Man United Win 16th English Title
The 15th edition of the Premier League was an exciting one, and ultimately ended Manchester United winning a 16th English crown. Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils beat Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea to the title by six points. Liverpool and Arsenal, the other members of what at the time formed the “Big Four” were miles behind the top two, with both clubs finishing on 68 points and booking their spots in the 2007-08 UEFA Champions League.
At the other end, Wigan Athletic survived by the skin of their teeth, as Sheffield United, Charlton Athletic and Watford dropped down to the second tier. The 15,000th Premier League goal was also scored this season and if you’re a stats fan you’ll have to keep reading to find out who hit the landmark strike.
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United Top Dogs Once Again
Man United picked up their ninth Premier League trophy in a dominant season at Old Trafford. The Red Devils made a stunning start, winning their opening four, and were beaten just once until December. In the end, Ferguson’s side finished with 89 points to their name after 28 wins, five draws and five defeats. They won the title on 6th May when Chelsea failed to beat Arsenal.
Mourinho’s Blues pushed United close but ran out of steam in the end. The Londoners were defending champions but defeat at Middlesbrough in game two was a real setback early on. Incredibly, Chelsea drew their last five games of the season after securing nine successive wins. Just a few more goals and those stalemates could have been turned into wins and helped them retain their crown but it wasn’t to be.
Neutrals would have been eyeing up the fixture list but in the end the eagerly anticipated clash between the top two was a dead rubber. The title race was done and dusted by the time Chelsea and Man United locked horns at Stamford Bridge in the penultimate game, which ended in a goalless draw. The Blues did beat the Red Devils in the 2007 FA Cup final, though, denying them another Double. They also won the 2007 League Cup to land a double of their own, beating Arsenal 2-1 in the final in Cardiff.
Gunners Move To The Emirates
At the end of the 2005-06 Premier League season, Arsenal said goodbye to Highbury and moved into their 60,000-seater Emirates Stadium. The old ground was the Gunners’ home from 1913 and was nicknamed the “Home of Football” by the Arsenal fans.
However, as the club progressed on the pitch, a new stadium was imperative, with increased capacity and corporate facilities able to bring in more money. Arsenal’s first Premier League game in their new home ended in a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa. After opening up with two draws, their first league win at the Emirates was a 3-0 victory over Sheffield United on 23rd September. Arsene Wenger’s men remained unbeaten at home in the Premier League until West Ham United’s 1-0 success in April.
Hammers Survive In Controversial Fashion
The Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano transfers to West Ham in 2006 were steeped in controversy. Both players were owned by third parties, something not allowed by the Premier League, and Tevez played a pivotal role in West Ham’s great escape on the final day. The Argentine forward netted in a 1-0 win at Old Trafford, which saw Sheffield United relegated. The Blades sued in an attempt to keep their top-flight status and seek compensation. The two clubs settled the matter out of court and whilst the Blades are thought to have received around £20m that was of little real consolation in the Championship.
On the pitch, Alan Curbishley’s West Ham ended the season in phenomenal form to survive relegation in the nick of time. The Irons looked doomed when they lost 4-3 at home to rivals Tottenham Hotspur in March, but they ended their campaign with a staggering seven wins from nine to stay up by three points.
Spurs Stopper Scores From 83 Yards
In March 2007, Tottenham goalkeeper Paul Robinson became only the third stopper to score a goal in Premier League history. Spurs were playing Watford at White Hart Lane when Robinson scored an 83-yard free kick, helping the club to a 3-1 win. Prior to that, Peter Schmeichel and Brad Friedel were the only goalkeepers to score a Premier League goal, though a number of others have now achieved the unlikely feat.
Volz’s Nets Landmark Goal in the Premier League
The 2006-07 season also saw the 15,000th Premier League goal scored. German Moritz Volz was the lucky man, netting for Fulham in a west London derby against Chelsea in December. Volz scored just two goals in 125 league matches for Fulham. The German won £15,000 to give to charities of his choice and if you can remember his name should this come up in a pub quiz, fair play to you!
Drogba’s 20 Goals Wins the Golden Boot
Despite scoring 20 times and winning the Golden Boot, Didier Drogba’s goals could not take Chelsea to the title. Cristiano Ronaldo scored 17 times for champions Man United, while Wayne Rooney hit 14. Benni McCarthy was the surprise package, scoring 18 times for Blackburn Rovers to finish runner-up to Drogba.
Kevin Doyle impressed for Reading this season, helping himself to 13 goals to finish joint sixth. The Republic of Ireland man was on the shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year award, which went to Ronaldo in the end. The Portuguese winker was also player of the month in November and December. Dimitar Berbatov, Dirk Kuyt and Yakubu all ended their seasons with 12 Premier League goals each.
Relegations & European Qualifications
The battle for survival in the 2006-07 Premier League went to the wire and for neutrals at least provided thrilling entertainment almost until the last kick of the whole season. In the end Wigan survived on goal difference, while West Ham won at Man United on the final day to ensure their safety. Fulham finished just a point above the drop zone. Watford, Charlton and Sheffield United were the unlucky three to go down.
Man United and Chelsea qualified for the Champions League group stage, while Liverpool – who were losing finalists of the 2007 Champions League final – and Arsenal went into the third qualifying round. Tottenham, Everton and Bolton Wanderers finished in fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, and booked their spots in the UEFA Cup first round. Blackburn Rovers qualified for the third round of the relatively short-lived Intertoto Cup.
Which Teams Were Relegated?
Watford were the first team to be relegated. The Hornets arrived in the Premier League after beating Leeds United in the 2006 Championship play-off final.
However, they struggled all season in the top flight, picking up just 28 points. Watford won five, drew 13 and lost 20. They ended with a goal difference of -30, the worst in the PL, and fell 10 points short of safety.
Charlton were the second team to drop down to the second division. Various managers tried but ultimately failed to turn the London club’s fortunes around in a turbulent season in the top tier. The Addicks picked up just eight wins and finished on 34 points.
Heartbreakingly for fans of the South Yorkshire side, Sheffield United were relegated on the final day. Results went against them, and Neil Warnock’s side were beaten 2-1 at home by Wigan, which saw the Blades relegated and the Latics stay up on goal difference.
Which Teams Qualified For Europe?
Man Utd won the league and were the first team to make sure of Champions League football. Chelsea struggled for wins in the latter weeks but finished a whopping 15 points ahead of Liverpool to secure second.
The Reds and Arsenal finished on 68 points apiece, with the Merseysiders ending in third on goal difference.
Tottenham, Everton and Bolton entered the UEFA Cup as a result of the FA Cup finalists (Chelsea & Man United) and League Cup winners (Chelsea) already qualifying for Europe. Spurs finished two points above the Toffees and four clear of Wanderers.
The final European spot went to Blackburn, who finished in 10th and reached the Intertoto Cup.