The top teams in the EPL are getting stronger every year. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the newly promoted teams, who increasingly struggle to survive in the EPL year-on-year.
After the opening quarter of the 2023/24 EPL season, all three of last season’s promoted clubs found themselves mired in the bottom four. Those who bet online on Premier League outright markets will not be surprised to see Luton and Sheffield United already priced as low as 1/5 to return to the EFL Championship next term.
When football fanatics play games like Football Manager, establishing teams in the EPL is becoming equally tough for those who enjoy building clubs from the ground up.
There’s still been plenty of shock results since the formation of the EPL. Below, we’ll look at four of the biggest upsets in EPL history.
2008 – Middlesbrough 8-1 Manchester City
Manchester City was taken over by the City Football Group in August 2008, putting the Blues on a new pedestal in the EPL. However, the standard of their squad in 2008/09 was by no means ready to meet the demands of being at the top of the table.
In fact, that expectation began to weigh heavily on the backs of this City squad. Sven-Goran Eriksson was in charge at this stage and the Swede had no response to Middlesbrough’s dominant display. Boro stormed to an 8-1 victory, coming within a whisker of breaking the EPL record for the biggest win.
1996 – Southampton 6-3 Manchester United
In the 1990s, Manchester United were the untouchables of the EPL. They were in their pomp in 1996 and traveled to Southampton in search of a reaction to a heavy 5-0 loss at Newcastle. However, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men were left shell-shocked by back-to-back hammerings. Southampton dished out the second hammering, with the Saints dominant all over the pitch at their old-school Dell stadium.
It got worse for United as their dominant captain, Roy Keane, was sent off before halftime. United were also wearing their iconic grey away kit, which proved to be highly controversial. The Saints were indebted to fine solo displays from Matt Le Tissier and Egil Ostenstad, as they ran out comfortable winners.
2010 – Liverpool 1-2 Blackpool
Blackpool was promoted to the EPL for the first time under the charismatic boss, Ian Holloway. The Tangerines came up through the playoffs, defeating Cardiff City at Wembley. A few EPL pundits gave Blackpool a prayer in staying up. However, they made a strong start to the 2010/11 season, with a string of teams underestimating their attacking prowess.
Blackpool hadn’t won at Liverpool in the league since 1967. Their supporters were in dreamland by the half-time interval against Roy Hodgson’s stuttering Reds. Goals from Charlie Adam and Luke Varney gave Blackpool a two-goal advantage at the break. Liverpool rallied to halve the deficit, but they couldn’t find that elusive equalizer, handing the Tangerines a famous victory.