The 2011 Premier League season has come to an end and the winners and losers have been decided. On this week’s main report we take a look back at some of the highs and lows of the English football season. There is a transcript below, while explanations of key vocabulary (in bold) can be found at the foot of the post, while other key phrases (in blue) also have meanings explained.
The 2010-11 champions are of course Manchester United who eventually finished nine points clear of runners-up Chelsea to win their 19th league title – which is a record. It was United’s year despite some pundits questioning whether this team was as good as previous sides. Their away form was not the best but they managed to win all but one of their home matches – very impressive indeed. United also had the league’s joint top goalscorer in Dimitar Berbatov – he managed 20 goals but you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who saw the Bulgarian as the Red Devils’ player of the season. That accolade would probably go to evergreen Ryan Giggs who won his 12th title, a fired-up Wayne Rooney, captain of the side Nemanjar Vidic or bargain of the season Javier Hernandez. ‘Chicharito‘, with his 13 league goals, was seen by many as the buy of the year although Dutch master Rafael Van de Vaart sparkled at Spurs, Luis Suarez shone at Anfield in his short time there, while the expensive Manchester City duo of David Silva and Ya Ya Toure did more than enough to justify their expensive transfer fees and salaries.
Talking of City, they can look back at the season as one that confirmed that they will be challenging for major honours over the next few years. The Sky Blues finished third, won the FA Cup after beating Stoke City – their first trophy in 35 years – had the other joint top scorer of the league in Carlos Tevez, as well as the Golden Glove award winner between the posts in Joe Hart who kept 18 clean sheets. If 3rd was deemed a success for City, 2nd was seen as a failure for Abramovic’ Chelsea who fired manager Carlo Ancelotti for not delivering the much coveted Champions League title or a second successive title. Despite spending £70 million on two players in January it seems that Chelsea may have to wait a while for more league success. The North London sides had their moments but both tailed off to leave their fans feeling a little frustrated, especially Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal who threatened to take the title only to suffer yet another end of season collapse which saw the Gunners finish in 4th place, one above rivals Spurs.
This year’s relegation battle was one of the closest ever with five teams battling to escape the drop on the final day. Unfortunately for Birmingham and the much-loved Blackpool they were unable to survive. In a season when 1,063 goals were scored – a new Premier League record – the Blues were the lowest scorers in the league – they only found the net a paltry 37 times, while Blackpool managed 55 goals which was the highest total for a team to be relegated. Wigan stay in the top flight for the 7th year running, while Wolves and Blackburn also live to fight another season. That cannot be said of East London side West Ham who were relegated with a dismal total of 33 points. Remarkably, their team included the Premier League Player of the Year in Scott Parker, as well as a host of other top internationals. Many blamed the manager Avram Grant, though most felt he did not deserve the way he was sacked on the penultimate day of the season. With huge debts, an exodus of players and a new stadium to fill, it could be a while before the Hammers return to top flight football.
you would be hard-pressed to: It would be difficult to find
accolade : award, honour
evergreen: Despite being a veteran he appears as if he will never retire
Chicharito: Nickname of Mexican striker Javier Hernandez
between the posts: The goalkeeper
clean sheets: No goals conceded
tailed off: Started well but then lost impetus or momentum
to escape the drop : To avoid relegation
paltry: Very few, hardly any
dismal : Poor, a bad performance
a host of: A lot of
the penultimate day : The second last day
the Hammers : The nickname of West Ham United