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End Of Season Review 12/13

Here is a team by team breakdown of how the season went. It wasn’t the most memorable in footballing terms but its had its fair share of surprises, particularly at the end.

1.Man Utd: At the start of the season Alex Ferguson realised something. He knew the Rooney wasn’t up to the task of getting the goals he needed for his team to win back the title from the noisy neighbours. There was however a perfect solution to this problem and his name was Van Persie. And immediately he made his impact when Utd found them struggling against newly promoted Southampton. Van Persie was the hero that day much to the annoyance of Arsenal fans who though they had handed Utd there first 9 points or so of the season. After that however it became all to easy for Utd as they coasted to the title without much interference from any of their title rivals.

There was however one shock that came at the end of the season but in all honesty in had to happen at some time. Ferguson dropped the bombshell that he was retiring at the end of the season with just two games left. Nobody could begrudge his retirement with a massive count of 38 trophies. Nest season will see a new manager for the first time in alot of peoples lives and his replacement will have big boots to fill but the man who is taking over will certainly want to use his own boots first.

Season Rating: 9/10

 

2.Man City: One of the problems for a super rich club is that having bought all the big stars to win you the title where do you go next to make sure you keep winning. And unfortunately for City they didn’t go anywhere. Mancini failed to bring in any big names in the summer including their main target Van Persie. However you cant blame it all on the failure to attract new players. The team they had is strong enough as it is. It snatched the title away from their rivals on the last day of the previous season and since then the team hasn’t changed. So what went wrong?

In the back end of the season they found themselves 15 points behind the leaders and never looked like they could even close the gap at any point. Manicni couldn’t seem to instill the flair and fight that won them the title not 12 months ago and his misery was compounded in the FA cup final defeat to Wigan. That sealed Mancini’s fate as manager of City as he was relieved as manager just a few short days later. Finishing the season with 3-2 home defeat to Norwich certainly left City fans feeling both ends of winning and losing a title.

Season Rating: 7/10

 

3.Chelsea: After winning the Champions League, Chelsea started the season brimming with confidence. They had a good manager in place who brought them a title they had so desperately craved after the heartbreak in a very wet Moscow against Man Utd. Some fresh new faces were brought in and things ere looking good. However it seems that not even winning the one trophy that Abramovich wanted at his club could save Di Matteo from being thrown away like an unwanted toy by its owner. So who does he bring in to replace him, only the one man Chelsea wouldn’t want and that’s Benitez. To his credit, it was a difficult job to take on. Torres not banging in goals his price tag seemed would, fans on your back and your best player, Lampard, desperate to sign a new contract not being treated as such. Even breaking the clubs goal scoring record didn’t invite much in the way of contract negotiations but thankfully all was settled in the end.

Although it was a weak season by their standards finishing third and only avoiding a place play off with Arsenal with a win against Everton on the final day, they still ended the season with another trophy and a European one at that. Not a bad finish overall.

Season Rating: 7/10

 

4.Arsenal: Another season and still the Emirates trophy cabinet is empty. Why? Well its simple. Selling your best player to your nearest rival isn’t going to win you a league title or any title for that matter. Arsenal’s season is just another groundhog day of selling their best players and replacing them with on;y average players is all too consistently worrying now. They did start the season brightly with some good performances and clean sheets but it ended there. With a season low of losing to Bradford in the league cup with an almost full strength team certainly one to forget. The finish wasn’t too bad in the end going 10 games unbeaten after their derby defeat to Spurs.

They did however scrap for their fourth place finish in the final game needing a win against Newcastle to ensure fourth, which to got, but seeing the player celebrate their top four finish at the end of the game like they had just won a trophy is certainly not what the Arsenal faithful will want to see. They should be a team disappointed they only just got fourth place. Its a long road for the gunners.

Season Rating: 5/10

 

5.Spurs: Being heavily disappointed that they finished outside the top four and missed out on the Champions League shows just how far Spurs have come on over the past few years. With the money being spent inside the game you have to admire what Spurs have achieved over the past few seasons. You even have to count them unlucky not to have played in Europe this season if it were not for Chelsea winning it last year. They did have it in their own hands to finish in the top four and leaving their North London rivals out in the cold but they let it slip out of their hands. No fault of coarse to Garreth Bale who capped his amazing season with two Player of the Year Awards. Spurs biggest problem now is to hang on to their star player with bigger clubs and European football certainly knocking on the door. If they do manage to keep him and get another player or two, particularly up front then its onwards and upwards for Spurs.

Season Rating: 8/10

 

6.Everton: Although nobody new it at the time Moyes last season at Everton can certainly go down as one of the best. To be at a club for 11 or so years these days are unheard of. He has been excellent for Everton and they will miss him. He has brought the club on in leaps and bounds and has done it with little to no money. The team he has built are strong and are always up for a fight and you can see why Man Utd came in for him. Everton deserve their 6th place finish and for a time even looked like they could challenge for a top four finish. However lack of finances at the club limited they power to improve the team. Its worrying times now for Toffees fans as they wait to see who will replace Moyes and how well he can do.

Season Rating: 7/10

 

7.Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers was brought in to steady the ship at Anfield after his run with Swansea the year before. They didn’t get off to the best start when they offloaded Carroll to West Ham and failed to replace him, leaving Suarez lone up from for the first half of the season. To his credit he did pick up the mantle and went on to have a 20+ goal season. After the transfer window in January, Liverpool seamed to have learnt from their mistake and brought in Daniel Sturrigde who an instant hit. Brendan Rodgers has certainly stabilised things at Liverpool up until Suarez decided to grab life by the arm and take a bite, Literally. There is still alot of work to be done at Liverpool, who will miss their influential centre back who retires.

Season rating 6/10

 

8.West Brom: One of, if not the happiest set of fans you will find this season. They have gone from a club bouncing up and down the leagues to a top ten finish and alot of it was down their new man Steve Clarke. He couldn’t have gotten better from his team this season although I’m sure they would have like to have lost a few less games. They had a blistering start to the season and found themselves at the dizzy heights of third at one stage. They finished the season with an incredible send off for Alex Ferguson with a 5-5 home draw to United. One player who stood out for me this season was Lukaku with his hat-trick in the final game which saw West Brom coming from 4-2 to draw the game. Lukaku who is on loan from Chelsea and seaming unwanted their will have several clubs looking interested. West Brom would no doubt love to keep him.

Season Rating 7/10

 

9.Swansea: The swans were the first team to end their season after their League Cup win in Feb. They coasted after that and they could afford too. After making one of the signings of the season in Michu, Swansea will only be looking one way and that’s forward. The board have had a game plan since their days in the Championship and replacing Rodgers with Brian Laudrup was only genius. It showed there ambition for the future and in the way they want the club to be run.  A refreshing thought in a world where spending to much and failing can kill a club, Swansea have been clever and they will certainly be ones to watch for next season. However if they had kept pushing on after their cup triumph they had an opportunity to finish higher.

Season Rating: 8/10

 

10.West Ham: West ham find themselves firmly back in the Premier League. A few things have gone right for them this season and it shows that maybe when managers say that if they had the luck they would have done better. West Ham have put in a strong case for that fact and their best bit of business as to secure the services of Andy Carroll. With the pressure of the price tag off Carroll should what he is capable and his style of play works with the style the Big Sam has brought to club. West ham should never have gone down in the first place as hey have the resources to finish mid table easily. Their next challenge will be to do it again next season.

Season Rating: 8/10

 

11.Norwich: Although alot of the fans were getting on the back of Chris Houghton, i just cant see why. Norwich fans I’m sure were worried when they lost their manager who not just got them to the top flight but kept them there. They were never really going to get any worse when Chris arrived and up until the last few games of the season were never in danger of going down. They have done what they needed to do and kept themselves in the league for another season. All to often we have seen clubs stay up only to fall apart in their second season and go down. The table never lies and 11th place is certainly a good result.

Season Rating: 6/10

 

12.Fulham: The Cottagers have been one of the most disappointing teams this season. A well established club now in the league and having brought some good players in, including Berbatov they shouldn’t be where they are, including having to scrap a bit in the end in order to avoid being dragged into the relegation dog fight which can be ugly at times for clubs who do find themselves in it. Fulham have gone mostly unnoticed this season and have done nothing to inspire the masses. Its a disappointing turn around from a club, who not to long ago found themselves in a European final. Fulham need to improve big way in the coming months and next season in particular or things will go very bad for them. If they are not careful the could find themselves being thrown out of the League as the teams around them are improving somewhat.

Season Rating: 2/10

 

13.Stoke City: Stoke have found themselves going a bit backwards this season and have found their fans groaning a bit and rightly so after they have done so well in the last few seasons. Their style of play has been heavily criticised by many but manager Tony Pulis has stuck to his guns. They aren’t the most attractive team to watch and their biggest problem this season has been goals, or lack of. But you do have to feel sorry for poor Whealan who had one of the worst games in League history against Chelsea earlier in the season. After hitting himself with the ball in the face and scoring not one but two OG’s he went on to compound his misery by blasting his penalty well and truly over the bar. After avoiding relegation just about they didn’t cover themselves in glory with the Pig Head incident. There are pranks and there are pranks and I’m sure Pulis likes a good laugh to help build team spirit as anyone but it takes a mad person to even think of going out and getting a pigs head and putting into a locker let alone actually doing it.

Pulis will have a lot of work to do in the summer, in particular replacing the now retired Owen to make sure that the don’t continue their downward fall in the League. They may even have to rethink their style of play a little before they find themselves a Championship side again

Season Rating: 4/10

 

14.Southampton: The Saints, happy to be back in the Premier League have a had a Topsy turfy kind of season. Goals wasn’t a problem for them at the start of the season, scoring in all of their first nine matches, but conceding them was. They were in for a long hard season down at the bottom and to their credit pulled themselves out a bit until one of the most unusual decisions ever seen at a club happened.The board made the decision to sack the man who go to the league in the first place. Nigel Atkins found himself out of the job much to the bemusement of every single person who watched football. Only to be replaced by the none English speaking Pochettino. The fans were watching with interest and much to everyone surprise was a success.

Although they never made it out of the bottom half of the table they achieved their goal of staying in the premier league and to be fair have played some nice football along the way. Next season will be a big challenge for them

Sean Rating: 6/10

 

15.Aston Villa: Paul Lambert has certainly had a season to forget. Tipped by most to go down and for the most part looked like it too. They have had an awful season have found little to no support from anyone. Only a select few fans who simply didn’t like Robbie Savage’s pre-season prediction that they would go down spurred the club on. Villa are a young side as everyone knows but are a club who should be doing much better. Even Lambert found it hard to give Daren Bent a game, who for many years has been a proven player. To be fair if were not for Wigan being worst than them this season they would have gone down but to their credit they dug deep and pulled out an amazing performance against Sunderland at home and showed that they can play good football and move up the table.

Villa are a big club and shouldn’t be fighting relegation at any point but bad decisions and poor managerial appointments have cost them. What they thought a man in Alex MacLeish could bring to them after relegating their rivals Birmingham the season before is any ones guess.

Season Rating: 3/10

 

16.Newcastle: What a difference a year can make. After their return from the championship and finishing fifth last season Newcastle found themselves in a relegation battle. Its hard to say what went wrong although the did bring in a few players they just couldn’t handle the demands of playing in Europe and the league at the same time and it has almost cost them. After Ba Ba jumped ship it got harder and harder for Newcastle and the fans couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Where had the team who played such great football the previous season gone to. Although if Cisse had any more goals disallowed this season he would have just given up and went home.

The most interesting question for Newcastle now is where do they go from here. Many of their players will have offers from other clubs no doubt and they may want to take them. Pardew wont have helped himself after his comments abut not caring if the lost 3-0 to Arsenal on the final day after hey beat QPR in their second last game to ensure that they were safe from relegation. It will be an interesting Summer ahead for Newcastle.

Season Rating: 4/10

 

17.Sunderland: Sunderland have been limping throughout the last few seasons and things were not looking good nearer to the end and a change was needed. They brought in a man nobody expected in Di Canio and the who world was watching to see how would do. Before Di Canio came in Sunderland were very negative and had a tendency to play deep and defencive which only invited teams onto them and it was costing them. Di Canio in his first game in charge noted this when they lost to Chelsea. It was a trend quickly changed as they were a completely different side when they faced their Tyne side neighbours at St James and won 3-0. Playing positive football they did improve slightly under Di Canio. Although safe as a result of Wigan not picking up points when needed there is big problems at Sunderland which Di Canio highlighted when one of his players was photographed laying on the ground covered in money at a casino.

These players were in the midst of a relegation battle and didn’t look like they were taking it seriously. Its a worrying trend that seems to be showing up in football and the money that is being paid to players to play for clubs. Although oddly pointed out, rightly, by one of the most controversial people in the game today. Ironic.

Season Rating 3/10

 

18.Wigan: What more can be said about this little club this season. Although they got relegated they have had an incredible run and went out in style as they slayed the might of Man City to claim their first ever FA cup. Their manager is well liked and has not faded in his belief in the way the game should be payed. Martinez has had the backing of fans, board and media alike this season. They have been the feel good team of the season and its not very often we get say that about a team in the league let alone abut a team who have been relegated. The future is a little uncertain for Wigan at the moment as to the fate of their manager and a few of their players. It may be some time before we see Wigan again but not soon enough.

There only downfall was their poor defence throughout the season and maybe even their lack of action to do anything about it and stop themselves from being relegated. Its a small cloud that hangs over Martinez this season as a few clubs who find themselves without managers will be in the hunt.

Season Rating: 7/10

 

19. Reading: Unfortunately for Reading they just couldn’t handle the Premier league this season. They are a poor side and and never really looked like they could stay in the top flight. Things were compounded when they were beaten 7-5 at home to Arsenal in the League cup after taking a 4-1 half time lead. They knew they were going down and made things worse for themselves by sacking their manager when it was all but too late. Questions were asked about the pointless decision to sack Mcdermott and replace him with Adkins at such a late stage in the season. Its hard to see what the future is for Reading. Will they become a yo yo club to strong for the Championship and not strong enough for the Premier League?

Season Rating: 2/10

 

20.QPR: A shambles of a team this season and not even Harry Rednapp could save them and he echoed the thoughts of many in his Press conferences, consistently calling his team poor and lacking in effort. QPR wasted big money on average players who were only ever interested in the money. All compounded when Bosingwa could be seen laughing and smiling going down the tunnel after finally being confirmed as relegated after a poor 0-0 draw at home to Reading who were also relegated as a result of the draw. The only stand out player this season was Taarabt who was in himself at times frustrating as he only ever turned it on when he felt like it. For all his ability that is what frustrated QPR fans the most. The was a small bit of light in the dark tunnel this season for QPR and that was the signing or Remy. But with this relegation it will be hard to keep him with clubs like Arsenal and Liverpool on the hunt.

Season Rating: 0/10

 

 

 

 

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