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The 10 Worst Teams in Premier League History



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The 10 Worst Teams in Premier League History

With the recent departure of Chris Wilder, Sheffield United’s dismal campaign shows no sign of getting any better.

Former Leeds and Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom has been appointed as interim manager until the end of the season, assisted by ex-Bournemouth manager Jason Tindall. Though results have not improved, with a 5-0 hammering away at Leicester, a 2-0 defeat in the FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea and a 2-1 away loss to Leeds.

Whilst the season is not yet complete, the Blades look on track to seal their place in the ten worst Premier League teams of all time with just fourteen points from twenty-nine fixtures. But who else will they join on that list?

With that in mind, we take a look at the ten worst teams in Premier League history.


10. Fulham – 2018/2019

Points – 26

Slaviša Jokanović led Fulham to promotion following a twenty-three game unbeaten run in the 2017/2018 championship season. Though they did it the hard way. After spurning the chance to win automatic promotion on the final day of the season, the Cottagers went up through the play-offs after overcoming Derby County and Aston Villa in the semi-final and final respectively.

Owner Shahid Khan provided Jokanović with a war chest of over £100 million although there is debate over who exactly had control of incomings in the summer of 2018. In came, Maxime Le Marchand, Jean Michaël Seri, Fabri, Aleksandar Mitrović, Alfie Mawson, Joe Bryan and André-Frank Zambo Anguissa on permanent deals. Whilst André Schürrle, Calum Chambers, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Sergio Rico and Luciano Vietto arrived on loan.

After a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool and just one win in twelve games, Jokanović was sacked and replaced by Claudio Ranieri who returned to English football for the first time since he guided Leicester City to a miraculous Premier League title.

But Ranieri’s return to English football was far less successful than his previous spell with just three wins in sixteen matches. A negative style of football and questionable team selections led to mass supporter criticism and Ranieri was sacked. With the club all-but relegated and ten points from safety, current manager Scott Parker was installed into a caretaker role to try and regain some pride.

Parker oversaw three consecutive wins which sees Fulham much higher on this list than they may have found themselves if Ranieri remained in charge. However, in an ultimately disappointing season, the Whites finished with twenty-six points.


9. Sunderland – 2016/2017

Points – 24

With Sam Allardyce taking the England job in the summer of 2016, Sunderland owner Ellis Short was once again on the lookout for a new manager after Allardyce saved the club from relegation.

Short gave David Moyes his first job in English football since leaving Manchester United in 2014, though the Scotsman struggled throughout his time on Wearside.

With Short looking to restrict the amount of money he was investing into the club, funds were somewhat limited for summer signings in comparison to most other Premier League clubs. But the £25 million that was spent in the summer, could have been utilised more wisely, with Moyes gambling on the additions of Didier N’Dong, Papy Djilobodji, Donald Love, and Paddy McNair. The former Everton boss also attempted to reassemble his Toffees side from 2009 with the additions of Steven Pienaar, Victor Anichebe and Joleon Lescott. Loan additions Adnan Januzaj, Jason Denayer and Javier Manquillo all failed to make an impression too.

The first ten games of the season set the trend for the Black Cats as the club went winless before consecutive wins against Bournemouth and Hull City, which was quickly followed up by an impressive 2-1 win over champions Leicester City.

There were glimpses of ability with draws against Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool as well as a 4-0 away win against Crystal Palace. But a lack of consistency saw the club remain in the relegation zone from the fourth game of the season. The loss of Patrick van Aanholt in January was a blow to a dejected Moyes who paid a questionable fee of over £7 million for Bryan Oviedo and Darren Gibson to revive the survival bid.

With the club relegated at the end of April, there was a consolation 2-0 away win at Hull City but the Black Cats were relegated with just twenty-four points to their name.


8. Watford – 1999/2000

Points – 24

Watford legend Graham Taylor once more worked his magic at Vicarage Road in the late 20th century by taking the Hornets from the third division of English football to the Premier League in consecutive seasons.

Despite a relatively strong start to the 1999/2000 Premier League campaign which saw the club beat Liverpool and Chelsea in their first eight games, the top-flight proved a level too far for Taylor’s men with many of the players having played in the third tier just two seasons previously.

Then owner Elton John spent £3.4 million on new signings including the addition of striker Heiðar Helguson who remained at the club for six years.

Lack of consistency saw the Hornets remain in the relegation zone from the twelfth game of the season onwards with occasional wins not providing a solid base for survival with Taylor’s side failing to make use of momentum.

Watford finished twelve points off seventeenth placed Bradford City with a then-record low of twenty-four points, though in the context of this list that number doesn’t seem too dreadful.


7. Norwich City – 2019/2020

Points – 21

Whilst the Canaries have bounced up and down between the Championship and the Premier League in recent times, Daniel Farke was not expected to guide his side to promotion in the 2018/2019 season following a fourteenth placed finish in the previous campaign.

Farke’s German-heavy squad cruised to the title in style by finishing five points clear at the top of the table and playing attractive, attacking football with Finnish striker Teemu Pukki scoring twenty-nine league goals.

Although only former Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul and long-serving midfielder Alex Tettey had major Premier League experience in the squad. But Farke and highly rated sporting director Stuart Webber failed to add top-level know-how that would have boosted their survival prospects.

Whilst finances remained tight throughout the summer, notable additions Josip Drmić, Patrick Roberts, Ralf Fährmann and Ibrahim Amadou all failed to make meaningful contributions in the 2019/2020 season.

Norwich’s intentions and style of play were evident from the very start of the campaign with the Canaries having an aggregate score of 6-8 in their first three fixtures. Though they shocked the country by beating reigning champions Manchester City 3-2 in only their fifth game of the season. Pukki also initially impressed with six goals in five games.

Farke and co had to wait seven games for their next win and that proved to be the story of their season. Despite taking further points off Arsenal, Spurs and Leicester the club failed to win consecutive games and like many on this list couldn’t string results together to gain momentum for a survival battle.

The Canaries were six points from safety with a slight chance of survival when COVID-19 forced the Premier League season to stop, but the club didn’t win a single game following project restart and eventually finished fourteen points from safety with a tally of just twenty-one points.


6. Sunderland – 2002/2003

Points – 19

If featuring once on this list isn’t worse enough, the 2002/2003 Sunderland side ensure that the Black Cats appear twice in this line-up. The club’s poor late-season form from the 2001/2002 campaign stretched into the 2002/2003 season and they never fully recovered.

After Peter Reid took the Black Cats to the Premier League in 1999, they recorded commendable back-to-back finishes of seventh. Niall Quinn’s strike partnership with Kevin Phillips won plaudits with the latter scoring thirty goals in the 1999/2000 season to win the European Golden Shoe.

Though a poor second half of the 2001/2002 campaign saw the club narrowly avoid relegation and finish 17th. Reid spent £6.75 million on former Chelsea striker Tore André Flo and £3.25 million on Marcus Stewart to add firepower to a side that had only scored twenty-nine goals the previous year. Summer spending also broke the £16 million mark with the further additions of Stephen Wright and Matt Piper.

Despite only losing one of their first four fixtures, the Black Cats failed to put a significant run form together with Reid being sacked after a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal. He was surprisingly replaced by Howard Wilkinson who had been away from club management for six years.

Wilkinson went four games unbeaten over October and November including a 2-0 win against Tottenham and a valuable point at Anfield. Despite beating Gérard Houllier’s side just under a month after their previous meeting, the 2-1 win in December proved to be Sunderland’s last of the season.

Wilkinson was also sacked in March having failed to pick up a win in 2003 whilst his relationship with the fans soured. Mick McCarthy was handed the opportunity to pull off an escape act though the former Republic of Ireland manager failed to pick up a point in the nine remaining games.

In total, the club went twenty games without a win and lost their final fifteen games of the season which broke the Premier League record for consecutive defeats. Their end of a season total of only nineteen points is surely Sunderland’s worst-ever Premier League campaign, right?


5. Sheffield United – 2020/2021

Points – 17 (PROJECTED ON PPG)

The 2020/2021 season has been a thoroughly dismal one for everybody involved with Sheffield United.

With boyhood Blades fan Chris Wilder leading the club from League One to the Premier League, United were written off by the majority who expected a return to the Championship instantly. Though the former Northampton and Oxford United boss proved the doubters wrong with a superb ninth-placed finish. The Blades were only five points off the Champions League places prior to lockdown and finished only two points behind FA Cup winners Arsenal. It couldn’t get much better for the Bladesmen.

With Wilder’s heart-on-sleeve management style and his squad’s work ethic winning admirers, the club was not expected to struggle throughout the 2020/2021 campaign.

But the first stumbling block that the Blades faced was replacing Dean Henderson, who had served the club so well across two loan spells. He was replaced with Aaron Ramsdale who has faced criticism this season. Wilder then lost defensive colossal Jack O’Connell for the season with a recurring knee injury, whilst John Egan, another vital part of the defence that conceded fewer goals than Tottenham, Chelsea and Leicester last season, suffered a foot injury in February.

Midfield duo John Fleck and Sander Berge also sustained major injuries to further disrupt the rhythm of the team and John Lundstram’s loss of form since turning down a new contract has also hindered his side.

Whilst summer recruitment has also disappointed at Bramall Lane. With the aforementioned Ramsdale struggling, the former Bournemouth keeper has failed to justify the reported £18 million United spent on him. With his side desperate for additional firepower Wilder opted to bring in the potential of Rhian Brewster for £20 million though the England Under-21’s forward is yet to show his ability on the big stage. The double acquisition of Derby County full-backs Jayden Bogle and Max Lowe can also be questioned though the former has impressed occasionally.

The Blades finally won their first game of the season on the eighteenth attempt having only gained two points from the previous seventeen fixtures. A shock 2-1 victory at Old Trafford followed with a potential great escape in the pipeline. But United failed to put a consistent run of results together in order to avoid relegation, and news broke after a 2-0 defeat to Southampton that Wilder would leave his position after five years in charge.

Owner Prince Abdullah even claimed that Wilder attempted to resign twice but demanded a £4 million compensation package before finally leaving the club. Whilst there is still football to be played anything can happen, but it is increasingly likely the club will end up on this list.


4. Aston Villa – 2015/2016

Points – 17

Having finished the 2014/2015 season with three wins from the final six games- including an impressive performance at the Etihad in one of those losses- there was a sense of optimism amongst Aston Villa fans heading into the 2015/2016 campaign under Tim Sherwood.

Though departures throughout pre-season were a sign of things to come. Club captain Fabian Delph left, despite claiming just a week earlier that he was committed to staying at the club. Experienced defender Ron Vlaar turned down a new contract and prolific goal scorer Christian Benteke joined Liverpool for a reported fee of £32.5 million.

This left Sherwood with funds to rejuvenate his squad, however, recruitment is where the club struggled. Micah Richards joined on a free transfer from Manchester City and clashed with fans later in the season, boyhood Villa fan Joleon Lescott signed from West Bromwich Albion but caused outrage having tweeted an “accidental” picture from his pocket following a 6-0 defeat to Liverpool and the Premier League provided a level too high for Rudy Gestede after signing from Blackburn for £6 million.

Although, Villa also bought a number of players from foreign leagues who may have initially flopped, but have gone on to have respectable careers. Idrissa Gueye joined the club from Lille and eventually moved on to Everton and Champions League runners-up Paris Saint-Germain. Jordan Amavi who showed potential at left-back, was recently linked with a move to Arsenal, whilst Jordan Veretout has reached double figures for goals this campaign with Roma. Jordan Ayew who also arrived from Marseille  has since gone on to demonstrate his ability with Crystal Palace, and Sherwood took a chance on a young Adama Traore who has proven his outstanding physical attributes in the Premier League with Wolves.

But these players struggled to adapt to the demands of Premier League football despite beating Bournemouth 1-0 on the opening day. After a 2-1 defeat to Swansea and nine games without a win, Sherwood was dismissed and replaced by Rémi Garde.

Villa then went five months without a win before Lescott scored in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. With Garde registering two wins in four months before being sacked he is considered one of the worst ever Premier League managers.

The Villains failed to win any of their last thirteen games of the season and were relegated to the championship with only seventeen points to their name.


3. Huddersfield Town – 2018/2019

Points – 16

David Wagner was considered a genius for transforming Huddersfield Town from Championship relegation fodder to a Premier League club. And when the German kept the Terriers in the top-flight he was thought to be a miracle worker.

Following wins against the likes of Manchester United and Newcastle as well as taking points from Manchester City and Chelsea, Huddersfield were the feel-good story of the 2017/2018 Premier League season. Though it all came falling down the next campaign.

Wagner and co looked to add firepower to the league’s lowest scorers by gambling on the likes of Isaac Mbenza, Adama Diakhaby and Ramadan Sobhi who all failed to live up to expectations, whilst the rest of the squad could not maintain their performance level from the previous season.

The Terriers won their first game of the season at the eleventh attempt after beating Fulham 1-0, which was swiftly backed up with an impressive 2-0 win away at Wolves. Though this would be Wagner’s last win in charge after he departed in January.

Jan Siewert’s reign failed to take off after a comical case of mistaken identity in the John Smith’s Stadium crowd led a Sky Sports reporter to believe that Siewert was in the directors’ box whereas it was in fact a Town fan called Martin. Fans were forced to wait three months for their next win which coincidentally came against Wolves again.

Karlan Grant ended the season as the Terriers’ top scorer despite having only signed in January which was indicative of the side’s lack of efficiency in front of goal. Respectable draws against Manchester United and Southampton rounded the season off though Huddersfield ended the season with only sixteen points.


2. Sunderland – 2005/2006

Points – 15

It’s a hat-trick for the Black Cats who make a remarkable third appearance on this list with their 2005/2006 side.

Going into the 2005/2006 season as Championship winners, the Sunderland faithful would have been forgiven for expecting a better performance than that of their 2002/2003 Premier League campaign.

Though it somehow got worse. With Mick McCarthy only given a solitary transfer budget of £4 million, most summer additions came from lower leagues whilst those with top-flight experience only arrived on free transfers and loan deals.

The likes of Jon Stead, Steven Caldwell and Dean Whitehead went winless in their opening six games before a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough. Though their next win would come in just under four months time against West Bromwich Albion, whilst the club only picked up one point in that period prior to the win at the Hawthorns in January.

McCarthy was sacked in March and replaced by club legend Kevin Ball, although the Black Cats were all but down with only pride left to play for. The club endured a three-month wait before their third and final win which eventually came in the penultimate game of the season against Fulham, with the club finishing with a mere fifteen points.


1. Derby County – 2007/2008

Points – 11

The infamous Derby County side from the 2007/2008 season will live long in Premier League history. Having defied expectations to win promotion from the Championship the previous year, Billy Davies led the Rams into top-flight as firm underdogs.

Summer arrivals at the club left a lot to be desired, with the club splashing out over £8 million on Robert Earnshaw, Claude Davies and Kenny Miller.

The squad also heavily lacked Premier League experience, with only the addition of full-back Andy Griffin resembling any type of Premier League knowhow.

Despite beginning the season with a decent 2-2 draw against Portsmouth, Derby went winless in their first five games before registering their only win of the season against Newcastle, with Miller scoring the only goal of the game.

Following a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea -which left Derby bottom of the table- Davies was sacked and swiftly replaced by Paul Jewell.

Despite adding the experience of Robbie Savage, Laurent Robert, Danny Mills, Roy Carroll and Alan Stubbs in January, Jewell still couldn’t lead his side to a victory in the remaining twenty-four games of the season.

The Rams’ inevitable relegation was confirmed as early as March after a 2-2 draw with Fulham as they ended the season with a shocking eleven points. They even equalled a 108-year record set by Loughborough of going through an entire season with only one win.


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Matthew Smith is a passionate sports fan and student with a strong ambition to break into the sports media industry, with his expertise lying in football and cricket. Having received an unconditional offer to study Sports Business & Broadcasting at UCFB Etihad Campus in September 2020, Matt is continuing to improve the range and quality of his sports content. He created, produces and hosts the cricketing podcast Caught and Bowled, produces Football Manger 2021 content on his YouTube channel “mattfm” and currently writes for WBAReport. As a long-suffering West Bromwich Albion fan Matt has been through the highs and lows of supporting his team whilst also witnessing landmark moments in English cricket such as the first time England passed 400 in an ODI fixture at Edgbaston in 2015 and Jimmy Anderson‘s record 11th wicket partnership with Joe Root against India in 2014.


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