The longest losing runs to start a Premier League season

Date published: Tuesday 11th September 2018 7:16

West Ham are the first club in Premier League history to lose their first four games in two separate seasons.

After defeats to Liverpool, Bournemouth, Arsenal and Wolves, West Ham are the only top-flight club yet to earn a point.

Manuel Pellegrini, given the dreaded vote of confidence by Hammers chief Karren Brady on Monday, will hope to turn things around soon, but faces a difficult fixture list through to the end of October: Everton (a), Chelsea (h), Manchester United (h), Brighton (a), Tottenham (h), Leicester (a).

Only four teams have gone on longer losing runs at the start of a Premier League season – two have survived, but the other finished bottom.

 

Bournemouth (4 defeats, 2017/18)
Who beat them?
West Brom (0-1), Watford (2-0), Manchester City (2-1), Arsenal (0-3)

How did they stop their run?
By beating Brighton 2-1 at the Vitality Stadium.

Where did they finish?
Twelfth. After finally escaping the relegation zone in early November, the Cherries only returned for two more weeks in December before a seven-game unbeaten run inspired them to safety.

 

Southampton (4 defeats, 2012/13)
Who beat them?
Manchester City (2-3), Wigan (2-0), Manchester United (3-2), Arsenal (1-6)

How did they stop their run?
By beating Aston Villa 4-1 at St Mary’s.

Where did they finish?
Fourteenth. While everyone lost their sh*t as Proper Football Man Nigel Adkins was sacked in January, foreign sod Mauricio Pochettino quietly steered the Saints away from trouble without speaking a word of English in public.

 

West Ham (4 defeats, 2010/11)
Who beat them?
Aston Villa (0-3), Bolton (3-1), Manchester United (0-3), Chelsea (3-1)

How did they stop their run?
By drawing 1-1 with Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.

Where did they finish?
Bottom. They were mired in the relegation zone until they beat Wolves 2-0 on New Year’s Day, but losing ten of their subsequent 17 games saw them slip back.

 

Middlesbrough (4 defeats, 2001/02)
Who beat them?
Arsenal (0-4), Bolton (1-0), Everton (2-0), Newcastle (1-4)

How did they stop their run?
By beating West Ham 2-1 at the Riverside Stadium.

Where did they finish?
Twelfth. Three players scored more than three Premier League goals all season, with Alen Boksic (8), Noel Whelan (7) and Szilard Nemeth (6) leading the march to mid-table. Curiously, they lost in both the FA Cup and League Cup to the respective eventual winners.

 

Aston Villa (4 defeats, 1997/98)
Who beat them?
Leicester (1-0), Blackburn (0-4), Newcastle (1-0), Tottenham (3-2)

How did they stop their run?
By beating Leeds 1-0 at Villa Park.

Where did they finish?
Seventh. “We have got to believe we’ll win a game soon – because we really need to,” said manager Brian Little after the defeat to Tottenham, having been in front. They promptly won their next three games.

 

Swindon Town (4 defeats, 1993/94)
Who beat them?

Sheffield United (3-1), Oldham (0-1), Liverpool (5-0), Southampton (1-5)

How did they stop their run?
By drawing 0-0 with Norwich at Carrow Road.

Where did they finish?
Bottom. It took until their 16th game for doomed Swindon to pick up their first Premier League win, and although theirs was a 42-game season, they still hold the record for most goals conceded in a single campaign (100).

 

Sunderland (5 defeats, 2005/06)
Who beat them?
Charlton (1-3), Liverpool (1-0), Manchester City (1-2), Wigan (1-0), Chelsea (2-0)

How did they stop their run?
By drawing 1-1 with West Brom at the Stadium of Light.

Where did they finish?
Bottom. The Black Cats spent one week outside the relegation zone all season, courtesy of a three-game run which saw draws with West Brom and West Ham and a victory over Middlesbrough.

 

Southampton (5 defeats, 1998/99)
Who beat them?

Liverpool (1-2), Charlton (5-0), Nottingham Forest (1-2), Leeds (3-0), Newcastle (4-0)

How did they stop their run?
By drawing 1-1 with Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Where did they finish?
17th. A false start left Dave Jones and his men with an awful lot of work to do, but two draws and three wins in their last five matches saw them cross the finish line just before Charlton, Blackburn and Nottingham Forest.

 

Crystal Palace (7 defeats, 2017/18)
Who beat them?
Huddersfield (0-3), Liverpool (1-0), Swansea (0-2), Burnley (1-0), Southampton (0-1), Manchester City (5-0), Manchester United (4-0)

How did they stop their run?
By beating Chelsea 2-1 at Selhurst Park.

Where did they finish?
11th. Never forget just how ridiculous a job Roy Hodgson did last season. Frank de Boer left with the club in tatters after six games, and their pointless, goalless run continued into their seventh match. They were written off when he was appointed in early September, but finished 11 points clear of relegation in the end.

 

Portsmouth (7 defeats, 2009/10)
Who beat them?
Fulham (0-1), Birmingham (1-0), Arsenal (4-1), Manchester City (0-1), Bolton (2-3), Aston Villa (2-0), Everton (0-1)

How did they stop their run?
By beating Wolves 1-0 at Molineux.

Where did they finish?
Bottom. One manager has overseen two four-game losing runs at the start of a Premier League season, and Avram Grant was as helpless in guiding Portsmouth back from the brink in the 2009/10 season as he was with West Ham a year later.

Matt Stead

 


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