2007-2008: Ronaldo in peak form
|Champions||Manchester United||Biggest Win||Middlesbrough 8-1 Manchester City|
|Runners-Up||Chelsea||Highest Scoring Game||Portsmouth 7-4 Reading|
|Third Place||Arsenal||Top Goalscorer||Cristiano Ronaldo (31)|
|Relegated||Reading, Birmingham City, Derby County||Goals Scored||1002|
The 2007-2008 Premier League season was all about one club and one player. Cristiano Ronaldo was at the peak of his powers, sweeping the major awards again and finishing as the Premier League’s top goalscorer with 31 goals.
Ronaldo’s amazing performances, supported ably by Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez made defending champions Manchester United tough to beat. However, they had to see off some stern challenges from the capital clubs, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Arsenal topped the table at the halfway point but suffered a severe setback in February away to Birmingham City. Croatian forward Eduardo suffered a broken leg in the very first minute after a terrible tackle from Birmingham defender Martin Taylor. The Arsenal players looked distressed as they saw how bad the injury was. William Gallas threw a public strop when the Gunners’ conceded a stoppage-time penalty and after the 2-2 draw, Arsene Wenger made some unsatisfactory comments about Taylor, saying “he should never play football again” before later retracting this statement. Psychologically, Arsenal folded after this blow but still finished just four points off the pace.
Chelsea might have been unbeaten after four matches but signs of strain in the relationship between Jose Mourinho and Roman Abramovich became evident when the Russian owner left before defeat was confirmed to Aston Villa. After a goalless draw with Blackburn Rovers, followed by failure to beat Rosenborg in the UEFA Champions League, Mourinho and Chelsea parted company on 19th September.
Avraam Grant was given the responsibility of taking over first-team affairs. He managed to galvanise the players and when they defeated Manchester United 2-1 at the end of April, the Blues had drawn level on points and only trailed on goal difference. In the end, United held their nerve on the final day. Ryan Giggs came off the bench to seal the title with a goal in the 2-0 triumph away to Wigan Athletic whilst Chelsea were held at home by Bolton Wanderers. The Red Devils completed a famous double, when they defeated Chelsea in the all-English Moscow Champions League final on penalties. Grant was relieved of his duties 72 hours later to be replaced by Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Elsewhere, Liverpool FC were a distant fourth but the goals of new signing Fernando Torres kept spirits up. Everton and Aston Villa completed the top six and there was a surprising return to Tyneside for Kevin Keegan, who succeeded Sam Allardyce as Newcastle United manager in January. Keegan guided the Magpies to 12th but his second spell wouldn’t last long.
Derby County overtook Sunderland’s record of being the worst team to play in the Premier League. They collected just one win and 13 points in 38 games. Having looked dead and buried at half-time against Manchester City, Roy Hodgson’s Fulham came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and go on an incredible run that saw them complete the great escape on the final day. Danny Murphy’s header beat FA Cup winners Portsmouth. As a result, Reading and Birmingham City went down on the final day.
It was a 10th title for Manchester United in the Premier League era and they now had Liverpool FC’s all-time record right in their sights.