Records are what separate the good from the great, the sheep from the goats, the nearly men from the yearly men. At the highest level of sport, the margins are so fine, even minuscule, that the slightest lapse in concentration can rewrite the history books.
Premier League football, a breeding ground for stats, runs, records, figures and findings keeps radio phone-ins busy of a weekend and social media ablaze with petty squabbles. One thing is for sure, breaking a record, helps fans adjudicate greatness, something we’re all a little obsessed with.
Who or what is the greatest of all time? As a sporting fan, it’s something that leads to a good night’s sleep a spring in the step and puffed out chest.
Liverpool are currently breaking records with every kick of the ball and in the midst of their growing Premer League unbeaten run also hold the remarkable achievement of not having lost a game at home since a Christian Benteke inspired Crystal Palace ensured a 2-1 victory all the way back in April 2017.
Since then Liverpool hasn’t lost a game at Anfield in 49 games, the longest run in Europe’s top league and rather ironically only bettered by the team Liverpool beat in the Champions League on Tuesday, Red Bull Salzburg.
Still some way short however of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea who went on an 86 game unbeaten home record which was ended back in 2008 by? A Rafa Benitez led Liverpool.
If Liverpool (currently 34 league games unbeaten) are to topple Arsenal’s invincible overall run, however, they’ll need to stretch their unbeaten record all the way to the Etihad Stadium in April 2020 and avoid defeat against Manchester City which would amount to 50 games in total, bettering Arsenal’s 49 games which ended at Old Trafford amidst a torrent of flying pizza.
It sounds like an impressive achievement, but, we might add, some way short of the longest-running league runs in football history. As it stands Liverpool are third on the all-time Premier League list just behind Chelsea who managed 40 games in 2004-05. Here are the teams with some eye-watering records that’ll surely stand for a long time to come yet.
55 Games – Shakhtar Donetsk, FC Porto
In 2002 Shaktar Donetsk’s unbeaten record came to an end, but during that run, they really made their mark winning their first Ukranian Premier League title and made the Champions League knockout stages for the first time.
Jose Mourinho’s former assistant Andre Villa Boas took the reins at Porto and led them to domination in the Portuguese Liga between 2010 and 2012.
56 Games – Benfica, Celtic
Benfica synonymous with success in the 70s went two seasons unbeaten between ’76 – ’78, although lost out on the title second time round to Porto.
Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic team splattered all before them during his tenure including an impressive unbeaten run in 2016. He’ll certainly have one eye on stopping Liverpool this term with his resurgent Leicester team.
58 Games – Skonto, Olympiacos, Milan
Latvian team Skonto dominated their domestic league in the 90s including depending on how you view things an impressive 58 games unbeaten in the league.
Olympiacos were dominant in the early 70s winning three league titles in a row and managed to only concede 13 goals in the 1972-73 season.
In the 1991-92 season, a Milan team featuring Baresi, Maldini, Gullit and Van Basten became the first Italian team to go the season unbeaten and managed 58 games in total.
59 Games – Pyunik, Shirak
History tells us that two Armenian teams have managed to make it to 59 games unbeaten domestically. Shirak SC achieved the landmark in 1993-95, while in 2002-04 FC Pyunik matched that same tally.
60 Games – Union Saint-Gilloise
Brighton Chairman Tony Bloom became the majority shareholder of Belgian side Union Saint-Gilloise in 2018, random we know, like the stat that they went 60 games unbeaten in 1933-35. One for a slow news day down the boozer.
61 Games – Levadia
Estonian heavyweights FCI Levadia Tallinn we’re sure you’re all aware managed during the back to back title successes of the 2008 and 2009 seasons managed 61 games unbeaten… moving on.
62 Games – Celtic
Get this, Willie Malay managed Celtic from 1897-1940 winning 30 major trophies during that time. A remarkable achievement in itself, however in winning 4 league titles on the bounce they managed a whopping 62 games unbeaten between 1915 and 1917.
63 Games – Sheriff Tiraspol
Moldovan giants Sheriff as they’re affectionately known, won ten consecutive titles between 2000 and 2010, during which, at some point in the midst of all the domestic trophies they apparently went 63 games unbeaten in the league.
88 Games – Lincoln Red Imps
These guys play in the Gibraltar National League and managed to win 14 league titles on the bounce between 2003-2016 managing 88 games unbeaten somewhere in that mix. They also became the first team from the nation play in the qualifying stages of the Champions League, in 2014, make a note.
104 Games – Steaua Bucharest
Way out in front with a truly remarkable unbeaten record is Steaua Bucharest (now FCSB), who contrived to go 104 games without defeat in the late 80s. The Romanian giants were a force to be reckoned with back then and in winning 5 League titles back to back alongside a slew of domestic cups went an incredible 119 games unbeaten in total.
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