Not even this chap could prevent Benfica's 77-78 Invincibles from somehow failing to win the league.

10 invincible teams that we can’t believe DIDN’T win the league title

You have to have something a bit different about you to be an invincible football team. Takes a mental fortitude you don’t often see.

Only two sides have ever managed an undefeated season in the men’s top flight of English football: Preston North End in the first ever official season of the old First Division, and Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal in 2003-04. Both teams won the title in those seasons, and you’d think that would be a given.

It’s not a guarantee, though.

We’ve picked out some of football’s unluckiest teams. Sides who played in the top division in their respective countries, went an entire season unbeaten, and still didn’t win the league title.

Obilic 1998-99

Now, we’re not sure if it’s possible to capitalise an asterisk, but consider this one ***ASTERISKED***.

At the time, Obilic were funded by warlord Arkan and his wife Ceca. Referees were apparently “escorted” to games by Arkan’s people, and militia would threated opposition players with firearms from the crowd…

One player even claimed he was locked in a garage when he was supposed to be playing against Obilic.

The problem for Obilic and Arkan is that Partizan also went unbeaten that season, and pipped Obilic to the title. Can’t imagine being so paranoid and ecstatic at the same time.

Atletico Mineiro 1977

The Brazilian football league system is complicated. Back in 1977, the 62 teams played three separate group stages plus a knockout tournament of playoffs. Sort of an NFL-ish type system, actually.

Atletico played 21 games, didn’t lost a single one, and finished 10 points ahead of Sao Paulo (it’s genuinely unfathomable — two points for a win and some sort of “bonus points” system…). Yet, Sao Paulo beat Atletico on penalties in the final after, according to all sources, kicking the sh*t out of them.

Joga bastardo.

Red Star Belgrade 2007-08

Aleksander Jankovic was appointed manager by Red Star at the start of the 2007-08 season. He went the entire league season without losing a game. Then he was sacked.

Should’ve won the league, shouldn’t he? Twelve draws? Not good enough. Don’t see Partizan drawing 12 games. Off you pop. Get that weak sh*t out of here.

Arsene Wenger holds the Premier League trophy during Arsenal title parade in 2004.
TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every player to appear for Arsenal in the Invincibles season?

Galatasaray 1985-86

They say defence wins titles, but we’re seeing a theme, here. Gala didn’t lose a game in 1985-86, but they drew almost half of their matches, meaning they finished level on points with Besiktas, but behind on goal difference.

Perugia 1978-79

I Grifoni have never won Serie A, but they have gone a full season without losing a game in it.

Sounds like a curse. There is dark magic at play, here. No doubt about it.

To be fair, Perugia drew 19 games and won 11 in 1978-79. Can’t be drawing 19 games and expecting to collect a medal at the end of it.

Benfica 1977-78

Speaking of curses, arguably Europe’s most famously cursed club, Benfica, produced an invincible season at the same time Fleetwood Mac were touring the Rumours album.

Rumour has it (as does the official league table) they lost the Primeira title to Porto on goal difference, despite only drawing nine games. You’d just fold the club, wouldn’t you?

Spartak Sofia 1951

Spartak only conceded 7 goals across their 22 Bulgarian A Group games in ’51. Unfortunately, they only scored 27. A lot of 1-0 to the Spratak in Bulgaria, that year.

CSKA Sofia, in contrast, also conceded 7 goals but scored 62. The Entertainers. CSKA won the title despite losing three games and, you know that, good for them — goals are class.

READ NEXT: Where are they now? The 14 fringe players from Arsenal’s Invincibles

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every player to score 10+ PL goals in 2003-04?

Rosenborg Women 2020

We’re going to throw a theory out there. If you’re an invincible team, you’re likely to be pretty defensively sturdy.

It’s extremely difficult to go unbeaten over a long stretch of matches by playing free-flowing football. Therefore, you’re probably not scoring loads of goals, and your goal difference is probably not massively advantageous.

The point is, if someone does equal you for points, there’s a good chance they’ve got a better goal difference than you as a result of being more adventurous in attack.

That’s what happened to Rosenborg in 2020 when Valarenga pipped them to the Norwegian Toppserien. Done by the GD. Take note, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Arsenal…

Al-Ahli 2014-15

Drew their last two games of the season, finished four points off Al-Nassr. We’re not going to say they bottled the title despite being literally invincible but…

Well, they sort of did, didn’t they?

Al Ahli now have Roberto Firmino, Allan Saint-Maximin, Roger Ibanez, Edouard Mendy, Franck Kessie, Gabri Veiga, and Merih Demiral on their books. Still only third in the league. Blimey.

CSMD Diables Noir 2012

Congo uses a Brazilian-esque system that ends up in end-of-season playoffs. The Black Devils were invincible until a final day penalty shootout loss to AC Leopards. You have to feel for them. Although they did beat those very same Leopards on pens the previous season. Swings and roundabouts.