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Premier League Records: Teams bottom at Christmas who stayed up

No club wants to be bottom of the league at any time of the season, but any side who’s bottom at Christmas usually knows what’s coming next.

Football

If you’re bottom at the halfway stage, you typically need a significant change in fortune (often via a change in the dugout) to have a chance of closing the gap on those above you, and while very few teams manage it, it’s not impossible.

Indeed, four clubs in the history of the Premier League have stayed up having been bottom at Christmas, with the first 12 clubs all doomed to the drop.

Premier League teams bottom at Christmas who stayed up:

  • West Brom (2004/05)
  • Sunderland (2013/14)
  • Leicester (2014/15)
  • Wolves (2022/23)

West Brom (2004/05)

West Brom – in the Premier League’s 13th season – became the first club to stay up having been bottom at Christmas and even that required a minor miracle. 

The Baggies parted ways with Gary Megson having won just one of their first 10 games that season, but even the arrival of Bryan Robson did little to change their fortunes. It wasn’t until their 24th game of the season – as late as 22nd January – that West Brom finally picked up three points.

West Brom finally got their heads above water on 10th April but a six-game winless run saw them bottom on the final day, needing a win to have any chance of survival. Robson’s men did their bit on the final day, beating Portsmouth 2-0, and the 21 points from their final 15 games were enough to stay up by the skin of their teeth.

Sunderland (2013/14)

It took nine years for a team who were bottom at Christmas to stay up and it was about as miraculous as West Brom’s escape.

A dismal start to the season saw Gus Poyet take over at Sunderland with the side on one point from their first eight games. Though the Black Cats recorded impressive victories against Newcastle and Manchester City, they were stuck on two wins at Christmas.

An impressive run of games, losing just one in nine, winning four (including another win against Newcastle) saw Sunderland out of the bottom three, but one point from their next eight left Poyet’s men looking doomed.

A remarkable turnaround, however, saw them get a point at the Etihad before beating title challengers Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and Manchester United at Old Trafford, eventually finishing 14th.

Leicester (2014/15)

Leicester City then repeated the feat the following season. Despite their memorable 5-3 win over Manchester United, Leicester would take just two points from their next 13 games to sit bottom at Christmas. There was little reason to believe Leicester could avoid the drop, despite taking seven points from three heading into 2015. 

Nigel Pearson’s men were seven points adrift with a game in hand and only nine games left to save their season. But an incredible run of form saw them win seven of their final nine games to finish six points clear of the drop zone, and we all know what happened the following season…

Wolves (2022/23)

Wolves were the next team to be bottom at Christmas and stay up, though their feat was in the World Cup-interrupted 22/23 season where they were bottom (and only four points from safety) after 15 games.

Nevertheless, an impressive second half of the season under Julen Lopetegui saw Wolves beat the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham, going on to finish 13th.

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