Last updated on November 15th, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Premier League Roundup

premier-league-round-up

That’s all she wrote folks! We’ve witnessed one of the most heartbreakingly close relegation battles in recent memory, the minnow beating the giant, goals galore and controversy like none before… The 2010-2011 season is over. I’ve probably watched more premier league football this season than any other, and I think this was definitely the season to devote myself to the beautiful game. So many highs, so many lows, and so many moments of genuine class you wonder why people would question the Premier League as the greatest domestic league in the footballing world?!

That’s all she wrote folks! We’ve witnessed one of the most heartbreakingly close relegation battles in recent memory, the minnow beating the giant, goals galore and controversy like none before… The 2010-2011 season is over. I’ve probably watched more premier league football this season than any other, and I think this was definitely the season to devote myself to the beautiful game. So many highs, so many lows, and so many moments of genuine class you wonder why people would question the Premier League as the greatest domestic league in the footballing world?!

Like me, many of you are now wondering what on earth to spend doing over the summer without any remarkable tournaments to occupy your time… Fortunately this season has given us a great many talking points so that the time in the pub won’t be without conversation. Let’s have a cast a quick eye over the season team-by-team. Fairest way to do this is alpahabetically, can’t argue with that!

Arsenal

Final Position: 4th
Arsenal began the season well and it appeared that, at the mid-point, would be challenging for honours come the end of May. Unfortunately, a dip in form and an inability to see off weaker opposition resulted in a drop down the league to finish with the prospect of qualifying rounds of the Champions League ahead of them, a rarity having been used to automatically qualifying for the group stages in prior years. Their season low point? Either losing at home to Spurs or conceding 4 goals in the dying stages of their match against Newcastle to end 4-4. Best player for me would be Nasri this season, and when his form dipper Van Persie rose to fill the gap.

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Aston Villa

Final position: 9th
Aston Villa started this season imbalanced. Their fine progress under Martin O’Neill ended just as it was beginning. They’ve successfully remained in the premier league, stalwarts since its inception, certainly not something to be overlooked, but this season hasn’t proven their greatest. An inherent lack of consistency proved to limit their success in spite of some quality performances and results. Darren Bent blew fresh air into their attack, proving that he is a fine goal scorer on hand to finish, although not the most skilful. High point for Villa this year were their back-to-back wins over Arsenal and Liverpool. The best player this season has been Stuart Downing, whose consistent form put him ahead of the mercurial Ashley Young.

Birmingham City

Final position: 18th
With it all to play for on the final day, Birmingham were in the relegation positions for all but 5 minutes. But it was a bittersweet ending to a season that saw them win their first trophy since 1963, an unlikely victory secured over a benign Arsenal performance. They were the lowest scoring team this season in the league so it is not surprising that they have suffered the fate of relegation. Their lowest point? The heartache of relegation. Their best player this season was possibly Ben Foster, but arguably also Craig Gardner too. I respect their fans greatly for sticking by them and giving it a real go this season.

Blackburn Rovers

Final position: 15th
A season marked by managerial changes and subsequent inconsistencies, they found themselves in the mire of a relegation battle from earlier than most people would have anticipated. The resigning of Santa Cruz looked good on paper, both were better together before, but reunited they couldn’t recapture their form. Their best player this season has been Christopher Samba, whose strength and tackling kept their back line in order and marshalled many excellent attackers out of the game. Survival became their goal, and they succeeded in that much. Their best moment this season I hard to pick, but from what I saw, their convincing victory over Liverpool, 3-1 at home, showed that they can get the job done.

Blackpool

Final position: 19th
Where to start with Blackpool? They brought real character into the premier league, both on and off the pitch. Ian Holloway will be missed next season, he was truly a great character to have in the league. Their open and attacking play brought sold out crowds to their stadium, and impressive performances against the likes of Manchester United and Spurs and beating Liverpool, add to the magic they brought with them. Charlie Adam was undoubtedly their most talked about player, and when he was on form, really moved their team in the right direction, but for me he was too inconsistent and I doubt he will remain at the club when the transfer window opens. Its hard to pick a high point for Blackpool, but I would imagine the whole season has been excellent as a fan, even with the disappointment of the drop.

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Bolton Wanderers

Final position: 14th
What went wrong? At the start of the season Bolton were flying high in the league and looked good in the FA cup. They were bullying teams out of the game, dominating aerially and producing some excellent results. Most of this had to be down to their strike force, and Kevin Davies received an England call-up on this basis, as his strength and bullish nature brought the game to some less confident defences. However I would say Stuart Holden was their player of the season, and up until his injury, he was really pulling the strings for the team and was involved in attack and defensive duties. Daniel Sturridge did excellently for them, but since he was only on loan, how they fare up front without him in the future remains to be seen.

Chelsea

Final position: 2nd
An interesting season for Chelsea to say the least. They started as they had finished, winning everything, like a machine they ground out results and played brilliantly. Ancelotti had the team performing just as he wanted. However a sudden dip in form and the inability to recapture it saw everything fall apart. Chelsea slipped down the table and there was talk of them potentially not even reaching the Champions League next season. Signing Torres may be viewed as one of the most costly decisions this season, but Liverpool went to the bank laughing with £50m in their pockets. However the team rallied and pulled back to a point where the season could be won or lost depending on a match against Manchester United – a game they hardly showed up for. They did well to recapture their position, and by all accounts didn’t have a terrible season, so to give Ancelotti the boot seems unjust, but with the Champions League the only title they are desperate to win, it is hardly surprising. Best player this year is hard to say really, their talented youth look good, but their aged players are still performing well. The jury is still out, who do you think was their best?

Everton

Final position: 7th
A good finish for Everton given their poor start to the season. Although not a lot changed behind the scenes to affect their sudden improvement, it would seem that Moyes managed to figure out his tactics from about February onwards. Whilst they didn’t do badly, an oddly large number of draws restricted their movement up the table. They certainly finished on a high beating Chelsea 1-0, a performance and result from which their fans can take heart. Their best player this year has been, without a shadow of a doubt, Leighton Baines, whose commitment in the tackle, vision, running on and off-the-ball coupled with a stunning goal have drawn the attention of bigger, richer clubs. Hopefully they can build off their form from the end of the season and march on to Europe next year.

Fulham

Final position: 8th
Fulham’s seemed to be rather similar to Bolton’s. Their form at the start of the season was inconsistent, but good, to say the least. However, losing Bobby Zamora early on in the campaign hit them hard, and suddenly Fulham found they unable to hit the back of the net. His influence was further demonstrated by his return to fitness pushing the team back up the table. Their best player this year is up for debate, it could easily be Hangeland, Baird or Murphy! Fulham still have what it takes to compete, and with a fit team they could easily have achieved more – don’t forget them reaching the final of the Europa league not so long ago! Their high point this season must surely be their run of form in the cups, with some high scoring routs, most notably winning 4-0 against Tottenham.

Liverpool

Final position: 6th
Liverpool started this season with awkward expectations – their fans seemed split over what to expect following the disappointment from the previous season. Roy Hodgson started the season in charge of a team that was co-owned by Hicks and Gilette. Performances were shoddy and negative, the Fulham style of play developed by Hodgson, not suiting the team extant at Liverpool. So much went on behind the scenes it’s hard to remember much of their actual play during this time. Fast forward towards the end of the season and the ownership situation has resolved itself, Hodgson is gone and Kenny Dalglish has been taken the team on a tour-de-force up the league table to challenge for Europa League qualification. Dalglish, although not a player, gets my man of the season for the Reds, affecting the turn around they so desperately needed. His appointment was also their high-point. Can next season see their return to glory?

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Manchester City

Final position: 3rd
With unfathomable wealth, an already strong squad and a passion and drive to go far, Manchester City had it all to play for this season. I remember their first game of the season against Spurs petering out to a 0-0 draw as their team failed to gel and find a way through Spurs’ defence. How things have now changed, with their player of the year, Tevez, scoring goals, creating them, working magic in the box and truly leading the team into championship contenders. Their form, however, has not been as consistent as their talisman. Man City’s highlight this year is probably their chance to capture some silverware in the form of the FA cup. With their money and champions league football due, luring the best players seems an easy task, the question is now just who and when? One would expect them to be up there, or there about, next season, but of course, stranger things have happened and there is a lot to be said for mindset – something I don’t believe Man City have developed yet.

Manchester United

Final position: 1st
A record 19th premier league title befitting a team that has a winning mentality that shines through even when lacking vintage performance. At their best they were unplayable, and at their worst, they were still damn good. They proved to a lot of doubters that they can still win the title, and Sir Alex proved he isn’t the sort of manager to back down, shy away from controversy and is one of the best managers the game has ever seen. Some may say this isn’t one of their strongest teams of late, but in form Giggs, Nani, Berbatov and the upcoming Hernandez ensured that they still are the force to be reckoned with. Rooney’s shenanigans saying he wanted to leave in 2010 were a definitely low point. Still room for improvement though, and finding a stable back four to support Vidic would help. A new keeper is now needed as well, and how do you replace the irreplaceable?

Newcastle United

Final position: 12th
Newcastle came back up from the Championship as convincing winners, and their goal for this season must surely have been to survive and achieve a strong mid-table position. Without doubt they have achieved their goals, and in doing so are beginning to banish the demons that haunted them when they were relegated. They have come a long way since then, and excellent performances throughout the season from Nolan, Barton, Tiote and Enrique saw them achieve these. Andy Carroll was fantastic for them until his sale, and although Ameobi and Best weren’t quite up to filling his boots, they certainly did enough between them. Who was their best player? For me it was Nolan. Some of you may remember the nonsense spouted by the thuggish and rather daft Barton claiming to be the best ‘English midfielder’, however I wouldn’t even have said he was the best English midfielder at Newcastle, let alone the country! Without doubt their best moment was absolutely hammering Sunderland. Hopefully they continue to improve next season to justify that evident chip they have on their shoulder.

Stoke City

Final position: 13th
Stoke gave a good account of themselves this season, pulled away from the relegation battle that threatened to drag them in, and surged through the FA cup to reach the finals. Safe to say that their fans will be feeling they’ve had a good, if not great season and hope to build on this in the near future. Their best moment must have been reaching the FA cup final, although the disappointment at being beaten by Man City would have been a blow. The best player this year has to be Jermaine Pennant. His pace and ability to put in a good cross revitalised their attack and enabled them to do well without relying solely on long throws to get the upper hand.

Sunderland

Final position: 10th
Their initial good performances were enough to give their fans hope that this season may even bring the prospect of some European football or a good cup run. However this form fell off a cliff with a turn of successive defeats that saw them fall down the table to secure the mid-table finish, albeit in the top half. Some would argue that they would have been caught up in the relegation battle with everyone else had their form dropped earlier or the season lasting longer. Best not mention being trounced by Newcastle! The best player over the entire season was arguably Phil Bardsley although for the first half of the season it was Darren Bent, and his departure can be linked with their drop in form. Changes are needed and expected if they are to improve for next season.

Tottenham Hotspur

Final position: 5th
Tottenham’s season was great – regardless what some foolish fans with delusions of grandeur. After finishing fourth the previous season, their champions league campaign was one of the biggest talking points amongst the football world. Gareth Bale, enough said. They took out Inter Milan and AC Milan with aplomb, showing great defence against the latter and real attacking creativity and speed against the former. Modric was their player of the season without doubt. A good showing this season that might have been better had their strikers been able to find the net more often.

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West Bromwich Albion

Final position: 11th
It sounds like I am repeating myself, but West Brom had a rollercoaster of a season. They started excellently, giving a great account of themselves and their commitment to attractive and open football. This fine opening dropped significantly and dragged them to the depths of the premier league with West Ham, and only a late change of fortune saw them rise again, recapturing their form from the start of the season. Given their final position, it has to be deemed their best season in the League, and had they maintained their performances from the get go, they could have been even higher in the league. Their change of manager came at precisely the right moment, Hodgson proving his style of play were better suited to mid table teams rather than the likes of Liverpool. Their best player was possibly Joseph Mulumbu, although arguably it could have been Peter Odemwingie. Things are looking bright for West Brom!

West Ham United

Final position: 20th
The relegation battle was fought between an unprecedented number of teams, however West Ham were undoubtedly behind the pack the whole way, and were the only team to be relegated before the final day of the season. Scott Parker was their strongest player and won the writer’s Player of the Year Award for good reason. However not much can be said for the rest of the team whose limp performances and inability to hold on to a lead led to their demise. Their mismanagement under Avram Grant and the machinations behind the scenes kept everyone looking at the negatives both on and off the pitch with little chance for recovery. The Hammers also changed their starting line up more than any other team and perhaps inconsistency played its part. The task ahead of them is to retain enough quality players to bounce back up next season, but with sharks circling for Demba Ba, Parker and Robert Green, it’s fair to say that they may find them hard to keep! A lot needs to change before they can be a great team again.

Wigan Athletic

Final position: 16th
Another team that found itself caught up in the relegation battle and drama of the final day. Many expected this would be the case from the start of the season, and Wigan did little to disappoint their fans in that regard. Their survival was secured last minute in a game that did little to excite as much as it did relieve their fears. Their capture of Ali al-Habsi on loan made a real difference and without doubt Charles N’Zogbia was their player of the season, whose running, creativity and threat made him an outstanding performer, particularly against the rest of the team. Hopefully they can keep a hold of him, sign al-Habsi and begin to work for next season where survival is likely to be the aim of the game yet again, maybe with dreams of mid-table obscurity.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Final position: 17th
Where to start with Wolves? They were all over the shop this season. Sometimes fantastic, sometimes the worst team in the league. Few would argue that they used brutish and hard tactics to grind out results, and their card tally demonstrates this perfectly. Matty Jarvis was good, when on form for them, and O’Hara, who helped secure their survival, made a real difference on loan from Spurs. Their survival was achieved and I am sure they hope to achieve this again, but without some investment and a way to stay on form, they will be battling just as hard this time next year.

So that’s that, team-by-team. Check back again soon to see our points of major debate from this past season – pub ammo! Of course, if you don’t agree with my view, convince me otherwise by commenting below.

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