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History favours teams with no points

4 Sep 2017
Composite Defoe, Benteke, Zabaleta

Analysis of past seasons show clubs losing first three matches stay up more than get relegated

Fans of the three Premier League teams with no points who are already fearing relegation would be minded to consult history.

West Ham United, Crystal Palace and AFC Bournemouth have each started with three defeats, the first time that three teams have done so in the Premier League.

But nearly two thirds of the clubs to have lost their first three matches have avoided the drop.

Indeed, any of this season's three teams looking enviously up at their rivals with two wins should know that just as many teams with six points after three matches have gone down in the past.

Of the 76 teams who have been relegated across the 25 years of the Premier League, only eight were still looking for their first points of the season after three matches.

This is from a total of 22 clubs who were beaten in their opening three PL matches of a season.

Most recently Southampton (2012/13) and West Bromwich Albion (2011/12) stayed up despite having no points from nine.

That said, West Ham fans will remember that a similar start in 2010/11 led to them finishing bottom.

Teams to lose first three matches 

Season Club Down? Season Club Down?
1992/93 WIM No 2002/03 WBA Yes
1993/94 SOU No 2003/04 WOL Yes
SWI Yes 2005/06 SUN Yes
1994/95 LEI Yes 2007/08 BOL No
1996/97 WIM No 2009/10 BOL No
1997/98 AVL No POR Yes
SOU No 2010/11 STK No
1998/99 SOU No WHU Yes
1999/00 NEW No 2011/12 BLB Yes
2001/02 MID No WBA No
SOU No 2012/13 SOU No

Fifteen of the clubs who went down (almost one fifth) had earned only one point from nine but a further 35 had at least won one of their opening three fixtures, or had drawn three, to win three or four points.

Indeed, eight of the relegated had claimed two wins from their opening three matches: Middlesbrough (1992/93), Crystal Palace (1997/98), Nottingham Forest (1998/99), Coventry City (2000/01), Middlesbrough (2008/09), Burnley (2009/10), Wolverhampton Wanderers (2011/12) and Hull City (2016/17).

Indeed, Wolves were unbeaten after three matches in 2011/12, having seven points.

No team have gone down after a 100% start from their first three matches, although Ipswich Town came mighty close in 1994/95.

After opening with three wins, John Lyall’s team slumped and needed a final-day draw at Blackburn Rovers to finish a point above the relegation zone. 

Relegated teams' three-match status

Points Teams relegated
0 8
1 15
2 6
3 17
4 18
5 4
6 7
7 1
9 0

See: Perfect start bodes well for title hopes

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