It will forever be remembered as Manchester United’s season. In more ways than one.
United lifted their 12th Premier League trophy on Sunday and fittingly closed the chapter on what was a breathtaking season in England and whether you’re a United fan or not, 2010/11 will forever be linked with the goings-on at Old Trafford.
It was a season that saw the most Premier League goals ever in a 38-match season. Now 1063 goals is a lot to remember and realistically when each of us look back at the 2010/11 Premier League season in years to come we may likely only recall about a dozen moments.
You’ll remember October 2010 as the month Wayne Rooney became a worldwide phenom without doing anything with a football. Rooney’s comments were discussed across the globe, as he brought into question the ambitions of one of the most successful clubs in sports. Ultimately that may look misguided at this stage but it is important to forever remember that moment as a time that a greedy footballer needed to do whatever he could to get more money.
You may remember one or two of Dimitar Berbatov’s goals against Blackburn on November 27th when he joined Alan Shearer, Andy Cole and Jermain Defoe as the only players to score five in a Premier League match and stored in your memory between Rooney and Berbatov’s moments you’ll look back at one of the most bizarre goals you’ll ever see when Nani scored against Tottenham at Old Trafford.
And then there was of course that overhead kick. Rooney, who didn’t score a goal from open-play until January, found his form in 2011 and his crowning moment came at home against ‘the noisy neigbours’ when he scored one of the best goals you’ll ever see.
WINNERS – MANCHESTER UNITED
Season in a sentence – Although just an average team away from home, United were one of the best home teams in league history and won the title in a year where a new generation of stars were created.
Key Stats – Became the first team to win 15 straight at home in the PL-era and won 18 and drew 1 of their 19 home matches.
- Nemanja Vidic
- Ryan Giggs
- Javier Hernandez
Realistic signing this summer – Wesley Sneijder
2ND PLACE – CHELSEA
Season in a sentence – Once again Chelsea showed their ability to be a team during the best of times but not the worst of times, showing incredible signs of fragility when things didn’t go their way that led to extended runs of poor form.
Key Stats – Their total of 71pts was the worst final points tally in a season since Roman Abramovich bought the club. Carlo Ancelotti’s team scored 172 goals in 76 matches while he was in charge.
- Petr Cech
- John Terry
- Ashley Cole
Realistic signing this summer – Neymar
Season in a sentence – Another team in Manchester who got over a public spat with their best player, City took great inroads during this year to get to where they want to be one day, winning the FA Cup and qualifying for the Champions League while sticking to the philosophies of manager Roberto Mancini.
Key Stats – Conceded a top flight club record low 33 goals; Carlos Tevez has scored 43 PL goals for City in the last two seasons (no other player in the league has that many during that time).
- Vincent Kompany
- Carlos Tevez
- Yaya Toure
Realistic signing this summer – Luka Modric
4TH PLACE – ARSENAL
Season in a sentence – Despite what Arsene Wenger says about his players, they weren’t fantastic all season and it was a year that can only be described as poor for a football club with as much talent and ambition as the Gunners.
Key Stats – Miss out on the top two for a 6th straight season; do not win 20 games for the second time in last 14 under Wenger; Robin van Persie scores 18 PL goals in 17 games in 2011.
- Robin van Persie
- Samir Nasri
- Jack Wilshere
Realistic signing this summer – Gary Cahill
5TH PLACE – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Season in a sentence – Tottenham failed to reach the glory of the top four this year but remained one of the most attractive sides to watch in Europe, but the trouble is they can beat AC Milan one week and lose to Blackpool the next.
Key Stats – Finish the season unbeaten at home in 17 straight games, only Wigan came to White Hart Lane and won this season; no striker finished the campaign with double-digit goals (Pavlyuchenko 9, Defoe 4 & Crouch 4)
- Luka Modric
- Rafael van der Vaart
- Gareth Bale
Realistic signing this summer – Shay Given
6TH PLACE – LIVERPOOL
Season in a sentence – They started the year in a world of debt with a manager the fans didn’t like under ownership they detested and ended the year with a club legend as manager under wealthy owners who are willing to spend and who the fans are warming to.
Key Stats – Finish out of the top 5 for the second successive season – first time that has happened since 1993-94 when they finished 8th after finishing 6th the previous year. 33pts in 18 games under Dalglish; 25pts in 20 games under Hodgson.
- Dirk Kuyt
- Jamie Carragher
- Lucas Leiva
Realistic signing this summer – Ashley Young
7TH PLACE – EVERTON
Season in a sentence – Their annual good run after New Year lifted them up to a seventh place finish but their desperate need for a goalscorer was evident all season long.
Key Stats – Scored more than one goal in a game in just 17 of 38 league matches; Leighton Baines played every single minute of every match this season (Martin Skrtel was the only other outfield player to do so).
- Leighton Baines
- Sylvain Distin
- Tim Howard
Realistic signing this summer – Jay Bothroyd
8TH PLACE – FULHAM
Season in a sentence – After spending the first five months in a relegation battle, the Cottagers kicked into a different gear in 2011 and were a match for many in the second half of the season as Mark Hughes allowed his team to open up and build on their solid foundations at the back.
Key Stats – 19pts from their first 19 games; 30 points from their final 19 games. Clint Dempsey became the club’s all-time leading goalscorer in the PL with 33 goals.
- Clint Dempsey
- Brede Hangeland
- Moussa Dembele
Realistic signing this summer – Shaun Wright-Phillips
9TH PLACE – ASTON VILLA
Season in a sentence – Although they were hampered by turnover in the manager’s spot throughout the season, the facts were that Villa were woeful at defending for a large part of the campaign and needed to spend the cash on Darren Bent to save them from possible relegation.
Key Stats – 59 goals in total and an average of 1.55 goals per game represent the club’s worst defensive record in the PL-era. Lost a PL-high 26pts from winning positions this season.
- Ashley Young
- Stewart Downing
- Darren Bent
Realistic signing this summer – Christopher Samba
10TH PLACE – SUNDERLAND
Season in a sentence – This was a team who were good enough to win at Chelsea by three goals and bad enough to lose at home to Fulham by three goals.
Key Stats – Played 15 matches once they sold Darren Bent and lost 10 of them, gaining just 13 points during that stretch; were 2nd to Aston Villa in points lost from winning positions (23).
- Phil Bardsley
- Jordan Henderson
- Asamoah Gyan
Realistic signing this summer – Carlton Cole
11TH PLACE – WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Season in a sentence – Rescued by Roy Hodgson, Albion produced some stunning results in March and April that not only climbed them above the relegation battle but also put them in the comforts of mid-table.
Key Stats – Conceded in all 19 away matches of their season; finished in their highest position in the top flight since 1982-83.
- Peter Odemwingie
- Chris Brunt
- Youssuf Mulumbu
Realistic signing this summer – Zoltan Gera
12th place – NEWCASTLE UNITED
Season in a sentence – Newcastle tried to cause their usual firestorm by losing their manager and best striker this season but realistically they never looked like going down all year and finished comfortably in mid-table in their first year back.
Key Stats – Despite winning just six home games, they scored more than 40 PL goals at St James’ Park for the first time in 10 years including four in a game where they became the first team in PL history to not lose a match when being four goals behind (vs Arsenal in February).
- Kevin Nolan
- Joey Barton
- Cheik Tiote
Realistic signing this summer – Matthew Upson
13th place – STOKE CITY
Season in a sentence – One of the best run clubs from top to bottom in the whole of England had another outstanding season that brought them a trip to the FA Cup final and safety in the Premier League as early as the middle of April.
Key Stats – One of just seven teams to win 10 or more games at home; never lost a PL match all season once they led in it.
- Robert Huth
- Matthew Etherington
- Kenwyne Jones
Realistic signing this summer – John Carew
14th place – BOLTON WANDERERS
Season in a sentence – They started the season poorly and ended the season in even worse form but in the middle produced some outstanding results that guaranteed survival with over two months to go.
Key Stats – Scored 52 goals – the most in the top-flight since 1978-79 and had 16 different goalscorers including Daniel Sturridge, on loan from Chelsea, who scored eight goals in 12 games.
- Gary Cahill
- Daniel Sturridge
- Kevin Davies
Realistic signing this summer – Richard Dunne
15TH PLACE – BLACKBURN ROVERS
Season in a sentence – A miserable year at Ewood Park full of controversial decisions by new ownership ended on a high as they thumped Wolves to avoid relegation on the last day of the season.
Key Stats – The only team in the league who didn’t have a player score more than five goals this season; won 5 of 21 games under Steve Kean and picked up 22 pts after Sam Allardyce had won 21pts in 17 matches prior to his firing.
- Christopher Samba
- Paul Robinson
- Junior Hoilett
Realistic signing this summer – DJ Campbell
16th place – WIGAN ATHLETIC
Season in a sentence – Roberto Martinez’s side looked doomed for most of the season but found their best form at the end of the year and finished a respectable 16th even after being 19th at half-time in their final match.
Key Stats – Their victory at Stoke on the last day featured their first clean sheet on their travels in over five months and gave them back-to-back wins for the first time all season. Won just six of their first 32 matches but won three of their last six.
- Charles N’Zogbia
- Ali Al Habsi
- Hugo Rodallega
Realistic signing this summer – Ali Al Habsi
17th place – WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS
Season in a sentence – They spent 10 months in and out of the bottom three and with five minutes remaining in their final match of the season they made their final move as Stephen Hunt’s second goal – in a 3-2 loss at home – put them 17th for good.
Key Stats – Only team in the Premier League to lose as many as 20 matches; became the first club since Everton last season to defeat Manchester Utd and Chelsea at home.
Three Stars -
- Matthew Jarvis
- Steven Fletcher
- Karl Henry
Realistic signing this summer – Scott Dann
18th place – BIRMINGHAM CITY
Season in a sentence – Lifted their first trophy since 1963 but their major signings failed them all year and ultimately their season ended in massive disappointment as they suffered relegation on the final day.
Key Stats – Only team in the league to average less than a goal per game (37); won just 2 away matches all season – both at the teams who finished below them in the league; picked up just one point in the last six weeks of the season.
- Ben Foster
- Roger Johnson
- Craig Gardner
Player that will definitely leave this summer – Ben Foster
19th place – BLACKPOOL
Season in a sentence – Fans of the English Premier League all over the world owe Blackpool and their manager Ian Holloway a tremendous amount of gratitude for their attractive brand of football and their innocence that is lost amongst big timers these days. It was a pleasure.
Key Stats – Conceded more goals than any team (78) but also become the first time in PL history to be relegated scoring 55 goals.
- Charlie Adam
- DJ Campbell
- Gary Taylor-Fletcher
Player that will definitely leave this summer – Charlie Adam
20th place – WEST HAM UNITED
Season in a sentence – A truly miserable campaign from start to finish that was littered with poor defensive mistakes and poor personnel decisions by senior management.
Key Stats – Finished bottom of the league for the first time in 19 years; conceded 21 goals in seven and a half matches after leading 2-0 vs Manchester United on April 2nd.
- Scott Parker
- Robert Green
- Mark Noble
Player that will definitely leave this summer – Scott Parker
Feel free to add any more of your observations or write some for clubs that you may not disagree with. Thanks for taking the time to read the notebook all season long.