The 2015/2016 Barclays Premier League season came to a close today and with many surprises already this season, it didn’t disappoint. The most surprising thing today was not with the fixtures however as all but one game was played today. As kick-off was about to take place around England, the Old Trafford game was delayed and then postponed due to an apparent bomb threat which later turned out to be a hoax.
Without further ado, let’s get down to the games of the season. It’s going to be a hard pick but fun nonetheless.
EVERTON 3 – 1 CHELSEA
There were signs that Chelsea, might just be losing their edge this season after a humbling defeat to Mancity, Crystal Palace (at Stamford Bridge) and a draw to Swansea left them with four points from their opening four games with their sole win coming away to West Brom. But something just seemed off that day. There was no willingness to run, no cohesiveness between team mates and no leadership.
Naismith came up from the bench in the first half and wrapped up a perfect hatrick. From that game onwards, you could sense that Chelsea won’t be retaining their title.
NORWICH 4 – 5 LIVERPOOL
A freak game. This was one of those games that lacked any sense of defending or willingness to win. Both defenders bet on which forwards would come on top; both forwards bet on which defence would come undone. This one lacked the quality of the North London derby that ended with the same scoreline over a decade ago.
Sebastian Bassong scored the equaliser to a Carrow Road uproar, an invaluable point in their all too similar battle for survival. But Adam Lallana had the final say, Liverpool forwards won their bet and Klopp needed new glasses.
TOTTENHAM 2 – 2 ARSENAL
Sometimes football breaks you into many pieces, even though you try so hard to stay put. The last time Spurs finished above Arsenal, Dele Alli wasn’t born. It’s remarkable then that after Coquelin got sent off; Harry Kane scored a beauty and was about to take Spurs to three precious point in their fight for the title. Regardless of this, there was still a feeling that even though Tottenham would have won that game, they’d still end up “choking” their way to another heart-ripping premier league finish.
They read the script and performed well as Sanchez grabbed an equaliser and Tottenham would end up finishing below Arsenal for the 21st season in a row.
MANCHESTER UNITED 3 – 2 ARSENAL
Arsenal shouldn’t be one to celebrate finishing above Tottenham though, and Wenger especially should cover his face in shame. This was the season (as we’ve so often said) but this was really the season Arsenal should have won the league. No fitness concerns, no big game blunders…nothing. Hell, of Leicester’s three defeats this season, Arsenal dished two of those.
So when Arsenal came to Old Trafford on a high and with the return of Welbeck there was a sense that they could actually beat United at Old Trafford for the first time in 8 years. Infact their astounding triumph against United earlier in the season, was their first in 8 premier league games; but like I said no one could have predicted what was coming.
A United side without the likes of Rooney, a teenager upfront, Michael Carrick at CB, beat Arsenal at Old Trafford…again. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise to be honest. In the 2013/2014 season when David Moyes was giving out points at Old Trafford to the likes of West Brom, Everton, e.t.c. Arsenal neglected to receive theirs both home and away.
MANCHESTER CITY 1 – 3 LEICESTER
Champions Leicester had by now already triumphed against Chelsea, Liverpool and even Spurs, but beating Man City at home seemed a bit far stretched.
An early goal from Robert Huth didn’t seem to do City’s confidence any good having not won against a top six side at the time in the league. Mahrez then added a spectacular second in PFA Player of the year style and by the time Huth added his second and Leicester’s third, even Aguero’s goal could not be seen as consolation. Leicester were dreaming and didn’t want to wake up.
SOUTHAMPTON 4 – 0 ARSENAL
Southampton were short of form, desperate for points and in need of some inspiration. Just 1 point from 6 games put everyone at St. Mary’s in Panic, Ronald Koeman was under pressure and couldn’t even buy a win that is of course until Wenger came and offered one. Southampton blew Arsenal away in the same manner they were known for under Koeman but that wasn’t the highlight.
Cuco Martina, a right back,scored one of the goals of the season to open the scoring on the night and he only had to beat Petr Cech. He’s the first person from Curaçao to score in the premier league and what a way to do it. Take a bow.
MANCHESTER CITY 1 – 4 LIVERPOOL
I remember saying City did not win a single game at the time against the top six teams in the league. Well make that top eight and add the solitary win to Southampton at the Etihad and you could clearly see why City and Pellegrini were in a hurry to wrap up a very dismal season by their standards.
Back when City barely broke a sweat to dismantle Chelsea at the Etihad earlier in the season, it seemed as though city were strolling to a third title in four years, well apparently they weren’t and it’s games like these that cost them dearly.
Jurgen Klopp’s blueprint was already showing on Liverpool at the time and how he bossed City at their background was a sign of things to come. This was the kind of team Klopp built at Dortmund that made him so successful. High pressing, counter-attacks, running and so on. City couldn’t cope and were effectively punished. With Firminio and Coutinho having a laugh with the City defence. Skrtel even had time to spare and scored a beauty.
CHELSEA 0 – 1 BOURNEMOUTH
If there was still any lingering support for Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, this was the game it evaporated. It came as no surprise then, that after his next defeat at the hands of Leicester, ironically by the man he succeeded as Chelsea boss back in 2004, he was sacked.
Just like the Everton game, it almost seemed as if Chelsea didn’t realise what was at stake. It was in December, and Chelsea were closer to the relegation zone than defending their title. All talk of defending their title was gone now and it was in this game, this shock amongst many shocks this season that seemed to be the final blow.
Promoted from the championship and in their 1st season in the premier league, Bournemouth were doing their part to stay up, and they beat Chelsea in their home. Astonishing. Bournemouth’s next game? A win against United.
LIVERPOOL 3 – 3 ARSENAL
This game didn’t boast two goals for Fernando Torres nor did it witness four goals from Arshavin, it certainly did not dent Liverpool’s chances of winning the league but it lived up to the standards of this season.
Firmino scored a beauty for his second goal of the game though its a shame he took his shirt off for his first goal because this was way better. Giroud scored two of his own for Arsenal to make 2-3, while Joe Allen (Yes he still plays football) scored a last gasp equaliser.
LEICESTER 2 – 2 WEST HAM
Leicester had pretty much won the league at this point, but it was not mathematically wrapped up yet. Going into this game they had to fend off the threat that Pochettino’s men posed. West Ham on the other had were fighting for a European spot to welcome their fans into the olympic stadium with. No pressure then Jon Moss
Referee Jon Moss was unfortunately at the center of various controversies during a game that needed extreme consistency. First of all Jamie Vardy was sent off on a second bookable offence for diving. Jon Moss then awarded West Ham a penalty which Andy Carroll scored and then looked to have given West Ham all three points until deep into injury time he awarded Leicester another penalty. Ulloa scored. 2-2.
It’s fair to say Jon Moss leaving the stadium was like Mark Fuhrman coming into court on the People v OJ Simpson series; both parties wanted nothing to do with him.
BOURNEMOUTH 3 – 3 EVERTON
There are so many games to choose from that defines Everton’s disastrous season. Honestly it was either this or the West Ham game were they lost again at home having led 2-0. The pick eventually goes to this game. Everton found it difficult to close games out this season just like the 3-3 draw at Chelsea or the 3-4 home defeat to Stoke (I told you there were many games). Stoke were brilliant on the day and it proved an exciting fixture for the neutrals but bar an outrageous chip from Shaqiri, there wasn’t really much Stoke did going forward.
When Bournemouth lost Callum Wilson and Max Gradel for the season, it was impossible to see them getting the necessary goals that would ensure their survival. After half time that seemed to be the case with goals from Funes Mori and Lukaku.
Then the last 10 minutes of the game came along and Everton began to panic. Two goals from Smith and Stanislas looked okay for a Bournemouth draw, but then Ross Barkley scored yet again to put Everton 2-3 up. The script was to be re-written once more as Stanislas tucked home the final goal of the game.
CHELSEA 2 – 2 TOTTENHAM
I’m not going to tell which player wasn’t born in the current Tottenham squad the last time they won at Stamford Bridge, that’ll be too cruel. What I can say however is it’s been 26years since their last victory there and this was probably the best chance they had to end that hoodoo in recent memory.
Spurs had to win to ensure they push Leicester all the way. 2-0 up, they were cruising without the suspended Dele Alli. They’ve already dropped points against West Brom in their previous game and Leicester were now running away with it. Be cool, focused and determined like they’ve done all season and they might make history. Spurs where involved in spats, brawls and unnecessary confrontations. Dembele scratched the eyes of Costa and was duly banned for six games by the FA after the game.
Spurs desperately searched for a third goal to kill off the game but as soon as Chelsea began applying pressure, Tottenham caved. After Cahill scored to reduce the deficit, it was a matter of when not if Chelsea would add another.
Enter Eden Hazard, Last year’s PFA player of the year, missing throughout the season due to an inexplicable dip in form picks up the ball and curls a delightful goal into the left side of Lloris’ post cue Spurs tears and Leicester cheers. Just like last season he decided were the league would end up. Hazard form temporary, Tottenham choke permanent.
NEWCASTLE 5 – 1 TOTTENHAM
Sure Tottenham had lost the league, okay they lost at home to Southampton after the Chelsea game but they were the only ones who really sought to challenge Leicester this season and that deserves credit. Spurs looked to end the season on a high and finish above rivals Arsenal for the first time in 21years and all they needed was one measly point against relegated Newcastle. They couldn’t.
2-0 down at half time, Spurs grabbed a goal back and suddenly it looked like the gods were in their favour when Mitrovic received a red card. Arsenal on the other hand were thumping relegated Aston Villa. In a freakish turn of events, Spurs didn’t add to their tally but Newcastle instead added the 3rd, 4th and 5th goals to send their fans home happy with hope that they can bounce back very quickly to the premier league.
Meanwhile Arsenal finished above Tottenham again. “St. Totteringham Day” as it’s called.