Quickfire EPL Season Review Part 1


United ended the season in triumph.

So another Premier League season has come to a close, and it was one of the most closely contested in recent years. The quality may not have been the best – at least not at the top – but a pretty epic relegation battle has nevertheless seen three decent sides condemned to the Championship. So how will each team look back on this season? For a full account, you’d have to ask a fan of each club, but here’s a quickfire review of how I see the top ten – the bottom half follows later.

1. Manchester United (P38, W23, D11, L4, F78, A37, Pts80)
Well, a season in which you end up as champions can only really be called a success, but it will have hurt to end by being outclassed by Barca at Wembley and United weren’t as imperious as you’d expect of the leagye winners this season, so Sir Alex will know that he has a busy summer ahead of him if United are to improve and ensure they can remain on top next season.

Click through for the rest of the top ten…


FA Cup Final Focus: Manchester City


Can Tevez be for City what Ferguson is for Everton?

Even before I tuned into watch Everton play Man City last week, I knew Everton would win. I’d known since it had been revealed that Duncan Ferguson would be making his return to Goodison Park before the game. The big man is a true Everton legend, an icon who represents the commitment and passion that epitomises the club. In dark times, Duncan was our hero, he helped keep our heads above the water.

And Man City, in their current guise, don’t have that. It’s the reason why Everton have got such a hoodoo over them in recent seasons (we’ve beaten them in seven of our last eight meetings) and why City’s undeniable wealth of talent has not yet been transformed into the sort of genuine success, you know: the glittery silvery kind, that all their lavish spending surely demands. Is today the day that changes?

Click through to find out…

FA Cup Final Focus: Stoke City


Pulis has transformed Stoke this season, can he finish it in style?

I wrote a guest blog, back in early November, where I suggested that Stoke were coming a little bit unstuck because Tony Pulis was attempting to take them away from their tried, trusted and maligned formula of direct football. Looking back now, it’s easy to think I was talking nonsense – Stoke are preparing to compete in the FA Cup Final today, and they sit a very comfortable 8th in the Premier League.

But back when I wrote that, Stoke had made a pretty average start to the season and you could really see them struggling to retain the Premier League status they had fought to retain, almost literally, for two seasons before this campaign. Pulis spent some decent money in the summer, bringing in some talented players who somewhat broke the mould of what we’d come to expect from Stoke City previously.

Click through for the full article…

New Year needs New Ideas from Mancini


Does Mancini know which eleven players most merit one of these?

Looking at the Premier League table as we approach New Years Eve, it’s slightly strange to see both Manchester teams sat happily atop the pile on 38 points apiece. Both clubs seem to have had rather rocky starts to the season, with inconsistency on the pitch often overshadowed by controversy off it – epitomised by the twin sagas of Rooney and Tevez, where toys were thrown out of the pram and then quickly scrambled back in.

Given all this, fans of each club could be forgiven for feeling a little relieved at finding themselves leading the title race. Manchester United fans especially will look forward to their usual post-Christmas form which may well see them surge to another title ahead of a faltering Chelsea and the traditionally inconsistent Arsenal. But Manchester City fans may rather ask themselves what might have been – if they’re top now, where could they have been if Mancini had got the best out of his team?

Click through to find out…

Man City: The club we love to hate.


Robinho: the embodiment of the 'Man City problem'

Everyone hates Man City right about now, don’t they? Well, aside from the City fans that is, but deep down, they’re wondering what happened to their club. The club with fight and spirit that went all the way down to Division 2 (in old money) and still attracted a full house to Maine Road, and the club that bounced back again. I wonder what those fans, the fans I saw when I went to watch City against Burnley (don’t ask me why) during those dark days, make of their beloved club now.

Click through to find out why everyone hates Man City…

England’s Number One? Joe Hart.


Joe Hart has had a commanding season for Birmingham City.

It’s fair to say that it’s been a pretty good year for Joe Hart. Last season saw a promising stint as Man City’s number one curtailed by the signing of Shay Given and he must have feared that he would be doomed to warm the bench in a manner akin to Ben Foster at city rivals United, as his abundant talent slowly wilted. Fortunately for him, and for England, though, the sudden wealth of Man City has instead been something of a catalyst for him to step up and become a top Premier League ‘keeper.

And with the World Cup just around the corner and neither David James nor Rob Green making much of a case for themselves with their struggling club sides, one of Fabio Capello’s main dilemmas when it comes to naming his squad and selecting his best XI will be as to the identity of his no.1, a problem that has dogged England managers since Dave Seaman had a funny turn against Brazil in the 2002 World Cup. Luckily for Capello though, City’s millions may just have solved the problem for him.

Click through to find out why…

Premiership Conclusions


You might well say it’s a bit early to be drawing conclusions from this weekend’s Premier League action given that there’s still plenty of fixtures to be played tomorrow and Monday, but I think we can safely say that Saturday’s action both on and off the pitch has given us plenty to be discuss to be going on with. Plus, tomorrow is likely to be both my last day with an internet connection for some while and very busy, so there’s no time like the present.

To business at hand then and as I said yesterday, this season’s Premier League action is proving to be nigh on impossible to predict. We’ve now had two weekends full of surprise results and the established order that has developed over so many years seems to be quickly unravelling. It’s hard to know what to make of it at times but I think at least some conclusions can be cautiously made.

Click through to find out what they are…