When Arsenal plunged Chelsea into a winless abyss

This day in football history

The 1987–1988 Chelsea squad

On 3 November 1987, Arsenal beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, starting the Blues’ club-record run of 21 league matches without a win.


It was a surprising turn for Chelsea. The club had started the season in fine form by winning six of its first nine matches. By the time the Gunners arrived in week 15, the Blues had suffered a small dip in form but were still sitting comfortably in 6th place. Meanwhile, the Gunners had gone on a tear, winning nine of their last 10 to arrive at Stamford Bridge in the top spot.

Arsenal proceeded to win 1–3, triggering a Chelsea slide that saw them go another 20 matches without a win (the last match in that series was a 1–1 draw with Arsenal). The miserable run of results cost manager — and former club captain — John Hollins his job in March of 1988. Chelsea finally recorded another win against Derby County on 9 April 1988, but it was their last league win of a season that ended in relegation.