Undefeated Arsenal join football's immortals
Sunday 16 May 2004
At 4.54pm yesterday, Arsenal beat Leicester City 2-1 and so completed a season of top-level League football without a defeat, the first time this has been achieved since goal nets and penalty kicks were invented. That, for those not in possession of an encyclopaedic knowledge of football trivia, was 115 years ago.
And readers should excuse us that John Motsonish moment, for, if ever there was a day for anoraks and statistics, then yesterday was it.
Arsenal have played 38 games this season without losing, a total of some 58 hours 20 minutes, not allowing for time added on. They have used 22 players, scored 73 goals, conceded 26, and only failed to score on four occasions. Among those present to see that there was no falsification of the data was Piers Morgan, late of the Daily Mirror. He was a guest of the boxing promoter Frank Warren, and so was, for a change, escorted to his seat rather than from it. He witnessed his team equal a record set 115 years ago by Preston, more famous now as the location for the faked photographs published by Mr Morgan. Anyone who saw Preston in all their glory is now long gone. They stare at us from fading photographs, sporting music hall moustaches and long shorts, names known only to us by comic snippets, such as Goodall the forward who kept a pet fox, and Russell the defender whose work as an end-of-the-pier comedian meant he missed the start of the season.
But in their day they were formidable. In a First Division season of 22 games, they did not lose, failed to win only once at home, scored 74 goals, and won the title by 4 January. At last there is a side to match them.
Latest in Sport
Chelsea vs Tottenham combined XI: Hugo Lloris or Thibaut Courtois? Willian or Christian Eriksen? Who makes the final cut?
Manchester United vs Sunderland match report: Wayne Rooney scores twice but referee Roger East sends off Wes Brown instead of John O'Shea
AP McCoy on Arsenal: 'If I was performing that bad I'd have retired a long time ago'
Carl Frampton vs Chris Avalos; Tyson Fury vs Christian Hammer; Dmitry Chudinov vs Chris Eubank Jr - boxing on TV this weekend
Manchester United player ratings: Just how bad was Angel Di Maria to be withdrawn at half-time?
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Man to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia after ripping up a Koran and hitting it with his shoe
- 3 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'