Relax, Chelsea: 6 teams who bounced back from bad starts to challenge
1) Arsenal (2011/12)
Premier League common law used to state it was near impossible to do any real damage in the title race with more than three defeats on the board.
Having not threatened the league summit for some three years Arsenal, brow-beaten and in crisis, lost four times in their opening seven games of 2011/12, but this alone is only half the story.
As the club publicly floundered in the transfer market to the point of outright ridicule – they'd lost Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri to Barcelona and Manchester City respectively – Arsene Wenger oversaw the most humiliating sequence of defeats ever suffered by the red club of North London.
The 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford was the most painful moment of a spell that saw Liverpool win 2-0 at the Emirates and a 4-3 defeat to Blackburn. When Spurs won 2-1 at White Hart Lane in October, the Gunners’ remaining pride was washed away into the gutters of N17, along with any lingering title aspirations.
The turnaround was cumbersome and prolonged. At 1.15pm on February 26, Arsenal lagged in sixth, seven points behind Tottenham and were 2-0 down in the North London derby at the Emirates. But with the world as they knew it seemingly coming to an end, the gravitas of their plight suddenly struck for Wenger’s side, and a desperate effort was summoned to overcome their bitter rivals. They won 5-2, Harry Redknapp’s title dreams slipped away and so too did a place in the top four – while Arsenal squeaked into third, Chelsea's Champions League victory meant Spurs' spot was only good for the Europa League (more on that later).