Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Post EPL Prospects for Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton, & Manchester United

By Pete Jaison:

Barclays Premier League 2013-2014 will be remembered for not only creating a surprise winner in Manchester City or for the shocking plunge of Manchester United, but also for fundamentally changing the future prospects of almost all heavyweights like Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Everton. Emerging talents as well as key transfers will ensure that the current ranking of most teams will be very short-lived.

The Etihad turned electric as the final whistle blew and the City supporters erupted in a sea of blue. After 38 weeks of high adrenalin football, the Barclays Premier League season has come to a triumphant finish when Manchester City crushed West Ham United 2-0 and clinched the No. 1 spot by 2 points over the title favourites, Liverpool.

The 2012 winners reclaimed their title making it their 2nd English Premier title in 3 years. A series of lacklustre performances raised doubts over the effectiveness of Manuel Pellegrini's side but in the end they overcame all odds and won the championship. After facing years of humiliation from neighbours and 20-times champions Manchester United, City has finally unearthed their winning formula and looks well poised in turning out to be a major football powerhouse  just like their neighbours.

Their chief contributor in this season is Yaya Toure as he played with absolute composure especially in high profile matches. The comeback which scripted City's title win this season is equally as nerve-wracking yet magnificent like the 2012 season when they thumped Manchester United by scoring two late goals in their last match.

But this time the ones left cursing themselves were Liverpool. The Reds were looking unbeatable until they hosted Chelsea at Anfield. That match turned out to be the real fortune-changer when Chelsea blanked them 2-0. That loss killed Liverpool's momentum and they could never recover from there. Liverpool still had a chance in snatching the Cup away but they conceded 3 goals in the final 8 minutes and drew out their match with Crystal Palace virtually knocking them out of the title race.

The PFA Player of the Year and the FWA Player of the Year, Luis Suarez, who was the highest scorer this season broke down in tears after this loss. But this season was more about positives for their manager, Brendon Rogers as he rebuilt the team and made them a potential title winner as they were in the past.

Chelsea who played spoilsport for the Reds had a decent season in which coach, Jose Mourinho arrived at Stanford Bridge for his second spell at the club. Although they didn’t win any trophies this season, they finished 3rd in the Premier League and had an outstanding run at the Champions League until they locked horns with Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals.

They were at the peak position for 64 days but eventually lost their consistency. The Blues however ended their campaign with a 2-1 win over Cardiff City. The emergence of their new young signings is sure to reap benefits for the team in the future seasons. With the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, and Willian all making important contributions to their matches, Chelsea will soon be a formidable foe for the other teams.

The Gunners were the team to hold on to the top spot for the most number of days (a staggering 128 days) but failed to continue their good run and couldn’t carry the momentum to the second half of the season. Arsenal however will be glad that they managed to cling on to the No. 4 spot which will ensure that they play the Champions League next season. Their record signing, Mesut Ozil turned out to be a masterly move as the German single-handedly won matches for them and was their star player this season.

Everton will be disappointed that they couldn’t qualify for Europe but this season has been absolutely fantastic for them. Roberto Martinez's first season has been record breaking as he re-wrote the history books of Everton. Under his leadership, Everton managed 72 points, which is a club record, and also went on a 7 match winning streak, which is another record. They also won the most number of matches that they have ever won in a single season, overall and in home. Everton has been transformed from a mid-table club to a title-winner in all aspects.

The 2013-14 season will be also remembered as the season which saw the great Manchester United fall down from its perch. The last year's champions had a miserable season which saw them sacking their manager David Moyes before their last 4 games. United had a forgettable season as none of their star players could stir up a comeback . The couple of  victories at the end of this season will be the one of the very few positives this season. The only other positive is the emergence of Adnan Januzaj, the 19 year old who has great potential and may be the player to watch out for next season.

Given their class and reputation which made the Red Devils the most decorated team in England, one cannot write them off the next season. The owners are handing out a 150 million budget for new signings at the end of the season to their new manager, who is yet to be confirmed. The 2013-14 season will be long remembered for the many exciting and shocking events that has happened during the year.

Call  it the season which saw The Next Manchester rise or the season which saw the Real Manchester fall, but this year will always remain special for all the EPL fans.

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