What are the best ever & worst-ever starts to a Premier League season?

goal.com, 11 December 2019, 07:48
Manchester City and Liverpool have taken the top flight to new heights in recent years, while the record low has stood since 2006

The first few weeks of a Premier League campaign can make or break a season for any side.

Whether Manchester City under Pep Guardiola, Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp or Chelsea under Jose Mourinho, some of the most memorable campaigns of recent years have had a jump-start with the rest of the league playing catch-up.

Of course, the opposite is also true.

Fans of Sunderland, Aston Villa and Derby will be well aware of the feeling of the season being over when it has barely begun.

But with 15 games played, what are the very best and worst starts to a season the Premier League has seen? Goal takes a look.

What are the best-ever starts to a Premier League season?

What are the worst-ever starts to a Premier League season?

What are the best-ever starts to a Premier League season?

Manchester City 2017-18 - W14 D1 L0, PTS 43, GD +36

It won’t come as a surprise to many that Guardiola's side has had the fastest start in Premier League history.

Guardiola’s first title-winning side reached the 15-game mark with a remarkable 43 points – dropping only two with 14 wins and one draw.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach took some time to instil his philosophies into his players in Manchester but once he did, his side redefined dominance in the English game.

The Premier League had simply never seen anything like it, and his team broke a slew of records by the end of the season.

Most points (100), biggest winning margin (19), most goals (106), best goal difference (+79) and the title won with the most games to spare (five). City made their great start count.

Liverpool 2019-20 - W14 D1 L0, PTS 43, GD +23

Deprived of top spot on goal difference alone, Klopp’s Liverpool matched City’s record-breaking start just two years later.

A sustained period of dominance for City was talked about by many, but Liverpool arrived to knock them unceremoniously off their perch.

The German’s ‘monsters of mentality’ simply never seem to let up, always finding a way in the games that threaten to get away from them.

Champions League glory in 2018-19 helped underline Liverpool’s belief that they could be winners, a fact they set out proving every weekend of the league season.

Klopp and Guardiola’s battles in years to come, ignited in the Bundesliga with Bayern and Borussia Dortmund, will be fascinating to watch.

Manchester City 2018-19 - W13 D2 L0, PTS 41, GD +38

City might have been reigning centurions, but they must have been resting on their laurels by the time the following season came around as they dropped an extra two points in their first 15 games.

Draws with Wolves and Liverpool meant Klopp’s side were right on their coat-tails, with the Reds themselves making the sixth-best start to a Premier League season with 12 wins and three draws.

At one point in the year, Riyad Mahrez’s missed penalty in that goalless draw at Anfield had looked to be a key moment in the title slipping away from Manchester.

Things immediately got worse after these 15 games, as City lost three of the next four.

But wins from 18 of the remaining 19 matches at the end of the season ensured they eventually overhauled the Reds and retained their title.

Chelsea 2005-06 - W13 D1 L1, PTS 40, GD +27

You have to go a little further back to find number four on the list, with Mourinho’s second Premier League-winning side.

A record nine wins from nine to start the campaign became 13 wins, one draw and one defeat by the 15-game mark.

Top of the table by the end of matchday three, they stayed there for the entire rest of the season, eventually beating Manchester United by a healthy eight points.

Chelsea lost five games in total over the course of the league season, four of these being narrow one-nils, with a surprise 3-0 defeat at Middlesbrough proving the anomaly.

Their incredible start to the season lasted well past the halfway mark. After 22 games, their record still only showed one draw and one defeat before standards began to slip with the title increasingly secure towards the end of the season.

Manchester United 1993-94 - W13 D1 L1, PTS 40, GD +20

Rounding out the top five are Sir Alex Ferguson’s double-winning team, squeezed out by Chelsea on goal difference in this list.

Their 15-game record of 13 wins, one draw and one defeat stood as the best-ever start to a Premier League season for 12 years, when Mourinho’s side matched it.

Fittingly, that singular defeat came against Chelsea, who beat them 1-0 home and away under Glenn Hoddle.

But it hardly mattered as the goals of Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs and Mark Hughes helped Ferguson’s side canter to the league title, beating second-placed Blackburn by a healthy eight points.

A 4-0 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup final meant the double was theirs, and they missed out on the treble after a surprise 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa in the League Cup final.

What are the worst-ever starts to a Premier League season?

Sunderland 2005-06 - W1 D2 L12, PTS 5, GD -17

The worst starts to a Premier League season have a bit more of a retro feel to them.

Sunderland’s record of five points from 15 games is as bad as the Premier League has ever seen – and it would go on to be their worst-ever season in the top flight.

After losing their first five games, a three-game unbeaten run – including draws with West Brom and West Ham, and a win over Middlesbrough – seemed to suggest things were on the up.

They weren’t. Sunderland won just twice more all season, setting what was a record-low points tally in the Premier League with just 15.

Derby County 2007-08 - W1 D3 L11, PTS 6, GD -29

Luckily for Sunderland, Derby came along two years later and blew that record out of the water – though they did start the season in marginally better form.

Finishing the season with just 11 points, Derby won six of them in the first 15 games.

The year started so promisingly with an opening-day draw with Portsmouth, but a four-game losing streak was rounded off with a 6-0 thrashing at Liverpool.

The 1-0 victory over Newcastle which followed was to be their only league win of the entire season – so, in a way, the second-worst start to a season in Premier League history was actually the highlight of the campaign for the Rams.

Sheffield Wednesday 1999-00 - W1 D3 L11, PTS 6, GD -23

Level with Derby on six points after 15 games, Sheffield Wednesday rounded off the millennium in very little style with an arduous relegation season.

Their nightmare start included an 8-0 defeat to Newcastle, a 4-0 at Manchester United, and a 4-3 at West Ham – but also a 5-1 victory at home to Wimbledon.

Wednesday eventually won seven more matches that season, including three wins in five in the New Year.

But the damage was already done, and they were relegated in 19th.

Swindon Town 1993-94 - W0 D6 L9, PTS 6, GD -22

While Manchester United were enjoying one of the best starts the Premier League has ever seen, Swindon were having one of the worst.

Four straight defeats to start the campaign with a goal difference of -12 set the tone, and a first win wasn’t forthcoming until matchday 16.

They finished the first 15 games with just six points, and are the first team on this list to get there without experiencing the sweet taste of victory.

A start like that could only mean one thing, and Swindon ended up rock-bottom by 10 points – despite 13 goals in 17 games after Christmas from Jan Aage Fjortoft.

Queens Park Rangers 2012-13 - W0 D6 L9, PTS 6, GD -16

QPR had a funny old season in 2012-13, with Mark Hughes and Harry Redknapp presiding over a mismatched squad featuring the likes of Park Ji-Sung, Djibril Cisse, Esteban Granero and Loic Remy.

Remy finished top scorer with just six, which coincidentally was how many points his side won in their first 15 games.

Like Swindon, QPR didn’t get a win in this spell - their first victory coming in matchday 17 against London rivals Fulham.

QPR finished rock bottom, with just four wins all season. As the old saying goes: not many good seasons start with a 5-0 home defeat to Swansea.

Aston Villa 2015-16 - W1 D3 L11, PTS 6, GD -15

The final and most recent team on this list, Villa also started the season with just six points from their first 15 games.

By the end of the season, Tim Sherwood, Kevin MacDonald, Remi Garde and Eric Black had all tried and failed to stop the rot which set in almost from the start.

Villa actually started the season with a 1-0 win at newly-promoted Bournemouth, but they lost nine of their next 10 and didn’t win again until January.

Things actually got steadily worse as the season developed – they rounded off the campaign with one point from their final 13 games.

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