Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has claimed the Emirates Stadium is becoming a ‘fortress’ for the Gunners.
While it is debateable as to whether this is the case or not, sometimes there are places that opposing teams do not enjoy going and where the home side feel ultra confident.
Arsenal have lost just twice at Emirates Stadium this year and that is a decent record, but real fortresses are places where people go and nearly never lose.
A proper home fortress would have to make a team feel unbeatable and this has been borne out on a number of occasions.
So GMF have decided to bring the five top home fortresses, which basically translates as the longest unbeaten runs at home in Europe.
1) FC Nantes, 92 games, 1976-1981
The French side were famous for a slick style of attacking play that was named jeu à la nantaise and as developed under coach Jose Arribas. However, Arribas only contributed a month to the record and the arrival of Jean Vincent saw this famous style flourish. Their then stadium, Stade Malakoff, became a frightful away day for teams and a staggering five years without a loss went by before Auxerre managed to defeat them by a single goal on April 7 1981.
2) Torino FC, 89 games, 1943-1949
The famous ‘Il Grande Torino’ side of the 1940s was incredible in its domination of Italian football, when they won five consecutive Scudetti during the above years. At one point they even had ten of their starting XI for Italy's friendly with in 1947. The story ended horrifically, however, with the Superga Tragedy in May 1949, when a plane bringing the squad home from a friendly with Benfica and crashed into the Superga hill, just outside Torino and killed nearly all on board.
3) Chelsea, 86 games, 2004-2008
Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Chelsea sparked a period of domination in the Premier League and this was mostly notably seen in their form at Stamford Bridge. They went four years without being beaten at home, ended in October 2008 when a Xabi Alonso goal won the game. Mourinho’s personal record went on after leaving the Blues, eventually ending after nine years and 150 games when Sporting Gijon shocked Real Madrid at the Bernabeu a year ago.
4) Celtic, 77 games, 2001-2004
Martin O’Neill made his name in English football as manager of Leicester City by taking them straight back in to the Premier League and securing four consecutive top ten finishes, but it was at Celtic where he made his biggest mark. Winning three titles, three Scottish cups and a UEFA Cup final defeat to Jose Mourinho’s Porto. They went three years unbeaten at Celtic Park, ended in a 1-2 loss to Aberdeen.
5) Bayern Munich, 73 games, 1970-1974
This astonishing run began with the appointment of new manager Udo Lattek, who took over from the legendary Branko Zebec – the first manager to guide a team to a league and cup double in the Bundesliga era. Lattek won the German Cup in his first season and then the next three Bundesliga titles, as well as consecutive European Cup triumphs. This record run took place on what is know as the ‘Golden Years’ between 1965-79.
There is a list of genuine fortresses, but we want to hear of more accounts when it comes to away stadiums.
What is the most intimidating ground you have ever been to? Or which ground do you think can best be described as a ‘fortress’?
Leave a comment below to join the debate…
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