EPL review - Chelsea stroll to success

In the bowels of the Etihad Stadium, “incredibly dull” was the assessment of a fellow scribe on the Premier League season, writes Alam Khan.

Alam Khan
by Alam Khan
28th May 2015

article:28th May 2015

Team of the season: Chelsea.
Team of the season: Chelsea.

In the bowels of the Etihad Stadium, “incredibly dull” was the assessment of a fellow scribe on the Premier League season.

– FIFA officials arrested in Zurich on US corruption charges
– UEFA calls for FIFA presidential election to be postponed
– South Africa World Cup “won with $10 million in bribes”

He was not alone in feeling so flat as this was one of the most uninspired, deflating campaigns in recent memory.

Perhaps we have been spoilt by the cliff-hanging, tense final-day games to determine the champions.

This title race was over by January as Manchester City went from joint-leaders with Chelsea to struggling to stay in the top four after a run of four games that garnered just three points.

As they, and Arsenal faltered, Chelsea remained formidable to lift their first championship since 2010 – and a decade on from when Jose Mourinho enjoyed his first with them.

The Blues were equally superior this time around with team unity, tactics and all-round talent proving their biggest strength as they started stylishly and were steely defensively in the run-in. Just three defeats and crucially, they did not lose to any their main rivals.

For City, they scored the most goals (83) and looked good during a nine-match winning run, but dropping nine points to relegated sides QPR, Burnley and Hull proved damaging to their title defence.

Arsenal never recovered from a bad start and injuries to Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud, but a late charge offers promise of a better challenge next season.

For Manchester United, a season of transition saw them finish fourth and achieve their aim of getting back into the Champions League.

With changing formations and big names, like Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao flopping, performances were often dire, but, ‘pay attention to the manager’, Louis van Gaal now has the foundations in place to build for better.

The same can’t be said for Liverpool as the empire that Brendan Rodgers wanted to build is crumbling. Signings such as Mario Balotelli did not work and, as Steven Gerrard bade farewell following a sorry 6-1 loss at Stoke, his manager could also exit Anfield if the owners lose faith over a sixth-placed finish.

Ambition has been replaced by uncertainty.Spurs and Southampton impressed at times and flirted with the top four, but never had the belief, nor brilliance, to succeed.

Garry Monk and Mark Hughes deserve credit after guiding Swansea and Stoke into the top 10, while Alan Pardew and Tony Pulis turned Crystal Palace and West Brom’s seasons around after relegation fears.

It was left to the bottom sides to provide the drama in the last month. Nigel Pearson didn’t endear himself with his abrasive approach, but he dragged Leicester to safety. 

From 11 losses and two draws in 13 games, they won seven of their last nine to finish 14th.

Tim Sherwood and former UAE coach Dick Advocaat also deserve credit for coming in and keeping Aston Villa and Sunderland up.

From doom and gloom, there was delight for the Toon as Newcastle won a decisive last match against West Ham to beat the drop. Cue much relief for owner Mike Ashley.

Hull started the season in the Europa League, but ended in the Championship.

Just 28 goals played a part in Burnley’s downfall despite a brave fight, but QPR showed very little of that.

Player of the season


John Terry pushed him close, but the Belgian was a matchwinner when Chelsea needed one and added consistency to class. Where once he might have gone missing, he provided the magic.

Best young player


Led the line for
Spurs with a maturity that belied his 21 years.

Best signing


Sanchez starred for Arsenal, but Leicester’s free transfer signing of Cambiasso, 34, from Internazionale was astute. Provided composure and quality in his side’s survival battle.