Chelsea Pip United to the Post
After quite a race for the title, Chelsea were eventually crowned the 2009-10 Premier League champions, beating Manchester United to the trophy by just a single point. The battle for the title went to the final day, with the Blues securing an emphatic 8-0 home victory over Wigan Athletic to get their hands on the trophy. The Red Devils had to settle for the runners-up spot and a place in the 2010-11 UEFA Champions League.
At the other end of the spectrum, Portsmouth’s stay in the Premier League came to an end after a dreadful season on and off the field. Pompey had won the FA Cup just two years before and reached the 2010 final, but they were heading back in the EFL Championship after a campaign to forget. Burnley and Hull City were to join them in the second tier. Aston Villa had a fine season, finishing in sixth position in the table, reaching the League Cup final and earning themselves a UEFA Europa League place.
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Ancelotti Starts Reign with Title Win
Carlo Ancelotti arrived at Stamford Bridge like a man on a mission. He had previously managed the likes of Parma, Juventus and AC Milan, but this was his first job abroad. The Italian, who was born in Reggiolo, hit the ground running in west London, guiding Chelsea to six straight Premier League wins before a shock defeat at Wigan Athletic on 26th September. A run of seven wins from their last eight games took them to the title. They broke the record for most goals and best goal difference in a Premier League season.
Alex Ferguson’s Man United pushed Chelsea close for the title. After losing at home to the Blues in early April, which proved to be a pivotal result, the Red Devils went on to take 13 points from the last 15 on offer. However, despite a resounding 4-0 victory over Stoke City at Old Trafford on the final day, Chelsea’s 8-0 win against Wigan took the title to London.
Tottenham Make the Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur booked their spot in the following season’s Champions League by beating Manchester City to fourth spot. Spurs and City were involved in a fierce battle for the final place in Europe’s elite club competition, but ultimately the north London side prevailed.
The pair went head-to-head in a crucial clash at the Etihad Stadium in the penultimate match of the season. The game looked to be heading for a draw, but Peter Crouch won it for the Londoners with just eight minutes left to play. Tottenham lost at Burnley on the final day but the points they won in the six-pointer in Manchester were already enough. City’s season ended with a rather limp 1-1 draw with West Ham United.
Spurs were also involved in one of the Premier League’s highest-scoring games this season. On 22nd November, Tottenham walloped Wigan 9-1 at White Hart Lane, with eight of their nine goals coming in the second half. Jermain Defoe scored a hat-trick in six minutes and helped himself to five goals on the day.
Another Sixth Place for Villa
Aston Villa were knocking on the door of the Champions League at time during the season but ultimately they unable to sustain a serious challenge for a top-four finish against side that had greater resources and pools of talent.
Villa finished sixth in 2008 to reach the UEFA Intertoto Cup third round, while another sixth-place finish a year on took them to the Europa League play-off round. At the end of the 2009-10 season, Aston Villa ended in sixth for a third successive season and many argued they were punching well above their weight.
Martin O’Neill was doing an excellent job at Villa Park at the time, but Villa could not make the step up to challenge the Champions League spots. Nevertheless, the West Midlands outfit picked up 17 wins to finish on 64 points, six points away from Spurs.
Miserable Year Ends in Relegation for Pompey
The season before this, Portsmouth were enjoying European football, facing the likes of Milan and Wolfsburg. They won the FA Cup with Harry Redknapp at the helm in May 2008, beating Welsh side Cardiff City in the final at Wembley Stadium. They also reached the cup final during this season, but ended up losing 1-0 to Chelsea.
However, they made a horrendous start to their 2009-10 top flight season, with Avram Grant being sacked in November. Paul Hart tried but ultimately failed to keep Pompey in the Premier League, and the club went down with a mere 19 points to their name after being deducted nine points for entering administration. Portsmouth picked up just seven wins and suffered 24 defeats in a truly forgettable season on and off the field.
Chelsea’s Drogba Wins Golden Boot
Didier Drogba’s many goals fired him to the Golden Boot and certainly helped Chelsea to the title. The Ivory Coast star had a superb season for the Blues, scoring 29 times in 32 appearances.
It was the second time that Drogba had finished as the top scorer in the Premier League.
Wayne Rooney scored a very creditable haul of 26 goals for Man United, while Darren Bent had a fine campaign, netting 24 times for Sunderland.
Frank Lampard scored 22 goals from midfield for Chelsea, while Cesc Fabregas bagged 15 for Arsenal. Jermain Defoe, who scored the first and the quickest hat-tricks of the season, ended his campaign on 18 for Spurs.
Relegations & European Qualifications
Chelsea and Man United battled for the title all season, and both qualified for the Champions League group stage. Arsenal ended in third place on 75 points, comfortably ahead of their north London rivals. Redknapp guided Tottenham to fourth spot, winning the Manager of the Season award as a result. Man City had to settle for a place in the Europa League. West Ham survived the drop, with Portsmouth, Hull City and Burnley suffering relegation to the Championship.
Which Teams Were Relegated?
Portsmouth were the first team to be relegated to the second division after a depressing season in the top tier. Pompey suffered 24 defeats and finished on 19 points. Even without the docked points for entering administration, Portsmouth would have still gone down on a measly total of 28 points.
Hull finished in 19th position in the table and returned to the Championship. The Tigers made a superb start to their 2008-09 campaign, winning six, drawing two and losing only one of their opening nine games. After a 3-0 win at West Bromwich Albion in October 2008 in the previous season, City were actually riding high at the top of the table. However, they struggled to get going in the 2009-10 season, losing five of their opening seven games. They won just one of their final 13 matches and ended up going down on 30 points after just two seasons in the Premier League.
Burnley, who were making their first appearance in the Premier League, also went down with 30 points to their name. The Clarets suffered 24 defeats, the joint-most in the division. Burnley finished a place above Hull on goal difference, though they were five points adrift of 17th-place West Ham in the end.
Which Teams Qualified For Europe?
North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham joined Chelsea and Man United in the 2010-11 Champions League. The Gunners finished in third, five points above Spurs. But they lost three (one to Spurs) and drew one of their last five games, a run of poor form that left them well out of the title race in the end.
Man City, Aston Villa and Liverpool reached the Europa League. Portsmouth qualified for Europe after finishing as the runners-up to champions Chelsea in the FA Cup, though the Hampshire club were denied a UEFA license due to their financial situation. Therefore, the place went to Liverpool.
Villa finished sixth and were the League Cup runners-up, which landed them a spot in the second season of the Europa League.