Wow!! What a season it has been. It surely goes down as one of the best seasons ever of the Premier League since its formation 20 years back. We witnessed some epic battles for almost every position in the league. Was it the fight to be crowned the Champions of the country or was it the fight to stay up in the Premier League we were entertained till the very last minute.
Will the Blue half of Manchester celebrate their first ever league win since 1968, we have decided to review the complete season in two parts. Here is Part One.
Champions – Manchester City
This has to be one of the most entertaining title races in the history of the Premier League. The race went down to the last minute of the last game of the season and in the end it was Manchester City who were crowned the Champions on a heart-stopping final day of the season. City lead the Premier League for most of the season before faltering between 11th March and 8th April, where they were able to take just 5 points from the possible 15. When it looked like City had bottled the Premier League title after the defeat at Arsenal, it was Manchester United’s turn – who had gone 8 points clear at the top – to falter. United who lost at Wigan and were held to a 4-4 draw at Old Trafford by Everton saw their lead at the top cut down to just three points ahead of the Manchester derby at the Etihad. Skipper Kompany scored the goal that took City at the top of the table just on goal difference with just two games left to play. City fought hard at Newcastle to register a 2-0 win but United’s same scoreline win over Swansea at home ensured the title race would go down to the last game of the season.
On the final day of the season, United won their game at Sunderland which meant City had to match that result to win the title. City led at half time thanks to a Pablo Zabaleta goal at the half-hour mark, but things didn’t go well for the Citizens in the second half. QPR scored twice and took a shocking lead thanks to goals from Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie on either side of a foolish Joey Barton red card. When everyone thought City had choked in their final league game of the season, Edin Dzeko equalised in the 90+1th minute and then Sergio Aguero scored the winner in the 5th minute of extra time to win the title for City. The day will go down in history as City won their first ever league title in 44 years and I must say they truly deserved it.
Champions League – Manchester United, Arsenal & Tottenham/Chelsea
Manchester United ended second in the league below Champions Manchester City just on goal difference, so that means they directly qualify for the group stages of the Champions League next season. Arsenal to join United directly in the group stages after finishing third in the league but they had to seal the third place on the final day of the season. If the title race was entertaining then the race for the Champions League spot was no-less disappointing.
After the start the Gunners had no one expected them to make the top 4 this season but all credit to Arsene Wenger and his men. The nine match unbeaten streak and also some dip in form from their fierce London rivals Tottenham saw them jump into third place in the table and stayed there till the end. Tottenham, on the other hand had a bright start to the season and towards the end of December they looked like serious title contenders. But a dip in form along with a string of poor results saw them fall way behind the two Manchester clubs and also a place in the top four looked under threat. With three wins in the last four games of the season and Newcastle losing their last two games to City and Everton, Spurs managed to finish fourth in the league.
Finishing fourth hasn’t guaranteed Tottanham Champions League football yet as they will have to wait till the end of the Chelsea-Bayern Munich match on 19th May. If Chelsea go on to win the final in Munich they qualify for the Champions League as the holders at expense of Tottenham and if Chelsea lose Tottenham qualify and the Blues will play Europa League next season. So, all Spurs fan will be supporting the Germans on Saturday.
Europa League – Chelsea/Tottenham, Newcastle & Liverpool
It’s quite straight forward here to know which team qualifies for the Europa League next season. Newcastle finished fifth in the league so they directly qualify for the playoffs for the group stages while Liverpool will have to go through the 3rd qualifying rounds and the playoffs to qualify for the group stages. As said above either one of Chelsea or Tottenham will play the Europa League next season. If Chelsea fail to win the Champions League final then they make the group stages of the Europa League and if they win in Munich this Saturday then unfortunately Tottenham will miss out on the Champions League.
Relegated – Bolton, Blackburn & Wolves
Wolves were first to be relegated this season after their dismal run of 15 games with a win towards the end of the season. Blackburn soon joined them and were relegated by Wigan on their penultimate game of the season. It’s a surprise that Blackburn – who were bottom at Christmas – didn’t get relegated before. Finally, the Wanderers were unlucky to be relegated on the final day of the season and they themselves to blame for it. Bolton could have been safe had they not thrown away a two-goal lead against West Brom at the Reebok in the second last game of the season and they did the same thing ie throwing away the lead, in the final league at Stoke. With Bolton drawing at Stoke, a defeat for QPR at the Etihad didn’t matter at all and kept the Rs up in the Premier League.