United Become Record Breakers
Manchester United became English champions for the 19th time at the end of the 2010-11 Premier League season, becoming the most successful English club in the process. The Red Devils had been tied with rivals Liverpool on 18 titles apiece before sneaking ahead at the end of this term. Alex Ferguson’s boys were the top dogs in England this year, winning the championship by nine points and losing only four games in the league all season. Chelsea were the runners-up on 71 points with Manchester City (also on 71 points) third and Arsenal three points further back in fourth spot.
Tottenham nicked fifth place ahead of Merseyside duo Liverpool and Everton who finished in sixth and seventh, respectively. Both Liverpool and Everton missed out on European football for the 2011-12 campaign. Fulham were the surprise package, securing eighth position and a place in Europe after topping the Fair Play table. Birmingham City qualified for the UEFA Europa League by winning the League Cup but were relegated to the EFL Championship at the end of the season.
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United Top the Lot
Man United romped their way to a 19th English title with a dominant season in the Premier League. Big-spending Manchester City were beginning to close the gap on their neighbours, but the Red Devils proved their superiority by beating Chelsea and Man City to the crown by a whopping nine points in the end. Overall, United won 23 games, drew 11 times and were beaten on just four occasions.
Man United went a staggering 24 league matches unbeaten at the start of the season, winning 15 and drawing nine, before their first defeat on 5th February when they went down 2-1 at Wolves. They went on to lose three times in a month, including back-to-back defeats to Chelsea and Liverpool in early March. However, the Manchester giants kicked on after that, picking up six wins from their remaining nine Premier League fixtures to get their hands on the Premier League trophy for the 12th time.
Blues Pip City to Second Spot
Chelsea and Man City were very hard to split this season. The Citizens were starting to make waves under their new ownership while defending champions Chelsea failed to retain their crown despite starting the season with five straight Premier League wins.
The Blues made a sensational start to their title defence, beating both West Bromwich Albion and Wigan Athletic 6-0 in their opening two games. However, a run of just two victories in 11 matches from November to January put paid to their title hopes.
Man City had a solid season under Roberto Mancini, with the Citizens taking third place and sealing a place in the following season’s UEFA Champions League. Both teams won 21 games, drew eight, lost nine and conceded 33 goals. However, Chelsea netted nine more to beat Man City to the runners-up medal.
Fulham Reach Europe Again
Roy Hodgson left Craven Cottage on 1st July to take over at Liverpool, with Mark Hughes arriving at Fulham later in the month.
There was quiet optimism among the Cottagers faithful, with the London club finishing in a respectable 12th position the season before.
Fulham went on to have a superb year in the Premier League, finishing in eighth place just behind Merseyside duo Liverpool and Everton.
The highlight of their campaign, though, was securing a spot in the 2011-12 Europa League as a reward for their Fair Play record.
They reached the final of the same competition in 2010, losing out to Spanish heavyweights Atletico Madrid.
Season to Forget for the Hammers
West Ham United struggled to get going all season and fell out of the Premier League with a whimper. The Hammers finished rock bottom with just 33 points to their name, seven points away from safety. West Ham picked up a mere seven wins, drew 12 times and suffered 19 defeats over the course of their highly disappointing campaign.
Avram Grant failed to make an impact at Upton Park, with the Hammers losing four of their opening five league and cup games of the season. They had to wait until September for their first Premier League victory, beating rivals Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at the Boleyn Ground. That was their only league triumph until November. United ended the season with a horrid run of seven defeats and a draw from their last eight games.
Manchester’s Main Men Share Golden Boot
The Golden Boot was shared by Man United’s Dimitar Berbatov and Man City’s Carlos Tevez.
Both players scored 20 league goals, two more than Arsenal’s Robin van Persie, who finished third and took the bronze medal.
It was a good season for Darren Bent, with the England striker scoring 17 for Sunderland and Aston Villa combined.
DJ Campbell netted 13 for Premier League new boys Blackpool, while Andy Carroll, who earned a big-money move to Liverpool this season, also scored 13 times.
In fact, six players finished on 13, including United’s Javier Hernandez and Liverpool’s Dirk Kuyt.
Relegations & European Qualifications
Blackpool’s stay in the Premier League lasted for just one year, as Ian Holloway’s troops were relegated on the final day after a 4-2 defeat to new champions Man United. Nevertheless, the Tangerines had a real go, finishing with a more than respectable 39 points to their name. Birmingham also ended on 39 points and were relegated alongside Blackpool.
At the other end of the table, London duo Chelsea and Arsenal joined the two Manchester clubs in the 2011-12 Champions League.
Which Teams Were Relegated?
West Ham were the first team to drop down to the Championship after a woeful season in the top tier. The Hammers’ campaign ended in miserable fashion, and the Londoners finished on a mere 33 points. They picked up the fewest wins, while only Wolverhampton Wanderers suffered more defeats.
Blackpool shocked the Championship by winning promotion at the end of the 2009-10 season, beating Cardiff City in a thrilling play-off final at Wembley Stadium. Holloway’s boys were tipped for an instant return to the second tier, and despite a brave effort, the Lancashire club went straight back down. Nevertheless, Pool took it to the final day, losing to champions Man United at Old Trafford. It was all square at half time and Blackpool fans harboured hope they could escape the drop, but it wasn’t to be as the Red Devils turned the screw in the second half.
Birmingham were also relegated on the last day. The Midlands outfit won the League Cup just a couple of months prior, but Alex McLeish could not keep the Blues in the Premier League. City lost five of their last six games, including a 2-1 defeat at Tottenham on the final day, which confirmed their fate.
Wolves were the side to narrowly avoid the drop after they reached the mythical 40-point mark despite losing 3-2 at home on the final day to Blackburn Rovers.
Which Teams Qualified For Europe?
Man United won the league and were the first team to qualify for the following season’s Champions League. They were joined in the group stage by Man City and Chelsea, who both ended the campaign on 71 points apiece. Arsenal pipped north London rivals Tottenham to the fourth and final Champions League place, with Arsene Wenger’s men collecting a total of 68 points.
Spurs were the only team to qualify for the Europa League via the league route. The Lilywhites racked up 62 points under the experienced Harry Redknapp, finishing points four clear of Liverpool. Fulham, who ended their season in eighth position, entered Europe by topping the Fair Play table. Stoke City earned a spot in the Europa League by finishing runners-up to Man City in the 2011 FA Cup final, while Birmingham’s shock League Cup final victory over Arsenal took the Blues into Europe’s second club competition.