Top five relegation escapes

Sports Mole rounds up some of the most dramatic relegation escapes in Premier League history.

With just four - or in some cases five - games left to play this season, the Premier League is getting to the point where some teams get dragged into the relegation mix and others find European qualification form to burst out of the bottom three. At different stages this season all of the current bottom three have been odds-on favourites to drop, but each are still fighting.

Here, Sports Mole picks out five of the most dramatic escapes against relegation when destiny seemed to say otherwise.

1. Fulham - 2007-08

If the Whites are to manage it again this season, they will need something similar to the run of form that saw them somehow escape the drop in 2008. The most remarkable thing about that year was that it was not just a match, but a half, that turned their fortunes around. At 2-0 down away to Manchester City, Fulham were mathematically relegated but an extraordinary 3-2 victory and some huge wins to follow saw them escape the drop with a 1-0 win away to Portsmouth on the final day.

2. Wigan Athletic - 2011-12

Wigan Athletic have managed quite a few nervy escapes in their years in the Premier League before they finally went through the trap door last season. None, however, was as dramatic as the 2011-12 season. Arguably the most impressive thing about their feat this time was the teams that they needed to beat to survive. Having been cut adrift by March, Wigan managed victory at Anfield as well as wins over Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle United and even escaped with a game left.

3. West Bromwich Albion - 2004-05

West Bromwich Albion in the 2004-05 season set the trend for great escapes. Up to this point the rule was that the team bottom of the Premier League at Christmas went down. However, Bryan Robson had other ideas from his side that season. They were woeful for so much of it, with a run of 15 games without a win during the first half of the season. However, three big wins and another three draws in the final seven meant that a win against Portsmouth in the final game of the season might be enough. They did and other results went their way which saw them leap from 20th to 17th with the final blow of the whistle.

4. West Ham United - 2006-07

West Ham United's escape in 2006-07 is full of controversy, but the manner in which they achieved it still makes it remarkable. They were in deep water over the signing of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, who it turned out were loaned from a third party. In March they had 10 points to make up, but seven wins from their last nine games, including a winner from Tevez at Old Trafford, saw them somehow escape the drop at the expense of a furious Sheffield United. West Ham were made to pay a fine, but they escaped a points deduction that would have seen them relegated.

5. Southampton - 1998-99

Southampton have recently spent a few years away from the top flight in the wilderness, regrouping to once more become a top-flight force. However, they have managed to avoid the drop on several occasions throughout Premier League history, with this year arguably their most impressive. The Saints were near the bottom of the league almost all season, with just 14 points from 20 games. However, a late flurry of wins and the victory on the final day against Everton ensured the dramatic escape.

Felix Magath, Manager of Fulham looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Newcastle United at Craven Cottage on March 15, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Wolverhampton WanderersWolves27195350203062
2Derby CountyDerby27157544232152
3Cardiff CityCardiff27155740251550
4Aston Villa27138639241547
5Bristol City2813874033747
6Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd27134104031943
7Leeds UnitedLeeds27134103729843
8Fulham2711974034642
9Middlesbrough27125103527841
10Preston North EndPreston27101163127441
11Brentford27101074135640
12Norwich CityNorwich28117102831-340
13Ipswich TownIpswich27123124039139
14Queens Park RangersQPR2789103137-633
15Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest27102153343-1032
16Millwall27710102930-131
17Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds27710103034-431
18Reading2778123035-529
19Barnsley2769122737-1027
20Hull City27510123944-525
21Bolton WanderersBolton2767142545-2025
22Burton Albion2766152146-2524
23Birmingham CityBirmingham2765161538-2323
24Sunderland27410132947-1822
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