Liverpool Slip to Hand City Title
The title race in the 2013-14 Premier League season will always be a memorable one, although it is one that Liverpool fans will desperately wish they could forget. Liverpool seemed to be heading for their first ever Premier League trophy and first top flight title since 1990, but costly dropped points and a slip from Reds captain Steven Gerrard handed the championship to Man City. It was City’s second PL title and their fourth English championship overall.
London duo Chelsea and Arsenal joined Man City and Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League, while Cardiff City, Fulham and Norwich City were relegated to the EFL Championship. The prolific Luis Suarez netted 31 goals and was named Player of the Season but it is his title tears that may be remembered most. In a sign of things to come but some years ahead of VAR, goal-line technology was used for the first time this term. Read on as we take a look back at one of the most amazing PL seasons ever, including all the highs and all the many lows.
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City Hold Their Nerve
Man City were consistent all season under new boss, Chilean Manuel Pellegrini. The lead changed an incredible 25 times over the course of the season, but the Manchester giants were at the top of the pile when it really mattered. The title looked to be heading to Anfield after Liverpool’s unforgettable 3-2 win over the Citizens on 13th April. However, Pellegrini’s men went on to win five and draw one of their last six to lift the trophy on the final weekend as the Reds stumbled and slipped away in the most literal way possible.
The championship was decided on the last day. The Reds needed to beat Newcastle United at Anfield and hope that West Ham United could somehow get the better of City at the Etihad Stadium. Despite a 2-1 win for the Reds, Man City did their bit by beating the Hammers on home soil, with Samir Nasri and Vincent Kompany getting the goals in a vital 2-0 victory. The Manchester giants were worthy winners in the end, finishing on 86 points after 27 wins, five draws and six defeats, scoring 102 goals along the way to finish with an incredible +65 goal difference.
United Miss Out on Europe
City’s title really rubbed things in for the Red half of Manchester as United fans got a first taste of what life would be like after Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure. Fergie left Old Trafford at the end of the previous season, gifting the Premier League title to the fans as a parting present. David Moyes, who worked wonders at Everton for a number of years, was given the vacant job at the Theatre of Dreams.
Moyes’ short tenure at Old Trafford could not have turned out much worse, as the Scot was sacked in April once qualifying for the Champions League was no longer a possibility. With the club languishing in seventh spot, United legend Ryan Giggs took charge until the end of the season. Man United missed out on European football altogether after finishing in seventh position. It was unthinkable at the time and just proved how difficult it was going to be for United without Ferguson in the dugout. Many feel Moyes never got a fair crack of the whip at Old Trafford in what was always going to be an incredibly tough task. The failures of subsequent managers lend validity to that argument and it should also be remembered that despite the hundreds and hundreds of millions spent on players post-Fergie, Moyes signed just two.
Martinez Makes Instant Impression
When Moyes left Goodison Park to take over at Man United, nobody really knew which direction the Toffees would go in. Moyes guided Everton to sixth place in his final season in charge but the lure of Old Trafford and being essentially hand-picked by Fergie was just too much. The Glaswegian had spent 11 years in the Blue half of Merseyside, even taking the Toffees into the Champions League. Considering the tiny budget Everton operated on in this period, that was some achievement and only Fergie himself has claimed the League Managers Association Manager of the Year award more times than Moyes.
None the less, change is a constant in football and Roberto Martinez was brought in as Moyes’ replacement on 5th June. The Spaniard had been fairly successful during his relatively short managerial career at the time, winning the EFL League One title with Swansea City, and guiding underdogs Wigan Athletic to FA Cup glory in 2013.
Martinez was a controversial pick with some given he had also guided Wigan to relegation but he made an instant impact and was rapidly a big hit with the fans. Under Martinez the Blues played an exciting brand of football and with 72 points they can probably consider themselves a little unlucky to only earn fifth place. They went on to finish eight points above Man United. Overall, Everton won 21 times to secure a spot in the 2014-15 UEFA Europa League.
Jose’s 77-game Unbeaten Home Run Comes to an End
After arriving in England for the first time back in 2004, Jose Mourinho made Stamford Bridge a fortress. Chelsea became unstoppable on their own patch, even after the Portuguese parted ways with the London club.
Mourinho arrived back at Chelsea for a second stint in 2013, and the Blues kept their incredible home form up. They continued an incredible run of unbeaten games under Mourinho, who finally lost a home Premier League game in April 2014. Rather surprisingly it was Sunderland, who were in a relegation battle at the time, who ended their remarkable 77-game unbeaten home record in the Premier League, with goals from Connor Wickham and Fabio Borini giving Gus Poyet’s Black Cats a deserved 2-1 victory. That result seemed to hand the title to Liverpool but this was a season with more twists to come.
Sensational Goalscoring Season for Suarez
Luis Suarez’s 31 goals almost took Liverpool to their first ever Premier League title. The Uruguayan was in red-hot form from start to finish, winning the Golden Boot at a canter. He managed three hat-tricks (including a four-goal haul against Norwich) and when he was on song was simply unplayable. Teammate Daniel Sturridge, who scored the first goal of the campaign, finished runner-up, 10 behind Suarez. Man City’s Yaya Toure had an excellent season from midfield, netting 20 goals to end third on the list.
Sergio Aguero and Wayne Rooney scored 17 each, while Wilfried Bony, Edin Dzeko and Olivier Giroud all ended on 16. It was a fantastic goalscoring season for Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez, who finished joint ninth with an impressive 15 goals to his name. Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic scored the quickest goal, finding the net after just 12 seconds in a 1-1 draw with the Saints, becoming the latest goalkeeper to add his name to the short list of shot stoppers to find the back of the net.
Relegations & European Qualifications
Man City and Liverpool were battling for the title, and the pair were the first to book their places in the following season’s Champions League. After reaching the FA Cup final against Champions League qualifiers Arsenal, Steve Bruce’s Hull City were awarded the last Europa League place. The Tigers narrowly avoided the drop, finishing just four points above the dotted line.
Which Teams Were Relegated?
Cardiff City had never been in the Premier League before, but Malky Mackay’s Bluebirds won the 2012-13 Championship title to book their place in the 2013-14 Premier League. Cardiff had a decent start, with the Welsh side sitting 16th when Mackay was replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. However, the Norwegian, who had enjoyed success managing Molde in his home country, failed to make an impact in South Wales as Cardiff went on to finish rock bottom and suffer an instant return to the Championship.
Fulham’s long stay in the top tier came to a halt at the end of the 2013-14 season. The Cottagers suffered 24 league defeats and shipped a staggering 85 goals to end on 32 points in 19th place. Throughout the season, Martin Jol, Rene Meulensteen and Felix Magath all tried but ultimately failed to keep Fulham afloat.
Sunderland pulled off another great escape, while West Bromwich Albion and Hull also survived by a narrow margin. Therefore, the final relegation spot went to Norwich City. The Canaries board made the controversial decision to sack the popular Chris Hughton with just a handful of games to go, and replacement Neil Adams took City down.
Which Teams Qualified For Europe?
London sides Chelsea and Arsenal joined Man City and Liverpool in the 2014-15 Champions League.
Everton had a fine season under new manager Martinez, with the Spaniard guiding the Toffees to fifth place.
The Merseysiders were seven points away from fourth.
Tim Sherwood, who took over from the sacked Andre Villas-Boas in December, took Tottenham Hotspur into the Europa League.
Bruce’s Hull, who were promoted from the Championship the season before, also qualified for the Europa League after finishing runners-up to Arsenal in the 2014 FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.