So the season is over, Man City are champions but there was much more to the season than just that.
Man City – Champions for the 2nd time in 3 years and over the season nobody can deny they were the best team. Yaya Toure was immense and I fully expect them to challenge again next year. Had their away form been better at the start of the season they would have been even further clear.
Liverpool – 7th to 2nd is still a massive achievement but they will feel that they could have won the league. At one point they were the only team who knew if we win all our remaining games, we win the league. If they can buy the right players in the summer they will be back up there again next year with Sterling, Sturridge, Suarez, Henderson etc. all continuing their development.
Chelsea – Against the big teams Chelsea were by far the best team in the league but it was against the smaller teams that their season unravelled and this is where Jose has to improve. If they sign Costa and recall some of their loaned played they definitely will be challenging for the title. At this stage I would be betting on them to win the league next year.
Arsenal – Arsenal will look back on this season the same way they have every year for the past few. At the start of the season they were dominant, they were top of the table for longer than anyone else but, as always seems to be the way, their season unravelled in spring and they scrapped their way to 4th. Over the summer Arsene needs to spend spend spend if they are to truely challenge but he won’t so expect to see them scrapping for 4th again next year.
Everton – What Martinez has done at Everton is phenomenal, yes they are still 5th but the way they are playing their football, the way their young players have stepped up has been excellent. If he is given some money to spend to replace their loan players (Barry, Lukaku, Deulofeu) and I believe they will be challenging for top 4 again. The future is very bright for Everton at this point in time.
Tottenham – After the money the club spent in the summer under AVB they were expected to mount a serious challenge on 4th spot. For one reason of another this hasn’t happened but I still believe there are many reasons for Spurs fans to be optimistic. Eriksson has been a revelation and without key injuries they would have done much better. The question around Spurs is at manager. Who will it be and how much time will they get? Tim Sherwood has the best win % of any Spurs Premier League manager and he spent no money yet he won’t be given the job next year and his treatment by the board has been questionable at best. If they can get a proven manager who spends wisely then next year they should be okay.
Man Utd – Losing a manager like Sir Alex was always going to have a knock on effect. The squad he left was shaky with too much reliance on older players and this came back to bite David Moyes. In some ways the next manager has an easier job already because the fans expectations have been lowered and rather than following Sir Alex he is following Moyes. They have a lot of holes in their team and a lot of spending is needed but most of all they need stability in the dugout and for the fans to realise that they are not the best club in the country any more and are one of the top 7 so there will be a real challenge to finish back in the top 4.
Southampton – Southampton have been a breath of fresh air for the Premier League with their hub of young english players. Lallana, Shaw and Rodriguez were excellent all year. As was Lambert who have all been rewarded with World Cup places. How well they do next year depends of how many players they can hang on to. I expect Shaw and Lallana at least to go so if they can replace them well you can expect to see them back in the top 10 next year, if not then it might not be a fun year.
Stoke – When Stoke got rid of Pulis and brought in Mark Hughes many fans and pundits slated the decision for one reason or another but I fully believe they have been proven wrong. Stoke have had their best season in the Premier League yet and I expect them to go onto bigger and better things again next year.
Newcastle – Newcastle can not continue to expect to sell their best players and still finish high in the table. Mike Ashley is trying to make money and Alan Pardew is wanting to spend it but there isn’t a way both of those things can happen so this is where the problems occur. Newcastle obviously have very good scouts so if they have the money available I believe they can bring in the right players but I think the fans need to be more realistic with their expectations of the club next year.
Crystal Palace – In November they were already being labelled a certainty for relegation but then Tony Pulis came in and completely transformed their style of play and their fortunes. What Pulis has done there has been spectacular and when you look at what happened to Cardiff that could very easily have been Palace and the fact they have finished where they have should be applauded.
Swansea – Mid table is about when Swansea fans could have expected them to finish so this season has been okay for them. Bony has been very good and keeping his will be key as will getting Michu fit. If both those things happen I expect Swansea to be upper mid table again next year.
West Ham – It’s been a funny year for West Ham. The fans are really not happy with Big Sam even though they have finished 13th which really isn’t that bad.
Sunderland – The Great Escape is the only way I can think of to sum up Sunderland’s season. At Christmas they were gone but a string of great results against Chelsea and both the Manchester clubs has kept them up. Poyet deserves a lot of credit. Next year will be more challenging and if they don’t improve they will be back in a dog fight.
Aston Villa – Another disappointing year for Villa. For one reason or another things just haven’t gone well and they will be hoping for a change of fortunes next year. With the club up for a sale a new owner and new players may be just what is needed. They have a good core of young players so should be okay going forward.
Hull – Hull started the season fantastically well and the FA cup run may have slightly altered their league form but survival would have been their goal pre season and they have achieved that. Next season they will need some more new players but they should be okay.
West Brom – When Pepe Mel was sacked earlier today I can’t say I was surprised. West Brom didn’t lose much this year but they drew far too many games and this is why they finished where they did. What happens next year will very much depend on who the manager is and the ambitions of the chairman. They are more than capable of surviving in the league for the foreseeable future but that all depends on what happens off the pitch.
Norwich – After a decent season last year Norwich tried to spend and stay up by signing players, who on paper at least, should really have seen them survive. But what a team needs more than anything is goals and their strikers simply didn’t provide this and that is why Norwich finished where they did. They will struggle to get back out of the Championship due to the competitive nature of that league but if they can get an experienced manager and keep the majority of the squad together their chances will be greatly increased.
Fulham – You can not change mangers like Fulham did this year and expect to survive. Felix Magath did okay and thier owners have money to spend but the Championship is so competitive that you never know what could happen. If money is invested wisely then we may be seeing Fulham return to the Premier League quite soon.
Cardiff – Vincent Tan has become the laughing stock of Cardiff and quite rightly. Sacking Mackay was a terrible decision and probably condemned his team to relegation at that point. Solskjaer may turn out to be a good manager but with no Premier League experience he wasn’t the right man to take over. Cardiff need to keep their squad intact and maybe, just maybe they can get back up in the Premier League but Vincent Tan needs to realise this won’t happen over night and he may be facing a few years of watching Championship football.