Record-breaking Chelsea Win First Premier League Title
Jose Mourinho made an instant impact at Stamford Bridge after arriving in June 2004, guiding Chelsea to their first Premier League title at the end of the 2004-05 campaign. The Londoners were the real deal this season, breaking all sorts of records to win only their second English crown. The Blues chalked up 95 points, finishing 12 points clear of defending champions Arsenal.
At the other end of the table, Southampton, Norwich City and Crystal Palace were all relegated to the Football League Championship. In one of the most dramatic final days in Premier League history, West Bromwich Albion pulled off a great escape, beating Portsmouth on the final day. The Baggies went 15 games without a win from October to January, but Bryan Robson’s boys survived by the skin of their teeth in the end. Only two points separated the sides that finished 20th to 17th and a total of just 34 points was enough for West Brom to stay in the top flight.
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Rampant Chelsea Win Title
Mourinho arrived at Stamford Bridge on a mission and the Portuguese won over the Chelsea fans’ hearts right from the very start. The self-proclaimed “Special One” guided the Blues to six wins and two draws from his opening eight Premier League matches in charge. On 16th October, Chelsea suffered their one and only Premier League defeat of the season, losing 1-0 to Manchester City.
After the loss in Manchester, the London outfit went on to win 23 and draw six of their following 29 games to win the league at a canter. They racked up a staggering 95 points, which was a record at the time, winning 29, drawing eight and losing only one of their 38 Premier League games. They also set the record for most games won in a PL season, the fewest goals conceded, most clean sheets and most consecutive away wins. At the end of his first campaign in west London, Mourinho was named Premier League Manager of the Season and it was a well-deserved accolade.
Arsenal’s Unbeaten Run Ends at 49
Arsenal were invincible in the 2003-04 Premier League season, when they went the whole season without losing a single game. They took their proud record into the 2004-05 campaign, and they opened the new season with eight wins and a draw from their first nine games. However, their remarkable run ended on 49 games after they were beaten by rivals Manchester United on 24th October.
After Arsene Wenger arrived at Highbury, the rivalry between Arsenal and Man United really took off. Matches between the pair were huge occasions, and the fixture at Old Trafford in October 2004 will always be a memorable one. Arsenal were hoping to stretch their undefeated run to 50, but Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils stopped them in their tracks, with Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney netting in a 2-0 United victory. Arsenal went on to lose another four times this season, though they did finish runners-up to Chelsea, six points ahead of third-placed Man United.
Moyes Takes Toffees into Champions League
David Moyes worked wonders at Goodison Park in the 2004-05 season, guiding Everton to the UEFA Champions League after a fourth-place finish in the Premier League. Rivals Liverpool may have won the 2005 Champions League, but the Toffees finished three points ahead of the Reds.
Everton picked up 18 wins in an excellent season, finishing on 61 points. Despite losing three of their last four, including a 7-0 loss at Arsenal on the penultimate weekend, Everton shocked many by breaking into the top four. Unfortunately for the Merseyside outfit, they were beaten by Spanish team Villarreal in the Champions League third qualifying round in August 2005, but the 2004-05 PL season was an incredibly successful one for Everton.
Final Day Drama
For the first time since the Premier League started back in 1992, no team was relegated before the final day. It was a truly remarkable relegation battle, which went very much to the wire. Crystal Palace, Norwich and West Brom – who were all promoted from the second tier the season before – were involved in the tussle for survival on the final day.
West Brom started the last day at the bottom of the table, but the Baggies were the only team in the bottom three to win. Southampton lost 2-1 at home to Man United and finished rock bottom, Norwich were hammered 6-0 at Fulham, and Palace could only manage a 2-2 draw with Charlton Athletic. The Eagles were eight minutes away from survival until Jonathan Fortune equalised for the Addicks. West Brom survived, with Southampton, Norwich and Palace being sent down to the second tier.
Henry Wins Golden Boot Again
Arsenal may have failed to successfully defend their Premier League crown, but Thierry Henry was the league’s top scorer once again. The fantastic Frenchman hit 25 goals for the Gunners. Crystal Palace were relegated on the final day, but star man Andy Johnson scored a staggering 21 times to finish in second spot.
Robert Pires had another fine campaign at Highbury, scoring 14 goals to take the bronze medal. Jermain Defoe, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Frank Lampard and Yakubu all netted 13 times. Englishmen Andy Cole and Peter Crouch scored 12 apiece, for Fulham and Southampton respectively.
Relegations & European Qualifications
Crystal Palace and Norwich lasted just one season in the Premier League before dropping back into the second tier. West Brom, who were promoted alongside the pair, stayed up, while Southampton finished bottom of the pile.
Chelsea were Premier League champions for the first time and booked their spot in the Champions League group stage, with Arsenal joining them. Man United and Everton went into the Champions League qualifying rounds, as did Liverpool, who won the 2005 Champions League.
Which Teams Were Relegated?
In a crazy final day, Southampton ended up finishing bottom of the league. They were beaten 2-1 at home by Man United, while rivals Pompey lost 2-0 to West Brom, which kept the Baggies up. Both West Brom and Portsmouth fans were celebrating at The Hawthorns after the final whistle.
Norwich disappointed on the final day, crashing to a heavy 6-0 loss to Fulham at Craven Cottage. They entered the last weekend in high spirits after a 1-0 home win over Birmingham City the week before. They had also won four of their previous six. However, the humbling defeat in London saw them relegated back to the Championship after one year in the top tier.
Ian Dowie’s Palace were the unluckiest side on the last day. Goals from Dougie Freedman and Andy Johnson gave them a 2-1 lead at The Valley, but a late goal from the hosts made it 2-2 and took the Eagles down. Palace finished just one point behind West Brom, but that clearly came as no consolation whatsoever.
Which Teams Qualified For Europe?
Liverpool’s stunning comeback win over AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul allowed them to defend their title in the 2005-06 Champions League campaign. They joined rivals Everton and Man United in the qualifying rounds. Premier League champions Chelsea and runners-up Arsenal qualified to the group stage of the tournament.
FA Cup finalists Man United and Arsenal, and League Cup winners Chelsea had already qualified for the Champions League, so Bolton Wanderers and Middlesbrough were given the UEFA Cup spots. Newcastle United finished 14th in the Premier League but qualified for the third round of the Intertoto Cup.