With the Barclays Premier League finished for another year Sam Cooper takes a look back at what has surely been an eventful season.
The 2008/2009 season sure has been a rollercoaster of a season but who were the heroes? Who were the villains? Which match changed the season?, The Daily Dust reviews the season in full.
Champions - Manchester United
Runners Up – Liverpool
Champions League - Chelsea & Arsenal
Europa League – Everton, Aston Villa & Fulham
Relegated – Newcastle United, Middlesbrough & West Bromwich Albion
That’s the way in finished in terms of league positions but what about the matches themselves? Which matches were pivotal? Which matches were gripping? And which were like watching paint dry?
Most Entertaining Game
Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal
There were so many to choose from but I think that this one just nicks it. In terms of pure entertainment value for a neutral what more can you ask for?
January signing Andrey Arshavin grabbed all four goals for the Gunners and looked to have won it for the visitors only for Yossi Benayoun to go down the other end and score yet another late equaliser for the Reds.
Least Entertaining Game
Wigan 0-0 Bolton
With both sides near enough safe in the Premier League, Wigan and Bolton met at the JJB Stadium.
The game didn’t see a single shot on target!
Most Memorable Game
Manchester United 3-2 Aston Villa
Widely regarded as the game that won Manchester United the Premier League title.
Deep into stoppage time, United had drew the game level at 2-2 and up stepped 17-year-old Federico Macheda to curl the ball past the outstretched arm of Villa ‘keeper Brad Friedel and give the Champions the three points.
Most Forgotten Game
Arsenal 3-0 Burnley
Following the heavy snow in early February, Arsenal’s FA Cup run was delayed after their Fourth Round tie with Cardiff City was postponed.
This meant the Gunners played their Fifth Round tie against Burnley whilst others played their Sixth Round ties.
The game was all but over after 25 minutes when youngster Carlos Vela put the home side ahead.
That’s the league positions and the games done but what about the goals? Which were the screamers? Which changed the final league table?
Goal of the Season
Glen Johnson vs Hull City (22 November)
Following a long clearance by Hull City, Glen Johnson chested the ball down on the half way line and made a surging run into the visitors half.
Then, from around 35 yards, the England full back fired home a stunning strike into the top corner.
Most Significant Goal
Federico Macheda vs Aston Villa (5 April)
There were lots of goals this season where one could have thought “That changed it” but this one stands out as the goal which did “change it” for me.
Having taken the lead, United found themselves 2-1 down with just ten minutes to go and Ronaldo looked to have salvaged a point for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
But when the ball fell to 17-year-old substitute Federico Macheda in the box, he turned and guided the ball past Friedel to give the defending champions all three points.
Best Free Kick
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Blackburn (21 February)
Cristiano Ronaldo never fails to impress fro set pieces.
When United were awarded a free kick just outside the box, about 18 yards from goal, the FIFA World Player of the Year 2008, only had one thing on his mind, shoot.
Whilst others might well have crossed the ball, Ronaldo struck the ball with such venom and power that Blackburn ‘keeper Paul Robinson stood no chance.
OK so that’s the league postions, games and goals done but what about the more alternative moments and categories?
Most Underrated Manager
Roy Hodgson – Fulham
Following on from last seasons survival by just three goals, Fulham manager Roy Hodgson, re-bulstered his squad with the additions of players such as Bobby Zamora, Zoltan Gera and the loan of former Leeds midfield Oliver Dacourt.
He managed to guide Fulham to their highest ever league position this season and because the FA Cup Finalists (Chelsea & Everton) are both in the top six, they have qualified to play in the Europa League next season.
Most Underrated Player
Yossi Benayoun – Liverpool
Despite the Reds missing out on silverware this season, Benayoun has been the scorer of so many important goals for Liverpool this season.
Back in December the Israeli midfielder headed home a Fabio Aurellio in the 82nd minute of Liverpool’s Champions League tie with Real Madrid, to give the Reds a 1-0 win.
He was at it again in April. Firstly, he came off the bench to score the winner in a 1-0 victory at Fulham and he also bagged the equaliser in the 4-4 dramatic draw with Arsenal just 17 days later.
Jon Utaka – Blackburn vs Portsmouth (9 May)
2-0 down at Ewood Park, Portsmouth were given a lifeline back into the game when they were awarded a penalty, after Andrews handled Kanu’s cross in the box.
Pompey striker stepped up to take the spot kick and probably woudn’t have scored had there been another net on top of the one that was there!
The ‘Also Ran’ of the Season
There were quite a few forgotten teams this season but I think that the ultimate ‘also ran’ this season has to be Bolton Wanderers.
Gary Megson’s side won 11, lost 19 and drew eight, which made them finish 13th and having tied up their Premier League survival a few weeks before the final day, Bolton suddenly became forgotten.
And finally for the heroes and villains of what has been a rollercoaster of a season.
Hero of the Season
Wayne Rooney – Manchester United
Might seem an obvious choice but Rooney had a fantastic end to the season and played a vital part in United’s defence of their title.
Villain of the Season
Emmanuel Adebayor – Arsenal
“I’m going to Milan,” “No I’m not.” Had a nightmare of a season following the fall down of his move to AC Milan and will more than likely be leaving the Emirates this summer.
So that’s it for another season in the Premier League and next season is sure to be another up and down season. Newcastle, Middlesborough and West Brom will be replaced by Wolves, Birmingham and Burnley for what promises to be an eventful 2009/2010.