Premier League Teams Who Have Experienced Dramatic Turnarounds - Ranked

09 November 2020 09:36

It's no secret that this season's Premier League is a little bit bonkers.

Therefore, it should come as absolutely no surprise to us that little over a year on from their humiliating 9-0 home defeat to Leicester, Southampton occupied top spot going into the weekend's fixtures following their 2-0 win over Newcastle on Friday evening.

They're not the only team to be enjoying a dramatic turnaround of late, with last season's relegation candidates Aston Villa also sitting pretty in the upper echelons of the league table after their emphatic 3-0 win over Arsenal at the Emirates.

However - while this season is particularly unpredictable - this isn't a new-found phenomenon never seen in the Premier League. We've compiled a list of biggest top-flight turnarounds, so get your popcorn at the ready as we indulge in teams enduring calamitous falls from grace along with those who've enjoyed inspired seasons to upset the odds.


15. Burnley (2017/18)

Sean Dyche led Burnley to their highest Premier League finish in 2018 | OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Having been promoted to the Premier League in 2016, Burnley did well to retain their top-flight status with a solid 16th place finish. However, nobody could have predicted what was to come the following season.

The Clarets produced a whole host of impressive displays with their mean defensive unit and set piece creativity seeing them secure Europa League football as they finished in seventh place, despite many tipping them to be embroiled in yet another relegation battle.


14. West Ham (2002/03)

Paulo Di Canio of West Ham United applauds the crowd | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Having only been absent from the Premier League in its inaugural season, West Ham had become something of a fixture in the top flight by the time they recorded a quality seventh place finish in 2002.

However, the Hammers would suffer quite the fall the following campaign. Glenn Roeder's side picked up just three wins from their opening 24 games, with a late flurry of results under caretaker boss Sir Trevor Brooking unable to save them as they finished 18th.


13. Leeds (1993/94)

Leeds shocked the top flight with their 1993/94 performances | Chris Cole/Getty Images

The very first Premier League season saw defending English champions Leeds come perilously close to dropping out of the top tier, finishing just two points above the drop zone in 17th.

However, manager Howard Wilkinson managed to rejuvenate his squad for the next campaign, leading them to a staggering fifth placed finish - just a point outside the European places.


12. Newcastle (2012/13)

Demba Ba was unable to continue his impressive form in to the 2012/13 season | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

To say Newcastle punched above their weight in 2011/12 would be something of an understatement, with Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse's goals seeing them take the fight for Champions League football down to the final day.

Alan Pardew's men eventually settled for fifth spot in the table, though their subsequent Europa League commitments the following year certainly seemed to have an impact on their league form. The Magpies would plummet to 16th in 2012/13, with Cisse's drop in form playing a huge part in their downfall.


11. Manchester United (2013/14)

David Moyes did not enjoy a successful time at Manchester United | OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Ah David Moyes. And after it all started so brightly as well.

Having waved goodbye to Sir Alex Ferguson as he delivered the club's 13th Premier League crown in 2012/13, few could have envisaged Moyes' tenure would go so disastrously wrong after notching the Community Shield in his first competitive game in charge (although it was against Wigan in fairness - no offence Latics fans).

Manchester United would finish seventh in their first campaign since Ferguson's departure, having never finished lower than third under the Scotsman's stewardship since the Premier League's inception.

The Red Devils would 'give it Giggseh' until the end of the season, though it wasn't enough to prevent a relatively dreadful league finish.


10. Fulham (2008/09)

Roy Hodgson inspired Fulham's turnaround | Ian Walton/Getty Images

Few people expected Fulham to be playing Premier League football in 2008/09, with the Cottagers looking nailed on for the second tier.

However, Roy Hodgson somehow saw them safe by virtue of goal difference in 2007/08, and their performance the following campaign was even more unexpected.

Despite four defeats in their opening six league games Fulham somehow managed to notch Europa League football with a seventh place finish, with the club even more improbably reaching the final of the competition the next year.


9. Blackburn (1998/99)

Blackburn were relegated in 1999 under Brian Kidd | Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

The 90s was a decade Blackburn Rovers fans certainly won't forget in a hurry. Driven on by Jack Walker's millions, Rovers became the first team to dethrone Manchester United as Premier League champions in 1994/95, though a period of unrest followed as they were unable to maintain their place among England's elite.

The arrival of Roy Hodgson prior to the 1997/98 campaign seemed to have steadied the ship as Rovers recorded a solid sixth place finish, however, inexplicably the club somehow managed to finish second bottom the following season, winning just seven games.


8. Everton (2004/05)

No-one could have predicted Everton's 2004/05 league finish | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Despite being ever-present since the Premier League's inception, Everton have had more than their fair share of nervy campaigns.

After numerous flirts with relegation in the 90s, the turn of the century didn't seem to bring about a change in fortunes as the club yet again survived by the skin of their teeth in 2003/04, finishing just a place above the drop.

But better times were ahead. The Toffees did the unthinkable in 2004/05 as they broke into the illusive top four at the expense of their city rivals Liverpool.

That being said, the Reds made it into the Champions League anyway as winners of the previous year's competition and Everton got knocked out in the qualifying rounds. It really isn't easy being a Toffees fan.


7. Newcastle (1997/98)

Newcastle's Champions League commitments saw their league form suffer | Graham Chadwick/Getty Images

Similar to the aforementioned Blackburn side, Newcastle were great value for money in the 90s. Keegan's 'Entertainers' (if your idea of entertainment is not winning anything, that is) came so close yet so far, with Kenny Dalglish taking over midway through the 1996/97 season as the Magpies yet again finished second.

The 1997/98 campaign represented a fresh start. Time to pick themselves up and go again. Or do absolutely nothing and finish 13th. They chose the latter.


6. Leicester (2016/17)

Leicester struggled with the added workload of Champions League football following their Premier League triumph | Power Sport Images/Getty Images

Let's be honest, we all expected it. But it doesn't stop it being a pretty dramatic fall from grace.

Having shocked the world in becoming Premier League champions in 2015/16, the Foxes were unable to repeat the feat - or even come close for that matter - with Champions League football clearly having an impact on their league form as they slipped from first to 12th.

Mind you, a quarter-final exit at the hands of Atletico Madrid is pretty good going in your maiden season in Europe's premier competition.


5. Chelsea (2016/17)

Conte managed to turn Chelsea's season around after a rocky start and having finished 10th the season prior | Michael Regan/Getty Images

When Antonio Conte arrived at Chelsea they were a club in disarray.

Having waved goodbye to Jose Mourinho and been unable to convince interim boss Guus Hiddink to take the job full time, the Italian was brought in to try and rejuvenate a side that finished tenth the previous season.

Conte had a rocky start, with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of rivals Arsenal signalling the need for change as he reverted to a back three - and it all changed from there.

The Blues would win their next 13 league games as they rocketed up the table and claimed their fifth Premier League crown.


4. Aston Villa (1995/96)

Brian Little enjoyed a superb 1995/96 season with Villa | Phil Cole/Getty Images

The 1994/95 season was a shambles as far as Aston Villa were concerned, finishing just one place above the relegation zone.

Brian Little was brought in midway through the campaign and the shoots of improvement were there for all to see as he guided the team to safety after a shocking start, and his first full season in charge was something special.

Villa went from relegation candidates to UEFA Cup qualifiers, with a certain Dwight Yorke spearheading their charge to a fourth place finish (they went out in the first round of the UEFA Cup but no need to mention that).


3. Ipswich (2001/02)

George Burley experience second-season syndrome with Ipswich | Stu Forster/Getty Images

Ipswich Town in 2000/01 were EVERYONE'S second team (except for Norwich fans, obviously).

Having been promoted via the play-offs the previous season, George Burley's men somehow managed to finish fifth in their first season back in the Premier League, with Marcus Stewart's goals playing a huge part in their success.

Aaaaaand then second season syndrome hit.

Unable to repeat their incredible feat with the rigours of UEFA Cup football stretching their squad to the limit, Burley's side finished a disappointing 18th as they were condemned to life back in the second tier.


2. Chelsea (2015/16)

Mourinho was unable to inspire Chelsea to retain their Premier League crown | Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Ah it's Chelsea again.

Second season syndrome is something very different in Jose Mourinho's world. It doesn't mean everyone suddenly works you out and you can't win - it means being brilliant and winning the league, and that's exactly what he did in his second season back at the Blues in 2014/15.

However, in 2015/16 the wheels fell off. Chelsea genuinely looked like being pulled into a relegation battle at one point, with veteran Dutch manager Hiddink drafted in to salvage a 'respectable' tenth place finish.

Bit of a rocky time in Chelsea's history, but then it's never really settled at Stamford Bridge, is it?


1. Leicester (2015/16)

Leicester are the ultimate underdog story | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Ah it's Leicester again. And again it's from the same era as their previous entry.

It couldn't really have been any other club to be fair, could it? A run of just two wins from 24 games in 2014/15 had the Foxes on the brink, with Championship football looking an inevitability. However, somehow Nigel Pearson managed to inspire his team as they picked up seven wins from their remaining nine games and retained their Premier League status.

The summer brought about change, with Claudio Ranieri appointed as manager. So, new man, fresh start, nice comfortable season please lads, let's make sure we're a Premier League team again next year.

Or go and win the league in the biggest upset ever in Premier League history - your choice.


Source: 90min