The Arsenal Invincibles completed a full Premier League season unbeaten on this day 16 years ago.
The Gunners lifted the title after winning 26 and drawing 12 games, becoming only the second side since Preston in 1888/89 to go an entire top-flight English league campaign without defeat.
Their overall run started with a 6-1 win over Southampton in the penultimate match of the previous season and ended at 49 games unbeaten. The marker remains untouched after Liverpool fell at the 45th hurdle against Watford in February.
Thierry Henry feels that “people forget” one thing in particular about that sensational Arsenal team, so we thought it only fitting to delve a little deeper into their phenomenal record.
All statistics refer only to the time of the 49 games from the Southampton win to the 3-1 victory over Aston Villa in October 2004, which came eight days before Manchester United beat the Gunners 2-0 at Old Trafford.
Overall record: P49 W36 D13 L0 F112 A35
Home: P25 W20 D5 L0 F63 A21
Away: P24 W16 D8 L0 F49 A14
* The Arsenal Invincibles earned 121 points throughout their unbeaten run, 16 more than closest rivals Chelsea (105) and two more than Everton (61) and Tottenham (58) combined in the same time.
* The Arsenal Invincibles earned at least twice as many points as five other sides who were ever-present in the Premier League throughout their unbeaten run: Birmingham (59), Tottenham (58), Southampton (55), Blackburn (53) and Manchester City (52).
* The Arsenal Invincibles scored 112 goals, 31 more than closest rivals Chelsea (81).
* Thierry Henry (39) scored the most, followed by Robert Pires (24) and Freddie Ljungberg (ten). Jermaine Pennant scored a hat-trick in the first game of the run and none in the 48 thereafter.
* Four clubs prevented the Arsenal Invincibles from scoring: Birmingham, Newcastle, Fulham and Manchester United.
* Five players scored own goals for the Arsenal Invincibles: Sami Hyypia, Zat Knight, Joey Craddock, Michael Tarnat and Franck Queudrue.
* Two players scored own goals for and goals against the Arsenal Invincibles: Sami Hyypia and Franck Queudrue
Full list of Arsenal Invincibles scorers
Thierry Henry – 39
Robert Pires – 24
Freddie Ljungberg – 10
Jose Antonio Reyes – 8
Dennis Bergkamp – 7
Own goals – 5
Gilberto Silva – 4
Jermaine Pennant – 3
Patrick Vieira – 3
Sylvain Wiltord – 3
Edu – 2
Sol Campbell – 1
Ashley Cole – 1
Cesc Fabregas – 1
Nwankwo Kanu – 1
Kolo Toure – 1
* Thirty-three players featured for the Arsenal Invincibles throughout their unbeaten run, from Thierry Henry (48 games, all starts) to Stathis Tavlaridis (15 minutes of the 6-1 win over Southampton in May 2003).
Full list of Arsenal Invincibles players
Thierry Henry (48 games, 0 as substitute)
Kolo Toure (48 games, 1 as substitute)
Jens Lehmann (47 games, 0 as substitute)
Robert Pires (45 games, 5 as substitute)
Lauren (41 games, 2 as substitute)
Gilberto Silva (39 games, 3 as substitute)
Freddie Ljungberg (39 games, 4 as substitute)
Dennis Bergkamp (39 games, 10 as substitute)
Sol Campbell (38 games, 0 as substitute)
Ashley Cole (35 games, 0 as substitute)
Patrick Vieira (34 games, 0 as substitute)
Edu (33 games, 19 as substitute)
Ray Parlour (27 games, 9 as substitute)
Pascal Cygan (23 games, 8 as substitute)
Jose Antonio Reyes (22 games, 8 as substitute)
Gael Clichy (16 games, 8 as substitute)
Sylvain Wiltord (12 games, 4 as substitute)
Kanu (12 games, 8 as substitute)
Martin Keown (10 games, 7 as substitute)
Jeremie Aliadiere (10 games, 7 as substitute)
Cesc Fabregas (8 games, 2 as substitute)
Jermaine Pennant (7 games, 5 as substitute)
Mathieu Flamini (5 games, 5 as substitute)
Justin Hoyte (3 games, 2 as substitute)
Robin van Persie (3 games, 3 as substitute)
Oleg Luzhny (2 games, 0 as substitute)
Igor Stepanovs (2 games, 0 as substitute)
Giovanni van Bronckhorst (2 games, 1 as substitute)
David Bentley (1 game, 0 as substitute)
Ryan Garry (1 game, 0 as substitute)
David Seaman (1 game, 0 as substitute)
Stuart Taylor (1 game, 0 as substitute)
Stathis Tavlaridis (1 game, 1 as substitute)
* Arsenal drew the only game Thierry Henry missed – 1-1 at Leicester in December 2003.
* The Arsenal Invincibles recorded 15 different Premier League scorelines. The most common was a 2-1 victory (ten times), followed by a 1-1 draw (seven times):
Full list of Arsenal Invincibles scorelines
4-1 (four times)
4-0 (three times)
3-0 (four times)
2-1 (ten times)
2-0 (four times)
1-1 (seven times)
1-0 (four times)
0-0 (four times)
* The Arsenal Invincibles had the best aggregate score against Middlesbrough (13-4 from three games). The only two clubs they did not have an aggregate advantage over were Portsmouth (2-2 from two games) and Manchester United (1-1) from two games:
Full list of Arsenal Invincibles aggregate scores
Middlesbrough 13-4 (three games)
Leeds 9-1 (two games)
Southampton 9-1 (three games)
Aston Villa 7-1 (three games)
Blackburn 6-0 (three games)
Charlton 7-2 (three games)
Wolves 6-1 (two games)
Everton 7-3 (three games)
Sunderland 4-0 (one game)
Fulham 4-0 (three games)
Liverpool 6-3 (two games)
Manchester City 5-2 (three games)
Norwich 4-1 (one game)
Birmingham 3-0 (two games)
Chelsea 4-2 (two games)
Bolton 5-4 (three games)
Tottenham 4-3 (two games)
Leicester 3-2 (two games)
Newcastle 3-2 (two games)
Portsmouth 2-2 (two games)
Manchester United 1-1 (two games)
* Excluding the concession of one own goal (Lauren against Manchester City in August 2003), 32 different players scored against the Arsenal Invincibles. Only two did so more than once: Tomasz Radzinski and Henrik Pedersen.
Full list of scorers against the Arsenal Invincibles
Lee Hendrie – Aston Villa
Henrik Pedersen (twice), Ivan Campo, Radhi Jaidi – Bolton
Paolo Di Canio, Claus Jensen – Charlton
Hernan Crespo, Eidur Gudjohnsen – Chelsea
Tomasz Radzinski (twice), Lee Carsley – Everton
Alan Smith – Leeds
Craig Hignett, Paul Dickov – Leicester
Harry Kewell, Sami Hyypia, Michael Owen – Liverpool
Nicolas Anelka – Manchester City
Louis Saha – Manchester United
Massimo Maccarone, Joseph Desire Job, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Franck Queudrue – Middlesbrough
Laurent Robert, Olivier Bernard – Newcastle
Darren Huckerby – Norwich
Teddy Sheringham, Yakubu – Portsmouth
Jo Tessem – Southampton
Darren Anderton, Jamie Redknapp, Robbie Keane – Tottenham
Ionel Ganea – Wolves
* The Arsenal Invincibles were in front for 52.4% of the 49 games in their unbeaten run, spending just 5.9% of it trailing at any point.
* They were behind by more than one goal only once: for 15 minutes of their 5-3 win over Middlesbrough in August 2004. Tottenham led them for the longest overall: 64 minutes in November 2003.
* Only two teams led the Arsenal Invincibles in separate matches: Portsmouth and Liverpool.
Minutes level: 1835
Minutes ahead by one: 1384
Minutes ahead by two: 530
Minutes ahead by three: 206
Minutes ahead by four: 116
Minutes ahead by five: 76
Minutes behind: 263 (64 v Tottenham, 38 v Manchester City, 34 v Portsmouth, 50 v Liverpool, 21 v Leicester, 16 v Aston Villa, 15 v Middlesbrough, 14 v Chelsea, 11 v Charlton)
* The Arsenal Invincibles were refereed most often by Graham Poll (six times), followed by Paul Durkin, Alan Wiley and Mark Halsey. Mike Dean took charge of four games; Uriah Rennie refereed the first but none thereafter. Travesty.
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