Every team down the Prem at Christmas since 2010 and how they fared
Norwich City have the unenviable honor of being the last in the Premier League at Christmas – a position few have managed to survive.
While West Brom escaped relegation in 2005, many more fell by the wayside and it will take a big second half of the season for Dean Smith’s men to avoid an immediate return to the championship.
We took a look at who has supported the table at Christmas since 2010 and how they fared afterward.
2010: West Ham United
Dropped at the bottom of the league at Christmas 2010, West Ham owners David Sullivan and David Gold issued an ultimatum to manager Avram Grant: win one of the next three games, or you get sacked.
Unfortunately for Hammers fans, Grant’s side won 3-1 at Fulham on Boxing Day and he stayed on for the remainder of the season, despite a failed attempt to poach Martin O’Neill in January.
West Ham, with many internationals on their squad, had a mini-race after Christmas, but their last win of the season came in early March.
A seven-game losing streak in their last eight games sealed their fate, with a relegation confirmed after allowing Wigan to come back from two goals to win 3-2 in their penultimate game.
Grant was sacked in the locker room right after the game and only an intervention from Scott Parker allowed him to travel on the team bus back to London.
It was such a chaotic season that EastEnders would have considered the storylines too bizarre to use.
2011: Blackburn Rovers
Blackburn fans still shiver at the memory of the shitty show that was their 2011-12 season.
Steve Kean stubbornly stayed put despite all the flair for handling a boiled potato, Venky stayed in control despite all the business savvy of one of their chickens and Yakubu couldn’t score enough for maintain them.
Rage boiled over at Ewood Park after a pre-Christmas loss to Bolton as well, but Blackburn stayed with his manager – and fell out of the Premier League after 11 top-flight seasons.
A fan pulled a chicken out onto the field in the loss to Wigan that confirmed relegation. He showed more courage, application and skill than anyone at Blackburn that year.
Never forget the moment when Yakubu and Ali Al-Habsi saved a chicken in Ewood Park ❤️ pic.twitter.com/JqPtrvbJpw
– Football AM (@SoccerAM) June 3, 2020
Reading had an incredible run for promotion in 2012, winning 15 of their last 19 games, but there was always a feeling they would be discovered in the Premier League. The 2012-13 season proved it.
Brian McDermott’s side have won only once before Christmas, a home win over Everton, and their main achievement has been to somehow be even worse than QPR.
They kind of kicked off after Quality Street pulled out, winning four games before the end of January and breaking out of the relegation zone.
But it was only a temporary reprieve. Reading only won another league game and was relegated, alongside QPR, after the two sides played a 0-0 draw in late April.
No matter the flirtation, Sunderland walked the aisle with the Grim Reaper before pulling off an incredible breakout in 2013-14.
Director Paolo Di Canio has signed 14 new players, including £ 9million Jozy Altidore, but that hasn’t stopped him from being sacked after five games or Sunderland from accumulating just 10 points before Christmas Day.
Gus Poyet replaced Di Canio at the Stadium of Light, but it wasn’t until mid-April that Sunderland woke up from its slumber and set out to run away.
Connor Wickham started hitting in goal, Jose Mourinho suffered his first league loss at home in 12 years at the revitalized Black Cats and three more wins took Sunderland to an incredible 14th place finish at the end of the season.
After deciding to forget the lessons they had learned, Sunderland bypassed the mouth hole for the next two seasons before moving on to the Championship in 2017.
They have not yet regained the elite.
The great escape from Sunderland in 2014 📈
Fair play from Gus Poyet pic.twitter.com/oIyy1T6zLI
– Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 22, 2021
2014: city of Leicester
A year before winning the most unlikely league title of the modern era, Leicester became just the third Premier League team to survive after being the lowest at Christmas.
Having taken just 10 points from their opening 17 after promotion – the same situation Norwich is in now – the writing was on the wall for Nigel Pearson, Craig Shakespeare and the Leicester side.
This situation persisted for much of the spring until a home win over West Ham in early April kicked off incredible form.
Leicester have won seven of their last nine games to avoid relegation, accumulating more points than in their previous 29 appearances, to finish in a comfortable 14th place.
They remain the last team to avoid relegation to achieve such a feat.
2015: Aston Villa
Christmas 2015 was a miserable one for Aston Villa fans, with their team having entered into a long-term lease on last place and having just seven points to their name.
Seven points. This is incompetence on an outrageous level.
After the appointment of Tim Sherwood did not work incredibly long term, Villa appointed Remi Garde in October. Faced with a squad of demotivated players, Garde by no means appeared like a divorced father who attempted a spectacular move in an attempt to impress his ex-wife.
Villa won their second game of the season in January, but it wasn’t enough. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games to finish with a grand total of 17 points – just 22 short of safety.
2016: City of Hull
Hull was in chaos before a ball was kicked in 2016. Despite their promotion, Steve Bruce walked away due to lack of investment and they only had 13 fit players heading into their home game. opening against champions Leicester.
Incredibly, Mike Phelan led them to a 2-1 victory and Hull won their next game for good measure. As Christmas approached, they had won just one more time and Phelan had been replaced by Marco Silva.
Despite players like Harry Maguire and Andy Robertson on their squad, Hull still struggled with inevitable relegation. Late form in April propelled them to 17th overall, but the demotion was confirmed with one game to lose.
They lost their last game 7-1 to Tottenham for good measure.
2017: City of Swansea
Swansea had been the lowest at Christmas in the previous season, so their position during the 2017 festivities came as no huge surprise.
What happened next did. After ditching Steve Clement for Carlos Carvalhal, Swansea moved up to 13th place in early March after a string of home wins – including triumphs over Liverpool and Arsenal.
But a 4-1 loss to West Ham would prove their last three-point gain of the campaign. The new manager’s rebound started to fade, Carvahal started to resemble David Brent with his insane whispers and the loss to Southampton in May proved fatal.
Swansea ultimately finished 18th, three points behind safety.
Swansea City boss Carlos Carvalhal at the moment. pic.twitter.com/Cdyl1DzMBE
– Partridge FPL (@FPL_Partridge) May 10, 2018
Despite spending £ 100million after winning a promotion, Fulham was rancid in 2018-19.
Expensive signings like Jean Michael Serri failed to fire and Claudio Ranieri was bought out to save the west London club in November. He failed… dramatically.
Down at Christmas with just 10 points, Fulham won just two more times before relegation was confirmed in early April. Infuriatingly, they won three straight games thereafter.
Ranieri was long gone by then, having been sacked in February. We suspect Watford ignored this interlude when the Italian was appointed boss in October.
Watford backed the table at Christmas 2019 but, with Nigel Pearson in charge, many felt they would escape relegation.
They almost did. Watford crushed elected champions Liverpool and was three points above the relegation zone with two games to go when the board, famously impatient, sacked Pearson for arguing with the owner after losing a six-point to West Ham.
They had had five wins and five draws in 21 games, but they faced Manchester City and Arsenal – both of whom were lost under the guidance of interim boss Hayden Mullins as Watford succumbed to the fall.
We would have loved to be a fly on the Pearson house wall when relegation was confirmed.
2020: Sheffield United
Sheffield United had two points when the turkey was carved last Christmas. Of them.
They did not stay standing. They still managed 23 points, which proves that they were not completely rancid.
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