United Edge Out London Duo
Alex Ferguson and Manchester United picked up their 10th Premier League crown at the end of the 2007-08 season. It was also the Manchester giants’ 17th English title as their domestic dominance continued to grow and they drew closer to knocking Liverpool off their perch, to use Fergie’s famous phrase. London clubs Chelsea and Arsenal finished in second and third, respectively, while Liverpool took the fourth and final UEFA Champions League spot.
Everton had another fine season under David Moyes, with the Scot guiding the Toffees to fifth place despite their limited budget, the finish earning them a spot in the UEFA Cup first round. Aston Villa, Portsmouth, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur also qualified for the UEFA Cup. Derby County finished rock bottom with just 11 points to their name, while Reading and Birmingham City were relegated on the final day.
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United Make It Ten
It was a landmark season for Man United, as the Old Trafford club secured their 10th Premier League title. It was a thrilling campaign in England’s top tier, with United, Chelsea and Arsenal involved in a three-horse race for the title, just four points separating them all in the end. Despite the London sides only suffering three defeats each, two more than the eventual champions, Man United’s 27 wins took the Red Devils to the title.
The battle for the trophy went to the wire, with United winning 2-0 at Wigan Athletic on the last day to get the job done. Chelsea could only manage a 1-1 home draw with Bolton Wanderers. 10 days later, Man United and Chelsea went head-to-head in the 2008 Champions League final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The Red Devils would go on to win on penalties after a 1-1 draw after extra time. Avram Grant’s Blues were also beaten in the 2008 League Cup final in a season that promised so much but ultimately delivered little.
Pompey Win Cup and Qualify for Europe
Portsmouth were starting to make huge strides under Harry Redknapp. It would ultimately end in disaster as they were relegated from the Premier League just a couple of years later and plummeted down the football pyramid, but the Pompey fans certainly enjoyed their club’s success at the time. In the Premier League, Portsmouth finished in eighth, a place above their 2006-07 position. It would have been even higher if they had not lost their last four games.
They also reached the 2008 FA Cup final. On route to Wembley Stadium, Harry’s boys beat Ipswich Town, Plymouth Argyle and Preston North End in the early rounds. They then shocked Man United in the quarters, winning 1-0 at Old Trafford. In the semi-finals, Pompey beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 to reach the final. They faced EFL Championship club Cardiff City in the Wembley final, with Nwankwo Kanu’s goal giving them a 1-0 win over Dave Jones’ Bluebirds. It was the club’s second FA Cup triumph, the first coming way back in 1939, and they booked their place in the 2008-09 UEFA Cup.
Pompey & Royals Make PL History
In a game at Fratton Park on 29th September 2007, Portsmouth and Reading set the Premier League record for most goals scored in a match, which still stands to this day (correct as of the end of the 2020-21 season). Pompey ran out 7-4 winners in a crazy fixture in Hampshire.
Benjani netted a hat-trick in the romp, while Ivar Ingimarsson and Sol Campbell were credited with own goals. Eight of 11 goals were scored in the second half, with two of them coming in injury-time. Indeed, with 20 minutes to go the score was “just” 3-2 to Pompey so this was certainly not a match to have left early!
Fulham’s Great Escape
After a 3-1 home loss to Sunderland on 5th April, Fulham look doomed. However, Roy Hodgson’s men would go on to win four of their last five to pull off one of the greatest relegation escapes in Premier League history.
They were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool at Craven Cottage but ended with successive wins over Man City, Birmingham and Portsmouth. The 1-0 win at Fratton Park on the final day was enough despite Reading’s 4-0 victory at Pride Park, with the Cottagers pipping the Royals to 17th on goal difference.
Dreadful Year for Derby
Derby County booked their place in the 2007-08 Premier League by winning the 2007 Championship play-off final. However, it was a season to forget for the Rams, as they set a Premier League record for the lowest points tally. They also became the first PL club to be relegated in March.
Paul Jewell took over from Billy Davies in November but failed to make a positive impact at Pride Park. Derby picked up a mere 11 points, winning just one of 38 league games. They went 32 matches without a win and suffered the heaviest home defeat of the season. That 11-point record is one they still hold to this day and will really take some beating!
Super Season for Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo had a stunning season at Old Trafford, taking over as the main man of Man United. The Portuguese helped himself to an incredible 31 goals to fire the Red Devils to the Premier League title.
Carlos Tevez was the other United ace on the top-ten list, scoring 14 times whilst Wayne Rooney also notched 12 in the league. That front three were a joy to watch for United fans and their firepower had a huge say in the destination of the title.
Fernando Torres’ 24 goals helped Liverpool finish in the Champions League places, with Steven Gerrard providing the assists for a number of those. Emmanuel Adebayor also scored 24 times for Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal. No English player made the top 10, but Republic of Ireland man Robbie Keane scored 15 goals for Tottenham to finish as the joint fifth highest scorer.
Relegations & European Qualifications
Derby were the first club to be relegated after a woeful campaign in the top flight. Fulham survived on goal difference, while Reading and Birmingham dropped down to the second tier.
London clubs Chelsea and Arsenal followed Premier League champions Man United into the 2008-09 Champions League, with Liverpool taking the fourth and final place. Everton and Aston Villa were among a huge five English clubs to qualify for the UEFA Cup.
Which Teams Were Relegated?
Derby’s rather pathetic record of just one win, eight draws and 29 defeats was the worst in Premier League history. Neither Jewell nor Davies could turn their fortunes around, and County were relegated in March after a 2-2 draw with Fulham.
Alex McLeish’s Birmingham took it to the last weekend. However, it was out of their hands, as both Fulham and Reading picked up wins. Nevertheless, they ended their season with a thumping 4-1 home victory over Blackburn Rovers, albeit in vain.
Reading beat Derby 4-0 on the last day, but Fulham’s 1-0 win at Fratton Park sent the Royals down. The Berkshire club picked up 10 wins along the way, the same as 13th placed Boro, though 22 defeats proved to be their downfall. Steve Coppell’s boys went down on goal difference in a year when the relegation battle was closely fought and for a long time many teams were involved.
Of course the Rams booked their spot in the second tier early on but above them at least eight teams were involved in the battle at the bottom during the last month or so of the season. In the end just five points separated 19th placed Birmingham and Wigan in 14th.
Which Teams Qualified For Europe?
Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool were the four teams to qualify for the Champions League.
United and the Blues reached the 2008-09 group stage, while the Gunners and Reds went into the third qualifying round.
Everton and Aston Villa qualified for the UEFA Cup via their league positions.
Tottenham won the League Cup, while Portsmouth were FA Cup winners.
Man City earned their place in the UEFA Cup first qualifying round via the Fair Play route.