The Premier League has provided high drama and entertainment at both the top and bottom of the table.
Often one of the most intriguing battles takes place at the bottom of the league as teams fight it out to avoid relegation to the second tier.
Fans of the Premier League have been treated to an array of great escapes over the years. Here we take a look back at some of the memorable runs from the last 31 years.
What is a great escape?
A great escape takes place when a team defies the odds to avoid relegation when all the odds are heavily stacked against them.
Over the years we have seen teams struggle massively in the first half of the season and somehow turn the corner during the second half of the campaign.
Memorable Premier League escapes
- Newcastle United (2021/22)
Newcastle United have been one of the feel good stories in the Premier League this season and Eddie Howe has been dubbed by many experts as a potential contender for manager of the season.
However, Howe inherited a very different Newcastle team when he arrived at the club in November 2021.
In 2021, Newcastle conceded a total of 80 goals - which is a Premier League record in a calendar year. The Magpies failed to win any of their first 14 Premier League games at the start of last season. To put that statistic into context, no Premier League team in history had ever previously survived the drop after such a poor start.
Howe led Newcastle to their first win on matchday 15 against Burnley back in December 2021.
A strong transfer window followed in January and the addition of key players such as Dan Burn, Kieran Trippier, Bruno Guimaraes, Chris Wood and Matt Targett all proved crucial.
Newcastle became one of the most in-form teams in the whole of the Premier League during the second half of the season and they finished the year in 11th position with 49 points.
- Leicester City (2014/15)
Leicester City shocked the world in 2015/16 when they lifted the Premier League title at odds of 5000/1.
However, they were very nearly relegated from the Premier League a year before they won the title.
The Foxes were marooned at the bottom of the table for a total of four and a half months between November 2014 and April 2015.
Nigel Pearson’s side won just four of their opening 29 games and they were seven points adrift in the relegation places with nine games to spare.
Leicester seemed nailed on for a relegation, yet they remarkably defied the odds to finish in 14th position and a run of seven wins from nine games remarkably secured top-flight football for Nigel Pearson and his team.
Leicester spent a total of 140 days at the foot of the table without going down - this remains an all-time Premier League record.
- Sunderland (2013/14)
Sunderland have had their fair share of great escapes over the years with the likes of Sam Allardyce, Dick Advocatt and Martin O’Neill all inspiring the club to mid-season revivals.
But of all the great escapes one in particular stands out for The Black Cats and that was the 2013/14 campaign.
Sunderland began the year in dreadful form and they failed to win any of their opening seven games before sacking Paolo Di Canio. Gus Poyet took charge of the club on matchday eight and alarm bells started to ring after an emphatic 4-0 loss to Swansea.
The Uruguayan won his second game in charge against fierce North East rivals Newcastle to boost morale. However, Sunderland continued to struggle for form in the Premier League and on 16 April with just six games remaining, Poyet’s side sat rock-bottom, seven points away from safety.
Sunderland looked nailed on for relegation but remarkably survived the drop despite a tricky run of fixtures. Poyet’s team began their great escape with a draw against eventual champions Manchester City, they then followed that up with a remarkable run of four straight victories for the first time since 2000, including notable away performances against Manchester United and Chelsea, the latter ending Jose Mourinho’s run of 77 home games unbeaten.
The Black Cats secured survival with a 2-0 victory over West Brom in the penultimate game of the season.
- Fulham (2007/08)
When it comes to great escapes there are few that were decided as late as Roy Hodgson’s Fulham in 2007/08 and they secured their Premier League status with just 20 minutes to spare.
The Cottages started the season in poor fashion under Lawrie Sanchez and won just two of their opening 20 Premier League games.
The London side were rooted to the bottom three for most of the campaign alongside fellow strugglers Derby County and they turned to Roy Hodgson in a bid to turn their fortunes around.
The move was met with scepticism at the time and it had been nearly a decade since Hodgson’s last spell in the Premier League.
Hodgson won just two of his first 13 games in charge of Fulham and the Cottagers looked to be nailed on for relegation with just five games to spare.
However, Fulham miraculously avoided the drop with a run of four wins from their final games including huge victories over fellow strugglers Reading and Birmingham City.
West Bromwich Albion (2004/05)
West Bromwich Albion staged an unlikely fight back to survive in the 2004/05 season and became the first ever club to survive after being at the foot of the table at Christmas.
The Baggies began the season in poor fashion and a run of just one win from 13 games resulted in the sacking of Gary Megson.
Former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson took the reins to the end of the season but he struggled to make any impact on the results and won just one of his first 11 games in charge.
West Brom’s form gradually improved heading into the later stages of the season and crucial back to back victories over Charlton and Everton helped the West Midlands side remain in mathematical contention to survive.
Heading into the final game of the season West Brom remained bottom of the table behind the likes of Crystal Palace, Norwich City and Southampton.
Yet the Baggies were the only one of those four teams to win on the final day and a 2-0 win over Portsmouth remarkably secured West Brom’s status in the Premier League.
West Brom collected a total of 34 points in the 2004/05 campaigns, which is the lowest number of points for any surviving team in Premier League history.