11 Worst Teams in the Premier League History

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11 Worst Teams in the Premier League History.

Some teams make plying their trade in the Premier League look like second nature. An array of teams such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal boast the longest stretches of remaining in the top flight and do not look likely to drop to the second tier, the Championship, any time soon. Their period atop English football stretches far beyond 1992, the year which marked the inception of the Premier League.

Six of the 22 charter members of the Premier League have not exited the competition since the division’s re-branding, those are: Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton. While the aforementioned sextet can hold their heads high as some of the country’s most formidable clubs, others haven’t been so lucky.

From underfunded clubs doomed since promotion to sides that were allowed to slide into the pits of relegation, England’s ruthless top flight has been an unforgiving place for plenty of teams. Here is a look at the 11 worst seasons in the history of the Premier League.

Ranking factors

  • Points tally
  • Calibre of players
  • Evident spells of subpar performances
  • Notable losses
  • Pre-season expectations
  • Managerial sackings
  • Goals scored/goals conceded
Ranking the Worst Teams in Premier League History
RankTeamSeasonPoints
1Derby County2007/0811
2Sunderland2005/0615
3Sheffield United2023/2416
4Huddersfield Town2018/1916
5Aston Villa2015/1617
6Sunderland2002/0319
7Swindon Town1993/9430
8Bradford City2000/0126
9Ipswich Town1994/9527
10Norwich City2021/2222
11Portsmouth2009/1019

11. Portsmouth – 2009/10 season

Points tally: 19

Portsmouth players applaud fans.

The writing had been on the wall for Portsmouth for some time before the 2009/10 season got underway. After spending beyond their means over the previous few seasons, they were forced to sell many key players such as Peter Crouch, Glen Johnson, Niko Kranjcar and Sylvain Distin, who weren’t adequately replaced. The south coast side made a dismal start to the season, losing their first seven Premier League matches, and manager Paul Hart was replaced by Avram Grant in November.

There were also numerous ownership changes throughout the campaign, which culminated in Pompey being docked nine points for entering administration, all but sealing their fate. They finished bottom of the league with 19 points (including the deduction) and the only saving grace for their supporters was an FA Cup final at the new Wembley, which they lost 1-0 to Chelsea.

Premier League Stats
Position20th
Wins7
Draws7
Losses24
Goals scored34
Goals conceded66
Goal difference-32

10. Norwich City – 2021/22 season

Points tally: 22

Norwich City Tim Krul puts his hands to his face after conceding a goal.

Norwich City immediately bounced back to the Premier League in 2021 after going down with little more than a whimper the season before. You would have thought a dismal showing in 2019/20 would have been a lesson learnt for the club about life in the top flight, but seemingly not as the Canaries re-entered the Premier League with arguably an ever weaker squad, after letting important players such as Emiliano Buendia and Todd Cantwell leave.

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It ended up costing manager Daniel Farke his job and he was replaced by Dean Smith, who was unable to steady the ship, and Norwich were relegated again, with a total of 22 points. It’s telling that the following season, the Yellows had much more difficulty back in the Championship, finishing in 13th place.

Premier League Stats
Position20th
Wins5
Draws7
Losses26
Goals scored23
Goals conceded84
Goal difference-61

9. Ipswich Town – 1994/95 season

Points tally: 27

Ipswich Town's Bontcho Guentchev.

Ipswich Town had been perennial strugglers for the first two seasons of the Premier League and the 1994/95 campaign was a step too far for them. They made a dismal start to the season, losing 11 of their first 15 matches and manager John Lyall was sacked in early December after more than four years at the helm.

His successor, George Burley, would go on to be a huge success during his eight-year spell at Portman Road and be voted Premier League Manager of the Season in 2001 but was unable to prevent the Tractor Boys finishing rock bottom of the division with 27 points. Their 93 goals conceded is the third-highest in Premier League history, and most infamously included a 9-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester United.

Premier League Stats
Position22nd
Wins7
Draws6
Losses29
Goals scored36
Goals conceded93
Goal difference-57

8. Bradford City – 2000/01 season

Points tally: 26

Dean Windass in action for Bradford City.

Three wins in their last four matches of the 1999/00 season, including a famous 1-0 triumph over Liverpool, meant Bradford City had defied all the odds to survive in their first top-flight campaign in 77 years. However, the Bantams were dealt a massive blow in the close season when manager Paul Jewell resigned.

He was replaced by his assistant Chris Hutchings, who was unable to repeat the trick the following campaign, losing his job in November. Despite the additions of experienced elite strikers Benito Carbone and Stan Collymore, the West Yorkshire outfit were the lowest scorers in the division and finished bottom of the table with just 26 points.

Premier League Stats
Position20th
Wins5
Draws11
Losses22
Goals scored30
Goals conceded70
Goal difference-40

7. Swindon Town – 1993/94 season

Points tally: 30

Swindon Town's Micky Hazard competing for ball with Roy Keane.

While Bradford’s 1999/00 campaign was their first in the top division in nearly 80 years, for Swindon Town, promotion to the Premier League in 1993 meant they would be playing top-flight football for the first time in their history – but they were made to wait until the last week of November for their first Premier League win.

They were sent packing back to the second tier without too much of a fight, finishing on 30 points, a whole 10 behind Oldham Athletic in 21st position. The Robins’ spell in the top division is perhaps best remembered for the fact they let in 100 goals. Leeds United’s Chris Fairclough completed Swindon’s unwanted century in the 90th minute of the last game of the season.

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Premier League Stats
Position22nd
Wins5
Draws15
Losses22
Goals scored47
Goals conceded100
Goal difference-53

6. Sunderland – 2002/03 season

Points tally: 19

Sunderland players look deflated after defeat.

Sunderland’s plight during the 2002/03 season was a classic example of a club hastily sacking a manager without a proper replacement in mind. The hugely popular Peter Reid had been in charge of the Black Cats for the past seven years but was dismissed just nine matches into the new season after a 3-1 away defeat to Arsenal and inexplicably replaced by Howard Wilkinson, who had been out of club management for six years.

The Mackems would just win two games after that point and lost all but one of their matches after Christmas during one of the longest winless streaks in the competition’s history. Mick McCarthy was brought in to replace Wilkinson in March, but it was too little too late and Sunderland were relegated with a then-record low number of points (19) and goals scored (21), but incredibly, their worst Premier League showing was yet to come.

Premier League Stats
Position20th
Wins4
Draws7
Losses27
Goals scored21
Goals conceded65
Goal difference-44

5. Aston Villa – 2015/16 season

Points tally: 17

Aston Villa look dejected during bad season.

After consistently being in top-four contention during the late 2000s under Martin O’Neill, Aston Villa were on a steady decline after the Northern Irishman’s departure in 2010 – and it finally caught up to them during the 2015/16 season. Key players Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke were sold in the summer and the club particularly struggled to replace the Belgian’s goals – Jordan Ayew was Villa’s top scorer for the season with seven.

The inexperienced Tim Sherwood was replaced in October by Remi Garde, who had enjoyed success as manager of Lyon, but he failed to stop the rot and proved unpopular with supporters, particularly after briefly dropping talented, upcoming youngster Jack Grealish from the squad. The Frenchman was sacked in late March and first-team coach Eric Black was left to see out the season with Villa’s fate all but sealed. They finished bottom of the table, with just three wins and 17 points to their name, and consequently, lost their status as one of only seven ever-present members of the Premier League.

Premier League Stats
Position20th
Wins3
Draws8
Losses27
Goals scored27
Goals conceded76
Goal difference-49

The Premier League has seen plenty of great teams in its long history but some clubs will be marvelled about for years to come.

4. Huddersfield Town – 2018/19 season

Points tally: 16

Huddersfield Town players look dejected.

In their first season in the Premier League the year before, Huddersfield Town surprised a lot of people by beating the drop and finishing 16th. However, the Terriers were unable to repeat the trick the following campaign after failing to sufficiently strengthen their squad. They won just three times all season and finished bottom of the table with just 16 points to their name.

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Their enigmatic coach, David Wagner, who had led the South Yorkshire side on an unlikely journey to the top flight, was perhaps mistakenly sacked midway through the campaign. Huddersfield haven’t come close to returning to the Premier League since.

Premier League Stats
Position20th
Wins3
Draws7
Losses28
Goals scored22
Goals conceded76
Goal difference-54

3. Sheffield United – 2023/2024 season

Points tally: 16

Sheffield United's Jayden Bogle, Anel Ahmedhodzic and Vinicius Souza remonstrate with referee Stuart Attwell

Sheffield United set a new record for the most goals conceded in a season of English top-flight football contested over 38 matches – stretching beyond the Premier League era – during the 2023/24 campaign. The Blades shipped a whopping 104 goals with a pitiful goal difference of minus 69.

They became the first team in English football history to concede five goals in four consecutive home games across all competitions after being dismantled by Arsenal 6-0 (this followed heavy defeats to Brighton and Aston Villa in the Premier League and Brighton again in the FA Cup). To make matters worse, the 6-0 scoreline at the hands of the Gunners isn’t the biggest defeat they have tasted either, having been on the wrong end of an 8-0 drubbing to Newcastle at Bramall Lane earlier in the season too.

Premier League Stats
Position20th
Wins3
Draws7
Losses28
Goals scored35
Goals conceded104
Goal difference-69

GIVEMESPORT Key Statistic: The 57 Premier League goals which Sheffield United allowed at Bramall Lane during the 2023/24 campaign is the highest tally of home goals conceded in top-flight history.

2. Sunderland – 2005/06 season

Points tally: 15

Dean Whitehead playing for Sunderland.

Just two seasons after setting the record for the lowest points in a Premier League season, Sunderland were back in the top flight but were similarly under-prepared. Under the stewardship of McCarthy, who took up the reins during that tumultuous 2002/03 campaign, the Black Cats avoided defeat in just nine matches in 2005, winning only three times.

There was no upturn in form in the new year and the 64-year-old was sacked in February and replaced by former Sunderland player Kevin Ball, who was unable to steady the ship but did at least provide the club’s only home win of the season (2-1 vs Fulham) in the penultimate match of the campaign. The Black Cats were relegated with a record-low total of 15 points but did at least score five more goals than they did two seasons previously.

Premier League Stats
Position20th
Wins3
Draws6
Losses29
Goals scored26
Goals conceded69
Goal difference-43

1. Derby County – 2007/08 season

Points tally: 11

Robbie Savage playing for Derby County.

Never has a team been more overwhelmed by the jump from the Championship to the Premier League than Derby County in 2007. Managed by Billy Davies until he was replaced by Paul Jewell in November, they were immediately touted by many to go straight back down, with one bookmaker offering payouts for Derby to get relegated as early as September. It was in that month that the Rams recorded their only win of the season: a 2-1 home victory against Newcastle United.

The winter additions of experienced Premier League players such as Danny Mills, Robbie Savage, Roy Carroll and Alan Stubbs were to no avail and Derby ended the season with a record low points total of 11 and earned an unwelcome place in Premier League history.

Premier League Stats
Position20th
Wins1
Draws8
Losses29
Goals scored20
Goals conceded89
Goal difference-69
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