The Complete A-Z of the 2013-14 Premier League Season
With another English Premier League season done and dusted, it's time to have an alphabetical look back on some of the major talking points of 2013-14.
Certain teams surprised us by performing better than expected, others were far worse than anyone could have anticipated.
Similarly, there were some names in the headlines for the right reasons, while others probably would have preferred if the last 12 months had never happened.
Click on to read our A-Z guide to the Premier League season.
A Is for Arsenal
A fourth-place finish might be about what many had expected for Arsenal before a ball had been kicked, but this was a season in which Arsene Wenger's side were well in title contention until the final few weeks.
Once they are over the disappointment of falling away late in the campaign, Gunners fans can take solace in the fact that their side were once again a force to be reckoned with.
A 5-1 loss to Liverpool and 6-3 hammering at the hands of Manchester City showed there is still some work to be done, but there were a lot of positives to build on for next time.
B Is for Blunder
The single moment that will define this Premier League season for many will be Steven Gerrard's slip against Chelsea that allowed Demba Ba to race through on goal and put the Blues in front.
At that stage, Liverpool were in command of the title race, and a positive result against Jose Mourinho's men would have been a huge step towards clinching it.
They went on to lose the game 2-0 and ultimately let glory slip through their grasp.
Gerrard's blunder was not only terrible, it was tragic as well, considering the native Liverpudlian's status at the club and what winning the league would have meant to him.
C Is for City
For the second time in three years, Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions.
It took until the last day for the title to be decided, but City were always among the favourites to clinch it.
There was no last-gasp goal needed this time, as Manuel Pellegrini's side cruised to a 2-0 win over West Ham on the final day to put themselves beyond the reach of second-placed Liverpool.
The Chilean coach was understandably delighted at the success he was able to achieve with the squad in his first season of English football.
Chris Bevan of BBC Sport reported Pellegrini's comments after the final game:
It has been a brilliant season.
We were involved in all four competitions for longer than any other English team, and we won two of them as well so I am very happy.
It was a disappointment to go out of Europe when we did and the Wigan defeat was tough to bear.
But when you consider that we played 14 or 15 games more than Liverpool in the entire season then maybe if we had gone further than we did, I would not be sitting here speaking about winning the Premier League.
D Is for Defence
Individually, several members of Manchester City's defensive unit came under fire over the course of the campaign.
Martin Demichelis, Joe Hart and Matija Nastasic all copped criticism for their errors at various stages, as did the normally reliable Vincent Kompany.
When all was said and done, however, City conceded only 37 goals in 38 games, which was the second-best record in the league after Chelsea, who allowed just 27 goals.
E Is for Everton
David Moyes was praised for consistently guiding Everton to a high table position in the league, but his failure at Manchester United, coupled with the Toffees' fifth-place finish, would indicate he may have been given too much credit.
Under Roberto Martinez, Everton played attractive football, consistently achieved positive results and pushed for a Champions League spot until late in the season.
With a few smart signings, they could be even better next time around.
F Is for Flop
Marouane Fellaini was an influential figure in Everton's midfield, but his time at Manchester United has been nothing short of disastrous.
The big Belgian has had a mistake-ridden time at Old Trafford while offering little in the way of spark or defensive solidity in the centre of the pitch.
And this is after David Moyes outlayed £27.5 million for him at the start of the season.
G Is for Goals
Manchester City scored 102 of them, at an average of 2.68 per game.
That is just one goal short of Chelsea's Premier League record but only one goal more than second-placed Liverpool managed.
City's top scorers were Yaya Toure (20), Sergio Aguero (17) and Edin Dzeko (16).
H Is for Hazard
Named the PFA's Young Player of the Year, Chelsea's Player of the Year and runner-up to Luis Suarez for the PFA Player of the Year award, it is safe to say Eden Hazard hit his straps in his second year in English football.
The dynamic attacking midfielder scored 14 goals and made seven assists in the league, consistently dazzling with his nimble footwork and range of passing.
Jose Mourinho will be very keen to keep him around next season.
I Is for Interim
The most decorated player in Manchester United's history, Ryan Giggs, began his coaching career with an interim spell in charge of the club he loves.
With the dismissal of David Moyes 10 months into his tenure, the Welsh winger took the reins with just four matches left.
There was not much the 40-year-old could do with the rest of United's season, but if he is even half as successful in his managerial career as he was during his playing days, there is plenty of glory yet to come.
Giggs has won 13 league titles, two Champions Leagues, four FA Cups, four League Cups and the FIFA Club World Cup as a player.
J Is for Jedinak
Crystal Palace's inspirational leader was one of the driving forces behind their successful fight to avoid relegation.
Mile Jedinak led by example in a battling Eagles side which surged to an impressive 11th-place finish.
The big Australian midfielder made most tackles (133) and more interceptions (139) than any other player in the league throughout the season according to the Croydon Advertiser, and he played every minute of every game until he was substituted due to injury in the second half of the final match against Fulham.
K Is for 'Keepers
As always, goalkeepers had a huge influence on how the Premier League played out.
There were a few bloopers, though perhaps not as many glaring ones as in previous seasons.
There were plenty of 'keepers who did excellent jobs for their respective teams, though, and deserve to be mentioned alongside the star outfield players when it comes to praising overall performances.
Wojciech Szczensy had a fine season for Arsenal, with few errors and dozens of memorable saves.
Vito Mannone also stood out in an ordinary Sunderland team, saving the side from conceding more goals than they otherwise would have.
Petr Cech was his usual, reliable self for Chelsea, while Asmir Begovic, Tim Howard, David De Gea and Simon Mignolet can all be well satisfied with their work.
L Is for Lallana
The stock of Southampton's midfield maestro, Adam Lallana, has risen considerably in the last 12 months.
The creative hub produced more than his fair share of breathtaking moments throughout 2013-14 and is now sought after by some of the country's biggest clubs according to the Mirror's David Maddock.
Not only that, he has forced his way into Roy Hodgson's preliminary squad for Brazil 2014.
M Is for Moyes
Poor David Moyes.
He must have thought he was set up for life when Sir Alex Ferguson invited him around to his house and told him he was to become the new Manchester United manager.
When he signed a six-year deal with the famous club, he must have thought all his Christmases had come at once.
But just 348 days into his tenure, with United lying seventh in the table and on course to record their lowest-ever points tally in the Premier League, Moyes was sacked.
Theatre of Dreams? Theatre of Nightmares more like it.
N Is for No
In one of the biggest games of the season, referee Andre Marriner made one of the most glaring errors.
When Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain deliberately handled an Eden Hazard shot in the box during Arsenal's clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in March, the man in charge of proceedings reached for his red card.
Instead of showing it to the culprit, however, he brandished it in the direction of Kieran Gibbs.
The bemused left-back trudged off while everyone else struggled to comprehend what had just happened.
No, Andre Marriner, just no.
O Is for Omitted
Chelsea's Player of the Year for the two previous campaigns, Juan Mata, was curiously not rated by the returning Jose Mourinho.
After starting only 11 of 22 games under the Portuguese manager, the Spain star was shipped off to rivals Manchester United for a fee of £37.1 million.
P Is for Pulis
He took charge at Crystal Palace with the team languishing in last place on the table with just four points from their first 11 games and masterminded an astonishing turnaround that saw them finish in 11th place.
Tony Pulis not only pulled Palace out of the fire, he had them playing some delightful attacking football as well, football that was built on the foundation of a solid defence.
Along with Brendan Rogers and Manuel Pellegrini, he was the outstanding manager in the league in 2013-14.
Q Is for Quotes
Rather than select one quote of the year, here are three memorable lines from the world of football, as reported by Andy Hampson of the Independent.
Jose Mourinho had this to say about his Chelsea side's chances of winning the league:
The title race is between two horses and a little horse that needs milk and needs to learn how to jump.
Maybe next season we can race.
Cardiff owner Vincent Tan sees himself as a debonair spy rather than a villain:
Some people made me out like the villain.
I'm supposed to be the Bond villain, but actually I'm James Bond.
And Newcastle manager Alan Pardew creatively describes his headbutt on Hull's David Meyler:
I tried to push him away with my head.
I apologise to everyone.
I should not have got involved in it.
R Is for Rodgers
After a season that saw Liverpool push Manchester City to the limit in the fight for the title, much praise has been heaped on Brendan Rodgers for guiding the Reds back to the top echelons of English football.
The Northern Irishman came under fire for his methods early in his tenure but has shown over time that he knows exactly what he is doing.
His predecessor in the Liverpool job, Kenny Dalglish, had this to say about Rodgers back in November, 2012, as reported by Joe Bernstein of the Daily Mail:
There is no need to reinvent the game.
People think they can reinvent it, no chance.
Rodgers may not have reinvented the game, but he has certainly transformed Liverpool in his time in charge.
S Is for SAS
The strike partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge took the league by storm in 2013-14.
Suarez, the PFA Player of the Year, enjoyed a remarkable season, topping the scoring chart with 31 goals.
Sturridge, meanwhile, had plenty of outstanding moments of his own. More than just a support man for the Uruguayan, the England international scored 21 times himself.
T Is for Tim Sherwood
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy opted to sack the club's coach, Tim Sherwood, upon completion of the Premier League season, despite a sixth-place finish in the table.
Sherwood boasted the highest win percentage of any Spurs manager in the Premier League era, but that was not enough to save his skin.
The Mirror's Darren Lewis suggested Levy was forced to act due to unrest in the Tottenham dressing room.
U Is for Upstart
Every year sees the reputation of one or two young players skyrocket.
Excitement tends to go through the roof when these youngsters show themselves to be something out of the ordinary.
Sometimes they will disappoint as they get older, but on occasion they will justify the early hype by carving out highly successful careers.
The name in lights in 2013-14 was Ross Barkley, who drew attention to himself with a series of fabulous displays and some sensational goals for Everton.
The 20-year-old even earned a call-up to England's World Cup preliminary squad, sending the nation's media into a lather.
V Is for Vidic
Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic did not have a memorable season with the club, but Red Devils fans will no doubt be sad to see the defender go.
The Serbian international will join Inter Milan next season having played 300 games with United.
He joined the club in 2006 and won 15 trophies in his time at Old Trafford, earning a reputation as one of the best centre-backs in world football.
W Is for Wilfried Bony
A candidate for most astute signing of the season, Wilfried Bony enjoyed a superb campaign with Swansea City.
The powerful Ivorian striker was procured from Vitesse Arnhem for a club-record £12 million, but the outlay appears to have been well worth it.
His 16 goals in the league helped the Swans avoid relegation.
X Is for Ex
Norwich City, Cardiff City and Fulham are now all ex-Premier League sides.
The three teams relegated in 2013-14 now must wait to see how their playing rosters will be affected over the summer as players decide whether they can face at least one year in the Championship.
From there, they will look to bounce back as quickly as possible and secure a lucrative place in the top division by as early as the season after next.
Y Is for Yaya
Has there been such a dominant midfielder in the Premier League since the days of Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira?
With his physical attributes alone, Yaya Toure has everything required to be an intimidating defensive presence. Add his sublime attacking skills into the mix and you have one magnificent footballer.
He's huge, he moves well, he can dribble, he's a leader and he scores fantastic goals.
This season he scored 20 of them and assisted nine more for his teammates.
What a player!
Z Is for Zero
The sublime skills of Argentine midfielder Erik Lamela somehow went missing when he arrived at White Hart Lane.
Outstanding at River Plate and magnificent at Roma, the £25.8 million signing was barely noticeable at Tottenham.
He only made 11 EPL appearances for the club and did virtually nothing of note. After scoring 15 goals for Roma last season, Lamela hit a big fat zero for his new club in the league.
The 22-year-old's career is now at a crossroads. Time will tell if he will be able to live up the potential he once showed.
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