been relegated from the Premier League.

 

Everton – 7 (2006-07)

Victories against Watford, Tottenham and in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool, as well as draws with Blackburn, Wigan, Newcastle and Manchester City got the Toffees off to a very good start in 2006. Andy Johnson, who finished as the club’s top scorer in the Premier League, scored five of his 11 goals in those first seven matches. The solid start to the season saw Everton finish in sixth position – which was enough for a spot in the following year’s UEFA Cup.

 

Huddersfield – 3 and counting… (2017-18)

The Terriers currently sit third in the standings after the opening three matches of their very first Premier League campaign saw them garner seven points. A Steve Mounie brace helped them to¬† 3-0 opening day victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park before two more clean sheets against Newcastle and Southampton secured four more points. David Wagner’s men might not be done yet with West Ham, Leicester and Burnley to play in their next three league matches.

 

Leicester – 8 (2000-01)

I was convinced it would be their opening sequence from the title-winning season of 2015-16 when they won three and drew three of their opening six matches. However, in 2000-01 they actually went two further matches unbeaten in a season that saw them finish 13th in the Premier League standings. They only scored seven goals in those opening eight matches but managed to pile up four wins and four draws with the likes of Ade Akinbiyi, Muzzy Izzet and Stan Collymore getting on the scoresheet.

 

Liverpool – 15 (2007-08)

The Reds started the 2007-08 season with a run of 15 matches unbeaten at the start of the season – a sequence of results that may have actually hurt their title chances later in the season under Rafa Benitez. It is always great to remain undefeated but six draws out of the 15, especially against teams such as Portsmouth and Birmingham, may have had fans looking back at what could have been. Having said that, three points from their four fixtures in January was probably more to blame. Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt among others were influential as they took 17 points out of possible 21 on the road during that run.

 

Manchester City – 15 (2012-13)

It ended ultimately in disappointment, but City gave themselves a good platform to make a charge for the Premier League title in 2012-13. Nine wins and six draws gave them 33 points from a possible 45 to kick-start the season, before eventual champions Manchester United ended their run when Robin van Persie struck deep into stoppage time in a 3-2 win.

 

Manchester United – 24 (2010-11)

Aside from Arsenal’s ridiculous campaign in 2003-04, Manchester United hold the best unbeaten run to a Premier League season with 24. The Red Devils 19th season in the Premier League delivered another English title and it was hard for them to fail after giving themselves a perfect start. It took them until February to lose, beating the likes of Tottenham (twice), Liverpool, Arsenal and Newcastle as they won 15 and drew nine. Wolves ended their run with a 2-1 scoreline but United were to remain on top come the end of the season despite losing another three matches.

 

Newcastle – 11 (1994-95 & 2011-12)

The Magpies have racked up an unbeaten start of 11 Premier League matches on two occasions, once in 1994-95 and again in 2011-12. If we were measuring the best start over the longest unbeaten run then their 1994-95 effort would win with nine victories and two draws, compared to seven wins and four draws in 2011-12. Although one team had Peter Beardsley up front and the other had Demba Ba, so it’s hardly fair…

 

Southampton – 6 (2003-04)

A frontline of James Beattie and Kevin Phillips helped the Saints to their longest unbeaten run at the start of a Premier League season. Three wins and three draws set the ball rolling for Southampton in 2003-04, including wins over Manchester United and Tottenham. Beattie scored five goals in the six matches and finished with 14 league goals as they finished 12th. Gordon Strachan, the man responsible for the good start departed in March to be replaced by Paul Sturrock.

 

Stoke – 4 (2011-12 & 2012-13)

Although Stoke’s two unbeaten starts only stretch across four matches, the 2011-12 run was particularly impressive. Tony Pulis’ side picked up four points from two tricky home matches against Liverpool and Chelsea, while four more points came in away fixtures at Norwich City and West Brom. The 2012-13 run may have included Manchester City and Arsenal, but four draws meant that they only had four points after four matches – nothing out of the ordinary.

 

Swansea – 4 (2015-16)

Swansea chalked up eight points from their opening four matches in 2015-16, including four points from Manchester United and defending champions Chelsea. Bafetimbi Gomis scored a goal in each match in a hot run of form that saw the Swans up to fourth in the Premier League table early on. However, three different managers over the course of the season put paid to any lofty ambitions the fans may have had as they ended the campaign in 12th.

 

Tottenham – 12 (2016-17)

In 2016, Spurs came top of the annual Premier League table as they showed their progress on the pitch. They began the 2016-17 season with 12 matches unbeaten as they won six and drew six of their opening matches. However, despite the decent start, Mauricio Pochettino’s men only found themselves in fifth place by the time they lost their first match of the season against Chelsea in late November. A more impressive run was to follow as they won 13 of their last 15 matches to finish the campaign in second.

 

Watford – 3 (2015-16 & 2017-18)

Watford remain unbeaten this campaign, having drawn two and won one of their fixtures in the league to date. After gaining promotion back to the Premier League in 2015, Watford drew their first three matches in 2015-16 to rack up their longest unbeaten start to a Premier League season. It included two goalless draws against West Brom and Southampton, plus a 2-2 scoreline against Everton at Goodison Park. An unbeaten run is an unbeaten run, I hear you say…

 

West Brom – 3 (2012-13)

Not the longest, but a claim for one of the better short runs. Steve Clarke’s outfit gathere a more than credible seven points out of nine from fixtures against Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton. In the next match Peter Odemwingie’s 38th-minute sending off cost the Baggies their unbeaten run as they played most of the match with ten men against Fulham in a 3-0 defeat.

 

West Ham – 5 (1999-00)

Considering West Ham have spent 22 seasons in the Premier League, it’s a shock to know they haven’t been unbeaten for more than their first five matches. Victories over Tottenham, Leicester, Bradford and Watford as well as a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa is the Hammers’ longest unbeaten start to a season. It’s no surprise they started so well and ended the season in ninth when you realise their team consisted of players such as Frank Lampard, Paolo di Canio, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole.

 

Joe Williams

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