The Premier League is widely regarded as one of the most competitive and exciting leagues in the world, featuring some of the best players and managers in the game.
However, not every team that has graced the top flight has been a success story. Some have been downright dreadful, failing to live up to expectations, spending recklessly, or simply being out of their depth. In this article, we will rank the five worst teams to have played in the Premier League and explore the reasons behind their dismal performances.
GD = Goal Difference, which means the number of goals scored in all league matches minus the number of goals conceded. A negative rating is highly indicative of a poor season.
5. QPR - 2012/13 (25 points, -30 GD)
Harry Redknapp. Mark Hughes. Julio Cesar. Jose Bosingwa. Esteban Granero. Bobby Zamora. How did this not work?!
Resembling a social experiment that had gone seriously out of hand, QPR’s band of rejects and over-the-hill stars in search of a final pay day got what was coming to them. They finished bottom of the table with 25 points, having a goal difference of -30. They also had the dubious honor of being the first team to be relegated from the Premier League with four games left to play. The main reason for their failure was a lack of cohesion and chemistry among the players, who were brought in without any clear plan or vision. The managers, Hughes and Redknapp, also failed to impose any identity or style on the team, resulting in a disjointed and dispirited display throughout the season.
4. Sunderland - 2016/17 (24 points, -40 GD)
When David Moyes announced that the Black Cats were in a relegation battle within the first five games of the 2016/17 season, it dawned on us all that they had used up the last of their nine lives.
And so it came to pass, as Sunderland finished stone-dead last, crawled to 24 points, and ended with the campaign a 5-1 drubbing at Chelsea on the final day. Since that moment, things have only got worse for them, as they have been relegated twice more and are now languishing in League One. The main reason for their downfall was a lack of investment and ambition from the owner Ellis Short, who failed to back his managers or address the squad’s weaknesses. The team also suffered from a lack of quality and creativity, relying too much on Jermain Defoe’s goals and Jordan Pickford’s saves.
3. Fulham - 2018/19 (26 points, -47 GD)
Now, 26 points might be a shade higher than some of the other flops in this list, but statistics can be misleading.
When presented with the ultimatum of ‘go hard or go home’, Fulham opted for the former, spending over £100m on a plethora of players they didn’t really need. With the heart of the team well and truly ripped out, the Cottagers paid the ultimate price, suffering a bitter relegation. To make matters worse, this team then picked up three wins in their final five matches, only infuriating supporters more for their previous failings. The main reason for their disaster was a lack of balance and stability in the squad, as they brought in too many players without giving them time to gel or adapt to the league. The managers, Slavisa Jokanovic and Claudio Ranieri, also failed to find a consistent formation or system that suited their players.
2. Derby County - 2007/08 (11 points, -69 GD)
Derby County have long been referred to as the worst side in Premier League history after their infamous 2007-08 campaign saw them register a meager 11 points – the fewest gained in a single season in the competition’s history.
In fact, assuming three points for a win, Derby’s total of 11 points is the worst in English top-flight history. They also had a goal difference of -69, which is also a record low for the Premier League. They only managed one win all season, which came against Newcastle United in September. They also suffered some humiliating defeats, such as losing 6-0 to Liverpool and Arsenal, 5-0 to West Ham and Chelsea, and 4-0 to Tottenham and Everton. The main reason for their debacle was a lack of quality and experience in the squad, as they did not invest enough in new signings after winning promotion via the play-offs. The managers, Billy Davies and Paul Jewell, also failed to inspire any confidence or belief in the players, who looked out of their depth and demoralized.
1. Aston Villa - 2015/16 (17 points, -49 GD)
While Derby County may have the worst record in terms of points and goal difference, Aston Villa’s 2015/16 season was arguably the most shameful and embarrassing in Premier League history.
The Villans finished bottom of the table with 17 points, having a goal difference of -49. They also had the worst defensive record in the league, conceding 76 goals. They only managed three wins all season, two of which came against Norwich City and Bournemouth. They also suffered some disgraceful defeats, such as losing 6-0 to Liverpool, 4-0 to Chelsea and Everton, and 3-0 to Arsenal and Watford. The main reason for their catastrophe was a lack of leadership and professionalism from the players, who showed no passion, pride, or fight for the club. The managers, Tim Sherwood and Remi Garde, also failed to instill any discipline or motivation in the team, who looked like they had given up before the season even started.
These are the five worst teams to have played in the Premier League, hopefully your team didn't make the list.
Do you agree with our rankings?