Chelsea’s defeat at White Hart Lane means they have failed to equal Arsenal’s English top-flight record winning run of 14 consecutive matches, falling one short at 13, although they did match the record for successive wins in a single season.
Chelsea’s run began following their 3-0 defeat at Arsenal on 24 September, after which they won 2-0 at Hull City and carried on winning right through October, November and December.
Arsenal supporters will claim their run was of greater significance, even if it spanned two seasons, given that the 13 successive victories at the end of the 2001-02 campaign carried Arsène Wenger’s side to the title. They also fitted in winning the FA Cup, beating Chelsea 2-0 in the final in the Cardiff to complete Wenger’s second Double in five seasons.
Such a feat had hardly looked likely when Arsenal headed to Everton on 10 February sitting in fourth place in the table, although only three points behind leaders Manchester United and with a game in hand. Sylvain Wiltord’s second-half goal was enough to ensure victory at Goodison Park, though, and the historic run had unwittingly begun.
Golden Goal: Dennis Bergkamp for Arsenal v Newcastle (2002)
After Fulham were dispatched 4-1 at Highbury, Dennis Bergkamp’s goal of the season at St James’ Park was the catalyst for a 2-0 win against Newcastle United. A fourth win arrived when Robert Pires hit the only goal of the game against Derby and Arsenal were up to second and had closed the gap to Sir Alex Ferguson’s United to a single point, still having played a game less.
Pires, who had struggled in his first season in England but was having an influential campaign that was to end with him being crowned the Football Writers’ Player of the Year, then scored with an audacious lob over Peter Schmeichel to give Arsenal a 2-1 victory at Villa Park and a fifth successive win. That was to be the Frenchman’s last input, however, as what initially looked an innocuous injury in an FA Cup sixth-round replay win over Newcastle at Highbury was later diagnosed as a torn cruciate knee ligament, ruling him out of the rest of the season and the World Cup in South Korea and Japan.
With Manchester United enduring a shock home defeat by Middlesbrough, Arsenal then swatted aside both Sunderland and Charlton 3-0 over the Easter weekend to make it seven wins on the spin and they were top, taking a first place briefly occupied by Liverpool.
Arguably the closest the run came to ending was against Spurs at Highbury in early April. Leading 1-0 through Freddie Ljungberg’s goal - the Swede with the red streak in his hair was to have a profound impact on the remainder of the campaign – Highbury was silenced when referee Mark Halsey awarded Spurs a penalty after David Seaman and Gus Poyet collided in the area and Teddy Sheringham converted from the spot. Five minutes later Halsey redressed the balance by awarding Arsenal an equally debatable penalty for a tangle between Dean Richards and Thierry Henry, and with Henry not on the pitch to resume penalty-taking duties it was left to Cameroonian Lauren to nervelessly roll it past Kasey Keller to secure an eighth successive win.
After that scare Arsenal were relentless, reeling off three successive 2-0 wins against Ipswich and West Ham United at Highbury and then at Bolton, featuring four goals from the irrepressible Ljungberg. After a break to see off Chelsea 2-0 in the FA Cup final - with second-half strikes from Ray Parlour and Ljungberg again – a 12th successive league win, 1-0 at Manchester United courtesy of Wiltord’s goal, sealed the Double at Old Trafford. It also meant Arsenal had surpassed the previous best top-flight winning run of 11, set by Tottenham’s 1960-61 Double-winners.
Golden Goal: Robert Pires for Arsenal v Aston Villa (2002)
The title was secured but the winning run went on: Everton were beaten 4-3 on the final day of the 2001-02 season and then Birmingham 2-0 on the first day of 2002‑03 before West Ham held Arsenal 2-2 at Upton Park on 24 August to halt the run at 14 games spanning six months.
Arsenal did not actually lose a league game again until a teenage Wayne Rooney’s brilliant strike saw them defeated 2-1 at Goodison Park on 19 October 2002, 10 months and 30 games since their previous league defeat. At the end of that season they embarked on what would be another record run, the 49-game streak lasting from May 2003 to October 2004 and encompassing the entire ‘Invincibles’ season of 2003-04.https://www.theguardian.com/football/20 ... um=twitter