Most Embarrassing Premier League Defeats: Remember when Boro smashed City 8-1?

How Wenger lasted 7 more years after that 8-2 loss I'll never know


Southampton will be a long time getting over Friday night. Since the Premier League’s inception, 16 teams have lost by seven goals or more. The defeats generally fall into one of two categories; a mismatch between a top-quality opponent and a club destined for relegation; and a shambolic performance worthy of instant relegation. Southampton’s defeat falls into the latter category.

Granted, Southampton had Ryan Bertrand dismissed after 12 minutes, but plenty of Premier League teams have had early dismissals. None of them lost 9-0.

Fear not, however, Southampton fans. A plethora of other sides have suffered equally embarrassing defeats since 1992 and it should be an honour to be held in such esteemed company.

Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal – 2011

It’s bad enough for a supposed big team to concede eight times against a direct rival. It’s far worse doing it against a United team that looks worse than its current crop in hindsight.

United went with a midfield duo of Tom Cleverley and Anderson in this early season meeting and also deployed Chris Smalling at right-back and partnered Phil Jones with a then error-prone Johnny Evans at centre half.

To lose by any margin against that team is embarrassing, but to concede eight times represents one of the most ignominious defeats in Premier League history.

It’s a wonder that Arsene Wenger didn’t walk after this game and it’s one of life’s great mysteries that he managed to stay at the helm for another seven years.

The only thing that possibly offers Wenger and Arsenal a sliver of redemption is that, for the first five games of 2011/12, that particular United team put in some otherworldly performances that belied their ability. They demolished Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea at Old Trafford before Tom Cleverley picked up an injury and the wheels naturally came off.

Southampton 8-0 Sunderland – 2014

Friday night’s victims were once guilty of mercilessly administering an almighty hiding when they infamously dismantled Sunderland in 2014.

In retrospect, Sunderland might have been better off packing it in after Santiago Vergini’s 12th-minute own goal. 

Even after dozens and dozens of viewings, it is impossible to discern what exactly Vergini is trying to do as he volleys home from 20 yards in a manner that he certainly would not be capable of at the other end.

That would not be the end of Sunderland’s self-inflicted agony, however, as Liam Bridcutt and Patrick Van Aanholt both put through their own net in one of the worst performances in modern Premier League history.

It is staggering that Sunderland avoided relegation the following May, which ultimately implies that three teams were worse than them in the division. It is all the more confusing that it would be three years before they eventually fell through the trapdoor into the Championship.

Tottenham 9-1 Wigan – 2009

Spurs versus Wigan; the sole fixture on a dreary November Sunday ten years ago and Spurs hold a slender one-nil lead at the break. Those watching in White Hart Lane and on TV would be forgiven for losing interest in this bleak fixture that looked like a regulation win over a relegation-threatened side.

It all changed in seven second-half minutes where Jermaine Defoe bagged the then second fastest Premier League hat-trick of all time and Paul Scharner pulled a goal back for Wigan. Scharner’s effort seemed only to anger Spurs who would score five more times in 32 minutes.

Arguably the most embarrassing defeat of all time, given that Wigan trailed by a goal after 52 minutes and averaged a goal conceded every four minutes thereafter.

It doesn’t help matters that this wasn’t Wigan’s only eight-goal defeat of the season, with the Latics also going down to an 8-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Man Utd 9-0 Ipswich – 1995

It would be remiss to write an article pertaining to a 9-0 Premier League defeat and not mention the only other occurrence of a 9-0.

Yes, the circumstances of Ipswich’s defeat were far less humiliating than Southampton’s – they were away from home for starters and were playing the defending champions – but it is still inexcusable to succumb so meekly.

There is a reason why there has not been a 9-0 in 24 years. Ipswich might have finished bottom and United might have been in the midst of assembling on of the great English club teams, but that’s not an excuse. Several other teams finished bottom during United’s glory years. None of them lost 9-0.

Middlesbrough 8-1 Man City – 2008

It is quite possible that Sheikh Mansour and the rest of City’s owners didn’t quite understand how football worked when they acquired the club in September 2008. What else would explain their rationale for investing in a club that had only recently been ripped to shreds by Middlesbrough.

Granted, it was an end of season game and City had Richard Dunne sent off after only 15 minutes, but, as Wigan mentioned above, they managed to get to half time with a relatively respectable scoreline and only trailed 2-0.

In fact, City managed to keep Boro at bay until the hour mark, albeit with a lot of help from goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson. However, once Stuart Downing grabbed Boro’s third, City’s players seemed to collectively decide to write the season off and let the hosts score at will in a performance that ultimately inspired City’s current owners to invest over a billion pounds in the club over the last decade.

 Aaah, memories, memories. Now, don’t forget to visit


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