As the English Premier League season comes to an end, everyone likes to reminisce about highlights, wonder goals, top performers and less skillful moments. Here are five takeaways from what is widely being touted as the best ever season in the modern Premier League era.
1. Give a New Manager Time To Work
Two words: Tony Pulis. In a season that will forever be infamous for the drama on and off the pitch, Pulis was the perfect example of the philosophy ‘put your head down and work hard’. Nine of the twenty Premier League clubs changed managers this season. Only eight games into their season Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway saw the writing on the wall and resigned his post. Pulis replaced Holloway with the club odds-on favorites for relegation. Now, they sit mid-table, more than safe, and their recent form is worthy of a club challenging for European football. Special mentions should also go to Steve Bruce and Sam Allardyce for coming good on the faith placed in them by their clubs. This duo proves that a changing of the guard is not always the best decision.
2. Admit When You’re Out of Your Depth
While this may come in complete opposition to the previous point, sometimes you need to wake up and smell the roses. Ian Holloway’s self-awareness appears to have saved Crystal Palace’s season. Manchester United weren’t so lucky. David Moyes will sadly be remembered in this season for all the wrong reasons. At some point, he must’ve known following Sir Alex Ferguson was a challenge he was not up to fulfilling adequately. The implosion of their season was not caused by one man, however. Senior figures at United, including Ferguson, should have stepped in sooner and kindly relieved Moyes of his duties. It seems more likely Moyes’ dismissal brought him feelings of relief rather than disappointment. Out of the spotlight, and out of the furnace, poor David’s only worry this summer will be wearing enough sunscreen.
3. Hold Your Nerve, Keep Your Talent
Perhaps the best bit of transfer business last summer was the non-move of Luis Suarez. At the end of last season Suarez was serving a lengthy ban for nibbling Chelsea’s Ivanovic. The furore caused by the incident caused many to speculate if Luis could continue at such a prestigious and respected club. Suitors were never too far away, the most public was one of Liverpool’s rivals, Arsenal. The famous £40,000,001 bid was not enough to sway the directors at Anfield. The job they did to persuade Suarez to stay at Liverpool is the move that has defined their season. Pundits and commentators struggle to find enough superlatives to throw at the League’s top scorer. Such a bold move from Liverpool makes you wonder what might have been if Arsenal had held on to the likes of Fabregas, Van Persie, and Nasri.
4. Teamwork Trumps Talent
Manchester City and Tottenham are the type of teams that throw money at world-class players to solve their problems. Needless to say, Tottenham have fallen flat of the high expectations placed on them at the beginning of the season. Manchester City, at times the most ruthless and menacing goal-machine the league has ever seen, also struggled to find success consistently. The true success stories of the season have been Liverpool, Everton, and Crystal Palace. A team that is challenging for the top spot, another which is vying for a Champions League spot, and the last that is showing how to survive in England’s top league with style. Though millions have been spent on these three teams, the value pales in comparison to the amounts spent on the former pair. In the end it has been the solidity and togetherness of these three latter clubs which has seen them achieve such remarkable success.
5. Life’s Better Without Fergie
While Sir Alex left arguably the most prolific record the game has ever seen, the season following his side-step out of the limelight has allowed us to enjoy one of the most hotly contested, drama-packed seasons the Premier League has ever seen. The gap between the top and the bottom has lessened. There are seven teams realistically expecting, even demanding Champions League soccer. For the English game to really thrive means maintaining this period where no club holds a throne as king of the dynasty. The decline of Manchester United has made way for the rise of the Premier League. No doubt we will see the Red Devils return to the top – it’s where they like to be – but gone are the days, hopefully, when the same club will dominate for decades at a time.