Now that the Premier League season has come to a close, it’s time for a retrospective look at events from the 2012-13 season. In my opinion, it hasn’t been an exhilarating season by any means, with the title race a breeze for Manchester United.
But this season is something else: It will be the last time that Sir Alex Ferguson will be at the helm of Manchester United. After 26 years and a whopping 24 major trophies (13 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups and two Champions League medals) the world’s greatest and most successful coach is departing the game. His presence in the game will be sorely missed and there is no doubting that Britain will take some time before someone of that calibre will make his mark.
Anyway, back to the league and how much of the entertainment came from the battle of the top four, which went down to the wire.
It was pretty evident that United would be champions; City’s poor form and lacklustre showing shows a team very much in need for some reinforcements next season. But it will be under a new manager, with Roberto Mancini sacked. Call it unjust or unfair, but with rumors of player unrest, the sacking came as no surprise.
Arsenal who, despite fighting tough all year, ended another season in the top four, at the expense of their London rivals, Tottenham. Chelsea had a typical Chelsea season: the prospect of an era of dominance, followed by sacking Roberto Di Matteo and the cycle to start all over again, with the appointment of much maligned Rafael Benitez. The era will start again soon, with the ‘Special One’ rumored to return.
Liverpool are under a new boss, Mr Brendan Rodgers, who wants to begin some new form of a dynasty, and showing that will take time to get there. Everton, once again showed they can handle it with the big boys in David Moyes’ last season in charge.
West Bromwich, Swansea and West Ham all had decent seasons, pushing above their weight. Southampton, too, showed that you can play fantastic football and avoid the drop.
Of course, we’ve had to deal with QPR and the lack of Harry “Houdini” Redknapp saving their skin. Reading looked good, then sacked Brian McDermott, and now they’re gone. Aston Villa has been playing with fire all season, despite the exciting arrival of Paul Lambert. And Wigan Athletic provided us with some of the most bittersweet moments of the year: beating Manchester City in the FA Cup, but sadly failed to stay up for another season.
Regardless, we’ve had some fantastic games, goals, moments, sackings and surprises. So here below is my list of moments that highlight the 2012/2013 season of the Premier League.
Best Managers: Pretty hard to look pass Sir Alex Ferguson for his side cakewalking to the title. Credit though must be given to Michael Laudrup for continuing Swansea’s success; David Moyes for making Everton push above their weight in his final season and Steve Clarke showing there’s life after Roy Hodgson at West Brom.
Top Three Players: It’s hard to choose just one player of the year, especially this year, when there’s been no stand-out like previous years (Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry etc.) so as opposed to one, here are three.
Gareth Bale – The Welshman became the third person to win both the PFA’s Player and Young Player of the Year. It took him a while to kick into gear but his second half of the season has been monstrous.
Robin van Persie – The Dutchman is the reason his side are Champions. Few can dispute the move from Arsenal to United wasn’t a top purchase on behalf of Fergie’s part.
Luis Suarez – it’s the question that been around all season: where would Liverpool be without Suarez? The situation best categorizes “a one man team” this season.
Best games: 3-2 Manchester United versus City. An exhilarating match with both teams going end-to-end and then RVP winning it at the death.
4-3 Manchester United versus Newcastle. United kept pulling the rabbit out of the hat, showing the grit of champions to snatch the win.
7-3 Arsenal versus Newcastle. 10 goals in an absorbing match, with Newcastle pushing the Gunners right down to the wire, then Theo Walcott blowing them away.
4-3 Norwich versus Swansea. The Canaries were flying high after an explosive start before Swansea came roaring out the blocks to set up a frantic finish.
Team of the Season: (Lined up in the now popular 4-3-3): Asmir Begovic; Leighton Baines, Rio Ferdinand, Jan Vertonghen, Pablo Zabaleta; Juan Mata, Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini; Luis Suarez, Robin Van Persie, Gareth Bale.
Best bit of business: Michu for £2 million. 17 goals and a League Cup later. Followed closely by Christian Benteke £7m for Aston Villa – the only bright spark in a dismal season for the Villians and the reason they’re staying up.
Good, but we expected better: Replacing the likes of RVP was never going to be easy. But there was some hope that Oliver Giroud would fit in seamlessly at the Gunners. The Frenchman has shown that he has the potential to achieve some decent history with Arsenal. We just, you know, expected a little more.
What were they thinking? Harry Redknapp said that QPR wouldn’t spend big during January. So they bought Christopher Samba for £14.5 million to sure up the backline to avoid relegation. They were relegated.
Best Managerial Celebration: Yes, everyone loves it when managers go nuts after a goal is scored. This moment goes to Sunderland’s Paolo Di Canio for this explosive celebration after beating Newcastle. Expect more of that I say.
The board might actually have gotten it right: Southampton were on a roll, then the board went on to sack Nigel Adkins. Fans were stunned. Then they brought in former Espanyol and non-English-speaking Argentinean Mauricio Pochettino. Now they’re safe from relegation, beating Manchester City along the way.
You just have to laugh: Arsene Wenger struggling to zip up his oversized and overlong coat. Is that where he’s hiding all Arsenal’s savings?
Most bizarre moment: Luis Suarez trying to eat Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.
Could it really be? Rafael Benitez turning things around at Chelsea. Yes, you read that right. He’s done a surprisingly good job at the Blues, earning Champions League qualification, as well as the Europa League trophy. Could it be that the fans are, gulp, warming up to him just as he’s about to leave?
Surprises of the season: Swansea continuing to tear everyone apart. Manchester City still partying from last season. That Chelsea didn’t sack the Roberto Di Matteo sooner. Likewise QPR with Mark Hughes. Expecting Fernando Torres to become good again. Newcastle pummeled so badly.
Certainties of the season: QPR getting relegated; Chelsea sacking a manager; Arsenal starting poorly and finishing in the top four; The title race involving just the Manchester clubs; Everton failing to break into the top bracket; Liverpool planning for the future, again. Stoke City playing like, well Stoke City.
What we hope for next season: We would like a title race. Jose Mourinho and Joey Barton to return for some fireworks. Arsenal to actually spend money. Gareth Bale to stay in England. More Paolo Di Canio antics.
The Question for next season: Will David Moyes win a trophy? The world’s eyes will be on the former Everton boss who takes this job.
Season Rating: This hardly eclipses last season’s sensational finish, where the title, the top four and the relegation battle were decided on the last day. However, it could have been expected that after such a high, there was always going to be a comedown. Nevertheless, there’s been enough here to make the season at least memorable in many ways. 6.5/10