5 players who didn't deserve to be relegated in Premier League history
Most teams deserved to be relegated, but not all their players deserved to go down
Nothing elicits more tears in football than relegation. As if finishing at the bottom of the league was not humiliating enough, clubs are expected to drop a division and work their way back – in most cases without their star players who look elsewhere for employment.
The Premier League is no different and relegation nowadays hurts a lot more due to the loss of the millions of pounds guaranteed if you stay in the league. Although there are certain clubs that deserve to be relegated – either due to poor form or because they simply cannot compete – a few players over the years did not deserve what they got.
We look at five players whose performances proved they did not deserve to be relegated.
5) Jermain Defoe: Sunderland (2016/17)
Jermain Defoe’s best years were probably at Tottenham Hotspur where he scored 91 goals across two separate stints at the north London club. Whether as a youngster or a veteran, the English striker was exciting to watch wherever he played and he scored some stunning goals.
When it looked like he was heading into early retirement with a move to Major League Soccer side Toronto FC, he realised he still had a few good years in him and returned to England to sign with Sunderland. The Black Cats have avoided relegation every year with a strong finish and his 15 goals last season saw them stay up for another year while their Tyne and Wear rivals Newcastle United went down.
However, there was no escaping relegation this season and no matter what David Moyes tried, they were destined to get relegated after a poor start of the season. The side have been in the bottom half of the table for ages and have spent a total of 21 weeks propping up the 19 teams above them.
Defoe, on his part, has scored 14 goals and even got an England call-up where he scored in the win over Lithuania. At 34, there is nothing more he can do on his own in a squad where the next best goalscorer is Victor Anichebe (3 goals).
This is a man who has scored more than 150 goals in the Premier League (157 – 7th highest of all time). It’s a sad end to his career at the Stadium of Light as he will surely leave in the summer.