What statistics say about managers bottom of the Premier League ladder at Christmas

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 23 December 2017, 17:14

In the 25 year history of the Premier League only three managers have survived relegation after being rock-bottom of the Premier League table at Christmas.

Swansea’s caretaker boss Leon Britton will hope he can extend that statistic to four as he bids to do the same during the current campaign...providing the club keep the faith in him…

However, it's worth noting that 15 of the 25 teams who were at the foot of the table at Christmas have ended the season bottom.

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On the plus side for Swansea two of the last four managers to be bottom at Christmas have survived, while across the previous 25 seasons 30 teams have avoided relegation despite being in the relegation zone at Christmas.

Never in the history of the Premier League have the three teams in the drop zone at this time, all gone on to dodge the dreaded drop.

Below we look at the three gaffers who have performed the 'Great Escape'.

Brian Robson (West Brom 2004/05)

Back in the 2004/05 season Brian Robson famously became the first ever manager to be bottom of the Premier League ladder at Christmas, but then conjure up “Great Escape” escape and survive the dreaded drop down to the second-tier.

The Baggies had only 10 points to their name when they tucked into their Christmas pudding, but Robson - who replaced Gary Megson in October 2004 - then went on to accumulate 24 points in the second-half of the season, escaping the clutches of the Championship on the final day of the campaign following a 2-0 victory over Portsmouth.

Gus Poyet (Sunderland 2013/14)

Sunderland axed the eccentric Paolo di Canio early on in the 2013/14 season, replacing him with Gus Poyet. The Uruguayan didn’t make an instant impact at the club who found themselves rooted to the foot of the table at Christmas with just 14 points to their name.

However, the second-half of the season was a different story as Poyet orchestrated a transformation in form, which propelled Sunderland to 14th spot - this remains their highest standing since 2011/12.

This feat was made even more remarkable considering the club’s daunting run in, which they surprisingly made light work of, beating the likes of Chelsea and Man Utd and drawing with Man City, accumulating 13 points from their final six games.

Nigel Pearson (Leicester City 2014/15)

Nigel Pearson is the only manager on this list who started the season with the club he’d go on to save from relegation.

Before the glory days of the miracle 2015/16 campaign Leicester City came extremely close to instantly losing their Premier League status on their return to the top-flight.

Leicester, who arrived back in the division after winning the Championship, were struggling at the foot of the table on Christmas Day 2014.

It really was the definition of the “Great Escape” as the Foxes won seven of their final nine games - keeping five clean sheets - including a 5-1 hammering of QPR on the final day.

Pearson was then axed in the summer, with his replacement Claudio Ranieri stunning the world as he went on to lead Leicester to the title!

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Michael Collins
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