7 Premier League Teams That Overcame the Odds to Avoid Relegation

Every so often, one Premier League team looks destined for Championship, with pundits and fans alike resigned to the expectation of lower tier football the following season. There is little hope for them to maintain their premier status. 


But against overwhelming odds, this team defies all logic and expectation to gets the results required to remain in the Premier League, enough to leave pundits and fans alike eating humble pie. With that in mind, here are seven teams that have achieved such a feat, proving that there is no such thing as a certainty in football:

7. Sunderland (2013/14)

Sunderland faced the unenviable task of being bottom of the table on Christmas day, and had already changed managers after a shocking start to the season. Despite reaching the EFL Cup final, league form was inconsistent and they looked Championship bound after one point from a possible 24 between mid February and mid April left them rock bottom, seven points adrift with two games in hand.


However, a credible draw with eventual champions Man City and a shock victory at Chelsea brought the Black Cats to life, and an outstanding three wins from their final four games saw Sunderland climb out the bottom three and assure safety with a 2-0 win over West Brom in the penultimate match day.


It was only the second time that a team who had propped up the table on the 25th December had stayed up.

6. Portsmouth (2005/06)

Even before a ball was kicked in the 2005/06 season, Portsmouth were many people's pick for the drop. The club had lost manager Harry Redknapp to rivals Southampton the previous season, and the fans didn't appear to have any faith in new boss Alan Perrin. Couple that with a mediocre transfer window, things looked grim for the team from the South Coast.


Unsurprisingly, Pompey made a poor start, failing to win any of their first seven home games and after a generally shambolic start Perrin was sacked with the club deep in relegation trouble. 


Harry Redknapp made an epic return and things slowly improved with the team ending their home drought. Unfortunately though, it all looked glum after a 1-0 loss at Aston Villa left them eight points adrift of safety with ten games left.


However, fuelled by goal of the season contenders by Pedro Mendes and a new found team spirit, Pompey would win six of their last ten to survive with a game to spare and complete a stunning survival when all looked against them in a stunning turnaround in such limited time.

5. Leicester City (2014/15)

Leicester's return to the top flight was proving harder than expected and after taking the dreaded title of being the basement team on Christmas day, the Foxes looked doomed after just four wins from 29 matches left them bottom of the table at the start of April, having been there since before the end of November.


However, under the stewardship of Nigel Pearson, Leicester pulled out an unbelievable run of form, managing to win seven of their last nine games, losing just once to assure a truly unlikely survival with a game to spare and eventually finishing 14th.


Despite his heroics, controversy off the field saw Pearson sacked and Claudio Ranieri brought in, but what happened the following season is a bit of a blur.

4. Bradford City (1999/2000)

Bradford were playing Premier League football for the first time in 77 years and were favourites to go straight back down having spent £1m for the first time in the club's history that summer. Despite an opening day win, Bradford struggled for consistency and a run of six straight defeats from the 12th March to the 15th April appeared to leave them all but down.


However, the Bantams were determined not to waste their time back in the top flight and three wins from their final five games, including a dramatic 1-0 final day win over Champions League contenders Liverpool shocked the nation and they survived by three points at the expense of Wimbledon.


It was one of the greatest survival stories of the time, and the man who masterminded it, Paul Jewell, left that summer and the club were relegated a year later.

3. West Ham (2006/07)

Despite having a squad that contained Carlos Tevez, Javier Mascherano and Yossi Benayoun, West Ham failed miserably to build on an epic 2005/06 season and struggled horribly, sacking Alan Pardew in December and new manager Alan Curbishley didn't fair much better. 


A gut wrenching 4-3 home defeat to Tottenham in early March appeared to leave the Hammers with one foot in the Championship as they were rooted to the bottom.


However, fuelled by goals from Tevez and Bobby Zamora, Curbishley led the Irons to an astonishing run of form, beating Arsenal, Everton and champions Manchester United in a run that saw them win seven of their last nine games to stay up against all the odds, the last of those wins being a Tevez winner at Old Trafford to clinch safety and controversially relegate Sheffield United.


There had been arguments over third party ownership of the Argentine striker which had threatened fines and points deductions for his club, the latter of which never took place.

2. Fulham (2007/08)

Long, long before Iceland, Roy Hodgson took over a Fulham side in free fall after a dreadful start to the season under Lawrie Sanchez, things weren't looking great for the Cottagers survival hopes. 


Fulham went to Manchester City in late April knowing they could end the day relegated, and a 2-0 half time lead for City coupled with other scores meant that at half-time, Fulham were heading for the Championship.


However, not only did the other results go Fulham's way, but Hodgson's side staged a truly unbelievable comeback, with three goals in the last 20 minutes giving them a stunning 3-2 win and kept their survival hopes alive. 


A crucial home win over Birmingham followed, before a tense final day win at FA Cup winners Portsmouth ensured survival on goal difference at the expense of Reading, who would have needed three more goals in their game to stay up.


It was a truly great escape considering Fulham had been 20 minutes away from relegation two weeks earlier, and it would better as two years later the fairytale saw Fulham reach the UEFA Europa League Final.

1. West Brom (2004/05)

Still regarded as the greatest escape ever, West Brom sat bottom of the table on Christmas Day and at that time the team who had been bottom whilst opening their Christmas presents had never survived. 


Despite some decent results in the run-in, the Baggies were still bottom on the final day and not only were all three relegation places undecided, but the entire bottom four had a chance of going down.


With fellow rivals Norwich losing 6-0, Crystal Palace drawing 2-2 and Southampton losing 2-1, results went West Brom's way and Bryan Robson's team did their side of the bargain, beating Portsmouth 2-0 at the Hawthorns to drag them out of the bottom three and somehow survive the drop in what is surely the greatest survival story of all time.


It would be somewhat of an anti-climax in some sense, as the Baggies could not repeat the same feat the next season as Robson could only take the Baggies down to the Championship.

Don't panic Swansea, get some inspiration from these stories of PL survival!

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