Since the inaugural 1992-93 season of the Premier League, Arsenal have lifted the trophy on three occasions. This was first achieved during the 1997-98 season, then again in the 2001-02 campaign, and finally in 2003-04, in which they won the title without losing a single game, leading to the team being dubbed “The Invincibles”. This therefore means that, unfortunately for Arsenal fans, they have failed to regain the Premier League title for the last 18 years (and counting!), as the club’s league success has declined.
Who Was the Manager in Each of These Title-Winning Seasons?
Arsène Wenger remains the only Arsenal manager to lift the Premier League trophy, having been in charge for all three of their successful title campaigns. The Frenchman managed the club between 1996 and 2018 and became synonymous with the Gunners’ attacking mentality and free-flowing football, which spearheaded an exciting transformation in how the English game was played.
He was the first non-British manager to win a league title in England, and throughout his 22-year reign at the north London giants, he brought a number of world-class players from around the world to the Premier League. Footballers, such as Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp, who were not necessarily quite at that level when Wenger signed them, proved instrumental in Arsenal’s title successes. Wenger was also renowned for spotting young talent, developing a fine youth system at Monaco and very much doing the same at Arsenal. The academy that he built either helped develop, or signed at a very young age, a number of top players, such as Cesc Fabregas, Nicolas Anelka, Serge Gnabry, and more recently, the England and Arsenal winger, Bukayo Saka.
First Title (1997-98)
In the 1997-98 season, Wenger’s Arsenal finished top of the pile with 78 points, just one point ahead of Manchester United. Dennis Bergkamp was the club’s top scorer, notching 16 times, including a hat-trick against Leicester City, as well as providing 12 assists in the Premier League.
Those goal actions and his seemingly effortless style of play saw him win the PFA Player’s Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year for his starring role in securing the title. Wenger picked up Premier League Manager of the season, as Arsenal also lifted the FA Cup, becoming only the second team to win the domestic “double” twice.
Second Title (2001-02)
Arsenal’s second title came not long after, in the 2001-02 season, a campaign in which they finished with an impressive tally of 87 points, having only lost three games, and including an unbeaten away record. They also achieved the unique feat of scoring in every single league game, highlighting the attacking nature of Wenger’s side.
The title was clinched in the penultimate game of the season after a convincing 1-0 win at Old Trafford. This was just five days after they had lifted the FA Cup, representing a second domestic double for Wenger, and their best ever Premier League season, up to that point. The clinical Thierry Henry claimed the Golden Boot, netting 24 times, whilst fellow French ace Robert Pires finished top of the assists chart with a very impressive 15. Meanwhile, Wenger picked up his second Manager of the Season award, and sexy Swede Freddie Ljungberg claimed Premier League Player of the Season.
Third Title, “The Invincibles” (2003-04)
Arsenal’s third Premier League title came only two seasons later, and was accomplished without losing a single league game. They became the first English team ever to achieve this in a 38-game season. They finished on 90 points, with 26 wins, 12 draws and of course, zero defeats, winning the title by a massive 11 points, becoming the first team to do so since Preston North End in 1889.
Henry dominated the scoring charts, netting 30 times, earning the PFA Player’s Player of the Year for the second season in a row, establishing himself as one of the greatest players to ever grace the Premier League. Wenger also completed his hat-trick of Manager of the Season awards, a tally that only Sir Alex Ferguson has surpassed.
For all the recent brilliance of Pep Guardiola’s Man City and Liverpool, Arsenal’s feat (going the whole campaign unbeaten in the league) has never since been repeated. However, sadly for Arsenal supporters, the 2003-04 season remains the last time that Arsenal lifted the Premier League, with their league successes dwindling over recent years, despite Wenger’s consistency in finishing in the top 4 and achieving Champions League football. League performance has further declined since Wenger left in 2018, as Arsenal haven’t finished in the top 4 since the 2015-16 season, in which they finished second to the remarkable title-winning Leicester City side.
What Other Trophies Have Arsenal Won?
Arsenal have won a record 14 FA Cups, and this has been the trophy that they have been able to consistently win since that incredible Invincible season, achieving successes in 2013-14, 2014-15, 2016-17 and most recently, under Mikel Arteta, in the 2019-20 season. They have also won two League Cups and 16 Community/Charity Shields.
However, despite this extensive domestic success, Arsenal have consistently struggled in Europe, having never won the Champions League or Europa League, despite reaching the final of both. Their European titles therefore only consist of the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup in 1993-94, and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, which they won in the 1969-70 season.
How Many League Titles Have Arsenal Won in Total?
Arsenal have actually been around quite a bit longer than the Premier League era, having been founded in 1886 as Dial Square, so they’ve had quite a bit of time to pick up some silverware. They have won the First Division 10 times, which, added to their total of three Premier Leagues, gives them an impressive 13 league titles in the trophy cabinet.
All in all, Arsenal have won a total of 48 trophies, making them the third most successful club in English football, behind Manchester United and Liverpool. Despite their history, it seems that Arsenal are unlikely to win the Premier League any time soon though, having finished the 2021-22 season in a disappointing fifth place, narrowly missing out on the top four and the Champions League football it so attractively promises. What’s worse, it was local rivals Spurs who pipped them to fourth!
In terms of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal’s odds of lifting the title at the time of writing are set at a massive 50/1, which, compared to Manchester City’s odds of 4/6, highlights just how out of contention Arsenal are perceived to be. When considering that Arsenal have spent a total of £789 million on new players over the past decade, consistently finishing outside the top four and never really mounting serious title challenge for so long may seem highly disappointing. However, looking at the bigger picture the Gunners’ whopping total spend only places them in fifth, with Man City, Chelsea, Man Utd and Liverpool all spending more. But, of course, you can’t just buy success, right?