Leicester City: The best team to ever suffer Premier League relegation?

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James Maddison Leicester City 2022-23
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Leicester's relegation was confirmed on the final day of the Premier League season, marking a sensational fall from grace for the former champions.

Things can change very quickly in the Premier League. On Sunday, Leicester City were relegated from the Premier League. Two years earlier, they were flying high, sitting pretty in third with a five-point lead over fifth-placed Chelsea with only eight games left to play.

Although they would eventually fall at the last hurdle when they failed to secure Champions League football on the final day, the nucleus of that squad - widely regarded as the best the club have ever possessed, with more depth than even the 2015-16 Premier League winning side - remains this season.

Wesley Fofana and Kasper Schmeichel are the only regulars who have left since then, and Leicester have also invested since, bringing in the likes of Patson Daka, Wout Faes and Harry Souttar.

With James Maddison, Youri Tielemans, Harvey Barnes and others at their disposal, the Foxes should have been nowhere near the bottom three and Brendan Rodgers paid for this with his sacking in April. Dean Smith was brought in as a firefighter for the final few games of the season, but he failed to get a tune out of the squad, with Leicester tasting victory just twice during his brief spell in charge.

The fault does not solely lie with the managers, though. The players should shoulder a significant portion of the blame - and they will surely go down as one of the most talented groups to ever drop out of the Premier League.

GOAL takes a look at some of the other top sides that have been relegated to the Championship over the years...

  1. Crystal Palace (1992-93)
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    Crystal Palace (1992-93)

    No team has ever amassed more Premier League points than Crystal Palace did in the 1992-93 season and still been relegated (49). Admittedly, they accomplished this in a 42-game campaign, and the division was far more evenly-balanced than it is now. Still, it's quite the unwanted record.

    Palace had finished comfortably in mid-table the previous season, but losing star striker Mark Bright to Sheffield Wednesday after just one game proved to be a bitter blow, with replacement Paul Williams faltering.

    The Eagles' squad included players who enjoyed impressive careers, including future Wales manager Chris Coleman, goalkeeper Nigel Martyn and Gareth Southgate, who wore the captain's armband that season.

  2. West Ham (2002-03)
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    West Ham (2002-03)

    That Palace side is often overlooked as the best Premier League team to be relegated - and that is largely due to West Ham's antics during the 2002-03 season.

    Although their points-per-game ratio was slightly lower than the Eagles', racking up 42 points and going down in a 'modern' season is quite the headline. For context, that exact same tally saw the Hammers finish 13th during the 2017-18 campaign.

    The squad that West Ham had available that season was pretty incredible too. David James was a mainstay in goal, a young Jermain Defoe started up front, while Paolo Di Canio was still kicking around - though his season was disrupted following a spat with manager Glenn Roeder.

    Joe Cole and Glen Johnson also featured, with the pair forming part of the mass exodus that followed their untimely relegation. It was a real sliding doors moment in West Ham history.

  3. Leeds United (2003-04)
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    Leeds United (2003-04)

    No team has imploded quite as emphatically as Leeds United did between 2001 and 2004. Three years after reaching the Champions League semi-finals, the Whites dropped down into the second-tier of English football - and they wouldn't return until Marcelo Bielsa inspired them back to the top flight in 2020.

    After "living the dream", as chairman Peter Ridsdale infamously put it, during the early 2000s, Leeds were lumbered with astronomical debts and were forced into selling some of their best assets, including Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Keane and Jonathan Woodgate.

    Even considering these losses, Leeds should have had enough to collect more than the 33 points they did during the 2003-04 campaign.

    They had Paul Robinson in goal, Mark Viduka leading the line and a host of young talent including Alan Smith, James Milner and Jermaine Pennant - the latter on loan from Arsenal. It wasn't to be though, and down they went, much to the disgust of their passionate fanbase.

  4. Blackburn Rovers (1998-99)
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    Blackburn Rovers (1998-99)

    Speaking of implosions, Blackburn Rovers were relegated only a few years after lifting the Premier League title. Just one season prior, they had qualified for the UEFA Cup, too.

    Blackburn's key problem was a criminal lack of goals. The previous season, Chris Sutton was a reliable scorer, netting 21 times in all competitions. In 1998-99, niggling fitness problems restricted Sutton to just 20 appearances and four goals.

    As a result, Kevin Gallacher and Ashley Ward shared the club's golden boot for the season, with a pitiful five strikes each. Oh dear.

    At the other end, Blackburn conceded 52, which wasn't enough to cover for their quite remarkable shortcomings in front of goal. Losing mainstays Colin Hendry and Tim Sherwood from the spine of the team certainly didn't help their cause, either.

  5. Middlesbrough (1996-97)
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    Middlesbrough (1996-97)

    In 1996-97, Middlesbrough supporters endured a truly unique season of pain.

    Buoyed by the irrepressible talents of Fabrizio Ravanelli, Emerson and Juninho, Boro reached the final of both domestic cups, losing to Leicester in the League Cup before falling to Chelsea in their other Wembley showcase.

    To compound their misery, their 39 points were not enough to ensure Premier League survival. What killed Boro was a ridiculously-congested end to the season which saw them play four times in just eight days.

    They drew three of these games in a nightmare run-in - meaning just one more goal in any of these fixtures would have been enough to see them stay up.

  6. Newcastle (2008-09)
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    Newcastle (2008-09)

    The Mike Ashley era was a truly bleak time for anyone involved in Newcastle United. However, in a crowded field of contenders, the 2008-09 season was probably the nadir.

    Club legend and manager Kevin Keegan resigned early on, frustrated by Ashley and Co - who fans dubbed the 'Cockney Mafia' - for their meddling in the club's transfer strategy.

    Keegan was replaced by former Wimbledon boss Joe Kinnear, who the Newcastle owner allegedly met down the pub. He didn't take long to ruffle some feathers, swearing at national print journalists and calling Charles N'Zogbia, Charles 'Insomnia' in a television interview. The French winger unsurprisingly pushed for a move away from the club soon after. Kinnear eventually left due to illness with the club facing relegation.

    In a strange twist, Alan Shearer - a man with no managerial experience - was parachuted in with a remit of keeping his beloved Magpies up. He failed.

    Off-field chaos may have seemed to make Newcastle's relegation inevitable, but their squad was packed full of talent. Michael Owen, Damien Duff, Nicky Butt, Kevin Nolan, Andy Carroll, Obafemi Martins - the list goes on.

    Surely they were capable of finishing above Phil Brown's Hull City, who finished one point above them in 17th?

  7. Newcastle (2015-16)
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    Newcastle (2015-16)

    Admittedly, as a collective, this Newcastle side was far from Premier League survival quality. Their inclusion on the list stems from what the players they possessed during the 2015-16 had achieved before and have since this frightful campaign.

    Georginio Wijnaldum is a Premier League and Champions League winner, Moussa Sissoko has started a European final and Ayoze Perez would go on to command a £30 million transfer fee from Leicester City.

    Add to that the fact that Fabricio Coloccini, Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey have over 600 top-flight appearances to their name and it's hard to see how the Magpies did not stave off relegation.

    Aleksandar Mitrovic and Papiss Cisse, two reliable Premier League goal scorers, were also available for selection, but they could not prevent Newcastle finishing two points behind bitter rivals Sunderland in 17th place.

  8. QPR (2012-13)

    QPR (2012-13)

    Right, let us explain.

    Yes, this QPR team did only manage 25 points, but the individual quality in the dressing room was absolutely ridiculous.

    The Hoops had three Champions League winners (Julio Cesar, Jose Bosingwa and Park Ji-sung) at their disposal, and that barely scratches the surface of the level of talent on offer.

    Esteban Granero had made 28 appearances for Real Madrid the previous season, Chris Samba was one of the division's most reliable centre-backs before his move to Russia, and Loic Remy joined on the back of a 22-goal campaign for Marseille.

    In hindsight, trying to gel this many different nationalities and differing ambition levels together over the course of a summer may seem insane. At the time though, the thought of QPR going straight back down with a whimper seemed equally mad.