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By the skin of their teeth

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The Premier League over the years has given us some of the most dramatic title races of the season. However, while the title race always attracts the most eyeballs, the Premier League has, over the years, also given some of the most exciting relegation scraps of all time. Time and again, a team has gone on an inspired run of games to survive the relegation zone by the skin of their teeth.

These moments have become part of the golden pages of the Premier League folklore and serve as inspiration for teams in the relegation zone that anything is possible and the league is not over until all 38 games have been played.

Even in the current season, three points separate the teams between 16th and 19th place, with the relegation race expected to go till matchday 38. So, without further ado, here are the greatest relegation escapes in Premier League history.

Oldham Athletic 1992-92

The first season of the Premier League gave us one of the most exciting relegation saves of all time. By the time Oldham Athletic played 30 games, they were bottom of the table, winning seven games with a goal difference of minus 15.

However, in the last 12 games, Oldham Athletic won an impressive 19 points. Going into the final match, Oldham Athletic needed to win to stay in the league. The team was in good form, having defeated second-placed Aston Villa on the road before beating Liverpool at home.

They ended the season by beating Southampton to finish on 49 points, the same as Crystal Palace. However, what came to their rescue was the goal difference, where they edged out the Eagles to survive the drop.

West Ham United 2006-07

After 29 games in the 2006-07 season, West Ham United were on 20 points with a goal difference of minus 29, the worst in the league. In the final nine games, however, they won 21 points to conclude one of the greatest Premier League relegations runs in history—the Hammers with a goal difference of plus-five in the last nine games.

One of the main reasons behind their impressive run was the incredible resurgence of Carlos Tevez. The Argentine, brought for a considerable sum of money in the 2006 summer transfer window, failed to score or assist in the first 16 games but came to life in the last ten games scoring seven goals and providing three assists.

Fulham 2007-08 

With 20 minutes remaining in their match, Fulham looked destined for relegation in the 2007-08 Premier League season. The Cottagers were losing 2-0 to Manchester City on matchday 36, while Birmingham City had a 2-1 lead over Liverpool. If the results had stayed the same, Fulham would have been relegated, but an inspired performance in the final minutes saw the club score three goals to win the match.

Meanwhile, Liverpool also scored an equaliser to ensure that Fulham still had a mathematical chance to stay in the league. And Fulham used this lifeline to significant effect by beating Birmingham City and Portsmouth in their final two games to edge out Reading on goal difference. The team won only eight matches that season, which makes their survival even more miraculous.

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Leicester City 2014-15

Leicester City’s 2015-16 Premier League title win is still regarded as one of the greatest underdog stories in football history. However, they wouldn’t have been in the Premier League if they had not performed one of the greatest relegation runs in football history a season before.

The 2014-15 season was Leicester’s first in the Premier League after ten years. However, with a month left for the season to finish, the Foxes had been in last place on the Premier League table for over four months.

However, with their backs against the wall Leicester City came fighting back, winning seven of their last nine games to script a miraculous escape. Before the start of their incredible run, the club were seven points from safety, but by the end of the campaign, they were six points above the drop zone.

Aston Villa 2019-20 

The only reason Aston Villa survived relegation in the 2019-20 season was because of their star player Jack Grealish. The then 24-year-old player scored eight goals and provided five assists, the most for anyone on the Villa team. Grealish would have had many more assists had his teammates finished more of the 91 chances (second only to Kevin de Bruyne) that he created for his team that season.

Villa had splurged more than £100 million before the start of their season, but it did not help as their band of individual stars failed to perform collectively as a team. After 34 games, Villa were in 19th position with 27 points, four points from safety. By then; they had also conceded 65 goals, the most in the league.

However, in a remarkable turn of events, the team won two and drew two to stage a remarkable comeback and survive relegation by just one point.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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