5 clubs that struggled immediately after winning the Premier League
Dominant in one season, off the pace in the next one, here's a look at 5 Premier League teams who failed to maintain their title-winning form
For however tricky it is to actually win a league title, for a lot of sides defending it is even more difficult. Rivals might look to strengthen in the summer, and if the title-winning side is a smaller club, they may find their best players stolen away by bigger clubs looking to recreate success with them elsewhere.
Last season’s Premier League champions Chelsea aren’t doing too bad a job of their title defence – they’re currently fourth with a good chance of making the Champions League spots although retaining looks beyond them now – but the following five sides simply made a hash of it. Here are five teams who won the league, and then fell off immediately the next season.
#1 Manchester United (2013/14)
Manchester United last captured the Premier League title in 2012/13, beating Manchester City to the trophy by a margin of 11 points. But two things stood out for them that year – firstly it was the final season for legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who retired in the summer of 2013, and secondly, they had hitman extraordinaire Robin Van Persie, who scored a phenomenal 26 league goals.
The following season didn’t go so well. Everton manager David Moyes was appointed as the new United boss, but alongside executive Ed Woodward, had a lacklustre summer transfer window.
While his rivals strengthened, Moyes was only able to sign Marouane Fellaini. A 4-1 win over Swansea opened the season but without Ferguson, United just weren’t the same and they lost three of their first six games.
By the end of the Christmas period they sat in seventh position – disastrous for a title defence – and Moyes, who was painfully out of his depth, was eventually fired in April when it was mathematically confirmed that United couldn’t qualify for the Champions League.
Van Persie scored 12 – less than half of his haul in the previous season and in the end, United lost 12 league games and finished in seventh, knocking them off the lofty perch they’d largely occupied for the previous two decades.