Premier League under and over achievers

Written by Liam Ray

This season has been like no other in the Barclays Premier League. We’ve seen battles for the title, top four, Europa League places and survival all come down to the final few weeks as well as a number of strange off field antics.

Manchester City took this home but what are the top five moments?

There was the infamous Alan Pardew headbutt on Hull’s David Meyler for which he received an seven game ban and a £60,000 fine and Nicolas Anelka’s quenelle gesture which led to a hefty suspension and, ultimately, his sacking from West Brom.

With others like Chelsea coach Rui Faria and Cardiff’s controversial owner Vincent Tan making a mockery of themselves, it’s a good job that what happens on the pitch is the stuff which matters.

No other team can describe themselves as overachievers more than Crystal Palace who ended up finishing 11th in the table after a rotten start to the season.

They parted company with charismatic head coach Ian Holloway in October and decided to go for a man who had never suffered relegation in his managerial career.

Former Stoke City manager Tony Pulis came in with the club bottom of the league but he had a clear agenda to transform the London side.

He made them defensively solid and therefore a lot harder to beat and also managed to pick up some eye catching results along the way with wins against Chelsea and Everton and a comeback draw against Liverpool.

With signings like Tom Ince, Scott Dann, Joe Ledley and the form of Mile Jedinak in midfield and Jason Puncheon out wide, it’s no surprise that Pulis managed to turn Palace into mid table finishers.

At the top of the league however, followers of the Premier League would have been very surprised to see Liverpool battling for the title until the final day.

The Merseyside club had been tipped to mount a serious challenge for the Champions League spots but after a strong run of results between March and April, the Reds were left dreaming about a first league title in 24 years.

If it wasn’t for a Mourinho masterclass when Chelsea visited Anfield and won 2-0 a few weeks ago, then we could well have seen Steven Gerrard lift his first ever Premier League title.

Despite the disappointment, you can take nothing away from Liverpool’s sensational climb to 2nd in the league and if they manage to fend off interest in player of year Luis Suarez, then who knows: they could be challenging again next season.

In terms of clubs not finishing exactly where they would like, a prime example would be Chelsea. With the return of the “Special One”, expectation was high.

Despite a fantastic record against the other top three sides (Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal), Chelsea found themselves dropping needless points against teams like Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa to name but a few.

A 3rd place finish was probably what Mourinho expected of his “little horse” but with a solid back four and creativity in abundance with the likes of Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle and Willian, some would have envisaged a better performance by the Blues.

However, it was Manchester United and David Moyes who were the biggest downfall of the season

The Red Devils finished 7th: their lowest finish in Premier League history. The start to the post Sir Alex Ferguson era was not expected to be as turbulent as this season has unfolded.

Their home record was abysmal by their high standards with defeats to Newcastle United, West Brom and Sunderland.

Compounding that were heavy defeats to close rivals Liverpool and Manchester City and

Moyes paid the price for their awful campaign.

But with the imminent arrival of Louis Van Gaal, things will hopefully take a turn for the better in the eyes of the United faithful.

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