They say the table doesn’t lie, and it is certainly telling some harsh home truths for the Premier League‘s bottom three as we head into the November international break.
With roughly one third of the 2023-24 campaign already played, the trio of promoted teams — Luton Town, Sheffield United and Burnley — are all entrenched in the relegation zone with only one win each to their names so far.
And in terms of points on the board, all three teams are still in single figures: 18th-placed Luton are faring best with a total of six points, Sheffield United (19th) have five points and Burnley (20th) have four. That means that the entire bottom three have amassed 15 points between them from a total of 36 games played.
Things are already looking bleak at the foot of the table with Sheffield United being the only bottom-three side to have registered a win in their last five games. It’s looking even more dire at Turf Moor, where Vincent Kompany’s ailing Burnley side — promoted as runaway winners of the 2022-23 Championship with 101 points and 87 goals scored in 46 games — are on a five-game losing streak, the worst form record in this season’s top flight.
As far as the three promoted sides are concerned, the 2023-24 Premier League season has seen the worst start ever for the teams coming up from the Championship, with the teams in 20th, 19th and 18th contributing the lowest collective points tally on record at this point of the season. Indeed, there is only one other occasion when the trio of new clubs have been together in the relegation zone after 12 rounds of games, and even they managed to eclipse the numbers on display this year.
No Premier League team has ever taken fewer points after 12 games than the four that Burnley have mustered so far this season. The previous record low for an individual club was the five points amassed by Fulham (2018-19), Sunderland (2005-06), and Swindon Town (1993-94). Both Fulham and Sunderland managed to scrape one win and two draws in their first 12 games, while Swindon’s five points came via five draws.
Just for the record, the highest points tally recorded by a newly promoted team after 12 games stands at an impressive 27, achieved by both Nottingham Forest (1994-95) and Sunderland (1999-00.)
Presented by way of comparison, here’s a look at some of the worst performances offered up by the three promoted teams at this stage since the Premier League was introduced in 1992-93.
The only other Premier League season in which all three newly promoted teams propped up the table after 12 games was the 2014-15 campaign, when Leicester City, Burnley and Queens Park Rangers did so.
However, despite languishing below the dotted line of doom, the three clubs had collectively accrued 28 points (13 points more than their 2023-24 counterparts) with the Foxes and Clarets both one point adrift of Hull City in 17th.
Come the end of the season, Burnley (19th, 33 points) and QPR (20th, 30 points) were relegated while Leicester successfully rallied to finish up in a relatively lofty 14th place. The following season they would go on to win the Premier League title under Claudio Ranieri.
Without wishing to throw yet more shade on the performances of Luton, Sheffield United and Burnley this season, all three sides have won fewer combined points than the two — yes, TWO — promoted sides managed to collect in the first third of the 1995-96.
Due to the number of Premier League teams being reduced from 22 to 20, only two sides were promoted from what was then known as the First Division, namely Middlesbrough and Bolton Wanderers — and yet they still managed to get more points on the board (30) from their opening 12 games than the class of 2023-24.
The previous record for lowest collective points haul among the three promoted sides was set in 2007-08 when Derby, Sunderland and Birmingham City had scraped 26 points together after 12 games.
Birmingham (11 points) and Sunderland (nine points) were riding high in 14th and 15th place respectively. However, in what was to become their annus horribilis, Derby were already rooted to the bottom of the table. But at least the stricken Rams could boast having six points to their name — more than both Burnley and Sheffield United have collected so far this season.
They may be this season’s bottom side, but the good news for the Clarets is that despite only having four points to call their own, they are still on course to beat the all-time record low points haul recorded by Derby in their truly dismal 2007-08 campaign
Winning one game all season, the Rams claimed 11 points from 38 games — a feeble tally that has never been “beaten.” Thankfully, Kompany’s side are set to pass Derby’s grim milestone at some point in late April/early May.