This past Sunday saw the Premier League’s 20 teams trot out on to the pitch for the final time this season. Now, with their sponsor-approved suitcases packed for summer, it’s time to reflect on a controversy-filled nine months that has yielded some fascinating talking points. Rory Smith, football correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, looks back on the lessons we’ve learned from another enthralling campaign.
1. “Fernando Torres leaving Liverpool on deadline day in the January transfer window could have been followed by obituaries about a fallen empire. But because owner John W Henry spent the £50m Chelsea paid on Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez, he turned ‘the day Liverpool died’ into ‘the day they were reborn’.”
2. “Torres will eventually come good for Chelsea, but the problem that owner Roman Abramovich gave manager Carlo Ancelotti was that for four months he had to shoehorn Torres and Didier Drogba into a team when they couldn’t play together. It showed the problems that arise when owners have an undue influence on team selection.”
3. “These days, there are not that many truly world-class players, meaning teams have had to do all they can to keep the ones they have. Players such as Carlos Tevez at Manchester City and Wayne Rooney at Manchester United have both said they were going to leave their clubs this season. It’s sad — not to mention worrying — that even these big clubs can’t secure the loyalty of the players.”
4. “It wouldn’t have taken much for Manchester City to win the title. Next year, United won’t make the same mistakes again, Chelsea will be stronger and Liverpool will be back competing. Money will eventually buy you what you want, yet you can’t help but feel that City missed their best chance.”
5. “English football is in decline after the highs of 2008 and 2009. Man United and Chelsea are getting worse and that has rippled down the league. Although the promoted teams — Newcastle, West Brom and Blackpool — competed well this season, they’re not much better than most promoted teams from years gone by. It’s just that the teams they’ve been playing haven’t been quite as good.”
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