The current big six’s worst seasons in the Premier League era

05 May, 2021
by Church of edge

Arsenal – 12th (1994/95)

At the time of writing, Arsenal sit ninth in the Premier League. A bottom-half finish is not yet out of the question, although Mikel Arteta’s men will not sink as low as 12th, where Wolves have seven fewer points with four games remaining.

That means the 1994/95 campaign will remain Arsenal’s worst finish of the Premier League era, although it is worth noting that the division contained 22 teams back then. George Graham was in charge until February, when he departed following a bungs scandal. Stewart Houston, his erstwhile assistant, took over until the end of the season, which ended with the Gunners having won only 13 of their 42 encounters.

Chelsea – 14th (1993/94)

The year before Arsenal finished 12th, Chelsea ended the campaign even closer to the drop zone. The Blues were never in serious danger of the drop, but the pre-season optimism around Glenn Hoddle’s side quickly evaporated as Chelsea began 1993/94 without a win in three games.

Chelsea were capable of some excellent performances that year, but a lack of consistency undermined their attempts to secure another top-half finish. Hoddle did, however, lead the Blues into the FA Cup final, where they were beaten by Manchester United but still secured qualification for the Cup Winners’ Cup.

Liverpool – 8th (1993/94, 2011/12 and 2015/16)

Liverpool won the Premier League for the first time in 2019/20, moving the club onto 19 national titles. That is just one behind Manchester United, who had lifted the trophy only seven times when the Premier League began.

Liverpool have finished eighth on three occasions. The first was in 1993/94, just four years after their last title triumph. Graeme Souness was dismissed as manager in January of that campaign, having failed to replicate his playing success in the dugout.

Liverpool were equally disappointing in 2011/12, when Kenny Dalglish replaced Roy Hodgson after the future England manager endured a difficult few months at Anfield. The Reds also came eighth under Jurgen Klopp in 2015/16, with the German having replaced Brendan Rodgers near the start of that campaign.

Manchester City – 18th (1995/96 and 2000/01)

Manchester City might be on the verge of winning a third Premier League title in four years, but they were not always among the division’s elite. Indeed, City have twice fallen through the trapdoor after finishing 18th in both 1995/96 and 2000/01.

Their first relegation was particularly painful, with the Citizens going down to an inferior goal difference to Southampton and Coventry City. City fell as low as the third tier but battled their way back to the Premier League, only to be demoted again in 2000/01. On that occasion, though, they bounced back to the top tier at the first time of asking.

Manchester United – 7th (2013/14)

One year after winning the title for a record-extending 20th time, Manchester United finished seventh. Alex Ferguson, the manager responsible for 13 of those championship victories, retired at the end of the previous campaign, and David Moyes struggled to step into the sizable shoes of his fellow Scot.

Moyes was relieved of his duties once it became clear that United were going to miss out on the Champions League, with Ryan Giggs taking charge of the final four matches.

Tottenham Hotspur – 15th (1993/94)

Tottenham might be considered a big-six team these days, but they did not finish in the top six of the Premier League before 2005/06. Spurs dropped as low as 15th in the rebranded division’s second campaign, and were threatened by relegation at times that campaign.

Spurs kept faith with manager Ossie Ardiles until the November of the following season, but doubts had already emerged in 1993/94, when Tottenham won only 11 of 42 matches.