2009-2010: A century of goals for the champions
|Champions||Chelsea||Biggest Win||Chelsea 8-0 Wigan Athletic|
|Runners-Up||Manchester United||Highest Scoring Game||Tottenham Hotspur 9-1 Wigan Athletic|
|Third Place||Arsenal||Top Goalscorer||Didier Drogba (29)|
|Relegated||Burnley, Hull City, Portsmouth||Goals Scored||1053|
After sweeping to three titles in a row, Manchester United were aiming to break the record for all-time English league titles. The elite though were to have new challengers as 2009-2010 was the season where Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur began to have a regular say in the high league positions.
United sold Cristiano Ronaldo in pre-season as he went to Real Madrid for £80m in the biggest transfer at the time in the history of football. Wayne Rooney blossomed in Ronaldo’s departure and he enjoyed the best goalscoring season of his career. This included notching his 100th Premier League strike in a 3-1 win at Arsenal in January.
The Red Devils did suffer some bumps in the road though. They lost at Turf Moor to newly-promoted Burnley, were beaten for a second successive season at Craven Cottage by Fulham and Aston Villa claimed a surprise 1-0 win at Old Trafford in December. The biggest challenge for their crown came from Chelsea.
Carlo Ancelotti was the new man at the helm at Stamford Bridge and he brought about an exciting, enthralling side that loved to entertain. The Blues scored over 100 goals, Didier Drogba finished as the Golden Boot winner and they recorded some heavy victories. Stoke City lost 7-0, Aston Villa were beaten 7-1 and Sunderland went down 7-2 in west London. They also did the double over Manchester United, meaning Chelsea led the table going into the final weekend.
There would be no more twists. Chelsea thrashed Wigan Athletic 8-0 to claim their third Premier League title in the grand manner. Manchester United’s 4-0 success over Stoke City was immaterial. They missed out on a fourth successive championship by just a single point. Despite losing the England captaincy in the season after off-field issues with former teammate Wayne Bridge, it was John Terry who lifted the prized asset in English football aloft on a goal-laden afternoon in the capital.
Although they made a couple of fleeting challenges, Arsenal faded again in the final straight to wind up a distant third. The race for Champions League qualification went to the final week of the season and a shootout between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. City might have had the better-paid players but it was Tottenham who won the battle. Peter Crouch’s header taking Spurs into the Champions League for the first time. City, who had sacked Mark Hughes in December and replaced him with Roberto Mancini, had to be content with fifth.
It was a rotten season at Anfield. Liverpool FC dropped to seventh, having sold Xabi Alonso in the summer to Real Madrid. Rafa Benitez parted company at the end of the season. Birmingham City were an impressive ninth in their first season back in the top-flight and Wolverhampton Wanderers also survived. Burnley went straight back down after controversially losing manager Owen Coyle in January to Lancashire rivals Bolton Wanderers. Portsmouth’s seven-season stay ended after gross financial mismanagement saw Pompey become the first side in Premier League history to be placed into voluntary administration. Their relegation would be the start of a cataclysmic downward spiral.
With the most goals, points and the top scorer, Chelsea had wrestled back Premier League supremacy in 2009-2010.