Arsenal Football Club
Let’s take a look at just how many trophies Arsenal have won throughout their 130-year history.
Adding all these together, Arsenal have won 63 trophies, however, we’re not Tottenham, so what about just trophies that mean something?
If you want to just count the ‘real trophies’ as most people do, i.e. the League Cup (although does anyone but Jose Mourinho and Tottenham really count this as a real trophy?), Premier League/First Division, FA Cup and European, ARSENAL HAVE WON 30 TROPHIES.
Not bad for a club that supposedly has an empty trophy cabinet, eh?
For the record, Tottenham have 17 which drops to 13 if you remove the League Cup. They have won the league just twice.
Chelsea have eight from before Roman Abramovich started buying trophies and a total of 24 (19 if you remove League Cups). They have won the league six times, but managed that only once before Abramovich purchased the club.
Nobody was more surprised that Arsenal Football Club scored three against Chelsea on Boxing Day than Arsenal fans, increasing our goals scored in the Premier League by a full 25%.
Still, just because there haven’t been many goals scored, that doesn’t mean there haven’t been any good goals in the few we managed.
Quite the opposite.
Here are 10 of them, courtesy of Arsenal themselves:
Liverpool announced their £75m deal for van Dijk in December 2017 ahead of a January transfer move. I think we can all say it was money well spent when you consider that he’s still only 29 and they’ve already won the Champions League and the Premier League with him in their back line.
He was also named UEFA’s Best Player in Europe, 2019.
Arsenal have never spent that much on a single player, no matter what position, and, until Nicolas Pepe was purchased in 2019 for an inflated £72m, the most they had paid for a player was the £57.4m they gave Borussia Dortmund for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s services.
Spending big at the back just isn’t something Arsenal have done and it has cost them.
So how much have Arsenal spent on their most expensive defenders?
The transfer fees listed are courtesy of transfermarkt.co.uk.
Arsenal signed Laurent Koscielny from FC Lorient in 2010. Although he had a tough start to life in North London, the Frenchman went on to become one of the top centre-backs in the league. For such a cheap price, this was certainly a fantastic signing by the Gunners.
It’s incredibly sad that his career ended at Arsenal the way it did and for that a lot of blame must lie at the feet of the management team in place at that time.
In time, he will be remembered correctly.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst arrived at Arsenal from Rangers for the not-inconsiderable sum of £12.15m in 2001. In his first season he played 32 times for Arsenal, scoring one and assisting three. In his second season he played 31 games with one goal and seven assists but his time at the club was up.
Just two years after signing for Arsenal, he was off on loan to Barcelona before moving there permanently for free in 2004.
Three seasons, 154 appearances, seven goals and 18 assists in Spain was followed by another free transfer, this time back home to Feyenoord, the club van Bronckhorst had joined when he was just 18.
Van Bronckhorst retired from playing in 2010 and is currently the manager of Guangzhou R&F.
A few years after Koscielny, Gabriel joined the club from Villarreal. He had his moments in an Arsenal shirt, but generally never seemed to settle and was a little bit bonkers.
Eventually, after winning two FA Cups and making 64 appearances, the Brazilian returned to Spain.
At the time, this seemed like a great signing for a relatively small fee. The Gunners had lost Bacary Sagna to Manchester City, and Mathieu Debuchy seemed like a younger and similarly capable option.
However, a long-term injury saw Hector Bellerín take the Frenchman’s place in the team and Debuchy never stopped whinging about it whenever he managed to get fit.
With no intention of fighting this young upstart for a place, Debuchy moved to Saint-Etienne in 2018 on a free transfer after Arsenal cancelled his contract to shut him up.
Overall, Debuchy is one of those signings that leaves you wondering what could’ve been and might even be viewed as a ‘sliding doors’ transfer.
What would have happened had Marko Aranautovic not shoved him unnecessarily into the advertising hoardings? Where would Debuchy be now?
More importantly, where would Bellerin be?
What to make of the Greek defender?
There is no doubt he has the passion but does he have the talent? Not £14.4m worth, that’s for sure, as evidenced by the fact that he’s only worth £3.6m (it was £7.2m in the summer) now despite being worth £18m when we first bought him.
Isn’t even in the squad this season.
Calum Chambers joined Arsenal in the same summer as Gabriel and Debuchy. For a while, he looked like the only defensive success story of that window when the Gunners signed the 19-year-old (now 25) from Southampton to play right-back.
Although he started well, the Englishman never hit the heights we hoped and ended up on loan at Middlesbrough and Fulham. He really made the most of those loans, proving himself as a capable centre-back and even being voted Fulham’s Player of the Season.
At Arsenal, however, he has not done enough and the club wanted to sell him, even with his knee injury.
Arsenal fought off tough competition to sign Gabriel from Lille, convincing the player to take less money because he believed in Mikel Arteta’s project more than the one going on at Manchester United.
Thrown straight into the side, he scored a debut goal and has looked like he has played in this league for years unlike many of his colleagues who actually have.
I’m fairly sure we can say at this point we will all look back at Kieran Tierney’s signing as one of the bargains of the century, if he can sort his hips out.
The 19-year-old was signed by Arsenal from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2019 but spent all of 19/20 on loan with his childhood club.
At the time of writing, we haven’t got to see much of Saliba in an Arsenal shirt, but big things are expected if Arteta would only give him a chance.
Mustafi is Arsenal’s most expensive defender by far, costing over twice as much as Chambers and he shouldn’t have cost anything close to £37m.
He joined as a World Cup winner and a regular from a top-five league with Valencia, but hasn’t lived up to the hype. If anything, he’s gone out of his way to avoid any and all hype around him whatsoever and his tendency to dive in, ignoring the dangers of doing so, is legendary.
Just as he was starting to look like the defender we all thought we’d signed in 2016, his hamstring ripped from the bone and that was that.
The club tried to to sell him but couldn’t.
He’s out of contract in the summer along with quite a few others.
If Mikel Arteta wants his side to play flowing attacking football and use the width of the pitch to full effect, Kieran Tierney looks like he is an excellent capture.
The Scot, however, has high standards to live up to if he wants to be one of the best left-backs in Arsenal’s history as there have been a number of top players to represent the club in that position.
This one will be worth asking your parents about if you don’t remember him yourself.
Sansom arrived at Arsenal in 1980 and turned out to be one of the best left-backs of his era.
He joined from Crystal Palace as a replacement for Sammy Nelson and had everything required to be a class act for the club.
Sansom could get up and down the line while being able to both attack and defend. He had pace and poise on the ball, always able to pick out a pass.
His eight seasons at the club saw him make 394 appearances and also become a key player for England.
Sansom moved to Newcastle in 1988 and also played for QPR, Coventry and Everton after being picked up on a free transfer before retiring.
Eddie Hapgood was a player who, upon arrival, was considered too small and frail to play for the Gunners so the former milkman was forced by Arsenal trainer Tom Whittaker to take up extra weight training and let go of his vegan diet in order to bulk up.
Hapgood would end up becoming a player known for his athleticism and played 393 times for the Gunners as well as earning 30 caps for England – not bad for a player signed from Kettering.
If Arsenal are going to return to the summit of the English game and win the Premier League they need to have a strong, reliable backline. Right now, no one is convinced the Gunners can challenge for the crown with football betting markets having them at 40/1 to win the Premier League.
Nigel Winterburn won three top division titles while at Arsenal and was part of a famous back four that contained Steve Bould, Tony Adams and Lee Dixon.
Martin Keown also joined to give Arsenal a formidable defence that helped them win the Cup Winner’s Cup in 1994, beating Parma 1-0 in the final.
Arguably the most naturally gifted left-back ever to play for Arsenal, his time with the club was immensely successful, winning two Premier League titles and three FA Cups but his departure left a bitter taste in the mouth of the fans.
Ashley Cole on what his favourite medal is. pic.twitter.com/45aMJPGUbc
— Arsenal FC News (@ArsenalFC_fl) February 4, 2019
He is famously quoted for his anger at ‘only’ being offered a contract renewal worth £55,000 per week.
Cole signed for Chelsea for £5m plus William Gallas in the summer of 2006, just beating the transfer deadline to get the deal done.
Despite this, the England star who picked up 107 caps was still one of Arsenal’s greatest to grace the left side of defence.
Perhaps the first thing that jumps out at you is how the largest fees have all come in recent years which, I guess isn’t much of a surprise. Still, it’s glaring.
12 of the top 14 are still at Arsenal and the other two are Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
15 of the top 50 still play for the club and if you count working for the club that rises to 20 with Mikel Arteta, Edu, Per Mertesacker and Ambassadors, Robert Pires and Lauren all on the list.
Arsenal have also only spent over £20m 13 times.
To put that in context, Chelsea have spent over £20m 36 times, Manchester City 35, Manchester United 31, Liverpool 21 and Spurs 13 also.
The team we’ve given the most money to is Lille, handing over a total of £106m for Gervinho, Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel.
They’re also one of three clubs we’ve bought three players from in our top 50. The others are Borussia Dortmund and Southampton.
We’ve bought two from the top 50 from the same club five times – Chelsea, Everton, Malaga, Manchester United and Marseille.
from Borussia Dortmund
from Inter Milan
from Werder Bremen
from Dinamo Zagreb
from FC Koln
from Borussia Dortmund
from Zenit St. Petersburg
from Deportivo La Coruna
from Manchester United
from Bayer Leverkusen
from Manchester United
from Borussia Monchengladbach
from Real Madrid
from Borussia Dortmund
As an Arsenal supporter, to see the Invincibles tag applied to any team who happens to go a few games unbeaten is irritating, having watched Arsenal undefeated for real. That’s not to say that those teams aren’t good, but I often feel that the magnitude of Arsenal’s 49 game unbeaten run is often forgotten; that the achievement itself is played down as something that any team is capable of doing, never mind the fact that it’s an incredibly rare feat to pull off in professional football, so rare in fact that agen bola almost seems like free money.
That may be where the hunger from the media to see a new Invincibles comes from. We were only ten games into the last Premier League season when Manchester City were being bigged up for an unbeaten season, just because they happen to be having an easy time of it. Pep Guardiola and his players, at least, understood there was little point in entertaining any ideas about going the whole year unbeaten.
While they were distancing themselves from the idea, I was reminded of something Arsene Wenger said back in 2002. Arsenal had gone a whole season without losing away from home, and had started the 02/03 campaign in fine form. The idea that Arsenal could go a whole season unbeaten was in its infancy, but nonetheless existed as early as then. Rather than shy away from the possibility, Wenger, emboldened as he was by his team’s quality, embraced it.
“It’s not impossible as A.C. Milan once did it but I can’t see why it’s so shocking to say it,” he said. “Do you think Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea don’t dream that as well? They’re exactly the same. They just don’t say it because they’re scared to look ridiculous, but nobody is ridiculous in this job as we know anything can happen.”
Wenger did end up looking ridiculous, at least temporarily. Arsenal lost to Everton in October, when a certain 16-year-old Wayne Rooney popped up with a last minute screamer to kill the run before it even got going. Arsenal would go on to lose the title to Manchester United that season, and the thought of a season undefeated was put aside.
The run of 49, though, had its origins in the tail end of that campaign. Robert Pires and Jermaine Pennant both scored hat-tricks as Arsenal swept aside Southampton 6-1 at Highbury, before closing the season with a 4-0 win at Sunderland, thanks to another hat-trick, this time from Freddie Ljungberg. If nothing else, the games were a reminder of the immense quality Arsenal had.
By now, you could probably name the Invincibles team off by heart. Jens Lehmann, Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure, Lauren, Ashley Cole, Patrick Vieira, Gilberto Silva, Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry, lined-up in a 4-4-1-1 formation. Tellingly, only Jens Lehmann was a new addition going into the 2003/04 season. In typical Wenger fashion, Arsenal’s response to losing out on the title wasn’t to go out in the summer and spend millions on reinforcements, but to rely on what he already had at his disposal getting even better.
The season began with four straight wins over Everton, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Manchester City. There was a stumble at home to Portsmouth, as they held Arsenal to a 1-1 draw, before the first big test: a trip to the champions, Manchester United.
That game turned out to be one of the most infamous in Premier League history. The “Battle of Old Trafford”, as it became to be known, saw two teams who genuinely hated each other spend most of the game fouling one another (overall, 31 fouls were committed by both teams) before setting off a mass brawl after the final whistle. The flash point was the antics of United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, who managed to get Patrick Vieira sent off by provoking him into a second yellow card. Hence, when the Dutchman stepped up and missed a late penalty, the Arsenal players wasted little time in confronting him.
In the aftermath, Arsenal were fined £175,000, and several players were banned. Lauren was suspended for four games, Martin Keown got three games while Vieira and Ray Parlour got one each. Meanwhile, the rather fortunate fact that van Nistelrooy, a top striker in his day, missed his penalty meant that Arsenal were still unbeaten in the league.
Having escaped Old Trafford with a point, and with several players suspended, Arsenal rallied to win their next three games against Newcastle, Liverpool and Chelsea. A draw at Charlton followed, before three more wins against Leeds, Tottenham, and Birmingham. By this point, Arsenal had played most of the would-be title contenders and teams most likely to finish in the European spaces, yet still hadn’t lost. The unbeaten run at this stage was 15 games long.
By January, Arsenal were still unbeaten. Ominously for the rest of the league, it was this point that the team entered its best spell of form. Between January 10th and March 20th, Arsenal won nine straight league games. An unbeaten season wasn’t the only possibility, as an unprecedented treble was also on the cards.
Regrettably, that prospect came crashing down in the space of a week. Arsenal were eliminated from the FA Cup by Manchester United before, days later, Chelsea upset them in the Champions League quarter-final. Having taken two significant punches, Arsenal were teetering going into the game against Liverpool at Highbury.
It was this game against Liverpool that gave everyone at Arsenal the belief that the unbeaten season was possible. Sami Hypia gave the visitors the lead after just five minutes, and Henry’s equaliser was cancelled out by a Michael Owen goal before half-time. The team pulled themselves together during the break, and produced a second-half comeback that would generate enough momentum to carry them through to the end of the season. Pires equalised four minutes into the second half. Henry then embarked on a solo run through the heart of the Liverpool defence and gave Arsenal the lead. He then completed his hat-trick in the 78th minute. Doubts about Arsenal’s character were well and truly quashed.
A week later, the Premier League title was within sight. Leeds visited Highbury and were blitzed by a rampant Henry, who scored four goals in what many consider to be his best performance in an Arsenal shirt. The team just needed one more point to secure the title with four games to spare, and the venue couldn’t have been more perfect.
Arsenal had won the league at White Hart Lane before, way back in 1971. Still, nothing will dilute the pleasure of winning the league in your rival’s backyard. Goals from Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires, scored in typically sweeping Arsenal style, gave us an early two goal lead. Spurs came back in the second half with goals from Jamie Redknapp and Robbie Keane to level the game at 2-2, but it didn’t matter. Arsenal were champions again.
Henry didn’t score that day, but he did have an amusing anecdote to share.
“We had orders from the police not to over celebrate if we win the title there (White Hart Lane),” he told Sky Sports.
“In all fairness everyone said ‘okay we understand,’ because it might goo to far. So you know the story, we went 2-0 up. Then they came back and Jens Lehmann did what Jens Lehmann did sometimes, but then they came back into the game and drew the game 2-2.
“They started to celebrate like they had won the league, so then I said ‘hang on a minute wait,’ they didn’t actually realise that we just needed a point to be champions. I don’t understand.
“So, then I said to Ashley Cole ‘when the referee blows the whistle, now we’re going to celebrate, because we wanted to be humble about it at the beginning of the game, but you’re going to celebrate a draw, really, at your place when we need a point to win the league.”
With the league title done and dusted, it would have been easy for the squad to switch off and coast through the final four games of the season. In fact, they very nearly did precisely that. The following game at home to Birmingham was a drab 0-0, before the record came under significant threat at Fratton Park against Portsmouth. With Arsenal trailing, they had to rely on young January signing Jose Antonio Reyes to get back into the game. Reyes’ arrival at the club proved significant, as he went on to score the winner against Fulham in the penultimate game of the season. There was just one game to go.
Leicester at home, on paper, looked a breeze. But of course, in typical dramatic style, the underdogs took the lead on 26 minutes through former Arsenal striker Paul Dickov. Arsenal threw everything at Leicester, but couldn’t find a way through in the first half. Things would change quickly in the second half. Ashley Cole latched onto a trademark Bergkamp pass and was bundled over by Frank Sinclair in the penalty area. Henry stepped up and planted the ball into the bottom corner, becoming the first Arsenal player to score 30 league goals for 56 years in the process. In the 66th minute, Vieira fittingly gave Arsenal the lead, running onto a Bergkamp through pass, rounding the keeper and passing into an empty net. The game ended. Arsenal’s record stood at won 26, drawn 12, lost 0.
It’s been argued since that day that the achievement wasn’t all that special, because the standard of opposition wasn’t as high as it is now. However, there’s one very simple reason why it was a very special and incredible achievement: no team had done it for over 100 years. There have too many great teams in that time to count, but none of them were able to do what Arsenal did.
Having reached such a significant landmark, it would have, again, been so easy for Arsenal to relax and get complacent. The summer came and went, and the team regrouped to target a new record: Nottingham Forest’s 42 game unbeaten run, the longest run without defeat in English football. Arsenal need to avoid defeat in just three more games.
A 4-1 win at Everton got the 2004/05 season off to a flier. Middlesbrough then visited Highbury for the first home game of the season. Henry’s deft lob over Mark Schwarzer gave Arsenal an expected lead, but then the unexpected happened: Arsenal looked like losing. Middlesbrough equalised before half-time. Then, in the second half, Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink gave the visitors the lead. Three minutes later, Franck Queudrue took advantage of some dubious Lehmann positioning to put Middlesbrough 3-1 ahead. It looked like Arsenal were going to slip up right at the end.
This, though, was a side of hardened winners possessing bundles of ability. Bergkamp got a goal back straight away. Ten minutes later, Pires grabbed the equalier. Resurgent, Bergkamp set-up Reyes to hammer Arsenal into the lead, before Henry sealed the result with a fifth. The following week, Arsenal broke Forest’s record in rather more relaxing fashion with a 3-0 win over Blackburn.
The run continued for six more games, reaching 49 games – the number that is proudly sung by Arsenal supporters on the road. The run came to end in highly controversial circumstances at Old Trafford, but nobody has come close to threatening it since. Billions of pounds have been spent on players, and top class managers have come and gone, yet still the run endures. And until a club manages to get close to matching it, nobody should ever underestimate what an achievement it was, nor how special it was to see Arsenal undefeated.