Mourinho Guides Chelsea to Another Title
The 23rd edition of the Premier League was won by Chelsea, which was the club’s fourth Premier League title and fifth English championship overall. After taking a year to settle back into life in west London, legend Jose Mourinho guided the Blues to finish at the top of the pile in his second spell at the club. Manchester City kept them honest and finished as runners-up, while Arsenal and Manchester United took the two remaining UEFA Champions League positions.
Despite finishing 12th in the league, West Ham United joined Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Southampton in the 2015-16 UEFA Europa League by winning the UEFA Respect Fair Play award. At the other end of the table, Queens Park Rangers, Burnley and Hull City suffered relegation to the EFL Championship, with the likes of Aston Villa, Sunderland and Newcastle United narrowly avoiding the drop. The 2014-15 season in the Premier League was as enthralling as ever with plenty of thrills and spills along the way.
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Solid Chelsea Storm to Title
Mourinho guided Chelsea to the Premier League title in 2005 and 2006 before leaving Stamford Bridge under a cloud in September 2007. However, on 3rd June 2013, the Portuguese maestro made a stunning return to west London. Mourinho took Chelsea to a third-place finish in his first season back but the Blues were back on top under his tutelage at the end of the 2014-15 campaign.
Chelsea got off to a rip-roaring start, winning their opening four matches before a 1-1 draw with Man City at the Etihad Stadium in September. The Londoners went on to win seven and draw two of their following nine games before a first Premier League defeat of the season to Newcastle at St James’ Park in early December. Mourinho’s men would go on to suffer just two more losses – at Tottenham and West Bromwich Albion – on their way to lifting the trophy in a very convincing display.
Chelsea won the Premier League title with three games to spare. A narrow home victory over Crystal Palace in early May did the business. The Blues had a season to remember, winning 26, drawing nine and losing only three to finish on 87 points, eight points ahead of runners-up Man City. Chelsea weren’t always the prettiest side to watch in the division, but there is no doubting that Mourinho’s tactics meant they were certainly the most effective over the course of the season.
Saints Shine Under Koeman
The popular Mauricio Pochettino left Southampton to take over at White Hart Lane at the start of the 2014-15 season, but the club acted swiftly to bring in Dutch legend Ronald Koeman to St Mary’s.
Pochettino had guided Southampton to an excellent eighth-place finish the season before.
The Saints supporters were probably expecting a year of transition, but Koeman went one better and guided the club to seventh in his first season in charge.
Southampton were supremely competitive from start to finish, racking up an impressive 60 points to claim seventh spot and a place in the 2015-16 Europa League.
Over the course of the season, Koeman’s troops picked up 18 wins, suffered 14 defeats and drew 14 times.
Despite losing three of their last four games and winning only one of their final six, the Saints held on to seventh spot. It was certainly a memorable first season at St Mary’s for Koeman.
Swans, Potters & Eagles Finish in Top Half
The usual suspects finished in the top six of the Premier League, but the likes of Southampton, Swansea City, Stoke City and Crystal Palace all finished in the top half of the table. As we mentioned, the Saints finished seventh and took the final Europa League spot via the league route, while Swansea, Stoke and Palace finished eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively.
Swansea were enjoying plenty of success in the Premier League at the time, with former captain Garry Monk working wonders at the Liberty Stadium. Stoke flourished under Welshman Mark Hughes, while Palace kicked on in their second season back in the top tier, with Alan Pardew guiding the Eagles to tenth after claiming an impressive 13 wins.
End of the Road for Gerrard
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard called time on what was a sparkling career at Anfield at the end of the 2014-15 Premier League season. During his terrific tenure with his beloved Reds, Gerrard won two FA Cups, three League Cups, a Community Shield, UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and captained the club to Champions League success in 2005. Liverpool were hammered 6-1 by Stoke on the final day, but Gerrard hit the Reds’ only goal in the game to end his Anfield career on a minor high.
Excellent Aguero Wins Golden Boot
Harry Kane was quickly becoming one of England’s hottest prospects and the Tottenham man helped himself to a staggering 21 goals in Pochettino’s first season in charge at the Lane. However, Kane was beaten to the 2014-15 Golden Boot by the ever-prolific Sergio Aguero, who scored 26 times. Spain international Diego Costa netted 20 goals to help fire Chelsea to the Premier League title, meanwhile.
It was a standout season for Charlie Austin, who scored 18 goals for relegated QPR. Meanwhile, Belgian star Eden Hazard, who won the Player of the Season award, scored 14 times for the Blues. Wayne Rooney still managed to net 12 times in a deeper role for the Red Devils. Southampton’s Graziano Pelle and Man City’s magician David Silva also ended the season on 12 goals apiece.
Relegations & European Qualifications
Aston Villa survived by the skin of their teeth to preserve their ever-present record in the Premier League, while Sunderland and Newcastle lived dangerously close to the edge. Not so for Hull City, Burnley and Queens Park Rangers, who fell well and truly over the edge! At the other end of the table, Man United finished six points clear of Spurs to take the fourth and final Champions League spot, while West Ham’s Fair Play record earned them a place in the following season’s Europa League.
Which Teams Were Relegated?
QPR, Burnley and Hull suffered the heartache of Premier League relegation. Rangers finished rock bottom after a disruptive season at Loftus Road. Harry Redknapp resigned in February, with replacement Chris Ramsey failing to keep the London side in the top tier. QPR finished on 30 points, eight points behind 17th position. It wasn’t an appalling return from their 38 games, but it was far from good enough to stay in the division.
Burnley were the first team to be relegated, going on to finish in 19th after recording just seven wins all season, which was the joint fewest in the division (with Sunderland, who finished in 16th place on account of their 17 draws, by far the most of any side in the Premier League that season). The Clarets board stuck with Sean Dyche through thick and thin, but the Lancashire club came up short in the end. Leicester City were the only promoted team to stay up after they finished in 14th position on 41 points.
Hull’s time in the Premier League also came to an end, with the Tigers ending their campaign on 35 points. Steve Bruce’s boys battled hard all season and almost took it to the final day, but three defeats and a draw from their last four games put paid to any survival miracles. The 1-0 home defeat to Burnley and the 3-1 home defeat to Arsenal in early May proved decisive and Hull ended their season with six losses from their last nine and only two wins from 12.
Which Teams Qualified For Europe?
As stated, Chelsea stormed to the title, with Man City finishing runners-up.
Arsenal took third and Man United finished fourth to take the other two Champions League spots.
Tottenham had a go under Pochettino, but Spurs had to settle for a place in the Europa League after finishing in fifth position, much to the delight of Gunners fans.
Liverpool took sixth spot, while Southampton shocked the Premier League by taking seventh and securing their passage through to the Europa League third qualifying round.
West Ham were the fourth and final English team to claim a Europa League berth for the following season after winning the UEFA Fair Play award.