The base formula for winning a Premier League title isn’t too complicated. Win games. Win as many as possible, more than your rivals, and with the points cascading in, soar into first place.
Champions elect Chelsea, sitting pretty at the top of the league, have 24 wins from 34 games. The next best is both Arsenal and Manchester City on 20. Now just three points from glory, Jose Mourinho’s side will win the title, the other 19 teams will not.
Boring, they say? Too much success can grate on others. They’ve just been utterly dominant.
But it was Arsenal that achieved the longest unbeaten run seen in the English top flight this season with eight, putting them as Chelsea’s main contenders to the throne.
Leicester, Crystal Palace, Everton, QPR, West Ham, Newcastle, Liverpool and Burnley all fell to Arsene Wenger’s resurgent Gunners from February to April, with Chelsea ending the run last week with a 0-0 draw at the Emirates.
There was real optimism around Arsenal during the run, with confidence high, and points aplenty for the best part of three months. They’d found that perfect base formula for a time, just too late to really push Chelsea into submission.
Arsene Wenger’s side, full of devastating attacking intent, and an uncommonly clean bill of health across their squad, join Bayern Munich, Lazio and Marseille as the sides with the third highest winning streaks in the 2014/15 season on eight. Dutch champions PSV sit in second with 11, while Real Madrid top the list on 12.
Quite interestingly, Carlo Ancelotti’s side are still chasing Barcelona at the top of La Liga, needing the Catalans to come unstuck in one of their four remaining games to have a chance of winning the league.
The formula isn’t difficult, just sometimes your rivals have it too.
Arsenal are also the proud holders of the longest ever Premier League winning run in the modern day, with a whopping 14 games and 42 points managed between February and August 2002. Unsurprisingly, Arsenal won the league that year.
But that was by no means the longest ever run, with Benfica achieving a ludicrous 29 match winning run in 1970. They won the league that year too.
In recent history, Bayern Munich’s 19 game winning run just last year is surely the most impressive. A 3-3 draw with Hoffenheim in March 2014 ended the streak, which also coincided with the club’s 53rd match unbeaten in the league, surpassing Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ despite the disappointment of failing to win again!
Interestingly, Bayern were seen as boring by many during the run (a problem that has been festering in the Bundesliga for a good while), with honorary Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer even coming out to voice his disapproval of Pep Guardiola’s tactics:
“We’re going to end up being unwatchable like Barcelona. The players will start passing the ball back even on the goal line!” Beckenbauer said in March last year as a pundit on ‘Sky Deutschland’.
So, even on an astounding winning run, teams can be construed as boring! Dominance can be translated into being boring, sure, but can you imagine a day when Arsenal would ever fall into that category, winning streak or otherwise?
But, Gunners fans, would you take a little boring for that big Premier League trophy?