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As we approach the halfway point in the 2020/21 campaign, Sheffield United sit rock bottom of the Premier League table. The Blades have only managed to secure 2pts from their opening 17 matches and look destined for relegation back to the Championship. However, plenty of teams have been written off at this stage of the season before and have managed to pull off what is now coined, ‘the great escape'.
We're going to take a look back at 6 of the best Premier League Great Escapes since the league's inception in 1992, remembering some of the key results that helped keep these teams in the top-fight of English football for another season. Remaining in the Premier League has become vital for clubs that want to grow due to the share amount of money that is in the division. The Premier League is watched worldwide and remains the most popular football league, so being a part of it is so vital in the modern era.
West Bromwich Albion (2004/05)
This great escape is perhaps one of the most memorable due to the fact that all four teams involved in the final day of the season relegation battle moved out of the drop zone during that hectic afternoon, dubbed ‘Survival Sunday'.
West Brom faced Portsmouth, Southampton played Man Utd, Norwich were away at Fulham and Crystal Palace took on Charlton that day, but only one could remain in the Premier League. Amazingly, heading into the final day of the season not one single team had been condemned to relegation, which made for one exciting or nerve-wracking 90-minutes, depending on who you supported.
Bryan Robson guided the baggies to a 2-0 win over Portsmouth and with Southampton narrowly losing 2-1, Norwich getting hammered 6-0 and Palace only managing a draw, the Hawthorns erupted as West Brom defied the odds and pulled off a great escape.
Leicester City (2014/15)
The Foxes struggled in their return to the Premier League back in 2014. By the time March arrived, Leicester sat bottom of the Premier League table and were 7pts from safety.
However, Nigel Pearson guided his side to seven wins from their final nine matches and the Foxes, unbelievably, avoided relegation. Key wins of West Ham and West Brom showed Leicester's fighting spirit and kept the belief flowing through the players and, most importantly, the fans.
Leicester did it, they avoided the drop when all hope appeared to be lost and even more impressively, 1-year later those very same players would go on to shock the footballing world by claiming the Premier League title.
When your teams in trouble, all hope has been lost and you looked destined for relegation, who you gonna call?
Sam Allardyce saved Bolton Wanderers from relegation over a decade before he was offered the manager's position at Sunderland. The Black Cats spent almost the entire season in the relegation places, but Big Sam came in and turned things around as he so often does.
The result that stands out the most for the Sunderland fans is the 3-0 win against Everton, a performance which highlighted the work Allardyce had achieved in a short period of time. However, the fact that the 3-0 win against the Toffees confirmed arch-rivals Newcastle's relegation to the Championship made the day even more meaningful for a club that has so often sat in the Magpie's shadow.
Mike Walker's ill-fated short reign as Everton manager will perhaps be remembered most for dramatic style in which the club avoided relegation during the 1993/94 season.
The Toffees knew that even a win on the final day might not be enough to save them from relegation and when they went 2-0 down at home to Wimbledon, their fans must have feared the worst.
However, Graham Stuart pulled a goal back from the penalty spot before the break to give the hosts a lifeline. A stunning and rare goal from Barry Horne brought the Toffees back onto level terms in the second forty-five and a late strike from Stuart saw the comeback complete.
Goodison Park was booming that day despite one of the stands being missing due to reconstruction. A few seasons later Everton would be at it again, surviving on the final day of the 1997/98 season. This game against Wimbledon is one of the most memorable in the club's recent history as Everton maintained their record as the longest-serving top-flight side.
You can watch the entire dramatic game here…
Bradford City (1999/00)
Bradford City were always up against the odds in their debut Premier League season. The club didn't have the money or the pulling power to bring in top quality players, but they did have a solid work ethic and team spirit.
With just five matches left to play, Paul Jewell's side were 6ptts adrift from safety and needed a miracle. After a good run of results, Bradford City were left needing a win on the final day of the season at home to Liverpool. A solitary goal from former Leeds United centre-back, David Wetherall, proved enough for the Bantams to secure the win they needed to remain in the Premier League.
Bolton Wanderers (2002/03)
Bolton got the 2002/03 campaign off to a bright start but the mood soon shifted as the club went through a run of just two wins in 21 games. With Bolton struggling over the festive period, most pundits had written the club off but Sam Allardyce managed to turn things around, something he would continue to do throughout his post-Bolton career.
The Trotters secured their Premier League status on the final day of the season at home to Middlesbrough, thanks to goals from Frandsen and Okocha. After the game manager Sam Allardyce had a little dance with Okocha on the pitch, a sight all Bolton fans will remember fondly.