An overlooked record could be shattered during this years’ final round of fixtures in the Premier League. Everton, with only 33 points, could become the lowest-scoring team ever to avoid relegation. Leeds United and Leicester City also have a chance to match the current record if they survive with 34 points.
Scoring less than a point per game and staying in the Premier League is the definition of doing the bare minimum and still getting away with it. As we approach the ending of the season, let's delve into the annals of Premier League history to honor 5 of the worst teams to defy relegation.
Starting with the best team in this class of underachievers – they scored 37 points, an unimpressive average of 0.94 points per game…
- 1 #5 – Agüeroooooooooooo: Queens Park Rangers 2011/2012 – 37 points scored
- 2 #4 – Oops, we did it again: West Bromwich Albion – 2013/2014 – 36 points scored
- 3 #3 – The Unexpected Struggle: Hull City – 2008/2009 – 36 points scored
- 4 #2 – The Pioneers: Bradford City – 1999/2000 – 36 points scored
- 5 #1 – The Best of the Worst: West Bromwich Albion – 2004/2005 – 34 points scored
- 6 History in the making
#5 – Agüeroooooooooooo: Queens Park Rangers 2011/2012 – 37 points scored
One of the most iconic games in Premier League history is the final match of the 2011/2012 season between Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers. While it is remembered for its dramatic ending, with Dzeko and Agüero(ooooooo) scoring in additional time to give the Citizens their first title since 1968, it is often overlooked that City faced one of the worst teams to avoid relegation in Premier League history.
QPR, a newly promoted side, finished the season with 37 points and a -23 goal difference.
#4 – Oops, we did it again: West Bromwich Albion – 2013/2014 – 36 points scored
West Bromwich Albion returned to the limelight in the 2013/2014 season by accomplishing what no other club had done before. They finished just above the relegation zone, winning less than one point per game for the second time in the club history – the first team to ever do it. Doing it once is fantastic, doing it twice is mastery.
But doing it twice is not the only part of history West Brom made. More on that later!
#3 – The Unexpected Struggle: Hull City – 2008/2009 – 36 points scored
In their inaugural Premier League season, Hull City began with a remarkable start, defeating both Newcastle at St James' Park and Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. After nine rounds, they found themselves joint-top of the league, surpassing all expectations and avoiding relegation seemed like a mere formality. However, their fortunes took a drastic turn.
Between matchday 18 and matchday 37, they only collected eight points, leaving them perilously close to the relegation zone going into their final game against Manchester United. In a dramatic finale, Hull City, along with three other teams, entered the last round of fixtures with hopes of survival. In a fitting end to a turbulent year, all four teams suffered defeats, ultimately securing Hull City's presence in the English Premier League.
Tied in points with WBA 13/14, they scored less and suffered more goals, finishing the season with a -24 goal difference!
#2 – The Pioneers: Bradford City – 1999/2000 – 36 points scored
Bradford City holds the distinction of being the club that paved the way for others. They found themselves in 18th place before the last game of the season, teetering on the brink of relegation after being promoted just a year earlier. Their final match at home was against a formidable Liverpool side boasting future superstars Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen, who were fighting for a Champions League spot.
Against all odds, David Wetherall scored the only goal of the game in the 12th minute, propelling Bradford City to victory and securing another year among the elite. Their triumph not only ensured their survival but also relegated Liverpool to the UEFA Cup spots, a trophy they would eventually win in 2001..
Bradford managed to have a -30 goal difference: a worst one than Wimbledon, the team finishing just below them in the 1999/2000 Premier League table.
#1 – The Best of the Worst: West Bromwich Albion – 2004/2005 – 34 points scored
In a season filled with unparalleled suspense, West Bromwich Albion achieved a feat never seen before. They became the first team to be at the bottom of the table at Christmas and yet avoid relegation.
Survival Sunday reached a breathtaking climax as Norwich, Southampton, Crystal Palace and West Brom (ranked in that order on the table) fought for their top-flight status. On the final matchday, Albion hosted Portsmouth.
The Canaries and The Saints both suffered defeats, Palace failed to overcome Charlton. In the meantime WBA emerged triumphant with a 2-0 victory. The pitch invasion that followed remains a memorable moment in Premier League history, as The Baggies enjoyed staying in the Premier League and Pompey fans joined forces to celebrate as their archrivals, Southampton, were relegated.
Following their survival with only 34 points and an average of 0.89 points per game, they entered history books by staying above the relegation zone with the fewest points in the history of the Premier League.
They truly are The Best of the Worst.
History in the making
Whatever unfolds on this year's Survival Sunday, it will undoubtedly become etched in the annals of Premier League history.
Will Everton break the record as the lowest points scorer? Will Leeds secure their second consecutive year in the Premier League finishing 17th? Can Leicester avoid the fate of being the second former EPL champion to play in the Championship?
The supporters of these three clubs are in for an emotional rollercoaster, and for those fortunate enough to prevail, it will be a day to remember.