City pipped to the title of ‘best bottom team’ in Premier League history
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Norwich City are not yet the ‘best bottom team’ in Premier League history but they are close to that questionable accolade, according to a national poll.
Several pundits have said the Canaries’ play has been generally better than usual for a team which has spent the majority of the season in the relegation zone and all of 2020 rock bottom, prior to football’s shutdown in early March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Danny Murphy was among the first when the former Liverpool and England midfielder described Daniel Farke’s team as the “best bottom-of-the-table team” that he’d seen, while working on Match of the Day.
Former Canaries striker Chris Sutton had also described City as “the best ever team to have been bottom of the Premier League” so, with the season on hold with City six points from safety with nine games to play, BBC Sport set out to find an answer.
They put the Norwich squad of 2019-20 up against six other teams which had been relegated in last place, but with some credit remaining, and put the options to a public vote.
The Canaries have taken 11 of their 21 points against teams in the top half, mostly performing well at home against the big boys - beating Manchester City and Leicester, holding Tottenham and Arsenal to draws and narrowly losing to Liverpool and Chelsea.
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With a defensive injury crisis seriously disrupting a team which had been promoted as deserved champions, the Canaries have failed to take enough points from survival rivals, yet their attacking style of play and adventurous approach has earned plenty of praise.
It is the Nottingham Forest team of 1993 which came out on top of the BBC Sport poll though, with 24pc of the vote going to a team which included Stuart Pearce and Roy Keane during Brian Clough’s final season in charge.
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The current Canaries weren’t far behind on 19pc of the vote but share second place with the Southampton team which went down under Harry Redknapp in 2005 - a relegation battle City fans will remember all too well.
It was Norwich in the driving seat going into ‘Survival Sunday’ after an upturn in form but a 6-0 implosion at Fulham allowed West Brom to spring from rock bottom to safety with a 2-0 home win over Portsmouth on the final day, thanks to Crystal Palace drawing 2-2 at Charlton and the Saints losing 2-1 at home to Manchester United.
In fourth was the West Ham calamity of 2011, when a squad including Robert Green, Wayne Bridge, Scott Parker and Robbie Keane were relegated under former Chelsea boss Avram Grant.
WHO’S BEEN THE PREMIER LEAGUE’S BEST BOTTOM TEAM?
Nottingham Forest 1993 - 24pc
NORWICH 2020 (nine games remaining) - 19pc
Southampton 2005 - 19pc
West Ham 2011 - 16%
Nottingham Forest 1997 - 9pc
West Brom 2018 - 8pc
West Brom 2009 - 5pc
*BBC Sport poll final result
STATISTICAL COMPARISON (PER GAME)
Nottingham Forest 1993 - 0.95 points, 0.97 scored, 1.47 conceded
NORWICH 2020 - 0.72 points, 0.86 goals, 1.79 conceded
Southampton 2005 - 0.84 points, 1.18 goals, 1.73 conceded
West Ham 2011 - 0.86 points, 1.13 goals, 1.84 conceded
Nottingham Forest 1997 - 0.89 points, 0.81 goals, 1.55 conceded
West Brom 2018 - 0.84 points, 0.94 goals, 1.76 conceded
West Brom 2009 - 0.81 points, 0.81 goals, 1.47 conceded
*Best performance in bold