EPL Roundup - Part 1

The 2007/2008 English Premier League season was one of the most exciting and unpredictable season we've seen over the years. The top four were no surprise, but then the relegation battle was close and hardly contested. Many teams were taken-over while many had managerial changes. There were excellent debuts from players as well as flops. Here is how I think each team performed this, or let us say, last season.

1. Manchester United
Arguably they deserved to be champions when you see the season as a whole. Having started with 2 points from 3 games, United swiftly shifted gears to reach the top and stayed cool when it mattered most. They had fewer injury worries compared to Chelsea. Ronaldo performed upto the standards expected from him, and that coupled with some excellent signings did the job for Sir Alex. The 50th anniversary of the Munich disaster was observed with dignity and class. But United would have been hurt by the double loss against bitter rivals Manchester City. And a great finish to the season with a Ryan Gigg's goal.

2. Chelsea
A great season we've had considering what was expected after Mourinho's departure. Plus the home record stays in spite of some home draws effectively giving the title away. We had many injury worries as well as players missing due to the African Cup, but Chelsea showed great never-say-die attitude to keep United under pressure till the very last game. Micheal Ballack blossomed towards the second half of the season but Carvalho is the player of the season for me.

3. Arsenal
They were a pleasure to watch on the field while Wenger remained a whiner offline. Had a great start to the season until injuries and fatigue caught up with them. Wenger's decision not to strengthen the side in January exposed the shallow squad depth, especially after the terrible injury to Eduardo. Fabregas remains the master of the show while Adebayor proved he could score goals, provided he's given many opportunities. Maybe they should have got a better keeper and someone better than Eboue in the right wing.

4. Liverpool
Had the squad depth, but not enough quality in the large squad to challenge the other three in the big four. Excellent signing in Torres, who scored goals galore with his pace. The ownership feud between Tom Hicks and George Gillett meant Liverpool remained in the news for wrong reasons throughout. The whole episode was as embarrassing as Riise's own goal in the UCL semifinals. Liverpool had enough strength to reach the UCL semifinals because they could afford to rest key players in EPL, which was more or less like friendly matches since they guaranteed next season's UCL spot.

5. Everton
They’ve been very consistent, have a good nucleus of players and a young, talented and ambitious manager in David Moyes. Evertonians voted last August in favour of the club leaving Goodison Park and relocating in Kirkby. Mikel Arteta, Phil Jagielka, Yakubu Ayegbeni and Lescott played a major part in the team's success but the Merseysiders were humiliated by the defeat to Oldham Athletic in the third round of the FA Cup.

6. Aston Villa
Like Everton, Villa are a team on the up, blossoming under Martin O’Neill. Villa have scored 71 goals, more than everyone else bar Arsenal (74) and United (80). That they’re in 6th place instead of 5th (or 4th) has to do with their propensity to concede goals, with 51 in the against column the 2nd worst stats in the top 10. Did some damage to Chelsea by defeating them once and holding on to a 4-4 draw later. Aston Villa can only get better next season, and Villa fans would be hoping Barry stays.

7. Blackburn Rovers
Mark Hughes did a great signing in the form of Roque Santacruz who scored 23 goals in his EPL debut, and would certainly be striker of the season along with Torres. Also, Bentley matured as a class act and made up for the loss in form of Gamst Pederson. Brad Friedel also did well in front of the goal. Blackburn always caused damage to teams above them in the table and that is some indication of the potential they have. First-round defeat against the Greek team Larissa was a big blow for the team from Ewood Park.

8. Portsmouth
Harry Redknapp's decided to remain at Fratton Park rather than replace Sam Allardyce at Newcastle United and that's the best thing that happened to Portsmouth this season. They have kept improving under Harry, who also made some excellent signings in Muntari, Diarra and Defoe. David James has been one of the best keepers last season. They may end up with the FA Cup after they play Cardiff in the finals at Wembley.

9. Manchester City
The season began with Manchester City performing very well and everyone hoping for a City-led invasion of the big four stronghold. But that didn't happen and City's form dipped and so did Elano's. I have never felt Eriksson as a manager who could produce the best out of players available. He would move anyway and was mortified by the 8 goal defeat to Middlesbrough in the last match. Micah Richards was a player to watch along with Corluka and Petrov. But there were more failures than success stories for City. The fans did have enough to cheer though, especially beating their rivals United twice.

10. Westham United
They seemed to be glued to the 10th place for most of the season. They lacked the enthusiasm to go up the table but had enough in them not to go down. Dean Ashton, one among the many who were injured for Westham, came back in the latter stages of the season and scored some goals. But with this manager Westham ain't going anywhere other than 10th place. Europe looks very far from a Upton Park perspective. Curbishley also managed to invite a lot of negative attention from the media by quoting that United deserved to win the title before a crucial match between the teams. And on top of that, Westham looked like they allowed United to roll over.

The bottom half teams' season roundup would be posted in a day or two. With a week more to go for the UCL night, I would suggest some cool football videos from Youtube.
Worst fouls in football.
Top 20 misses.
Top ten football fights.
Comedy football.
I guess that is more than enough.