Which team has endured the most disappointing season?
April 26, 2016
While Spurs fans may disagree, which team wins the Premier League can lay claim to be deserving champions. The EPL title is essentially an award earned by the best team in the country, regardless of their style of play or history as a club.
There is no such recognition for runners-up or those who trail behind, however, other than perhaps a Champions League slot for the clubs that finishing the top four. Those that finish in mid-table are faced with even greater ignominy, as while some are simply forgotten about others are chastised for under-performing.
With this in mind, we have decided to recognise the three EPL teams who have under-performed the most this season…
It is impossible not to start with Chelsea, who have gone from being the champions of England to competing for a mid-table place in the space of just 12 months. After Jose Mourinho oversaw a staggering nine league defeats before his dismissal in December, temporary incumbent Guus Hiddink triggered a brief revival before a further decline began to set in at the end of March.
Now left with only an outside chance of qualifying for the Europa League (which could be extinguished completely when the Blues face title-chasing Tottenham at the weekend), Chelsea’s struggles are at odds with the millions that have spent in building a team for sustained success.
One thing is for sure; incoming manager Antonio Conte has a huge task on his hands if he is to revive the West London club.
Back in 2014, Everton were celebrating a fifth place Premier League finish after recording their highest ever points haul (72) since the formation of the competition. Led by former Wigan manager Roberto Martinez, Everton’s fans were suddenly dreaming of Champions League football while also turning on former hero David Moyes.
In the two years since, however, Everton’s playing squad has barely evolved while the club’s league performances have become increasingly disappointing and inconsistent. Set to finish in the bottom half of the table for the second consecutive season, the Toffee’s attacking but naïve style of play has been exposed while the defensive flaws that underlined Martinez’ Wigan side have also caused significant issues.
With this in mind, it is no surprise that the positive and articulate Spaniard is expected to lose his job this summer, with fans apparently keen on the reappointment of Moyes.
The Gunners were competing with Manchester United for the final place, but the Reds’ journey to the FA Cup final and willingness to blood the next generation of stars has helped them to retain at least some of their dignity. Instead we focus on Arsenal, who have returned to type after a season that promised so much on the back of two consecutive FA Cup wins.
Despite flourishing before Christmas and initially emerging as the bookmakers favourites to win the Premier League (while simultaneously ending a 12-year wait for the title), Arsenal have since slumped to fourth place, being dumped out of the Champions League by Barcelona and lost their first FA Cup tie in three years against Watford.
If Arsenal suffer the humiliation of failing to qualify for the Champions League this season, this could finally be the year where Arsene Wenger ends his tenure as Gunners’ manager.