Premier League 2014-15: End of season review


Now the season has finally come to a close and everyone prepares for a summer in which we could see a flurry in the transfer market as all the top-tier clubs look to strengthen their sides in order to compete with Chelsea next season.
Love them or hate them for Mourinho’s tactics once the Blues get ahead, there is no doubting the fact that except for the occasional hiccup which Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will put down to be a campaign waged by referees against his team, Chelsea deserved to win the Premiership title and did it while still having three games to spare.
Below we will list each team from top to bottom pointing out what they did right, and where they went wrong.

1. Chelsea were the leagues worthy winners from start to finish, and the credit has to go to Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho and his superb summer signings of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas who together with Belgium attacking midfielder put the Blues in another class above the rest.
If we had to point out any disappointment it would be in Chelsea’s Champions League games where their desire not to lose rather than win saw them knocked out of the last-16 stage by Paris Saint-Germain on the away goal rule.
You can look for Mourinho to bring in one or two top players this summer in his quest not only to retain the Premiership title, but to also become the first manager to win the Champions League with three different teams.
2. Manchester City were this seasons runners up after what seemed a lame attempt to defend the title they had won a season earlier, with manager Manuel Pellegrini failing to inspire his star studded team when it mattered most.
This summer we expect to see some big spending at the Etihad as many of the clubs ageing players make way for younger recruits that will include as many home grown players as possible in order to comply with the Premiership rules, which leaves us to doubt that City will be able to mount a title bid next season, yet we still expect that they will still be up in the top five or six.
3. Arsenal came on strong in the latter part of the season as they seem to do most years qualifying for a Champions League spot, but in order for them to win the Premiership title they need a top striker, goalkeeper and a solid defensive midfielder.
How they do next season will depend on how manager Arsene Wenger spends, but with him and Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal all looking at the same transfer targets, the 65-year-old Frenchman’s reluctance to pay what he considers too much for players may be Arsenal’s downfall.
4. Manchester United’s new manager Louis van Gaal achieved what he said he was there to do getting United back into the Champions League, and with the Dutchman expected to spend around £150 million this summer we think his determination and the team he is putting together could be Chelsea’s biggest rival next season.

5. Tottenham finished the season where they seem to be every year just failing to break into the top-four. If there was any bright spark pointing to their future it would be the emergence of striker Harry Kane and the fact they beat Chelsea 4-2 in what was for many the best game of the season. As for next season it would appear as if manager Mauricio Pochettino does still not have the right set of players to implement the high-pressing game that he likes to play, and hopefully without any interference from Franco Baldini and Chairman David Levy he will be able to make the changes he desires which will also mean players like Roberto Soldado heading for the White Hart Lane exit.
6. Liverpool finished the season a disappointing 6th after being the runners up the season before, and if the club learnt one thing it was that you could not replace Luis Suarez by spending £100 million on new players.
Liverpool’s defence was at times shocking and yet while Philippe Coutinho was the team’s best player the goals would just not come without Suarez and the injured Daniel Sturridge.
Reds manager Brendan Rodgers is set to meet with club co-owner Tom Warner on Tuesday when the Red Sox boss fly’s into Merseyside to conduct an end of season review on what went wrong and how to get the team back to their winning ways.
We expect to see plenty of movement at Anfield this summer with Liverpool needing to address the loss of Captain Steven Gerrard to the LA Galaxy, and also sort out the contract situation with Raheem Sterling. Next season looks to us like it will be more of the same unfortunately for Rodgers and could spell the end of his time with the club.
7. Southampton finished a very respectable 8th in a season in which not much was expected from them after losing manager Mauricio Pochettino to Spurs and the following players to other Premier League clubs. Luke Shaw (Manchester United, £30m rising to £31m), Adam Lallana (Liverpool, £25m), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool, £20m), Calum Chambers (Arsenal, £16m), Rickie Lambert (Liverpool, £4m).
Credit though must go to new manager Ronald Koeman who re-built well and despite the fact the Saints could lose England right-back Nathaniel Clyne and French international Morgan Schneiderlin this summer already has his replacements in mind leaving us to believe the Saints will be one team no one will look forward playing against next season.
8. Swansea City did better than we expected thanks to the hard work of manager Gary Monk who took the club to their best ever finish of 56 points, and while we do not see the Swans setting the world on fire with a fine tactician like Monk in charge they should be guaranteed a top-half finish next season as well.

9. Stoke City did well under manager Mark Hughes who has now repaired his reputation following a difficult time at QPR, and given the Potters limited resources has made Stoke the team everyone else in the Premiership fears because of their in your face style of physical play. Expect to see much of the same from Stoke next season, and while it may not be pretty football many a big scalp may come a cropper at the Britannia Stadium as both Arsenal and Liverpool found out.
10. Crystal Palace started the season out struggling under the leadership of Neil Warnock before being rejuvenated after the arrival of Alan Pardew from Newcastle.
Pardew put new life into a team that looked destined for relegation by getting the most out of strikers Yannick Bolasie and Jason Puncheon.
Palace began to play attractive attacking football which we expect will continue next season, now that the Eagles have the right man in charge.
11. Everton it has to say were a big disappointment after having nearly qualified for the Champions League the season before, Roberto Martinez’s men looked as though they needed a fire lit under them in order to get them to play. Everton has always been a safe club to be a manager at as David Moyes proved , but saying that, Martinez must bring in a couple of good signings this summer, while also desperately trying to keep hold of James McCarthy, Ross Barkley and John Stones. The verdict is still out on next season, but Martinez definitely needs to step up to the plate.

12. West Ham started the season on fire before running out of steam in the second half of the campaign which now sees the Hammers parting company with manger Sam Allardyce as they prepare to move into their new home at the Olympic Stadium for the 2016/2017 season. Many names are being suggested for who the new boss should be, but the club needs to get their finger out and appoint someone soon or risk slipping down the table further next season.

13. West Brom brought in Tony Pulis to replace the fired Alan Irvine who was too reliant on the goals of Saido Berahino to get the Baggies results, and almost immediately any worries the fans might have had of relegation faded away as the Welshman brilliantly organised his squad to get the best out of the players he had available, with their win at Old Trafford a testament as to his tactical ability.

14. Leicester City, the newly promoted Foxes were along with the other promoted new teams expected to make a return to the Championship after just one season playing with the big boys, yet temperamental manger Nigel Pearson turned the season all around in the final months racking up wins against West Brom, Swansea City, Burnley, Newcastle and Southampton to move the Foxes out of the relegation zone.

15. Newcastle United came as close as they have been in years of getting relegated following Alan Pardew’s move to Crystal Palace leaving the Magpies sitting ninth in the table before interim manager Mike carver took over at St James Park overseeing eight straight defeats that had the Tyneside club needing to win their final match of the season against to avoid the drop. This summer, Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley will need to find a new man to take charge and hopefully turn around what has been a disaster of a season.

16. Sunderland failed to build on manager Gus Poet’s momentum that saw the Black Cats finish the previous season on a high, and it was not long before American owner Ellis Short decided to fire the Uruguayan manager and appoint Dutchman Dick Advocaat for the final nine- games of the season. A move which in the end proved to be good with Sunderland avoiding relegation with a game to spare.

17. Aston Villa looked as if they were dying from a long illness under the reins of Paul Lambert, but all that changed with the appointment of Tim Sherwood whose positive outlook got striker Christian Benteke to go on a goal scoring spree to help take the Villains to an FA Cup final at Wembley where they were unfortunately outplayed by a brilliant Arsenal side who could do nothing wrong.

18. Hull City had the vast experience of manager Steve Bruce to guide them, but it was not enough in the end to save the Tigers from relegation, leaving Bruce with a massive rebuilding to be done in the Championship if they hope to bounce back up the Premiership for the 2016/2017 season.

19. Burnley has to give high marks to manager Sean Dyche who got the best out of the players that were available to him, yet without big money behind them the Turf Moor outfit seemed destined to be in the Premiership just for one season as they simply lacked the firepower they needed to score goals.

20. QPR were nothing but terrible from start to finish disjointed under manager harry Redknapp while not being that much better once Chris Ramsey took over at Loftus Road.
The Hoops now face the prospect of losing striker Charlie Austin goalkeeper Robert Green to bigger clubs while Ramsey must decide how he wants to rebuild for the Championship.