The Biggest Premier League Wins In History
Manchester United have secured two of the three biggest wins in Premier League history, with the Red Devils having sealed both the first and last of the nine-goal victories, 26 years apart. We go through the history books and delve into the data as we look at the largest thrashings in the history of the Premier League.
Manchester United 9-0 Ipswich Town – 4th March, 1995
Second-placed Manchester United hosted second-from-bottom Ipswich Town at Old Trafford in March 1995 on the back of a shock 1-0 defeat to lowly Everton at Goodison Park a week earlier.
United were without the talismanic Eric Cantona, as only five games prior he’d inexplicably kicked a fan in the chest in their 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace. Cantona had been involved in a club-high 18 goals in 21 Premier League appearances before the incident and United were dealt a further blow when their league top-scorer Andrei Kanchelskis (13 goals) handed in a transfer request on the eve of this fixture.
Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to deploy out-of-form Mark Hughes, who’d scored just five goals in 22 league appearances in 1994-95 prior to the game, partnering him with new signing Andy Cole. Cole had scored just two goals in his six league appearances for United following a shock move from Newcastle for a then British transfer record fee of £6m. Including his time at the Magpies, Cole had netted twice in 12 Premier League games coming into this match and the pressure was on him to find the goals in Cantona’s absence. He did just that, finding his scoring boots to net five of them in this game. Roy Keane, Hughes (two) and Paul Ince completed the rout.
Ipswich Town – who’d defeated United 3-2 at Portman Road earlier in the season – had a torrid afternoon and Cole became the first player to score five goals in an English top-flight game since October 29, 1983 when both Ian Rush and Tony Woodcock managed it on the same day.
Spare a thought for goalkeeper Craig Forrest, who conceded nine on this afternoon and then went on to concede seven more in a 7-1 defeat to United at Old Trafford for West Ham in April 2000. Peter Schmeichel – in the United goal on the day of the 9-0 thrashing – only conceded once all season at Old Trafford in his 17 Premier League appearances there, the goal coming in his final match there in 1994-95 with Southampton’s Simon Charlton ruining an impeccable record with just 85 minutes left to go to in United’s home campaign.
The Tractor Boys’ starting XI this day had an average age of 30 years & 58 days – one of only two times in Premier League history that they named a side with an average age of 30 plus. Their experience didn’t pay off against the rampant Red Devils.
This defeat certainly dented Ipswich’s confidence and they were to go on to win just four points from their remaining 11 games, before finishing bottom of the league and 18 points from safety. Manchester United gained ground on Blackburn Rovers after this win, having reduced a three-point gap to just one point come the end of the 1994-95 season, but it wasn’t enough to stop Rovers winning their first top-flight title in 81 years.
Newcastle United 8-0 Sheffield Wednesday – 19th September, 1999
It seemed like something had to give at St James’ Park on Sunday September 19, 1999. Both Newcastle and Sheffield Wednesday had started the season terribly, each winning one point and with Wednesday propping up the table below the Magpies on goal difference only.
This was the late, great Bobby Robson’s first league home game in charge of Newcastle, having taken charge two weeks previously, losing to a single goal in his first match away at Chelsea. Three days prior to this fixture against the Owls, Robson helped Newcastle pick up their first competitive victory of the 1999-00 season with a 2-0 away win against CSKA Sofia in the UEFA Cup and that proved to be the springboard that they needed to get their first league win of the campaign.
Newcastle’s previous Premier League home game had seen them lose 2-1 to rivals Sunderland in torrential rain. It was a defeat the ended Ruud Gullit’s one-year reign at the club. The defeat was bad enough but leaving star striker Alan Shearer on the bench for the Tyne-Wear derby was never going to end well for the Dutch boss.
Shearer only scored 15 times in 32 Premier League games under Gullit but reached 33% of this tally in this single match under Robson as he netted five goals for the first and only time in his 441-game Premier League career. The all-time leading goalscorer in the Premier League scored 11 hat tricks in the competition overall, but this was the only one of those that was scored entirely in the first half of a match, as he had the match ball to take home after only 42 minutes.
Scoring a first-half hat trick was a very September 1999 thing for Shearer to do. Just 15 days earlier, he’d scored three goals inside the opening 34 minutes of England’s 6-0 win over Luxembourg at Wembley – he only did this one more in his career, in a February 2003 Champions League win over Bayer Leverkusen.
Newcastle went on to improve drastically and finished the campaign in 11th position, with Shearer scoring 23 Premier League goals – only Kevin Phillips netted more in 1999-00 (30).
Sheffield Wednesday ended a nine-year spell in the top-flight at the end of the season and with 23 defeats they suffered their worst top-flight season since 1969-70 (25 losses). They haven’t been back to the Premier League since.
Tottenham 9-1 Wigan Athletic – 22nd November, 2009
We had to wait a whole 10 years for the next Premier League win of eight or more goals, but Wigan Athletic then spoiled us with two in the space of six months.
The first of these was a second-half capitulation at White Hart Lane on a Sunday afternoon in November 2009. 50 minutes into the match and Spurs led 1-0, with Wigan Athletic probably thinking that with a little luck they could come away from north London with a point. Jermain Defoe put pay to that, with a 51st minute strike and then a further four goals in the next 36 minutes to fire Spurs to an astonishing 9-1 victory.
Tottenham are still the only team in Premier League history to score more than six goals in a single half of a match and Defoe is the only player in the competition to have scored five goals in a single half. Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland saved both of Defoe’s first half shots on target, but had no such luck in the second period, with the diminutive striker scoring with all five shots fired at his goal.
The Peter Crouch/Jermain Defoe strike partnership worked well for Spurs that day. Overall, in the history of the Premier League, the pair spent a total of 3,786 minutes on the pitch together across spells at Portsmouth and Tottenham. They scored a combined 44 goals in that time (27 goals for Defoe, 17 for Crouch) – a productive ratio of a goal every 86 minutes for the little and large pairing.
Come the end of the season, this victory helped Spurs secure fourth position and a place in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers at the expense of Manchester City. They may have scored just one more goal (10) in their following nine Premier League games combined than they did on this afternoon at White Hart Lane, but this victory made people more wary of the potential this Spurs attack had under the management of Harry Redknapp.
Chelsea 8-0 Wigan Athletic – 9th May, 2010
As if one eight-goal deficit in London wasn’t enough in a single season for Wigan fans, Roberto Martinez’s side gave another astonishingly inept defensive display just six months later, this time in an 8-0 defeat to Chelsea.
Chelsea had won their last home game 7-0 against Stoke City in April and in the previous month had enjoyed a 7-1 victory at Stamford Bridge versus Aston Villa, so it was an ominous trip for a Wigan side that had already conceded 47 goals in their previous 18 league away trips in 2009-10. That bad feeling wasn’t misjudged.
A Didier Drogba hat trick across 17 second-half minutes contributed to the emphatic win, with Wigan not helped by being reduced to 10 men following Gary Caldwell’s dismissal on the half-hour mark. These three goals helped Drogba reach a career-best 29 goals in 2009-10 and win the Premier League golden boot ahead of Wayne Rooney (26), while teammate Frank Lampard picked up two assists and ended the season with a league-high 14.
Both players helped contribute to a total of 103 Premier League goals for Chelsea in 2009-10 – at the time, the highest tally of goals scored by a side in a top-flight English league season since Tottenham Hotspur in 1962-63 (111). This record has since been broken in the Premier League era by Manchester City and their amazing 106 goal tally in their 100-point season of 2017-18.
This victory sealed the Premier League title for Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea side, who held a one-point lead over Manchester United coming into the final Sunday of action. Knowing a victory in this match would see them win the Premier League for the third time overall, the Blues finished their season off in style.
Amazingly, of the nine wins by a margin of eight or more goals in the history of the Premier League, this is the only one by a team that went on to win the title that season. In winning 8-0, they also sealed their biggest margin of victory in their league history, a standalone record until just two and a half years later…
Chelsea 8-0 Aston Villa – 23rd December, 2012
One eight-nil win wasn’t enough for Chelsea, so they had to replicate the feat just two and a half years later. Aston Villa were the victims this time around, with the Blues giving their fans an early Christmas present to take home with them from Stamford Bridge.
Villa travelled to Chelsea on the back of a five-game unbeaten run in the Premier League and were buoyed by a brilliant 3-1 away victory at Anfield against Liverpool just a week previous. Paul Lambert’s side would soon come back down to earth with a bump, however, as they came up against a Chelsea side in the mood for goals.
New boss Rafa Benitez had only taken charge a month earlier following the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo and had begun to steady the Chelsea ship with just one defeat in his first four league matches in charge coming into the pre-Christmas matchday visit of Villa.
Fernando Torres had enjoyed a brilliant month under his fellow Spaniard, scoring six times in five competitive games in December. He was to start the rout with a third-minute goal in this fixture, before further goals from David Luiz, Branislav Ivanovic, Frank Lampard, Oscar, Eden Hazard and a brace from Ramires. With seven different Chelsea players scoring, the Blues set a new Premier League record for the highest number of players on a single team scoring within a match – a record that could have been extended had Lucas Piazon converted a late penalty with what was his only-ever shot in his only-ever Premier League appearance.
For Aston Villa, this was (and remains) their all-time club record defeat in a competitive fixture. They’ve only ever conceded eight goals in one other match: an 8-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers in the 1888-89 FA Cup.
Chelsea equalled their best-ever victory in a league fixture, with their two 8-0 efforts just 959 days apart – they haven’t managed to replicate this since or in their 105 years prior to the first eight-goal win over Wigan Athletic in 2010.
Southampton 8-0 Sunderland – 18th October, 2014
Ahead of this match, Southampton manager Ronald Koeman stated in his pre-game press conference that “it will be difficult because Sunderland are strong opponents with a good defence and organisation.” This proved to be only slightly off the mark as Sunderland were demolished at St Mary’s Stadium in October 2014.
A spectacular volleyed own goal from Sunderland’s Santiago Vergini in the 12th minute set the tone for a comical afternoon defensively for the Black Cats as they were to concede seven more times with three own goals overall. Liam Bridcutt and Patrick van Aanholt added to Vergini’s own goal to see Sunderland equal their own Premier League record of three own goals in a single match, a record set in February 2003 versus Charlton Athletic.
No other club has scored three own goals in a Premier League game once, yet Sunderland have done it twice. Every club needs an ethos.
This was Sunderland’s fourth defeat by a margin of eight or more goals in English top-flight history, following thrashings against Sheffield Wednesday in 1911, West Ham in 1968 and Watford in 1982. The only club to have lost more in this manner are Birmingham City, with five such defeats.
Following this match, Southampton were third in the Premier League table after eight matchdays and despite showing how strong they were in attack on this Saturday afternoon, it was the mean defence with a league-low five goals conceded that was the launchpad. 15% of their entire goal tally in the 2014-15 Premier League season came in this single game, but their mean defence remained – just 33 goals conceded all season with only champions Chelsea conceding fewer (32), as Saints finished a very respectable seventh.
Manchester City 8-0 Watford – 21st September, 2019
It is perhaps surprising to see Man City appear on this list only once. In fact, for a long time, they only got close to the list via defeat, having been put to the sword by Middlesbrough 8-1 in May 2008.
Nevertheless, that was then and this is now. Watford travelled to City to face the reigning Premier League champions in their sixth game of the 2019-20 campaign, but with their second manager of the season already in the dugout.
Quique Sanchez Flores had returned for a second spell at the Hornets following the sacking of Javi Gracia just two weeks previously. Gracia was denied an opportunity to avenge the 6-0 2019 FA Cup final thrashing at the hands of City just months before, but for Watford players it was business as usual against the Premier League giants as they suffered another capitulation.
Their previous seven meetings with Watford had seen City outscore the Hertfordshire club by 31-3 and Pep Guardiola’s side had no issue with adding another eight to their tally on a balmy afternoon in Manchester.
After just 18 minutes, City led 5-0 – the fastest that a side in the Premier League had ever been five goals ahead in a match. Compared to an average of a goal conceded every three and a half minutes, the final 72 minutes were a success for Watford, conceding ‘just’ three more times.
City secured their biggest win in their top-flight league history, while this was Watford’s heaviest ever defeat in English league football and only the third occasion that they’ve conceded eight goals in a Football League game after 8-1 defeats against Aberdare Athletic in January 1926 and Crystal Palace in September 1959.
Flores lasted 84 days at Watford this time around and was one of a record three managers to be sacked by the Hornets in 2019-20, alongside Gracia and Nigel Pearson. His was probably the most deserved, having won just one game and seven points in 10 matches. None of them could prevent Watford from suffering relegation, however.
Southampton 0-9 Leicester City – 25th October, 2019
Ahead of October 2019, Leicester City had never won a Premier League match on a Friday, with five defeats in those seven games. In fact, they’d played more games on that day of the week without winning than any other side in the history of the competition. They were about to end that run in style.
Only two games in Premier League history have seen a team have two hat-trick scorers in the same match. Robert Pires and Jermaine Pennant both scored a treble for Arsenal in their 6-1 win over Southampton in May 2003 and in 2019 it was Saints that suffered the same feat again, in their 9-0 defeat to Leicester City.
Jamie Vardy and Ayoze Pérez netted hat tricks this time around during the win at St Mary’s Stadium – the biggest-ever victory by an away side in an English top-flight league history. Pérez’s hat trick meant that he scored trebles in successive Premier League appearances against Southampton, having also done so for Newcastle United six months previously. In doing so, he became the first player to do this in back-to-back Premier League appearances against a single opponent since Luis Suárez versus Norwich City in September 2012.
Just like the Manchester City 8-0 win over Watford a month earlier, this game saw Leicester City leading 5-0 at half-time. This was the 91st game of the 2019-20 season and a side leading 5-0 at half-time had already happened twice in the campaign, something that had only occurred two times in 10,506 matches across the first 27 Premier League seasons before this.
One consolation for Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhüttl what that it surely couldn’t get this bad for him and his Saints side again. Could it?
Manchester United 9-0 Southampton – 2nd February, 2021
So we arrive at Manchester United’s second appearance on this list – although they did sandwich the two thrashings mentioned here with a 7-0 victory over Barnsley in 1997 and an 8-1 demolition of Nottingham Forest in 1999. As if one 9-0 humiliation wasn’t enough for Southampton and Ralph Hasenhüttl, they suffered a repeat nightmare just 15 months after their thrashing at the hands of Leicester City.
Old Trafford witnessed it’s second 9-0 scoreline in Premier League history, but this time around United were heavily assisted by a red card to Alexandre Jankewitz just one minute and 22 seconds into the match. He didn’t manage a single touch of the ball before his attempted tackle on Scott McTominay and he didn’t manage a single touch of the ball after the tackle.
Seven different United players scored on the night, with this equalling a Premier League record for a club in a single game – level with Chelsea’s feat against Aston Villa in December 2012.
The other player to score for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in this thrashing was Southampton defender Jan Bednarek. He later completed a unique hat trick in the game, with a penalty conceded and a red card (for which the ban was later rescinded) as he became the first player in Premier League history to do all three in a single match.
If you include Bednarek’s own goal, then it was the first time in Man Utd’s club history that eight different players scored for them in a competitive fixture, eclipsing seven in their 1892 10-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Southampton came into the game in 11th position and became the highest-placed side to suffer such a thrashing in the competition. Spare a thought for their midfielder James Ward-Prowse, who was the only player to play the entirety of the two 9-0 defeats just 15 months apart.
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