2013-2014: Stevie’s slip costs LFC dear
|Champions||Manchester City||Biggest Win||Manchester City 7-0 Norwich City|
|Runners-Up||Liverpool FC||Highest Scoring Game||Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal|
|Third Place||Chelsea||Top Goalscorer||Luis Suarez (31)|
|Relegated||Norwich City, Fulham, Cardiff City||Goals Scored||1052|
It was a changing of the guard in 2013-2014. For the first time since 1986, Manchester United were beginning a season under new management as “The Chosen One” arrived. David Moyes had been given a six-year contract to replace Sir Alex Ferguson. Manchester City appointed Manuel Pellegrini to succeed Roberto Mancini whilst Jose Mourinho made a welcoming return to the Chelsea hotseat.
The latter two teams would be involved in a four-way struggle for supremacy over the season, along with Arsenal and Liverpool FC. Despite a lacklustre summer of transfer activity, Arsenal defied the odds again and topped the table going into the New Year. Mesut Ozil did arrive on transfer deadline day but it was the form of Aaron Ramsey and goals of Olivier Giroud that had them right in the mix. That was until annihilation at the hands of Liverpool FC in February. The 5-1 loss was followed by surrendering 6-0 at Chelsea a month later in Arsene Wenger’s 1000th game as the club’s manager. They eventually finished fourth but did end their trophy drought with victory in the FA Cup final.
Mourinho wanted to be called “The Happy One” on his return but things weren’t always rosy at Chelsea. They did look title favourites in mid-March but late season setbacks to Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Sunderland saw them finish third and without silverware. The Sunderland defeat was Mourinho’s first home league loss as Chelsea manager.
Liverpool FC managed to hold off Arsenal’s attempts to sign Luis Suarez in the summer and their football was sparkling. Suarez and Daniel Sturridge formed the formidable SAS partnership. The Uruguayan cleaned up all the major individual prizes and scored three hat-tricks in the season, including another four in one match against Norwich City who were sick of the sight of him.
In April, the league championship looked set to return to Anfield for the first time in 24 years. They beat Manchester City 3-2 on an emotional afternoon on Merseyside on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. Captain Steven Gerrard was moved to tears on the final whistle. Two weeks later, he would shed tears of a different kind. On the stroke of half-time against Chelsea, Gerrard lost his footing and slipped, allowing Demba Ba to score the opening goal. Chelsea won 2-0, ending Liverpool FC’s 11-match winning run and taking the title destiny out of their hands.
When they caved in at Crystal Palace, conceding three goals in the last 13 minutes, it was all over. Manchester City beat Aston Villa and West Ham United in the final week to ensure the title stayed in Manchester but returned to the Etihad Stadium. Liverpool fell three points’ short after an epic campaign in which both teams scored over 100 goals.
There was no joy about Manchester United’s season. They produced some shambolic displays, awful results and finished a dreary seventh. Moyes was dispensed with in late April after a harrowing return to Goodison Park where they lost 2-0. Ryan Giggs finished his playing career at the end of the season in interim charge. It was Everton with a points-high tally in the Premier League era and Tottenham Hotspur who completed the top six. Relegation would befall Norwich City, Fulham and Cardiff City who went down after a single season in the top-flight.
In a season of plenty of change, it was Manchester City who got the change right. Manuel Pellegrini was a double-winner in his first season in English football.