>Season Review 08/09

>Manchester United

Strange season in many ways. A lot of players weren’t fit (Ronaldo, Rio) or weren’t firing (Berbatov, Rooney, Scholes, Anderson) and they rarely looked at their swashbuckling best. Yet even on this form, they had enough to beat the rest. Giggs did have an excellent season. They seemed to contain and had enough on the bench to get the wins. Berbatov (personal gripes aside) is a wanker. So nothing vintage about the season in what would have been a vintage year but for one loss.

Liverpool

Good season even if Rafa seemed to get gruffer as it went on. Torres was barely fit but Gerrard stepped up, Benayoun provided drive and the one-two push so create the front two. Mascherano and Alonso proved a great base in the middle. They still have many players who aren’t quite good enough (Riera, Babel, Dossena)and should have taken their chances, for United should get better.

Chelsea

Came on strong with the return of Essien and the faith Hiddinck instilled in Malouda, Alex (still not good enough), Anelka and Drogba. His re-positioning of Ballack was aided by the returning Essien, maybe the best player in the last few months of the season. They are still ageing and lack some magic on the right which hopefully Joe Cole will bring back.

Arsenal

Wenger didn’t listen to me again. I thought he would push Toure into midfield to cover the defensive hole and get the likes of Denilson back on the bench. They still move the ball gracefully as ever but suffered keys losses of form with Adebayor and Gallas as well as injuries to Van Persie, Walcott and Eduardo. Arshavin and …were solid buys but the fences needs fixing.

Everton

Moyes does it again. FA Cup final, 5th place and a decent run in Europe. The loss of Yakubu couldn’t be filled by the lazy Jo and tailsman Cahill was injured most of the season. The fact that Everton relies so heavily on such players to bring in the magic and yet were deprived says a lot for the under-appreciated creative talents of their midfield. The defence is still rock solid. Phil…., while not an English player had an excellent season.

Aston Villa

Solid team. Good manager and pacey, attacking team. I thought they would miss Mellberg and they did. I have said this numerous times to Barry but Davies and Knight would never be good enough. They need a real goalscorer and some solidity at the back. And to stop relegated Newcastle United.

West Ham

Great season. Underrated players and excellent manager. I thought he was done after the poor start but he held up, kept the faith and obviously has the respect of the players. Young guys Noble have a future and the lack of ‘names’ indicates some tactical and motivational talent.

Spurs

A lot of money spent on top of a lot of money spent. Some solid buys like Palencios. Harry undoubtedly improves teams and motivates players but he really needs to bring something greater than the FA Cup to a ‘big’ team like Spurs.

Wigan

Terrible team. Dull, attritional and ugly. But hey, they finished in a decent position and Bruce made players out Valencia, Scharner and Bramble. Bruce has nous, organisational skills and picks his tactics appropriately. He do a decent job at Sunderland. Whether Whelan will pick another Hutchings and Bruce will settle the season next year.

Fulham

Excellent season. Hodgson played pace upfront and solid hard-working creativity in the middle. Despite no real names, his team was pushing for Europe all season. Normally would put him down to struggle next season as he was doesn’t fully convince but the league is weak and poor.

Blackburn

Solid team with a boring manager yet pace upfront. Benny McCarthy will always score goals and the defence is strong. Allardyce may not a great manager but he knows how to keep teams up and balanced the ship after Ince’s predictable troubles.

Bolton

Almost see above, yet Megson will struggle next season. He simply doesn’t have the where-with-all to develop a team.

Man City

Despite all the money and attention, its easy to forget Man City. Some quality players especially in the likes of Elano etc. I am glad Kaka didn’t it. It gives the club some measure. The pressure on Hughes must be intense and I hope he personally succeeds but I have no time for clubs who sell out to tyrants.

Sunderland

Terrible season. Keane lost the plot, Ricky did well to keep them up in many ways but the team was adrift. Some seriously terrible signings from Keane and will need some team building over the summer.

Hull

Who can stand Phil Brown? Great start to the season and woeful end. The confidence flooded out of them and Brown could do nothing to avert it. Says alot about the respect the players had. Gonna be in trouble next season too.

Portsmouth

The personal highlight of the season for me was being at Fratton Park to see Newcastle destroy Adams’ tactically inept team. A selling team now with Defoe, Johnson and Diarra, they might struggle next season especially without a great manager.

Stoke

Good performance from a poor team, full of route-one, bully-boy tacticians. Will be a similar story next season.

West Brom

One of the few teams to come out of the season with credit. Mowbray’s honesty and belief in quality football is admirable and it almost kept his team up. Again his team was bascially full of Championship players but they were genuine, hard-working and creative.

Middlesborough

Time and the lack of quality caught up with Boro. Southgate’s faith in youth is impressive but in reality it belies a lack of quality and poor signings. Alves hasn’t provided the goals. The loyalty some of his players have shown indicates a decency at the heart of his managerial stance. They might struggle to come directly back up.

Newcastle United

In a league so full of poor teams, getting relegated with our quality says it all.

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