The Biggishmouth’s Premier League end of season report

I return after a few months off , with a new remit – stick to sport (mainly football said my Ed / Webmaster). Okley dokely I’ll begin with  my grading for all the teams in the Premier League. Now  the season is over, who has overachieved, who have underachieved and who have basically done what was expected – here goes in table order.

Manchester City – Champions of the Premier League 2013/14 – sounds great saying it. Some people will say that with the money spent on the team they should win the league anyway, but with a new manager in situ (who had not won anything of note during his time as a manager in Europe) the pressure was on and the table does not lie they topped it and deservedly so. Money can buy you quality and they have played some sublime football throughout the season, but for me it it is their fighting spirit that has won them this title Hull 0-2 with 10 men,  Everton 2-3 from a goal down even their comeback at Anfield in ultimately a losing cause showed the battling qualities needed to win what in my opinion is the hardest league to top in the world. Worthy Champions and therefore the grade has to be – A*

Liverpool – Ended the campaign only two points off the top after a season beyond any Liverpool fans wildest dreams. For one moment they must have thought that a first title in 24 years was theirs but in the end they fell just short. Brendan Rodgers has worked miracles with this squad (admittedly without any european distractions) in getting them from 7th to 2nd in one season. Double player of the year Luis Suarez has been magnificent but he was just one piece as players such as Gerrard, Henderson, Sturridge, Sterling – I could go on have also stepped up to the mark and the initial goal of qualification for the Champions League was achieved with ease. The key now is to build on this for next season and maybe  even end what will be a 25 year wait for a return of a top flight English championship. A*

Chelsea – The Jose return has not heralded a first title in 4 years for the men from the Kings Road. Of the three teams that fought out the title they will more likely feel the most aggrieved as they beat both teams above them home and away but struggled against some teams in the lower half of the league notably losses to Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Sunderland in the run in. The pressure is now on as Mourinho will have to improve on this as Roman Abramovich is not the most patient owner and with funds being made available for a much needed clinical striker, the title is likely to be the minimum requirement next year. B-

Arsenal – The North Londonders were top of the Premier League table for over 120 days during the season but could not maintain their fantastic start and fell away quite spectacularly during February, March and early April. A previous 6-3 defeat at Man City in December had cast doubt over their staying power, then defeats at Anfield (5-1) and Stamford Bridge (6-0 in Arsene Wenger’s 1000th game in charge) confirmed this. They ended the season just about scraping fourth place after a sustained challenge from Everton especially after a 3-0 thrashing at Goodison Park. It could be said that injuries to key players were the reason for their stutter especially Aaron Ramsey, but not strengthening the squad in the January transfer window was a big mistake as a title challenge could have ensued. B-

Everton – Roberto Martinez has had a fantastic first season in charge at the Toffees. He took over a stable and well drilled squad and built upon that  with shrewd signings allied with the playing of attacking and forward thinking football that has taken the blue half of Merseyside to their highest points total ever in the Premier League era. Wins home and away to Manchester United were the highlight, though an emphatic thrashing of Arsenal at Goodison put them on course for a fourth place finish. Unfortunately they could not sustain this challenge and fell just short. However this should not take away from a season that I’m sure all their fans will remember with a lot of pride. Like their Merseyside rivals they need to build on this next season, especially as they will have european distractions to deal with. A

Tottenham Hotspur – A very topsy-turvy season for the Spurs. Gareth Bale left for pastures new and seemingly the North Londonders have never recovered. Their signings have not really paid off – bar Christian Eriksen and the fact that they changed the manager did not help in regards to continuity. Tim Sherwood took over stabilised for a short period but then murmurings that he was going to be replaced at the end of the season anyway did not make his job any easier. The rumour is that he will be gone by next season and a new man will be brought in to organise and motivate a set of underachievers as we stand. Daniel Levy needs to get this appointment right (his track record is not the best) as ultimately it has been a disappointing season as Europa League qualification is not where the club wants to be. C-

Manchester United – A shocking season for the fallen champions. Is it just David Moyes’ fault? – judging by the fallout after his sacking you would think that it was. However the issues are far deeper. Players not up to standard (and performing poorly with little or no pride at times), the new Chief Exceutive being totally useless  on the football side of his job, he could not even keep news of the imminent sacking quiet. 7th is not good enough for Manchester United, but arrogance got the better of them as they thought that even with Sir Alex going they would at least qualify for the Champions League – how wrong they were especially with all their rivals strengthening – you reap what you sow.The new manager whoever they may be (Louis Van Gaal is strongly linked) has a big job on as does Ed Woodward, who has not covered himself in any glory and needs to prove himself in the transfer market or he will forever be known as just a Glazer stooge put in place to spend as little money as possible. However this is not an option if the Reds of Manchester want to get back to enjoying the kind of season that their blue neighbours have had. E

Southampton – An excellent season for the South Coast club. Their manager Mauricio Pochettino has built on their previous campaign very well developing and nurturing the Saints band of young players. Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw have been standouts. However both these players as well as the manager may not be at St Mary’s in 2014/15 due to their strong performances this season. The owners at Southampton have big decisions to make as to whether they are happy with just surviving in the Premier League or whether they want to try and get to the next level. The platform from this season gives them that opportunity. B+

Stoke City – Nobody knew what to expect from the post Tony Pulis era and after a shaky start under their new manager, Mark Hughes, Stoke have steadily improved and a top half finish will be seen as very good progress in what many thought would be a transitional season for ‘The Potters’. Wins at home against Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United were the backbone of their season where the incumbent manager has been trying to play a more expansive game. The hierarchy and the fans at The Brittania will be very happy with what they have seen this season and their final posiition in the table is just reward. B

Newcastle United – A winning run during November and December aside this has been a season to forget for Newcastle. It started with their best player , Yohan Cabaye,all but handing in a transfer request (he did leave in the January transfer window after admittedly knuckling down and playing superbly) and ended with two players sent off at Anfield. In between their manager Alan Pardew was banned for a ridiculous and bang out of order headbutt on David Meyler of Hull. Fans want the current manager out as well as the owner Mike Ashley. An ultimately disappointing season with an interesting summer ahead – the fans will not settle for the same next season improvements needed, buying some players would help. D

Crystal Palace  –  A quite remarkable season for the Eagles. When Tony Pulis  was appointed they only had 7 points from 12 games. 38 points were then garnered from the remaining 26 matches an outstanding achievement when you consider they were dead certs for the drop on his arrival. They ended the season with only one loss in their final 8 games (which included 5 wins) and Pulis is being touted as a possible winner of manager of the year. If chosen then I’m sure no one would begrudge him the honour. A*

Swansea City – A strange season for the Swans. The last campaign ended in trophy glory but this season has been rather stop start. It was obviously not a help that their talisman especially in regards to goal scoring, Michu has been injured or carrying a knock for most of the season. The sacking of Michael Laudrup in February caused further disruption, however the incumbent Garry Monk steadied the ship allied with the impressive form of Wilfried Bony in his debut season in England they staved off  relegation pretty comfortably in the end. Work will be needed over the summer so as they do not find themselves in this position next season. C-

West Ham United  – Another club that had a very up and down season. With a move to the Olympic Stadium to come in the next couple of years, the Hammers needed to make sure they stayed in the Premier League. Now you would think Sam Allardyce would be the perfect man. However even though he has done just that he has been heavily criticised for the teams style of play especially by the fans. A horrible December and early January nearly did for him but he asked for support and patience which proved fruitful as a 4 game winning run pulled them away from the relegation dogfight. An interesting summer ahead especially in regards to how the club intend to move forward. D

Sunderland – “Miracles can happen” is what Gus Poyet said in regards to Sunderland’s great escape. 7 points from Manchester City away, Chelsea away and then Manchester United away were the cornerstone of their comeback from the brink of relegation. The Black Cats are now only the second side to be bottom of the Premier League at Christmas and still manage to stay up. A relieved Poyet must now build upon this to ensure that they can move forward as a club  in England’s top flight, especially as a number of players are now out of contract. The main objective was achieved now comes the hard work to sustain it. B

Aston Villa  – Its like deja vu at Villa Park They struggled last season and it has been the same again, relegation avoided but much more is expected from this famous old club. A team who beat Chelsea and Manchester City at home struggled against teams in and around them when losing at home to Crystal Palace and Fulham at crucial stages of the season. Paul Lambert is having a tough time especially as owner Randy Lerner had tightened the purse strings markedly over the last couple of seasons and now intends to sell the club. The fans at the Villa expect better next season whoever is in charge. D-

Hull City – Despite being many bookies favourites for the drop, Hull under Steve Bruce have been a breath of fresh air this season and no one can doubt that they have stayed up on merit. Despite the backdrop of issues with a club name change, Steve Bruce has got his team playing attractive football with a killer instinct up front. The recruitment policy has been spot on with the Geordie manager bringing in proven Premier League experience in the likes of Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, Curtis Davies, Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic. The manager would admit they have been a ‘bit off’ in the last few weeks of the season with far too many reverses but they have never really looked like getting involved with the bottom three scrap. A good solid return to the Premier League for the Tigers. B

West Bromwich Albion  – A bizarre  season for the Baggies, they were within a shocking referreeing decision of being the first team to beat a Jose Mourinho Chelsea team at Stamford Bridge, soon after they sacked Steve Clarke after a poor run of form, decided not to appoint Pepe Mel, then changed their minds to appoint the spaniard to then ‘part company’ with him the day after the end of the campaign and this all at a club run by a chairman, Jeremy Peace, who is known to prefer a stable environment.   They  have limped to safety and some could argue they have survived due to the fact that there are just  three teams worse than them instead of the team doing themselves justice. A definite downturn from the 2012/13 season. D-

Norwich City – The Norfolk club waited until 4 games from the end of the season to sack their manager, to which some said ‘whats the point?’ if it was thought that Chris Hughton was not the man the board wanted why wait so long, you may as well have kept him in place. Whatever the situation at Carrow Road, they now face next season in the Championship. Their lack of goals and poor defensive record was a recipe for disaster which has ultimately ended in relegation. The kneejerk sacking did not work and they will need to ensure a strategy is in place and quickly if they are to come back to the Premier League at the first attempt. D-

Fulham  – Three managerial changes for Fulham this season, hence no surprise to see them in the bottom three. Their new owner Shahid Khan has learned the hard way that Premier League football takes no prisoners. They were still in with a fighting chance only a copule of weeks ago but the letting slip of a 2 goal lead against Hull is what cost them as well as the fact they leaked 85 goals in the season, the second worst of any team in Premier League history. A poor season of bad management and decision making off and on the field. One thing they do have in their favour is a current crop of decent quality youngsters, though whether the Championship is the place for them to blossom we will see next season. D-

Cardiff City – After a first return to the top flight of English football (after 53 years) last May, it has all turned a bit sour during this Premier League season. The highly publicised spat between owner, Vincent Tan and the man who got them promoted, Malky Mackay has overshadowed what should have been an enjoyable season for the Bluebirds. Unfortunately it has ended with them finishing bottom of the table. Questionable signings were the crux of the issues between the owner and then manager and despite a mid-season change to the man in charge, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could not get the team out of the mire. It may be a long road back. D-

So there we have it – my take on how each teams Premier League season has gone. What are your thoughts??????? let me know what you think – you can also tweet me @biggishmouth or go to my facebook page at www.facebook.com/thebiggishmouth

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *