Ferguson Signs Off with Title Win
The 2012-13 Premier League season saw Manchester United crowned English champions for a record 20th time. It was also an end of an era at Old Trafford, as legendary manager Alex Ferguson retired at the end of the campaign. United were not at their very best this season, but Fergie truly proved what a great manager he was by securing their 13th Premier League crown despite this. City had claimed the title the season before and letting the “noisy neighbours” know who was boss was a fitting way for the icon to sign off.
At the start of the campaign, promoted Reading, Southampton and West Ham United replaced relegated Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Out of the three promoted teams, only the Royals suffered an instant return to the EFL Championship. West Bromwich Albion were arguably the surprise package, finishing in eighth place under Steve Clarke.
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Title Decided in April
Man United were the top dogs in England once again. The Red Devils were dominant, really grinding out results with a squad that many had questioned, and they became the first team to win the title in April since Chelsea did it under Jose Mourinho back in the 2005-06 campaign. An easy 3-0 home victory over Aston Villa on 20th April made sure of the club’s 13th Premier League title.
Throughout the course of the season, Man United chalked up an impressive 28 wins, drawing five and losing five of the other 10. United lost their first game of the season to Everton but went on to win nine of their next 10 to take control of the league. They finished a whopping 11 points clear of rivals Manchester City, who took the runners-up medal.
Ferguson Says Farewell to Old Trafford
The end of the 2012-13 season will be fondly remembered among Man United fans, as well as football fans in general. Ferguson opted to leave the Old Trafford dugout after a magnificent 26-year career in the Manchester hotseat. His final game in charge was one of his craziest, as Man United and West Brom played out an unforgettable 5-5 draw at The Hawthorns on 19th May. Being as competitive as he is, the former Aberdeen boss would no doubt have wanted to win but the thrilling game was in many ways fitting given what excitement his teams had brought to Old Trafford over the years.
During his time with the Manchester club, Ferguson won an unrivalled 38 trophies, including 13 Premier Leagues and two UEFA Champions Leagues. He was knighted in 1999 and is regarded by many, certainly those from these shores, as the best manager to have ever lived. His farewell speech after the West Brom game was truly an “I was there” moment and United’s subsequent struggles are testament to just how central he was to the club’s staggering success.
Wigan Win Cup and Suffer Relegation
Wigan Athletic became the first team in history to win the FA Cup and suffer relegation in the same season. The Latics beat Bournemouth, Macclesfield Town, Huddersfield Town, Everton and Millwall to reach the final, where big-spending Man City were waiting at Wembley Stadium. Roberto Martinez’s men pulled off a shock win over City, with Ben Watson scoring in injury time in the famous 1-0 victory.
However, just three days after the club’s first ever FA Cup success, Wigan suffered relegation from the Premier League. A 4-1 defeat at Arsenal confirmed their fate. Athletic went on to finish in 18th, three points behind Sunderland. They played in the 2013-14 UEFA Europa League as a Championship club.
Swans Make Europe
Along with Wigan, Swansea City also qualified for the following season’s Europa League.
The Welsh club earned their spot in the European competition after winning the 2013 EFL Cup in what was a strange year in the cup contests. Swansea did far better than Wigan in general though and also impressed in the Premier League, collecting 46 points to finish in ninth. They were beaten just 14 times, with only the top seven losing fewer.
Swansea started their season in stunning style, beating Queens Park Rangers 5-0 away from home, which they followed up with an impressive 3-0 home victory over West Ham United.
The 2012-13 campaign was certainly one to remember for the Swans supporters with major silverware and a top-half finish probably the greatest season in the history of the club.
Fine Season For The Hammers
West Ham booked their place back in the Premier League after beating Blackpool in the 2012 Championship play-off final at Wembley Stadium. Naturally, the Hammers were one of the favourites for the drop after winning promotion, but Sam Allardyce’s men had a superb first season back in the big time. West Ham sealed a top-half finish, taking 46 points in the process. Overall, the Irons won 12, drew 10 and lost 16, finishing above the likes of Fulham, Aston Villa and Newcastle United.
RVP Wins Golden Boot
When Manchester United spent £24m on a 29 year old there were some eyebrows raised but Robin Van Persie’s 26 goals helped fire the Red Devils to the Premier League trophy in the 2012-13 season. His feats in that one season alone probably paid off the transfer fee and showed the club what they had been missing in terms of lacking a world class forward.
After making the controversial switch from rivals Arsenal in the summer, the Dutchman did not take long to settle into his new Manchester surroundings, scoring four in his first two Premier League matches for the Red Devils. His hat-trick in a 3-0 triumph over Villa in April won the title for United.
Luiz Suarez also had an excellent year in front of goal, with the Liverpool ace scoring an impressive 23 times to finish in second place. Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale continued to shine, netting 21 goals to earn a big-money move to Real Madrid shortly after. Romelu Lukaku notched 17 for the Baggies, including a hat-trick in the aforementioned 5-5 draw with United on the final day of the season. Englishmen Rickie Lambert and Frank Lampard both ended the campaign on 15 goals for Southampton and Chelsea, respectively.
Relegations & European Qualifications
It was a season to forget for QPR and Reading, who were both miles off the pace and were relegated to the second tier. Despite winning the FA Cup for the first ever time in their history, Wigan were the third and final team to drop into the 2013-14 Championship.
The two Manchester clubs were joined by London duo Chelsea and Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League. Tottenham were the only team to reach the Europa League via the league route, as Wigan and Swansea won the domestic cups to earn their paths into Europe. Liverpool and Everton missed out on European qualification as a result, finishing seventh and sixth respectively.
Which Teams Were Relegated?
QPR had a season to forget, finishing rock bottom with just 25 points to their name. Over the course of the campaign, the London club picked up just four Premier League wins and suffered 21 losses. They also only managed to score 30 goals and ended with a goal difference of -30, the same as Reading. Rangers did not secure a league victory until a 2-1 success over Fulham in mid-December, which cost them dearly in the end.
Reading’s stay in the promised land lasted for just one year. They won the Championship the season before, but the Royals found the step up to the Premier League a tough one. Brian McDermott took over from the sacked Nigel Adkins in March but could not keep Reading in the top tier. They were three points better off than QPR but still some 11 shy of safety.
The final team to suffer relegation were Wigan. As we touched on, the Latics made history this season, becoming the first FA Cup winners to be relegated the same season. Martinez’s men pulled off a miracle in the cup, but they struggled in the Premier League all season, winning nine, drawing nine and losing 20. They ended up finishing three points adrift of safety, with Sunderland’s 39 points seeing them claim 17th place.
Which Teams Qualified For Europe?
Man United won the league, and rivals Man City took second place to qualify for the Champions League.
The Manchester duo were joined in the 2013-14 group stage by Chelsea.
Arsenal took fourth and went into the Champions League play-off round.
Tottenham were the only team to qualify for the Europa League via the Premier League.
In Andre Villas-Boas’ first year in charge at White Hart Lane, the Portuguese guided the north London outfit to fifth.
Wigan won the FA Cup, while Swansea lifted the League Cup to book their spots in the 2013-14 Europa League.