The best of 08-09 : EPL

24 05 2009

Fergie wins another titleAnd so, as Frank Sinatra once sang, we approach our final curtain, at least for the 2008/9 season. Here are the moments, good, bad and ugly that made this season so memorable. These are the things we’re going to recall when we think about this season, so sit back and take a jaunt down memory lane. Goodness knows a world where Kevin Keegan was still the messaiah, Juande Ramos was managing a North London club badly, and Scolari still seemed like the best coach in the world seems like quite a while ago now.

Hull Surprise Everyone
With them staring the prospect of relegation in the face on Sunday, its easy to forget how amazed we were when Hull did that well. In fact, there were predictions they’d “do a Derby”. They equalled Derby’s amount of wins from the previous season in just one week.

Man United save money on medical bills
In an attempt to save some money for the still ongoing Berbatov-saga, Man United decide to offload both Louis Saha (to Everton) and Mikel Silvestre (to Arsenal) leaving the United medical staff with just C-Ron to deal with. Both Saha and Silvestre suffer injuries within weeks at their new clubs.

The last-day of the transfer window madness
Last summer’s transfer window was the singular most boring transfer period in the history of the world. Will Ronaldo go to Real? Yes, no, yes says his gran, no says his sister, yes he wants to, no he’s staying etc. Will Gareth Barry join Liverpool? Yes, he wants to, No Liverpool spent all their money on Robbie Keane. Yes they still really want him. No Villa won’t sell him on the cheap. Will Lampard go to Inter, Yes he wants to rejoin Jose, No he’s happy where he is, yes, no yes no Etc.
Luckily we were saved by the singular most exciting last day of the transfer window in the history of the world. Man City got bought out in the middle of the night, so everyone woke up to the idea of Manchester City being the richest club in the world. Not only that but they were desperate to make their mark right away, and between trying to hijack Man United’s move for Berbatov (which finally went through about an hour after the deadline) they rescued Robinho, who’d been left up a certain creek without a certain paddle by Chelsea. Roman should have paid a bit extra for the Brazilian when you think about it, it might have cost him less in the long haul.

Kevin Keegan parts company with Newcastle United, Curbs with West Ham
The transfer window excitement didn’t end when the door slammed shut either – with Keegan and Curbs both ticked off that their players were being offered round the Premier League, they both got the hell out of their jobs. Newcastle struggled to replace Keegan (who lest we forget, looked quite good at the start of the season) and plummeted down the league and now into the second tire championships, while West Ham replaced Curbs with Zola who’s done a great job at West Ham.

Liverpool beat Man United, and then end Chelsea’s home record
Liverpool officially announced they would actually be title contenders this time around, firstly by beating Man United at Anfield, and then ending Chelsea’s incredible home record, something from which Scolari or Chelsea would never properly recover from. For ages the idea of Chelsea losing at home just seemed impossible, but now their was a visable chink in the armour.

John Terry’s “Tackle”
In a battle of the Nouveau Riche, Man City took on Chelsea, but you’ll remember is John Terry’s rugby tackle, which he was sent off for and subsequently appealed against, causing much arguments everywhere. It was overturned, much to Sir Alex Ferguson’s displeasure.

Phil Neville’s “Tackle”
Everton started the season very shakily indeed, but as they took on Man United, it was Everton who came out with the most credit. Phil Neville’s monsterous tackle on Ronaldo left the Portuguese wondering what the hell hit him, and seemed to not only rile United over the edge (Rooney was quickly subbed after kissing his badge at the Everton support) but seemed to fire up Everton for the rest of the season.

Mr Kinnear, meet the ladies and gentlemen of the press
Newcastle’s choice of replacement for Keegan met with much derision up and down the country. Joe Kinnear, who is best remembered for his time as manager of Wimbledon (aka The Crazy Gang) was presumably used to the madness. Except he clearly wasn’t expecting quite such a rough reception and launched into an incredible foul mouthed tirade, featuring more swaering than the entire Marty Scorsese back catalogue.

Spurs Sack Ramos and Time it Really Badly for Redknapp
Spurs finally lost patience with Juande Ramos, who had kept the club in the bottom three all season. He was quickly replaced by Harry Redknapp just days before he was given the freedom of Portsmouth for their FA Cup win the season before. The people of Portsmouth didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

David Bentley’s stunner against Arsenal
The whole match – one of a surprising number of 4-4’s involving Prem teams this year – was one to remember but it was marked with probably the goal of the season from David Bentley. A volly from absolute miles out, against his old club. Incredible.

Frank Lampard becomes the first midfielder to join club 100
With his 100th goal in the Premier League, Frank Lampard joined the very exclusive club of players who have scored 100 goals since it was meaninglessly rebranded into the Premier League. He had a wonderful season and sits just shy of 20 goals for the year.

Ronaldo coasts to the Ballon d’or, and every other trophy
With some inevitability after his previous season’s form, C-Ron walked away with every individual prize the game could find to throw his way. He’s going to have to fight harder for the future ones though. (Thanks to one Mr Leonel Messi!!!!)

Keane looks self in mirror, decides he’s not up to the task
Roy Keane seemed to go a bit crazy as 2008 came to a close, growing a horrendous beard, arguing with his players and announcing that he woke up every morning looked himself in the mirror and asked himself if he was up to the job of being Sunderland manager. One day, that answer was no, and he walked away. He’s become Ipswich manager since.

Rafa seems to lose his mind
Rafa decided that while he was enjoying the summit of the Premier League it would be a good time to treat Sir Alex Ferguson to some of his own medicine. Unfortunatly Rafa just came off as looking a bit crazy, with talks of dossiers and things. Liverpool promoptly drew a load of winnable games at home, which eventually cost them the title. Perhaps next year it’ll work better.

The Ricky Kaká affair
The entire winter seemed to be consumed with the prospect of Ricky Kaká leaving AC Milan and joining Manchester City for around £100m. It never happened, of course, but for a second there we all believed it. Pity it was all cleverly orchestrated by Silvio Berlusconi from the off, and Manchester City, just like the rest of us were taken along for the ride.

Arsene Wenger buys someone over 25. World dies of shock.
Not exactly renowned for buying players of age, to buy Andrei Arshavin, while the Russian international was at the peak of his powers was a surprising move from the French manager. It turned out he was in fact spot on, and once Arshavin got his match fitness, he proved brilliant to watch, and listen to on and off the pitch.

Robbie Keane goes back to Spurs
Gotta feel sorry for Robbie Keane. Leaves Spurs to join his childhood club, and then gets absolutely shafted by Rafa Benitez, who didn’t want him in the first place. The dream was quickly over and midseason he was sold straight back to where he came.

Scolari gets sacked at Chelsea
After just months in the job, Scolari is given his pay off and sent packing out of West London. Chelsea were slowly in freefall, and sat in fourth in the league. Guus Hiddink replaced him, albeit temporarily, and dragged Chelsea up to third, and briefly back into the title race, and has an FA Cup final date at the end of May.

Ronaldo vs Steven Taylor
A hilarious battle of wits, where the Newcastle defender called the Portuguese ugly, and the winger called the Newcastle defender a “rubbish footballer”. You couldn’t make it up.

Liverpool Slaughter Man United
They were too far behind to make a difference in the league, but no doubt Liverpool will have enjoyed demolishing Manchester United at Old Trafford, four goals to one. Nemandja Vidic, who all season looked like a brick wall, was suddenly made to look like a very average league two footballer thanks to a wonderful performance from Fernando Torres.

Alan Shearer becomes Newcastle’s Fourth manager of the Season
With Joe Kinnear undergoing heart sugary, Newcastle turned to Alan Shearer to get them out of the relegation mess they had found themselves in. So far he’s won just one match, and he’ll be need luck and every once of inspiration he has to keep his beloved club in the Premiership tomorrow.

From Russia With Love
Andrei Arshavin single handedly ends Liverpool’s title run for good, scoring all four of his shots in an incredible 4-4 draw with Liverpool.

Anything I missed? What will you take from this season?

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