Sheffield United endured one of the most devastating defeats in Premier League history, suffering an 8-0 loss to Newcastle United at Bramall Lane on Sunday.
Despite their ongoing struggle to secure a win since returning to the top flight, the manner of this defeat was shocking. Their previous four losses in the current season had all been by a mere one-goal margin. After conceding a late goal to Nottingham Forest to lose 2-1, they repeated this feat by conceding late on against Manchester City. More recently they dropped all three points from a 1-0 scoreline in stoppage time against Tottenham Hotspur.
Numerous fans chose to leave Bramall Lane on Sunday well before Alexander Isak netted the eighth goal in the 87th minute.
Although this result leaves Paul Heckingbottom’s team firmly rooted at the bottom of the Premier League table, history suggests that relegation may not be inevitable for a team that suffers an embarrassing defeat.
Magpies 8-0 wins against Owls
Newcastle equaled their biggest-ever Premier League victory at Bramall Lane, with the previous 8-0 win occurring against Sheffield United’s city rivals.
Sheffield Wednesday faced a similar ordeal at James’ Park, succumbing to a 8-0 loss, with Alan Shearer netting five goals in Bobby Robson’s inaugural home game as Newcastle manager.
Danny Wilson’s squad conceded four goals in each half, finding themselves at the bottom of the Premier League table with only one point from their initial eight matches. Despite this poor performance, Wilson was not relieved of his duties until March 2000, even though the team won just five of their subsequent 21 league matches.
Under caretaker boss Peter Shreeves, Wednesday couldn’t avoid relegation, ultimately finishing 19th in the league table.
Embarrassing defeats and relegation
As stated, Sheffield Wednesday suffered a horrific 8-0 defeat against Newcastle United in the 99/00 season and they were ultimately relegated.
In the 2012/13 campaign, Chelsea thumped Aston Villa 8-0 but the Clarets managed to finish 16th.
There was yet another 8-0 scoreline when Southampton beat Sunderland in October 2014. But the Black Cats were able to maintain their Premier League status.
Manchester City put eight past Watford in the 2019/20 season before the Hornets were eventually relegated.
Remarkably, Wigan Athletic were thrashed 8-0 and 9-1 in 09/10, despite this, they never once dropped into the bottom three.
When Leicester City destroyed Southampton on their own patch in October 2019, the entire country thought the Saints were doomed. Nevertheless, they shook off the embarrassment to finish 12th in the final standings. The Saints also suffered a heavy loss in the following season when Manchester United put nine past them. They were still able to finish comfortably above the bottom three.
Last season, Bournemouth were taught a lesson as a promoted side by Liverpool at Anfield ultimately losing 9-0. Although the Cherries stopped up, that devastating loss cost Scott Parker his job.
Draw a line under it
Whilst it’s completely embarrassing being on the end of a heavy loss, it doesn’t necessarily mean Sheffield United are nailed on for relegation, as history suggests.
What’s yet to be seen is the mentality of the team. How will they react to this type of defeat because on Sunday, at 4-0, every player in a Blades shirt had thrown the towel in.
Coming into the season, every Blade would hold their hands up and say: getting beat and outdone by quality is fair enough. But, getting outworked and outfought is not on. As a “lesser” team in the Premier League, working hard and fighting for your shirt until the last whistle is the absolute bare minimum you should be seeing. Personally, I don’t think we did that on Sunday, thus accepting a defeat – that’s my biggest issue.
A career-best performance is needed by every single one of the players involved against West Ham, as well as the three points.