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The five worst sides in Premier League history

Despite being the greatest league in the world, the Premier League has seen some awfully bad sides over the years.

Six games into the 2018/19 season, three teams are yet to record a win and sit on just two points each. Cardiff, Huddersfield and Newcastle will all be hoping their fortunes improve, and that they won’t be a new addition to this unwanted list come the end of the season.

The teams are ranked based on points won during the season. Portsmouth’s 2009/10 side finished on less points than the team at number five but had suffered a points deduction near the end of the season.

  1. Sunderland, 2016/17 – 24 points

The Black Cats of two seasons ago are the fifth worst side to grace the Premier League. Having miraculously dodged relegation for many years previously as a result of barely believable comebacks and managerial changes, David Moyes oversaw Sunderland’s inevitable relegation.

Their 24 points was more than Portsmouth from 2009/10, but Portsmouth would have finished on 28 had they not been deducted nine points. This team was worse.

The Black Cats tasted defeat on 26 occasions over the course of the season, winning only six games. The North-East outfit waited until their eleventh game before enjoying victory 2-1 away at Bournemouth and though they won their next home game against Hull City, Sunderland would never leave the relegation zone.

The only positives fans could take from their drop were the impressive displays of Jordan Pickford (whatever happened to him?) and the 15 goals of Jermain Defoe. Both of those positives were short lived however, with both players departing the Stadium of Light before the start of 2017/18.

Fortunes did not improve in the Championship, and the Black Cats endured a second consecutive relegation to League One.

  1. Sunderland, 2002/03 – 19 points

This article may not make pretty reading for Black Cats fans. Sunderland’s second (but not last) appearance in this list comes from back in 2002/03.

The season began encouragingly with five points after four games but wins and particularly goals became scarcer as the season wore on.

Manager Peter Reid was sacked in early October and replaced by Howard Wilkinson, but he would only last until March. Mick McCarthy then took charge as the Black Cats inevitably slid out of the top-flight.

They set some incredible records during this season. On only three occasions did they score more than once, while they won only one point after Christmas (and none after mid-January) losing fifteen consecutive games to finish the season.

Having won England caps just a season before, Kevin Phillips scored just six league goals in top-scoring during 2002/03, a remarkable drop in form that typified Sunderland’s struggles.

  1. Aston Villa, 2015/16 – 17 points

After winning their opening league game away to Bournemouth, few saw Villa collapsing so dramatically. Just two wins, 14 points and two managers later, the Villans dropped out of the top-flight for the first time since 1988.

Tim Sherwood lasted until October, and the experimental appointment of Frenchman Remi Garde failed to turn the tide also, as the claret and blues turned to second interim boss of the season Eric Black for the final few games.

Stadium boycotts and poisonous relationships between fans and players made for a disastrous season on and off the pitch.

A low-point was the infamous “pocket tweet” by defender Joleon Lescott, who, having drawn furious fan criticism for tweeting a picture of a luxury car just hours after a 6-0 home defeat to Liverpool, attempted to justify it by saying it happened accidentally while he drove home.

  1. Sunderland, 2005/06 – 15 points

Sunderland’s third appearance in this list came 12 years ago. Having come up from the Championship as champions, Mick McCarthy’s Black Cats endured a torrid start, losing their first five games.

They briefly escaped the relegation zone in early October, but then embarked on a losing run that would last until boxing day.

A second league victory came in January but by then Sunderland were hopelessly adrift at the bottom. McCarthy was sacked in mid-February, having lost all but six Premier League games to that point.

The Black cats were relegated in mid-April but gave their fans one final cheer as they won their final home game of the season; their only victory at the Stadium of Light in 2005/06.

The hangover did not last long however, and Sunderland returned to the top-flight at the first attempt the season after.

  1. Derby County, 2007/08 – 11 points

No surprises here, Derby County’s shambolic 2007/08 season is the worst in Premier League history.

Just one win, 20 goals scored and a disastrous 89 conceded, Derby were doomed before they had kicked a ball.

Manager Billy Davies had led the rams to the top-flight through the play-offs the season before but strengthened the squad poorly in the summer transfer window. The Scotsman was relieved of his duties and replaced by Paul Jewell in November.

The result was a team which conceded six goals in four different games and an ongoing record of 32 games without a win. It seems farcical that they had achieved promotion given how bad they were, and their record extends beyond the Premier League in being the lowest points total in English top-flight history in a 38-game season with a win worth three points.

Will there ever be a worse team?

Sam Hanys

Ipswich Town fan and Loughborough University student.

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