Sports - Football - Premier League - 2014/15 Review
Well, that's another season done and dusted. 13,746,753 fans attended 380 games around the 20 Premier League grounds. They saw 975 goals scored (2.57 per match), 10 hat-tricks, 1,360 yellow cards (3.58 per match), 73 red cards (one every 5.2 matches) and 9 managerial changes. For more details on the season just gone, click here.
On a personal stats note, it's been a first, in 15 seasons (!), my father and me were all square in predictions, honours even at 172-172 (not quite half the games, but not bad)!
Here's my review of the season, looking at the stats and facts, winners and losers, and what has changed (or not really).
Champions: Chelsea (4th Premier League title, 5th English title).
Champions League: Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, Man United.
Europa League: Tottenham, Liverpool, West Ham.
Relegated: Hull City, Burnley, QPR.
Promoted from Championship: Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich.
Top Scorer: Sergio Agüero (Man City, 26 goals)
Top Keeper: Joe Hart (Man City, 14 clean sheets)
Biggest home win: Southampton 8-0 Sunderland
Biggest away win: Swansea 0-5 Chelsea
Highest scoring: Everton 3-6 Chelsea
Longest winning run: 8 games, Arsenal
Longest unbeaten run: 16 games, Chelsea
Longest winless run: 13 games, Leicester
Longest losing run: 8 games, Newcastle
Most yellow cards: 94, Sunderland
Most red cards: 7, Aston Villa and Newcastle
Premier League Manager of the Season: José Mourinho, Chelsea
Premier League Player of the Season: Eden Hazard, Chelsea
PFA Player of the Year: Eden Hazard, Chelsea
PFA Young Player of the Year: Harry Kane, Tottenham
PFA Team of the Year: David de Gea (MUFC); John Terry (CFC), Gary Cahill (CFC), Branislav Ivanovic (CFC), Ryan Bertrand (SFC); Alexis Sánchez (AFC), Nemanja Matic (CFC), Philippe Coutinho (LFC), Eden Hazard (CFC); Diego Costa (CFC), Harry Kane (THFC).
Main Gainers: compared to last season 2013-14.
Swansea and West Brom: 14 and 8 points and 4 places better off respectively.
Garry Monk has worked wonders at The Swans. After Michael Laudrup's sacking in February 2014 after winning the Welsh side's first major piece of silverware with the League Cup and achieving a record finish in 9th position in 2013, the shoes were hard to fill. And of course following Wilfried Bony's record departure to Manchester City in this year's January transfer window, everyone was even more sceptic and expected the worst for Huw Jenkins' side. But the surprise appointment of then Swansea defender Monk has come up all trumps, his side finishing the season on a record high of 8th place on 56 points, playing entertaining football, knowing his squad well, great tactics, always good to watch.
The Baggies started 2015 further down the dumps, sacking Alan Irvine on the 29th December 2014, after losing 2-0 at Stoke made it 7 defeats in 9 games, only 4 wins in 19 matches, leaving them down in 16th place on 17 points out of 19 games. New Year's Day saw the appointment of Tony Pulis, the former Stoke and Crystal Palace manager, who is well known for his expertise in great escapes. And he did so again. His intentions were well presented in his first match in charge, a 7-0 win against Conference Premier side Gateshead in an FA Cup third round match, landmark win at Manchester United, and embarrassing champions Chelsea. Pulis' men finished the season strong, losing only once in the last six games, taking them up to 12th on 44 points.
Strongest Runs: Last 6 games
Man City: WWWWWW = 18 out of 18 points.
Too little, too late for The Sky Blues. Manager Manuel Pellegrini is under pressure after handing over the Premier League trophy to Chelsea with a big 8-point gap and ending the season trophyless.
Leicester: WLWWDW = 13 out of 18 points.
Great turnaround by the Foxes. Bottom at Christmas and after making all the wrong distracting headlines in February, Nigel Pearson's side just lost once in the whole of April, earning himself his first Premier League Manager of the Month award, and confirming his side's Premier League status by mid-May, with surprising comfort.
West Brom: WDWDWL = 11 out of 18 points.
As mentioned above, Tony Pulis has done a great job at The Hawthorns, showing that changes in management halfway through the season are not always bad news, wrong headlines or just naughty rumours, as they were for Leicester, but a great escape, heroic saviour or strong comeback instead.
Chelsea: DWWDLW = 11 out of 18 points.
As mentioned above, City's late run meant nothing as Chelsea had already sealed the deal beginning of May with their 1-0 win against Crystal Palace. José Mourinho once again showed why Roman Abramovich brought him back to Stamford Bridge despite all rumoured spats and conflicts, and how you can win, even if it doesn't look so pretty.
Main Losers: compared to last season 2013-14.
Everton and Liverpool: 25 and 22 points, 6 and 4 places worse off respectively.
Neither the blue nor the red side of the Mersey have had much to cheer about this season.
After replacing David Moyes and finishing his first season in 5th on 72 points, the Toffees highest return since the Premier League inception, compliments and expectations were high for Roberto Martinez. Record breaking signings Romelu Lukaku, Christian Atsu and Samuel Eto'o fed those hungers and hopes, but it all soon crumbled to bits. The Spaniard looked overloaded, seeing his side being lambasted as passive and well beaten too often, finishing in the bottom half of the table for the first time since 2005-06.
The Reds meanwhile have seen it all this season, their skipper Steven Gerrard's last season for the club started weakly, before a strong boom, followed by another collapse of form. His sending off within 38 seconds in their 1-2 defeat against bitter rivals Manchester United at Anfield in March and conceding nine goals in their last two league games of the season, 6 at Stoke and 3 at home against Crystal Palace, both defeats; these are just the tip of a very miserable iceberg for Brendan Rodgers' men. The Northern-Irishman is under immense pressure and fire from all sides after the runners up of last season ended up in the 6th position on 62 points and their main players are either confirmed or rumoured to leave. The Rumour mill is running wild, spitting out Jürgen Klopp as the odds-on favourite replacement.
Weakest Runs: Last 6 games
QPR: LDLLWL = 4 out of 18 points in last 6 games.
A season to forget before and after Harry Redknapp's departure. Whether it was for health reasons as he said, or he knew what was coming, the former Spurs boss left a sinking ship, that's for sure. No good and not much better for of from new manager Chris Ramsey, who will need a lot to rebuild.
Newcastle: LLLDLW = 4 out of 18 points in last 6 games.
Turmoil as always, but still surviving, somehow. After Alan Pardew's departure to Crystal Palace following his Premier League Manager of the Month award in December, things went downhill, former player and regular caretaker John Carver not holding back his anger watching his side complete the longest losing streak of the season.
West Ham: LDWLLL = 4 out of 18 points in last 6 games.
Shocker for Sam Allerdyce. After starting the season full of promise and great results, the second half of the season overshadowed it all, leaving the Hammers dangling in 12th, with not much promise or progress, and now managerless.
Southampton: LDLLWL = 4 out of 18 points in last 6 games.
The season started too good to be true, their blast was too strong to last and hold through, it had to drop and fall at some point. Still, full respect and praise to manager Ronald Koeman, for producing such a strong side and high finish despite all the high-profile departures of former manager Mauricio Pochettino and a list of top players.
Other Notable Changes (or not really):
Sunderland and Aston Villa: 0 points but 2 places worse off.
Dick Advocaat's tears said it all after leading the Black Cats to safety with a 0-0 draw at the Emirates. Reacting like that after just a couple of months in the job shows how tough it is to survive in the Premier League. That drew secured Sunderland's ninth straight top flight season. It was not the first time they struggled though, and it surely won't be the last.
After a record-low of just 12 goals in 25 games, it was no surprise to see Paul Lambert sacked at Villa Park in February, trembling around and in the relegation zone. New boss Tim Sherwood kept the Villans safe from the drop. Just. One can't imagine the Premier League without them, full stop. But the former Spurs manager's positive attitude seemed to have revived the side, guiding them to the FA Cup final against Arsenal.
Arsenal and Manchester United: 4 points worse and 6 points better, 1 and 3 places better respectively.
Same old. Arsène Wenger has done it again. Top four finish. What crises? After a shambles start to the season, with the all too familiar short list of signings and long injury list, the Gunners turned the season around, including notable wins at Manchester City in the Premier League and Manchester United in the FA Cup, finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League group stages for the 18th season in a row.
Meanwhile, is Louis van Gaal really so much better than Moyes? The Red Devils are 6 points and 3 places better off than last season, yes, but not much from what they have shown on the pitch. Expensive and high-profile disappointments like Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao did not produce much, most games and points were saved and recorded thanks to keeper de Gea, more than anything else! Rumour has been surrounding his exit from Old Trafford for a while now, which surely LVG will give his all to avoid and stop from happening.
Here's the full list of all the Premier League teams, in alphabetical order, listing the positions and points totals they finished on the last couple of seasons and what I predicted and how they actually ended this season. I was spot on with some (closer to the top), more far off with others (further down the table). Happy read and looking forward to next season! XxXxX #YNWA
2012-13: 4th on 73 points.
2013-14: 4th on 79 points.
2014-15: predicted 4th, ended 3rd on 75 points.
2012-13: 15th on 41 points.
2013-14: 15th on 38 points.
2014-15: predicted 15th, ended 17th on 38 points.
2014-15: predicted 19th, ended 19th on 33 points.
2012-13: 3rd on 75 points.
2013-14: 3rd on 82 points.
2014:15: predicted 1st, ended 1st on 87 points.
2013-14: 11th on 45 points.
2014-15: predicted 14th, ended 10th on 48 points.
2012-13: 6th on 63 points.
2013-14: 5th on 72 points.
2014-15: predicted 9th, ended 11th on 47 points.
2013-14: 16th on 37 points.
2014-15: predicted 16th, ended 18th on 35 points.
2014-15: predicted 20th, ended 14th on 41 points.
2012-13: 7th on 61 points.
2013-14: 2nd on 84 points.
2014-15: predicted 6th, ended 6th on 62 points.
2012-13: 2nd on 78 points.
2013-14: 1st on 86 points.
2014-15: predicted 2nd, ended 2nd on 79 points.
2012-13: 1st on 89 points.
2013-14: 7th on 64 points.
2014-15: predicted 3rd, ended 4th on 70 points.
2012-13: 16th on 41 points.
2013-14: 10th on 49 points.
2014-15: predicted 12th, ended 15th on 39 points.
2012-13: 20th on 25 points.
2014-15: predicted 13th, ended 20th on 30 points.
2012-13: 14th on 41 points.
2013-14: 8th on 56 points.
2014-15: predicted 5th, ended 7th on 60 points.
2012-13: 13th on 42 points.
2013-14: 9th on 50 points.
2014-15: predicted 10th, ended 9th on 54 points.
2012-13: 17th on 39 points.
2013-14: 14th on 38 points.
2014-15: predicted 17th, ended 16th on 38 points.
2012-13: 9th on 46 points.
2013-14: 12th on 42 points.
2014-15: predicted 11th, ended 8th on 56 points.
2012-13: 5th on 72 points.
2013-14: 6th on 69 points.
2014-15: predicted 8th, ended 5th on 64 points.
2012-13: 8th on 49 points.
2013-14: 17th on 36 points.
2014-15: predicted 18th, ended 13th on 44 points.
2012-13: 10th on 46 points.
2013-14: 13th on 49 points.
2014-15: predicted 7th, ended 12th on 47 points.