Sheffield United have endured a nightmare start to the Premier League season with the Blades rooted to the bottom of the table and without a win.
Paul Heckingbottom’s side have picked up just a single point from their opening 10 games of the season, in what has been a challenging first few months back in the top tier of English football.
Can the Blades bounce back and climb from trouble? We’ve looked at the worst starts to a season in Premier League history after 10 games and how those sides ended the campaign.
The worst starts to a Premier League season after 10 games:
Manchester City – 1995/96 – 2 points – (GD – 12)
For fans of a certain age, it might be difficult to remember a time when Manchester City were not hoovering up every trophy in sight. The Citizens bounced around the divisions during the first decade of the Premier League however, including during the 1995/96 season in which the club were relegated.
City opened the season with a 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham, but lost their next eight Premier League games on the bounce. A goalless draw with Leeds halted that run, but Alan Ball’s side won just two points from their opening 11 games.
City improved – including a five-game unbeaten run in November – but it was not enough to survive.
A tense last day of the season saw City, Southampton and Coventry all head into their final fixtures on 37 points. City fought back from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw against Liverpool, but incorrect information from elsewhere saw City waste time in the belief a point was enough. It wasn’t. With Coventry and Southampton each securing goalless draws, City were relegated on goal difference.
Sunderland – 2016/17 – 2 points (GD – 13)
Sunderland had survived relegation by narrow margins in each of the previous two seasons, but the Black Cats eventually ran out of lives in 2016/17. A nightmare start under new manager David Moyes saw Sunderland take just two points from their opening 10 games, with draws against Southampton and West Brom coming alongside eight defeats.
Sunderland secured a first win of the season against Bournemouth on November 5, but it was one of just six victories in the Premier League. Despite an excellent season from Jermain Defoe, who scored 15 league goals, Sunderland were relegated after finishing bottom of the division. Moyes’ side ended the campaign a huge 16 points from safety and have not returned to the Premier League since.
Norwich City – 2021/22 – 2 points (GD – 22)
Norwich have been one of English football’s most notorious yo-yo clubs in recent seasons, swapping between the Championship and Premier League in five straight seasons between 2018/19 and 2022/23.
The Canaries were promoted back into the Premier League ahead of the 2021/22 season, having eased to the second-tier title, earning 97 points, the previous campaign. However, Norwich found the step up difficult to deal with and collected just two points from their opening 10 games.
Norwich opened the season with six straight losses and failed to recover, ending the campaign bottom of the table to suffer an instant return to the Championship.
Sheffield United – 2020/21 – 1 point (GD -12)
Sheffield United suffered a serious case of second season syndrome during the 2020/21 campaign, failing to build on an impressive first season back in the Premier League. A miserable season at Bramall Lane saw the Blades fail to record a Premier League win until January 12, as Chris Wilder’s side took just one point from their opening 14 games.
Sheffield United had pushed for a place in the Europe the previous season to end the campaign ninth in the Premier League table, the club’s highest league finish since 1991/92. However, the Blades struggled badly the following year and were relegated to the Championship with a paltry points total of just 23 points.
Sheffield United – 2023/24 – 1 point (GD – 22)
Sheffield United are at risk of setting a new unwanted record, with no team having had a worse start to a Premier League season after 10 games.
Paul Heckingbottom’s team have taken just one point since promotion last season, with the Blades bottom of the table and already facing a huge task to survive. No side has conceded more goals (29), more open-play shots (147), or more set-piece shots (54) than Sheffield United, who have been on the receiving end of embarrassing defeats to Newcastle (8-0) and Arsenal (5-0).
Sheffield United have lost 5-0 and sit on one point.
The Derby players of 07/08 will be getting excited… pic.twitter.com/B4si0lEzYN
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) October 28, 2023
The summer sale of Iliman Ndiaye and the club’s financial issues have handed Heckingbottom a difficult task to consolidate in the top tier. Upcoming clashes with Wolves (H), Bournemouth (H) and Burnley (A) in their next four games appear crucial to their chances of bouncing back.