22 May, 2014 - 15:25

2013/2014 Premier League season highlights

2013/2014 season has been one of the most intriguing ones in Premier League history with top four clubs finishing inside just seven points. It was not until Day 36 that we knew the first team to drop from the top division. With some players getting ready for the World Cup and the rest having holidays, we can summarize the highlights of the season.

1. Is there life after Sir Alex Ferguson for Manchester United?

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That was the first season without gaffer Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm of Manchester United since 1986. Some of us were not even born at the time when the great Scot took charge of The Red Devils. And if there is one team that would like to forget the season as soon as possible it is the United squad. Everybody was aware the transition from Ferguson era to new life would not be easy. But few could imagine the defending champions would be this vulnerable. The champions hardly had any squad changes in the build-up to the season. But there was one immense difference. Sir Alex left and David Moyes was brought in. He had done a decent job with Everton and was meant not to let the squad fall apart in their first season without his predecessor. What actually happened is that he failed to do so. The Red Devils struggled to replicate their usual performance and became the laughingstock for the whole year. Wayne Rooney and Co. were knocked out of all Cup competitions and finished the Premier League season outside the European zone for the first time in many, many years. Despite a six-year contract, signed before the season, David Moyes was sacked before the end of the season, Ryan Giggs became an interim head coach and Louis Van Gaal will be trying to restore United fear factor in the 2014/2015 season.

2. Brendan Rodgers vowed to prove English players can play attractive and efficient football. He wasn’t bluffing.

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Just like nobody predicted the sharp downfall of Manchester United, nobody considered Liverpool as serious title contenders. But the Rodgers’ ‘small horse’ kept harassing opposition defenses throughout the season and netted an incredible 101 goals, just one less than champions Manchester City. The Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, who had claimed he was happy at Anfield, scored 31 goals in 33 matches. In the end The Reds were just two points short of the title. Five Liverpool players will represent the national team in Brazil and Brendan Rodgers pledged his players will be even more competitive in the next season.

3. In the era of commerce club owners have no patience and trust.

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Nine clubs sacked their head coaches during the season. Fulham did it twice. Probably only Crystal Palace and Sunderland were the winners of those chaotic changes. Pragmatic Tony Pulis simply had more experience than Ian Holloway to keep the Eagles in Premier League and build a solid back line. Gus Poyet got more time than scandalous Paolo Di Canio to work with The Black Cats and left it late to impress and drag the club out of relegation zone. Other managerial changes hardly had any positive impact on the squads.

4. Gareth Bale was worth a whole bunch of players who were brought in to replace him.

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Daniel Levy or whoever is in charge of decisions at Tottenham Hotspur should take a serious look at his work at White Hart Lane. The entire whole lotta sack of money received from Gareth Bale’s transfer to Real Madrid was spent on Vlad Chiriches , Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen, Soldado and Erik Lamela. A year later Spurs finish sixth, one place below their 2013 level. Besides, they were humiliated twice by both Manchester City and Liverpool. With Andre Villas-Boas sacked and Tim Sherwood hardly a long-term option, Tottenham board will need to lure a top-class head coach to make things right at the club.

5. Premier League actually has plenty of young talent, including that with English passports.

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Premier League has been vastly condemned for buying its way to success. However, last season most clubs proved there is place for young talents who could become world-class players in the years to come. 18-year old Luke Shaw has been impressive for Southampton and duly received a call-up to represent the England national team in Brazil. He is now tipped for a multi-million transfer to Manchester United. Ross Barkley and John Stones were the revelations at Everton. Raheem Sterling and Jon Flanagan have been brilliant for runners-up Liverpool. Andros Townsend and Harry Kane impressed for the Spurs. Arsenal’s few British players, Oz and Jack Wilshere, were worth being invited to The Three Lions. With Brendan Rodgers’ mentality and English talent the national squad could become a serious power in world football.

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Author: Leon Smolski

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