The Worst Title Defences in Premier League History

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Manchester City 2014/15 - 15 points behind Chelsea

Manchester City’s title defence under Manuel Pellegrini Is the first to feature on this list, having finished 15 points behind Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in third place.

The 2014/15 campaign was blighted with inconsistency for the Chilean’s side, as City conceded 38 goals in the league, and suffered shock losses at home to Stoke City, as well as away defeats to the likes of West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Burnley.

Ultimately, City failed to build on the squad they already had at the Etihad whilst others strengthened, as their three biggest signings that season was Eliaquim Mangala from Porto for £42m, Wilfried Bony from Swansea for £25m and Fernando for £12m from Sevilla.

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Manchester City 2019/20 - 19 points behind Liverpool

Next up on this list is City’s title defence last season, as they surrendered the title without even posing a challenge to Liverpool.

The Catalyst to City failing to get close to Liverpool was allowing club captain Vicent Kompany to leave without a replacement, as well as the impressive run that Liverpool went on, having dropped just two points after 27 league matches.

What sums up Pep Guardiola’s side was the fact that their best league winning run came when they won their last five matches of the campaign. This resulted in City finishing 19 points adrift of Liverpool, as well as the fact that the Citizens suffered nine defeats in the league to the likes of Norwich City, whilst Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United both did the double on them.

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Blackburn Rovers 1995/96 - 21 points behind Manchester United

Blackburn Rovers shocked many when they won the Premier League title on the final day of the 1994/95 season at Anfield, as Manchester United failed to win against West Ham at Upton Park, however, what was to shock many was their downturn in fortunes overnight following this, as Kenny Dalglish resigned as manager.

This stunned the Ewood Park club, who appointed Ray Harford and struggled throughout his time as manager, as Rovers finished seventh, 21 points behind United and won just 18 out of 38 league fixtures, and even exited the Champions League at the group stage.

It was one of the worst-ever attempts at becoming a top team, as Rovers quickly fell back to their old ways and were even relegated to Division One four seasons later.

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Manchester United 2013/14 - 22 points behind Manchester City

United’s last Premier League title came in the 2012/13 season, as they finished 11 points ahead of City. However, towards the end of the season, the football world was stunned when Sir Alex Ferguson announced that he would be retiring after just short of 27 years in the hot seat at Old Trafford.

United replaced Ferguson with fellow Scot David Moyes who was Everton manager at the time and it turned out to be a complete disaster. What set the tone for Moyes’ tenure in charge was the summer transfer window of 2013, as the only major signing United made was Marouane Fellaini from Everton for £27m.

Moyes’ side failed to win in 17 of the 34 matches that they played in the league that season under him, including home defeats to the likes of Newcastle United, Everton and West Bromwich Albion. This resulted in the Scotsman being sacked, with club legend Ryan Giggs taking over for the last four games of the season, where United picked up seven points from a possible 12.

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Chelsea 2017/18 - 30 points behind Manchester City

Chelsea’s title defence in 2017/18 ranks as the third-worst in Premier League history, having finished 30 points behind Guardiola’s side. This ultimately cost Antonio Conte his job at Stamford Bridge as the Blues finished in fifth place and failed to qualify for the Champions League.

Key players such as Nemanja Matic and Diego Costa were sold to the likes of United and Atletico Madrid, whilst Conte’s side made a series of poor signings, having spent £185m on the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Alvaro Morata, Davide Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater.

The Stamford Bridge club only managed to score 62 goals, as the likes of Morata flopped, finding the back of the net 11 times in 31 Premier League appearances, of which three of these goals came in the same game against Stoke at home. This is in stark contrast to the 28 goal contributions that Diego Costa managed in 35 league games in the previous season.

Conte’s side lost ten times in the league, to the likes of Burnley, Bournemouth, Newcastle and Watford, hence why their points tally was so low at 70 for a team that was expected to compete for the title.

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Chelsea 2015/16 - 31 points behind Leicester City

Chelsea also have the second-worst title defence in Premier League history, following what was a disastrous 2015/16 season. The Stamford Bridge club finished a staggering 31 points behind shock champions Leicester City, in what was a turbulent season which saw them sack Jose Mourinho and replace him with interim manager Guus Hiddink.

Under Mourinho and Hiddink, the Blues accumulated just 12 wins from 38 games and conceded 53 goals, this saw them finish in 10th place on 50 points, one point behind ninth-placed Stoke City.

The Stamford Bridge club had a poor summer transfer window which was perhaps a catalyst in their woes, as particularly under a manager like Mourinho, the squad needs to be freshened up on a regular basis. Chelsea’s most notable signings in the summer were Pedro from Barcelona, Radamel Falcao on loan from AS Monaco who had recently flopped at Manchester United, and Baba Rahman from Augsburg.

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Leicester City 2016/17 - 49 points behind Chelsea

It will come to nobody’s surprise that Leicester City’s title defence in 2016/17 is the worst in the history of the Premier League and by an almighty margin.

The Foxes were one of the favourites to be relegated when they stunned world football and won the Premier League title in 2015/16 under Claudio Ranieri, having amassed 81 points, finishing 10 clear of second-placed Arsenal.

Realistically, Leicester were not going to retain the title and sat at an incredible 200/1 at the beginning of the campaign, but they were expected to come fairly close to the Europa League qualification places. The beginning of the downfall of Leicester’s title defence was the sale of N’Golo Kante, which saw the Frenchman join eventual champions Chelsea, who the Foxes finished 49 points behind. Kante was arguably not replaced until January when Wilfried Ndidi was signed from Genk.

The start of the season saw Leicester win just five of their first 25 matches which resulted in the sacking of Ranieri, who was then replaced by Craig Shakespeare who managed to guide the Foxes to a 12th placed finish, having won seven of the remaining 13 fixtures in the league that season.


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