Sunday, 2 June 2013

Premier League Review 2012/2013 (Part 1)

Whilst it may not have been as exciting as last year, I'm sure you'll all agree that this season has still been extremely entertaining. Although there wasn't a huge amount of final day drama, there were some big scores throughout the season, one which won't be remembered for good defending! In this article I'll go through the first 5 teams in the league with the following ones coming in the next instalments. I've also managed to get a few comments from a fan of the respective clubs to see what they thought.

Arsenal enjoyed a very happy final day and somehow they just managed to sneak into the Champions League yet again. Despite this, I know a number of Arsenal fans who have been underwhelmed by how their season went. Many have been calling for Wenger's head (and I'm not just talking about Piers Morgan!), claiming that he is running out of ideas and Arsenal need a change. 

They didn't enjoy a particularly strong start to the season and it was their excellent end of season form that brought them home in the end with some inconsistency wedged in between. Goals were not a problem however as they managed to hit 5 goals or more 7 times! There were also low points however and they came especially in the form of cup defeats after they were knocked out by Bradford and Blackburn.
So was it a good season for Arsenal? Yes in the sense that they managed to hold on to Champions League football after a poor start and finish above their rivals Spurs. However, is that good enough? Arsenal have found themselves wanting more than just 4th place, they want to challenge for trophies and even the league! If they can keep Cazorla and spend a bit on a top class striker then I'm sure next season will  be exciting for them!

I got in touch on twitter with Arsenal fan @ManToManMarking to see what he thought about Arsenal's season:

"Same ol' same ol' for Arsenal again. A poor season overall but showing how use to contending for fourth we've become that it's become an achievement as such. Arsenal fans all around cheered their hearts out when we got fourth and so did the team. Not much improvement was made last summer but some definitely needs to be this one if we are to contend for the title or even for fourth!"

Aston Villa
It was a strange season for Villa and I'm not sure too many predicted they'd be in the predicament they were at the start of the season. They looked to have a young bright squad that had talent in abundance and had just recruited a new manager in Paul Lambert who'd just masterminded a smooth transition into the Premier League at Norwich. 

So where did it go wrong? Many people have cited the lack of experience in their squad and I think that was largely true, although I think they lacked experience in defence expecially and this was highlighted with some comical defending and ridiculous own goals throughout the season. 

Luckily for Villa Wigan couldn't hit that late season form they always do to save themselves and they had one of the most exciting strikers around to save them. Although the season won't be looked back on with too much fondness by fans, the main thing is that they stayed up and I think they can push on next season, especially if Benteke stays!

I got in touch on twitter with Villa fan @DanRBennett_ to see what he thought about Villa's season: 

"I think it’s fair to say that this season has been exhausting for every single Villa fan. There was a lot of positive feeling around the club when Paul Lambert was appointed Manager in the summer and there was every right for the positivity to be there Lambert’s philosophy of youth over experience caused a lot of fear with the fans though but he stuck to it and in the end it paid off.

 The Christmas period was the most worrying times for Villa fans as we had three successive defeats and they were heavy defeats too.  Our star players of the season were no doubt Benteke and Guzan, with Lowton, Westwood and Weimann standing out. Next season we will be hoping for more consistent performances and less bad luck, so that we don’t have to continue biting what we have left of our fingernails."

It was a bit of rollercoaster season for Chelsea too. They began the campaign in excellent form and look every bit like they might challenge for the title. Then they started to fall away and were prematurely knocked out the Champions League, eventually leading to the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo.

In came Rafa Benitez, possible the least popular manager in history. His arrival was met with mediocre results and this only increased the problems at Stamford Bridge. Rumours were rife that the players were rising against him and he would walk. Incredibly, he put up with it and guided Chelsea to an almost comfortable Champions League finish. This wasn't his only feat as he brought home some silverware.

They finished the season quite strongly after a dip and Rafa ended up doing was he was appointed to, something I'm sure not many Chelsea fans can complain about but something I'm sure many Chelsea fans still will!

Rafa has just been appointed new Napoli boss leaving a gap for the Special One to take the reigns again, although not confirmed at the time of writing, it looks imminent. Many are touting Chelsea to challenge properly next season if they splash some cash and resign José.

I got in touch on twitter with Chelsea fan @LFDFootball to see what he thought about Chelsea's season: 

"It was a difficult season to watch but come the end of it I was very happy with what we had achieved. Hazard and Oscar adapted to the league brilliantly and with a few additions we can become even stronger next year. Disappointed that Benitez hasn't been given at least a full season and full control of transfers to show what he can really do with this team." 

It's well known that Everton had a rare good start to the season this campaign and they didn't stop there. One of their best seasons in recent years ended with them finishing above arch rival Liverpool and even being outsiders for the Champions League at one point. 

However, the end of the season wasn't as kind to them and they lost manager David Moyes to Manchester United. Due to their excellent performances this season, a number of players have been linked with a move away from the club, most recently Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini. This was twinned recently with the announcement that they would bear a new club badge and sparked outrage from fans, many claiming it was too 'simplistic'.
The campaign was one of progress for Everton and many positives can be drawn from it. Fans hope that Kenwright has seen potential in the squad and will offer the incoming manager a healthy budget, something David Moyes never had. If they can keep on to their star players and appoint a half-decent manager then I'm sure next season they can cement their place as a top 6 team and even seriously challenge for the top 4/5.

I got in touch on twitter with Everton fan @Fo0tballista to see what he thought about Everton's season:

"A traditionally poor starting Everton commenced their 12/13 campaign with unexpected brilliance, defeating the soon to be Premier League champions Manchester United which in part set the tone for much of the early parts of the campaign – despite a few bumps along the way, Everton put in frequently strong and dominant performances. One problem persisted though – an inability to be clinical. Jelavic misfiring, Mirallas often injured, Anichebe very much so an uncertainy resulted in draws and a fundamental failure to kill games off. 

The season promised much, Baines was magnificent, Gibson dictated games, Fellaini often outstanding, Distin and Jagielka sublime and Mirallas magical; despite achieving the second highest points total under Moyes’ leadership, Everton were left empty handed. No European football, embarrassed at the hands of Wigan and Leeds in domestic competitions, and now set to go under major transition. It’s been a strange old year, one that hasn’t really brought much besides a fairly impressive 6th placed finish; hopefully a spot that can be emulated or eventually improved in seasons to come."

Fulham had a rather steady season overall. Although there were a few worries towards the end as they seemed to switch off after hitting 40 points, generally it was a solid season. They started the season well only losing to Manchester United and West Ham. Martin Jol had added sensibly to the squad and had played a masterstroke in signing Dimitar Berbatov as he would go on to score 15 goals. 

Fulham were, however rather inconsistent and unpredictable. Their first away games  of the season sum this up perfectly. First of all they travelled to Old Trafford where they competed brilliantly again Manchester United and were unlucky to be beaten 3-2 in the end. Next they went to Upton Park to face West Ham and were played off the park, they really didn't turn up at all. 

Fulham are a team with an ageing squad, shown by the average age in the team fielded away at Chelsea of 31.55. The youngest team they fielded was at home to Swansea however this wasn't much younger in 28.05. 

Martin Jol has already started his business in the transfer market, bringing in Fernando Amorebiata and Derek Boateng. The former being a very good move in my opinion, shown by the fact he was previously linked with Everton, Arsenal and Chelsea. If Jol can bring in a few more fresh faces, perhaps in defence where they conceded 60 goals last season then I'm sure they can aim for a more comfortable 10th placed finish.

I got in touch on twitter with Fulham Fan @FulhamsFinest to see what he thought about Fulham's season:

"Fulham's season has been a bit of an oddity. The last-minute sale of Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey in the summer doomed Martin Jol's bigger plans for building his own squad at Craven Cottage. He was left with no time to secure a replacement, and thus the season was essentially lost before it began. Fans picked up some relatively unrealistic expectations after the squad began on such a high note early on, and thus the final finishing position seemed more disappointing than it should have. Ultimately, the season served as a bridge to Jol's new plans without Dembele, and this summer will shape the Fulham squad for the next few seasons."

So that rounds up part 1 of the overview, if you liked it then please leave a comment, would love to know what you think. Thanks to everyone who gave their comments for each team, be sure to give them a follow on twitter!

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!

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