Sergio Aguero’s 95th-minute strike secured the most thrilling of Premier League titles for Manchester City as Roberto Mancini’s side earned the club’s first title in 44 years in truly dramatic fashion.
That 3-2 win over Queen’s Park Rangers served as heartbreak for their Manchester rivals United, as Sir Alex Ferguson‘s men had the title given to them and dashed from them all within a matter of minutes.
It was also a fitting end to a Premier League campaign that has thrown up endless twists and turns, and this in a week when the 2011/12 season was voted the greatest in the league’s history, with each club having their own intriguing story.
City will look upon their triumph as potentially the beginning of a new and successful era, with the incredible financial backing of Sheikh Mansour now reaping the rewards.
United will try and use this moment to inspire their younger players such as Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck to drive them on and continuing the consistent success that’s been in place over the past 20 years.
Arsenal have had a superb second half to the season; at the turn of the year they looked set to miss out on a top-four finish but Arsene Wenger’s troops turned things around to book their place amongst Europe’s elite again next season.
North London rivals Tottenham will join them if Chelsea lose the Champions League final on Saturday, but there will be a tinge of disappointment that they didn’t wrap up a top-three finish after being alongside the Manchester duo as the early pacesetters.
Alan Pardew deservedly won the Premier League manager of the season after inspiring his Newcastle outfit that were being tipped pre-season as potential strugglers before coming agonisingly close to a Champions League spot. But a Europa League place will be rightly celebrated up on Tyneside.
It’s been a season of turmoil at Chelsea as the Andre Villas-Boas era came and went in horrendous fashion, and despite Roberto Di Matteo‘s efforts the Blues now need to win their CL final at the Allianz Arena to earn a tenth straight season with Europe’s big boys.
Everton’s season can be best described as Jekyll and Hyde; woeful in the first half and slipping worryingly towards a relegation battle, the Toffees produced a splendid effort post-Christmas to finish above Merseyside rivals Liverpool.
Kenny Dalglish is set to face plenty of criticism at Anfield after a dreadful league campaign. Despite almost completing a cup double, the Reds have ended with their worst ever PL finish following a summer spending of over £100 million, and it remains to be seen what can be done to make strides forward in time for next season.
Fulham will be delighted with another top-half finish – their third in the last four seasons. Martin Jol has created an exciting attacking unit consisting of players such as Clint Dempsey, Moussa Dembele and Pavel Pregobnyak. Now it remains to be seen if they can hold onto these stars to continue moving forward.
Roy Hodgson takes over the England job knowing he leaves West Brom in a great state of health, having guided them to their first top-half finish in Premier League history and a squad that with one or two new additions under new management could push on next time around.
Swansea City have been a huge credit to the promoted sides, and Brendan Rodger’s philosophy of retaining possession and being well-organised should be used as a blueprint to all teams coming up from the Championship.
Those sides may also be advised to look at how Norwich have adapted to life back in the top-flight. Paul Lambert’s three seasons in charge at Carrow Road have seen consecutive promotions and consolidation amongst the country’s best. He and his team’s efforts simply don’t get the recognition they deserve.
Sunderland were heading for a tumultuous battle against the drop under Steve Bruce, but in came the man-management king of Martin O’Neill that inspired the Black Cats to safety. Now the Northern Irishman will hope to create the squad in his own image to bring better days to the Stadium of Light.
Many tipped Stoke to push for a top-eight finish after a summer of significant strengthening. But the struggles of coping with their Europa League commitments and a poor end to the season that mustered one win in their last 11 matches led to a disappointing finish. But a fifth straight top-flight season ahead at the Britannia should be commended.
Wigan were everybody’s tip for the drop at the start of the season and especially going into the business-end of proceedings. But a stunning run that saw seven wins in their last nine games meant Roberto Martinez can prepare to face the country’s elite once again – depending of course the Spaniard is not attracted elsewhere this summer.
Aston Villa have arguably been the biggest disappointment of the season, as Alex McLeish’s first year at Villa Park went from bad to worse as the fans grew tiresome of negative tactics and a complete lack of consistency. Big changes may be needed in the playing and management staff in order to avoid another relegation scrap.
QPR made sure just in the nick of time that all three promoted teams would be staying up as Mark Hughes did just enough to appease the owners and stick to his promise of keeping the West Londoners in the Premier League. Now they have the financial backing of Tony Fernandes and an ambitious manager to move forward following this year’s consolidation.
As for Bolton, their 11-year stay in the division is over after a season that went bad before it began after injuries to two key players in Stuart Holden and Lee Chung-Yong. The horror of seeing Fabrice Muamba’s cardiac arrest and drawing inspiration from it deserves great praise, but too many goals conceded and too many defeats at home mean Owen Coyle needs to work his magic to get them back in the big time next year.
Blackburn have had their own civil war to deal with, as the fans resentment towards the owners Venky’s and manager Steve Kean have grown the worse the season has become. The results speak for themselves, with just eight wins all season and a miserable run-in of eight defeats in their last nine game – on that form relegation was inevitable. It remains to be seen what the future holds at Ewood Park.
Finally, Wolves prop up the table after a woeful campaign was going badly under Mick McCarthy and got drastically worse when they sacked him. Terry Connor was thrown into the lion’s den and did all he could in the circumstances, but Wolves consistently proved themselves as the worst in the league and owner Steve Morgan will wonder what could’ve been had he got a more experienced manager in place to replace McCarthy.
So many stories, and so many staggering records, more goals than any other season (1066) more goal in the top-four clashes than any other year (51) and more hat-tricks than any other campaign (19) show what an epic nine months we have had.
People will always argue that other leagues such as La Liga and Bundesliga are more technically gifted, but when it comes to sheer drama, tension and excitement, this season has proved that no other league does it better than the Premier League.
So what do you think? Has this been the best Premier League season of all time? What has been your story of the campaign? Leave a comment and let us know your views.