As the half-way point of this strange Premier League season approaches, Sheffield United find themselves in a battle to avoid an unwanted record. With just two points on the board so far – the Blades drew with relegation rivals Brighton and Fulham – Chris Wilder’s side already look certain to be relegated to the Championship. Their goal over the second half of the campaign may be to avoid setting a new record low points total, with injuries to stars like Jack O’Connell and a lack of goal threat contributing to a feeling of gloom at Bramall Lane. So which are the five worst seasons in Premier League history? We’ve put together a list not just including the lowest points rivals but also some big clubs who massively underachieved.
Worst seasons in Premier League history
Derby County (2007/08)
Rams fans will surely be hoping that Sheffield United finally beat their most embarrasing record, the lowest points total recorded since the formation of the Premier League with just eleven.
Derby were unexpectedly promoted under Billy Davies in 2007 but they were not cut out for life at the higher level, taking a single point from the first five games of the campaign. Kenny Miller’s goal then earned a 1-0 win over Newcastle United but Derby would not experience another Premier League victory for the rest of the season.
They conceded 89 goals, shipping six at Liverpool, 11 in two games against Arsenal, five at home to West Ham, six at Chelsea and another half-dozen at home to Aston Villa.
Sacking Davies did not make a difference with former Wigan Athletic manager Paul Jewell in charge when the Rams’ inevitable relegation was confirmed before the end of March. Undeniably a deserved first entry in the worst Premier League season ever.
Derby’s record points total eclipsed the previous low set by Sunderland a couple of years earlier.
A run of five straight losses was a disastrous start, but Mick McCarthy’s side then took five points from three games to briefly lift themselves out of the bottom three. Only two more wins would follow in the league, though, with one of those coming post-relegation, under Kevin Ball.
Unlike Derby, Sunderland have since been back to the Premier League, although they are currently languishing in the third tier.
Sunderland also had a terrible time in 2002/03, another campaign in which they went down.
The worst seasons in Premier League history do not necessarily end up in relegation. Defending champions Chelsea arguably had the league’s poorest title defence, with the Blues finishing over 30 points behind surprise winners Leicester City in the 2015/16 season.
Jose Mourinho was sacked just before Christmas with Chelsea stuck in the bottom half of the table. Successor Guus Hiddink was able to inspire an improvement but the Blues could only manage a 10th-place finish after winning only one of their last seven games.
Chelsea also struggled in cups that season, exiting the Champions League to Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 and failing to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup or EFL Cup.
Huddersfield Town, 2018/19
David Wagner performed miracles to keep Huddersfield in the Premier League after earning promotion via the Championship play-offs, but just like Sheffield United they came back to earth with a bump the following season. The Terriers did not win any of their first 10 games and a brief upturn in form in November was then followed by a run of eight successive Premier League defeats.
Wagner’s January departure led to the arrival of Jan Siewert but Town did not get much better, winning only one more game and going on another eight-game losing streak. Huddersfield struggled at both ends. Karlan Grant was their top scorer with four league goals, while a 6-1 loss at Manchester City in their first away game was a sign of things to come.
Swindon Town, 1993/94
Swindon’s only Premier League campaign was an absolutely miserable experience, with the Robins finishing 10 points adrift at the bottom of the table.
Although Norwegian striker Jan Aage Fjortoft contributed an impressive 12 Premier League goals, Swindon’s slim hopes of survival were dented before a ball was kicked when player-manager Glenn Hoddle opted to leave the County Ground to return to old club Chelsea.
Swindon conceded 100 goals in their 42 Premier League games – the highest of any single campaign in the competition – with a 7-1 loss away to Newcastle United a particular low point. They also lost 6-2 at Everton as well as 5-1 at Southampton during that season. Swindon now play in League One after winning promotion last year.