20 Clubs in 20 Weeks: Arsenal
In a new weekly feature, we take a look at the clubs competing in the Premier League right now. This week we start with one of London's oldest and most successful clubs Arsenal.
Nickname: The Gunners (supports often called the Gooners)
Location: London, Middlesex, England
Current Ground: Emirated Stadium
Capacity: 60, 338
Last Year's Finish: 4th, Champions League 4th Round Qualifying
Arsenal are the oldest club in the top flight. They were founded in 1886 and turned pro, joining the Football League in it's infancy in 1888. They played in the Second Division before first earning promotion in 1902. They played there for 11 seasons before their relegation in 1913 to the Second Division. In 1915 the First Division voted on who to add to the top flight in a controversial move as the First Division expanded to 22 teams from 20. Arsenal were promoted and have been in the top flight ever since.
Arsenal's first big success started once Herbert Chapman took over as manager and in 1926 they finished 2nd in the First Division. In 1927 the Gunners made their first FA Cup final before finally winning it in 1930.
Arsenal soon after won their first top flight title in 1931, scoring 127 goals in the process. They lost the FA Cup Final controversially in 1932 and finished 2nd that season in the First Division before winning it again in 1933. Chapman suddenly and tragically died in 1934 with Joe Shaw taking the reigns. Shaw oversaw the 1934 and 1935 title winning squads before winning another FA Cup in 1936 and the First Division a 5th time in 1938.
World War II then suspended football until 1946, which saw Arsenal lose the FA Cup final, this time to West Ham. Two years later they won the First Division a 6th time before winning the FA Cup in 1950 and the First Division in 1953 on goal difference no less.
Arsenal then struggled, not winning any trophies for almost two decades before their FA Cup & First Division double in 1971. Arsenal finished runners-up in 1973 before their worst First Division finish in almost half a century in 1976 in 17th. under manager Terry Neill they turned things around, making 4 FA Cup Finals between 1976 & 1980, winning the cup in 1979.
When George Graham took over the club in 1986, Arsenal were on the decline before the former player managed to help guide the Gunners to their first League Cup in 1987 and another First Division title in 1989. The club's success really started to come to a forefront, winning the First Division title in 1991 and the FA Cup and League Cup double in 1993.
In 1996, the club was looking for a new manager and made a surprise appointment with Arsene Wenger taking charge of the club. Arsenal improved incredibly under his management, finishing 3rd in 1997 and missing out on the Champions League on goal difference. In 1998, Arsenal won the now Premier League & FA Cup double, repeating the feat in 2002. In 2003, Arsenal won the FA Cup before their 2004 Premier League title winning campaign solidified themselves as only the 2nd ever side in England to go the entire top flight season unbeaten, earning them the nickname "The Invincibles". They won the FA Cup in 2005 before making their first and only Champions League Final in 2006, a loss to Barcelona. Arsenal then went 9 years between trophies, having just won the FA Cup last season in May 2014.
Arsenal have been known for their attacking play and beautiful football style, including a lot of ticky-tack passes and never-ending flow. Their manager, Arsene Wenger is also still in charge of the club and is the longest tenured manager in the Premier League today. As of today, Arsenal sit 5th in the league and have qualified for the Champions League every year since their 1998-1999 season in the competition.