Upset Arsenal player

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Things are certainly looking rather rosy in the Gunners’ garden as we move towards the closing stages of the 2023/24 Premier League campaign. Sitting pretty in third place in the Premier League and only two points off the top, Mikkel Arteta’s men are firmly involved in what promises to be a thrilling three-way race for the title.

One of the main hallmarks of Arsenal’s spectacular performances in the early months of 2024 has been their overwhelming attacking might, with the north London club sweeping sides aside on a wave of goals. A six-match spell between January and February, saw the Gunners blast in no fewer than 25 goals, leaving Newcastle United, Crystal Palace, Burnley, and especially West Ham United, in tatters.

However, it hasn’t always been this way. Arsenal may have been pretty entertaining under Arsène Wenger, but the George Graham era was typified by stodgy, low-scoring affairs – giving rise to the chant of “1-0 to the Arsenal”. And then we come to the subject of this article – those occasions when not only were Arsenal not up too much in attack but also fell to pieces at the back. After examining Arsenal’s Biggest Ever Wins in another post, we now present Arsenal’s most humiliating hammerings.

Biggest Defeat in All Competitions

12 December 1896, Second Division: Loughborough F.C. 8 – 0 Woolwich Arsenal

When thinking of which side may have handed Arsenal their biggest battering over the years, you earn a gold star if you came up with the name of Loughborough F.C. It was on a stormy afternoon back in 1896 that Arsenal (then going by the name of Woolwich Arsenal) travelled to Loughborough for a Second Division fixture, only to return home drenched, downcast, and embarrassed, as their hosts rattled in four goals in each half – in addition to having two strikes ruled out. Arsenal gained their revenge when beating Loughborough 12-0 in 1900, shortly before Loughborough went out of business, never to return.

Biggest Defeats in the Premier League

Premier League logo28 August 2011: Manchester United 8 – 2 Arsenal

It would be over 100 years before Arsenal would again concede eight goals. Unfortunately for Gunners fans, this capitulation came at the home of one of their most hated rivals. The bitterest of enemies almost since the formation of the Premier League – and particularly during Arsene Wenger’s peak years – the sides appeared to be heading in opposite directions ahead of this early season fixture.

Despite that appearance, few could have predicted what would follow. Wayne Rooney grabbed a hattrick, Ashley Young bagged a brace, and Danny Welbeck, Nani, and Park Ji-Sung completed the carnage. “Humiliating” according to Wenger. Manchester United’s greatest Premier League game, according to Red Devils fans in a 2017 poll.

22 March 2017: Chelsea 6 – 0 Arsenal

This Eastertime fixture ought to have represented a celebration for Arsene Wenger, as his 1,000th Premier League match in charge took him to Stamford Bridge to take on José Mourinho and Chelsea. To say the party didn’t go to plan would be an understatement. Referee Andre Marriner sent off Kieran Gibbs in a case of mistaken identity as Oscar (twice), Eden Hazard, Samuel Eto, Andre Schurrle, and Mohamed Salah put the Gunners to the sword.

Biggest FA Cup Defeats

FA Cup logo21 January 1893, First Round: Sunderland 6 – 0 Royal Arsenal

The late 19th century appears to have been a bleak time for the Gunners. Three years before their biggest-ever defeat, Royal Arsenal made the long trip to Sunderland for a first-round FA Cup clash and probably wished they hadn’t bothered.

28 January 1899, First Round: Woolwich Arsenal 0 – 6 Derby County

Six years on, a name change to Woolwich Arsenal did little to alter the club’s fortunes in England’s premier cup competition. Derby County were the villains on this occasion – handing Arsenal their biggest-ever home defeat in any competition.

5 January 1946, Third Round: West Ham United 6 – 0 Arsenal

Arsenal’s 6-0 riot at the London Stadium stands out as one of the most eye-catching results of the 2023/24 Premier League season. Things were a little different in 1946 at the Hammers’ traditional home of Upton Park – when a Dave Dunmore hattrick inspired the Clarets to provide another entry into the Gunners’ catalogue of FA Cup embarrassments.

Biggest League Cup Defeats

11 November 1998, Fourth Round: Arsenal 0 – 5 Chelsea

Having scraped past Derby County in the third round, Arsenal were handed a home clash with their London rivals for a place in the quarter-finals. Continuing his policy of fielding a borderline second-string side in this competition, Wenger paid the price as Chelsea caused chaos. It was tight at the break, with only a Frank Leboeuf penalty separating the sides, but second-half doubles from Gianluca Vialli and Gus Poyet ensured a miserable evening for the majority at Highbury.

Biggest European Defeats

UEFA Winners' Cup4 November 2015, Champions League Group Stage: Bayern Munich 5 – 1 Arsenal

Arsenal managed to escape Group F in 2015/16, but not without a few hiccups. Narrow defeats to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos were disappointing, but it was the German giants Bayern who made the Gunners suffer the most, with goals from Thomas Muller (2), Robert Lewandowski, Arjen Robben, and David Alaba.

15 February 2017, Champions League Last 16: Bayern Munich 5 – 1 Arsenal

Two years on, Arsenal sauntered through the Group phase with an unbeaten record. Hopes were high heading into the last 16 clash with Bayern but those hopes were extinguished in double quick time. Robben, Lewandoski, and Muller were all on the scoresheet again, this time joined by Thiago, who bagged a brace, as the German champions all but ended the tie in the first leg.

7 March 2017, Champions League Last 16: Bayern Munich 5 – 1 Arsenal

Perhaps things would go better for Arsenal back at the Emirates? Then again, maybe not. Robben and Lewandowski grabbed their usual goals, alongside Douglas Costa and two from Arturo Vidal. Bayern through, 10-2 on aggregate, the Gunners well and truly humbled.

15 February 2012, Champions League Last 16: AC Milan 4 – 0 Arsenal

Arsenal’s away form in Europe would plague the side on many of their Champions League adventures. One of the first to expose the defensive shortcomings of the Gunners were the Italian giants AC Milan, thanks to strikes from Kevin-Prince Boateng, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and two for Robinho. On this occasion, Arsenal did nearly turn it around – winning 3-0 in the second leg – but it wasn’t quite enough.