2014/15 Premier League Season Review: Chelsea

Premier League Final Position: 1st 

Review

Chelsea landed their first Premier League title in five years and ended the campaign eight points clear of closest rivals Manchester City. A season of solid defensive displays and consistent performances throughout the campaign proved to be the difference and picking up the League Cup was an added bonus. Jose Mourinho set his side out to win the league from day one and nothing else would have been acceptable. He has once again got the foundation for Chelsea to dominate and proved that no matter how you get over the line you are still worthy winners.

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Best Moment

Chelsea all but sealed the title away at Queens Park Rangers. A ground where they have struggled in recent years and a very difficult game for the club on and off the field. Cesc Fabregas‘ late winner showed grit and determination and belief that the side could pull off a win in an ugly game – something Mourinho is a master at.

Worst Moment

Newcastle away. Chelsea’s shocking performance and loss in this game, their first of the season, in a game they didn’t expect to lose. Although not an aim for Mourinho and Chelsea, it stopped their chances of an unbeaten season and showed weaknesses in the side.

Player of the Year

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Eden Hazard Chelsea’s key player without any doubt. He made the champions tick and single handedly won games, scoring 14 goals. Hazard’s ability to create and turn games makes him the player he is and one defenders do not like facing. Although there are arguments for a whole host of players like John Terry for his leadership and Willian’s relentless work-rate, Hazard is the ideal attacking player for any club.

Biggest Win 

Swansea 0-5 Chelsea (Jan 17, 2015)

Biggest Defeat

West Bromwich Albion 3-0 Chelsea (May 18, 2015)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

It is hard to improve on winning the title. Chelsea have to maintain their performance level and desire in order to retain their title. Mourinho will not give his players any opportunity to perform badly next season and his mentality to win should ensure Chelsea have a great chance of winning the league back-to-back. Mourinho needs to bring in another striker as cover for the injury-prone Diego Costa and departing Didier Drogba.

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2014/15 Premier League Season Review: Everton

Premier League Final Position: 11th

Review

Participation in the Europa League has undoubtedly hindered Everton’s performances this season and they just haven’t managed to replicate the kind of form that saw them finish fifth with 72 points last time around. While the Toffees can’t blame their below par season entirely on the fact they had European commitments, it’s certainly been a major factor with ten extra games to play. Roberto Martinez isn’t a man to make excuses and he will know that the league form hasn’t been good enough with just 12 wins all season – their lowest number of victories in a season since the 2003/04 campaign when they recorded nine. Everton’s 11th place finish was also their worst final league position since 2005/06 when they also finished 11th.

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Best Moment

Easing past Manchester United at Goodison Park – Everton’s 3-0 victory against United at the end of April signified their best spell of the season. That win extended a mini-unbeaten run to six games (W5, D1) and was also the highest placed team in the league which they managed to secure all three points against. It was one of the few highlights of a fairly average campaign.

Worst Moment

The 2-0 defeat away at Hull City – Everton arrived in Yorkshire on New Year’s Day with hopes of turning a corner and using 2015 as a fresh start. It wasn’t to be and a poor performance led to a defeat that came in a barren mid-season run of 16 games that saw them win just twice (D5, L9). It was also the fourth straight defeat at the time and a sixth loss in eight games – an ultimate low point.

Player of the Year

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Romelu Lukaku – Although the big Belgian striker hasn’t had the greatest season, he’s still been one of Everton’s brightest sparks throughout the campaign. He’s scored ten goals and made five assists in 36 Premier League appearances, which isn’t in a bad return for an Everton side that never got going.

Biggest Win

Everton 3-0 Aston Villa (Oct 18, 2014)

Everton 3-0 Newcastle United (Mar 15, 2015)

Everton 3-0 Manchester United (Apr 26, 2015)

Biggest Defeat

Everton 3-6 Chelsea (Aug 30, 2015)

Southampton 3-0 Everton (Dec 20, 2015)

What to improve for the 2015/16 season…

It seems obvious, but Everton’s defensive frailties this season were a real concern. They conceded 50 goals, which is 11 more than last season and their worst defensive record for 11 years. This is clearly a key area to improve on, as well as trying to take more points from the tougher teams in the league. The Toffees only won two games against top nine opponents (D6, L11) – a worrying record for a side that has come so close to finishing in the top four on numerous occasions.

2014/15 Premier League Season Review: Crystal Palace

Premier League Final Position: 10th

Review

It was a fine season for Crystal Palace in the end despite a rough start to the campaign as Alan Pardew led the side to a best ever points tally after taking over in January. Tony Pulis left the club on the eve of the new season and was replaced by Neil Warnock but he failed to impress and Pardew was brought in after leaving Newcastle.

The Eagles soared into a tenth place finish and ended the year with three more points than the previous campaign. They look in good shape to kick on an improve further next term and Palace fans will be delighted with the 2014/15 season.

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Best Moment

Coming from 2-0 down early on at Burnley to win 3-2 was a fine moment for fans and set the tone for what turned out to be a comfortable survival run in.

Worst Moment

Losing 3-1 at home to London rivals West Ham in the second game of the season was a very low point in a season more remembered for its highs, but the Eagles fans will not want to recall that game.

Player of the Year

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Jason Puncheon – Puncheon ended the season with six goals and seven assists and was excellent in the second half of the season under Alan Pardew. He thrived in a more central role and was perhaps unlucky to not be rewarded with an England call-up.

Biggest Win

Sunderland 1-4 Crystal Palace (April 11, 2015)

Biggest Defeat

Manchester City 3-0 Crystal Palace (December 20, 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

They could probably work on ball retention as for the second season running Crystal Palace recorded the lowest average possession statistic in the Premier League at 40.5%. That said, they still picked up points consistently and so it will be more of a style issue for Pardew to assess. A strong summer transfer window could see Palace challenge for a European place next season and that will be the ambition come the start of the new season.

2014/15 Premier League Season Review: West Ham

Premier League Final Position: 12th 

Review

West Ham endured a dismal second half of the season, which finished with a 2-0 loss away to Newcastle United, and following the release of Sam Allardyce, the club are now looking for a new manager in what was a season of two halves.

Interestingly if the season had started at Christmas then West Ham would have been relegated based on their form as they only managed 16 points from their last 21 matches.

It’s very much looking like a season for the Hammers to build on though as they played some very attractive football in places, especially early on. Whoever the new manager is, they have a decent platform in the current squad to build on.

And should they capture their early season form to start the coming season, there is no reason to rule out a European place come next May but finding consistency is crucial.

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Best Moment

The 2-1 win over Manchester City was the highlight of a very good start to the season for the Hammers as they managed to place fourth at Christmas.

Worst Moment

The final day 2-0 loss to Newcastle was the icing on a very disappointing cake for ‘Big Sam’s’ men. It was Newcastle’s first win in 11 Premier League games and the Hammers’ late season capitulation was highlighted in that game.

Player of the Year

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Stewart Downing – The England International had an amazing season with the Hammers and arguably merited an England recall. With six goals and eight assists he has proved to be a valuable asset for the East London side and will look to improve again next term.

Biggest Win

West Ham 3-0 Hull City (January 18, 2015)

Biggest Defeat

Arsenal 3-0 West Ham (March 14, 2015)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

Consistency. There is a common theme that runs with West Ham and that is their inability to perform at their potential for a prolonged duration. An early season charge was outdone with their late season struggle and this will need addressing in the coming months. The upcoming season will be their last at Upton Park and they will want to leave on a positive note before the move to the Olympic Stadium.

2014/15 Premier League Season Review: Aston Villa

Premier League Final Position: 17th

Review

It was another frustrating season for Aston Villa fans as the threat of relegation hung over the club for most of the campaign, before managing to narrowly survive. Tim Sherwood turned the fortunes around when he took over in February but the Villains end the season with their joint lowest points tally in the top flight.

They do still have an FA Cup final against Arsenal to look forward to and success at Wembley would deem the campaign a good one, but the fact remains that things weren’t good enough and Sherwood must now try and bring the club back to a level it should be at.

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Best Moment

The 1-0 win away at Spurs was probably the club’s best win in the league as the result moved them six points clear of the relegation zone with five games to go. Sherwood managed to seal all three points against his former club and the team followed up success at White Hart Lane with an FA Cup semi-final win against Liverpool just eight days later.

Worst Moment

The 2-0 loss at Hull in February was a bad defeat and that game spelled the end for Paul Lambert as he was replaced by Sherwood after that match. The loss at Southampton at the end of the season was bad but they weren’t in major trouble at that point.

Player of the Year

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Fabian Delph – Didn’t score this season but picked up three assists and was probably the only player to consistently perform. He penned a new contract back in January and was rewarded for his performances over the season with England call ups.

Biggest Win

Sunderland 0-4 Aston Villa (March 14, 2015)

Biggest Defeat

Arsenal 5-0 Aston Villa (February 1, 2015)

Southampton 6-1 Aston Villa (May 16, 2015)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

There’s still a lot that needs improving at Villa. They must escape the dangers of relegation and try to compete for a top half finish once again. That’s easier said than done but Tim Sherwood may be the man to bring success back to the club. The transfer window will be crucial as retaining star players, or bringing in suitable replacements will be vital. Scoring more goals will be the main aim as they struggled for large parts of the season in front of goal, netting just 31 times.

2014/15 Premier League Season Review: Liverpool

Premier League Final Position: 6th 

Review

Liverpool have endured a terrible season in comparison to the previous campaign, having dropped an incredible 22 points from the 2013/14 season.

It seems that Brendan Rodgers’ side are still in transition as the sale of Luis Suarez cost them dearly in their pursuit of success this term, and many fans will be asking questions of where the club goes from here.

The dreadful 6-1 loss away to Stoke City on the last day of the season means that they finish the season below Spurs in 6th place and need to regroup quickly ahead of next season.

Finishing with just one win in their last six in the Premier League is not good enough as they ended the season with a whimper and it looks as if their chances of success next season rely on a very young squad.

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Best Moment

A 2-1 win against Manchester City on March 1 sent a message across the league that Liverpool meant business and were ready to challenge for the top four after a strong run of form. They moved to within two points of fourth with that win but couldn’t qualify for the Champions League.

Worst Moment

It has to be the 6-1 loss to Stoke on the final day. A day to forget for Liverpool as they fell to sixth with their biggest ever Premier League loss. It was Steven Gerrard’s final game for the club and a terrible way to go out.

Player of the Year

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Jordan Henderson – He was easily the most influential player in a Liverpool shirt this term and deserves much more credit than he has been given. Expect him to be handed the captaincy next term and he will need to lead the team in the absence of Steven Gerrard.

Biggest Win

Tottenham 0-3 Liverpool (August 31, 2014)

Liverpool 4-1 Swansea (December 29, 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Stoke City 6-1 Liverpool (May 24, 2015)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

There is a clear need for a goalscorer in this squad as Steven Gerrard finished the campaign as their top scorer. An argument could be made that Sturridge will return and provide goals, but Liverpool need to increase their goal output regardless and must not become over-reliant on just one man to get them throught.

2014/15 Premier League Season Review: Swansea City

Premier League Final Position: 8th

Review

The 2014/15 campaign was one to remember for Swansea fans as Garry Monk led the side to a record points tally and best ever Premier League finish in his first full season in charge. The Swans lost Wilfried Bony in January and were tipped for failure by many but defied the odds by ending the season with 14 more points than the previous campaign. They were consistent throughout and have lots to be positive about heading into the new season.

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Best Moment

The opening day victory at Old Trafford set the tone for a fine campaign and saw the Swans beat Manchester United in Louis Van Gaal’s first Premier League game. They managed to complete a fine double over the Red Devils, winning 2-1 in both games.

Worst Moment

Losing 5-0 at home to Chelsea was a major disappointment for the Swans. The Blues were eventual champions but losing 5-0 on home soil is never acceptable and that was a result Swansea will not want to look back on when remembering the season.

Player of the Year

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Jonjo Shelvey – The midfielder ended the season with three goals and five assists. He pulls the strings from midfield and is an integral part of the squad in helping the defensive play transition into attacking promise.

Biggest Win

Swansea City 3-0 West Bromwich Albion (August 30, 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Swansea City 0-5 Chelsea (January 17, 2015)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

It was an excellent season but there is always room for improvement and Garry Monk will want to lead his side into a European place next season. Failing to win away at sides in and around them cost them this season and picking up wins in those games will help them to pick up even more points next time around.

2014/15 Premier League Season Review: Manchester United

Premier League Final Position: 4th

Review

Manchester United will feel disappointed with this season knowing that a late three-game losing streak potentially cost them third place and a guaranteed Champions League place next season, but the overriding emotion will be relief that the club are back in the top four after finishing 7th last season.

United were extremely dominant in possession this season as they finished with an average possession statistic of 61%. They were also the most accurate passers in the league with 85% overall passing accuracy, which is extremely impressive and Louis Van Gaal deserves great credit for that in his first season at Old Trafford.

The only thing that managed to let them down was their inability to score enough goals to challenge for the title and they are just one out-and-out goalscorer from challenging; providing they can keep hold of David De Gea this summer.

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Best Moment

Completing the double over rivals Liverpool was certainly a major plus for United this season. The Red Devils were extremely impressive as they took all six points on offer against long time rivals Liverpool. A 3-0 win at Old Trafford in December was followed up by a 2-1 away win at Anfield in March.

Worst Moment

Losing 5-3 against Leicester City early on in the campaign was a game they will want to forget. After going 3-1 up at King Power Stadium, United capitulated and ended up losing 5-3 in what was a dreadful day for Louis Van Gaal’s men.

Player of the Year

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David De Gea – Spanish shot stopper David De Gea was the main reason why United made the top four, providing countless solid displays that earned his side valuable points all season long and he needs to be retained if United are to kick on.

Biggest Win

Manchester United 4-0 Queens Park Rangers (September 14, 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Everton 3-0 Manchester United (April 26, 2015)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

Put simply, United need to score more goals. If they are to challenge for the title, they will need to produce more up top and need to strengthen in the transfer window. Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal all scored more than them this season, and the main reason for this is because United did not produce enough in the final third.

2014/15 Premier League Season Review: Arsenal

Premier League Final Position: 3rd

Review

Arsenal end the 2014/15 Premier League season in third place, sealing automatic qualification into the Champions League for the first time in three years. That is clearly good news for Gunners fans but the wait for a title extends to 11 years and that will frustrate supporters. The league was arguably not at its strongest this term and Arsenal will feel they missed an opportunity in not challenging for the title over the entire course of the season. An FA Cup trophy for the second year running would deem the season a success, and so a lot is riding on that game at Wembley.

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Best Moment

Arsenal’s impressive 2-0 win at Manchester City in January was a huge result for the club, and was certainly their best moment of the campaign. Arsene Wenger’s side lost 6-3 at the Etihad last season so the victory and clean sheet will have delighted fans. The win at City was Arsenal’s only away victory against any side in the top nine though (P8 W1 D2 L5), and that’s an area that needs to be looked at.

Worst Moment

The 2-0 loss at Southampton on New Year’s Day was probably the worst moment in Arsenal’s season. The defeat came at a time when the Gunners were in fine form after a good run over Christmas and the controversies surrounding Wojciech Szczesny after the game left a dark cloud over the club for a while. The Polish ‘keeper was at fault for both Southampton goals and was caught smoking in the showers after the loss. David Ospina was then made first-choice for the remainder of the campaign.

Player of the Year

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Alexis Sanchez – The Chilean attacker has enjoyed an excellent first season in England and ends the league campaign with 16 goals. His goals have fired the Gunners to a third place finish and an FA Cup final, in which he will look to score his 25th of the season in all competitions.

Biggest Win

Arsenal 5-0 Aston Villa (February 1, 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal (October 5, 2014)

Southampton 2-0 Arsenal (January 1, 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

Arsenal have been consistent over the past two years and look to be just a signing or two from being real title contenders over the course of a season, rather than just for a few months. Wenger needs to assess the team’s performances against the big sides again though as winning just one away game against the top nine is not good enough. Their only win against any side in the top five came at City, and so performances against the bigger sides must improve if Arsenal are to claim a first title in 12 years next May.

2014 MLS Season Review: LA Galaxy

Western Conference Final Position: 2nd

Western Conference Playoffs: Winners

MLS Cup Winners 2014

Review

Putting it simply, 2014 has been an excellent season for LA Galaxy. They have won the MLS Cup, but not just that, they have made history by winning a record fifth title and now become the most successful club in the history of the competition. It has made for a fairytale ending for club legend Landon Donovan who has now retired.

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Best Moment

Many will look to Robbie Keane‘s 111th minute winner in the MLS Cup Final as the clear front-runner for the greatest moment of 2014 for LA Galaxy, and rightly so. However, without Juninho‘s strike in the second-leg of the Western Conference championship tie away at Seattle Sounders, they would never have had the opportunity to lift the title.

Worst Moment

The one low point of the season will be the 2-0 defeat at Seattle Sounders in the last game of the regular season which saw their Western Conference rivals win the Supporters’ Shield.

Player of the Year

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Robbie Keane was the Major League Soccer MVP and although the LA Galaxy team was filled with great performers in 2014 such as Landon Donovan, Gyasi Zardes and Marcelo Sarvas – to name just a few – he gets the nod for player of the year. His winning goal in the MLS Cup Final against New England Revolution was a priceless moment that only emphasised his importance to this Galaxy side.

Biggest Win

LA Galaxy 6-0 Colorado Rapids (September 6 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Columbus Crew 4-1 LA Galaxy (August 16 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

First and foremost, the Galaxy will need to try and find a suitable replacement for Landon Donovan. Finding a player to replace the aura that Donovan leaves behind is near impossible, but they will need to look for someone who possesses a similar level of ability – not an easy task.

Another pointer would be to try and hit the ground running in 2015. They came out of the traps slowly at the beginning of the 2014 campaign, picking up just two wins from their first eight games, which handed the initiative to their rivals immediately. They need to set the benchmark early on next time around.