With the title going down to the wire, the relegation battle changing numerous times, 1052 goals being scored which eventually resulted in seeing Manchester City claim their second Premier League crown.
Arsenal were the early pace setters, winning 5 of their first 6 games and led the league by early September and looked like the team to catch until their destructive defeat at Anfield which was the start to the end of their title challenge. As well as Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool took turns with the Gunners at the top of the table before City’s late season form proved significant and the Citizen’s outfought them all.
With three games remaining, Liverpool were top and in sight of their first title in twenty four years after a sparkling run of 11 straight wins that dragged them right into the mix for the title. On the 25th anniversary of Hillsborough, Liverpool hosted Manchester City in a must win game for the Reds, a 3-2 victory was enough to now make them title favourites. Captain Gerrard belted out “This does not slip now!” Coincidentally it was Gerrard who weeks later slipped to let in Demba Ba who scored the opening goal in a 2-0 win for Chelsea at Anfield. Weeks later Liverpool practically handed Manchester City the title, blowing a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 at Crystal Palace.
Apart from a few Mourinho master classes, it was a miserable season for Chelsea and the Portuguese manager had to settle for third on his return to Stamford Bridge. Arsenal’s five wins from their remaining five games guaranteed they will play in the Champions League for a 17th successive season and ended their 9 year wait for a trophy at Wembley in last Saturdays Fa Cup Final against Hull City, player of the season Ramsey scoring the winner in extra time. Despite their excellent early season form, injuries to Ramsey and Walcott ended their title challenge with record signing Ozil not having the influence Gunners fans would have expected.
With the departure of Gareth Bale for a record transfer fee, Tottenham used that money to reinvest in over £100 million pounds worth of talent. Despite good early season form Spurs faded away with none of their signings having a major influence resulting in an unsatisfactory season ending up in sixth place. By the middle of December Andre Villas Boas was sacked after a humiliating 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool, Tim Sherwood was his replacement and spent most of the season hesitant about his personal future.
With seven home defeats, Manchester United finished the season in 7th place, their worst Premier League season ever and lowest finish since 1990, meaning no European football at Old Trafford. Southampton produced a spectacular season, their best in the Premier League, an impressive 8th. A season that was constructed of the fundamental foursome of English players, Adam Lallana , Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez and Luke Shaw, with Shaw, Lambert and Lallana all included in Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad, Rodriguez unfortunately missing out though injury.
The two surprises packages of the season were Everton and Crystal Palace, the blues narrowly missed out on 4th place finishing just seven points behind Arsenal. Their success was built on an outstanding home record that included wins over Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. Roberto Martinez’s wonderful first season ended with a 5th place finish and European football back at Goodison. Crystal Palace were the second surprise team with manager Tony Pulis masterminding a struggling team into an 11th place, a terrific five wins in a row was the high point in the season including an unforgettable home win against Chelsea. Swansea, Aston Villa and West Ham all suffered disappointing seasons but will all be grateful that they will still be playing Premier League football next season.
Newcastle’s wonderful first half of the season was a distant memory come May, 7 defeats in their final 8 games meant they finished 10th, an enormously poor finale considering they were in the top 6 at Christmas.
On the 12th April Sunderland looked doom and gloom after a 1-0 home defeat to Everton. Less than a month later after four wins in a row, including triumphs at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford; come the final day, Gus Poyet’s had accomplished mission impossible.
Hull City’s objectives pre-season were to survive, so survival and an FA Cup Final came as a pleasant surprise for the City fans, a fantastic job done by Steve Bruce with some notable signings in the transfer window, Jelevic and Long the stand out buys. Cardiff City, Fulham and Norwich City all capitulated to relegation after sacking their managers, with Fulham having an incredible three during the season in Martin Jol, Rene Meulensteen and Felix Magath.
Goal of the season: Jack Wilshere v Norwich City
Save of the season: David Marshall v Norwich City
Game of the season: Liverpool v Manchester City 3-2
Player of the season: Luis Suarez
Young player of the season: Eden Hazard
Manager of the season: Tony Pulis
PFA Team of the Year
Petr Cech (Chelsea)
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