Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pennant Fever

We didn't post anything on this year's pennant race in the English Premier League because it was incredibly boring.  Here's the basic story:

1.  Jose Mourinho is one of the greatest managers in the world.  In 2004-05, he came to Chelsea, and that season Chelsea won the English championship for the first time in 50 years.  The next year they won the league championship again.  The next year they came in second.  The next season Mourinho was forced out in late September.

2.  Mourinho went to Italy, where he won the European championship with Internazionale.  Meanwhile, Chelsea went through a number of different managers.  They won the league in 2009-10, and the won the European Championship in 2011-12, but they didn't return to the dominant form they had enjoyed under Mourinho.

3.  Meanwhile, Mourinho moved on to Real Madrid, where he left after three story seasons.  (He's great but controversial.)

4.  This brought Mourinho back to Chelsea for the 2013-14 season.  Last year he took them to a third-place finish.

5.  But this year, he had everything clicking again, and Chelsea ran off and left everyone.

6.  Meanwhile, Man Utd had a new manager -- Louis van Gaal -- who steered the Red Devils into the fourth-place finish they needed to return to the Champions League.

7.  Pity the Sunderland fans, who sat through 17 draws in 38 games.  But don't pity them too much, because Sunderland did avoid relegation.

Here are the final standings.  Teams in bold will be in next year's Champions League.  Teams in italics have been relegated:

1.  Chelsea:  26-3-9 (87 points)
2.  Manchester City:  24-7-7 (79)
3.  Arsenal:  22-7-9 (75)
4.  Manchester Utd:  20-8-10 (70)
5.  Tottenham Hotspur:  19-12-7 (64)
6.  Liverpool:  18-12-8 (62)
7.  Southampton:  18-14-6 (60)
8.  Swansea City:  16-14-8 (56)
9.  Stoke City:  15-14-9 (54)
10.  Crystal Palace:  13-16-9 (48)
11.  Everton:  12-15-11 (47) (goal difference of -2)
12.  West Ham Utd:  12-15-11 (47) (goal difference of -3)
13.  West Bromwich Albion:  11-16-11 (44)
14.  Leicester City:  11-19-8 (41)
15.  Newcastle Utd:  10-19-9 (39)
16.  Sunderland:  7-14-17 (38) (goal difference of -22)
17.  Aston Villa:  10-20-8 (38) (goal difference of -26)
18.  Hull City:  8-19-11 (35)
19.  Burnley:  7-19-12 (33)
20.  Queens Park Rangers:  8-24-6 (30)

The F.A. Cup Final took place earlier today.  For some reason, the F.A. Cup Final often features a high-powered Champions' League qualifier against a club that battled relegation.  This year the the high-flyer was Arsenal and the underdog was Aston Villa.  Sometimes these games are close.  This one was not.  The Gunners won 4-0 to capture their second F.A. Cup in a row.  It was the biggest margin in the F.A. Cup Final since Man Utd beat Chelsea 4-0 way back in 1994.  Here was Arsenal's path to the title (home teams listed first).  (Note:  Arsenal had a bye to the third round).  As you can see, the high point of the tournament was Arsenal's quarter-final win at Manchester United:

01/04/15 (3d Round):  Arsenal 2 - 0 Hull City
01/25/15 (4th Round):  Brighton & Hove Albion 2 - 3 Arsenal
02/15/15 (5th Round):  Arsenal 2 - 0 Middlesbrough
03/09/15 (6th Round):  Manchester 1 - 2 Arsenal
04/18/15 (Semi-Final) (Wembley):  Reading 1 - 2 Arsenal (after extra time)
05/30/15 (Final) (Wembley):  Arsenal 4 - 0 Aston Villa

1 comment:

  1. It's great that you posted this check-in, even though the season was so boring. It's good to have it recorded at the HP.