Manchester City's Glory Run, Liverpool's Surprise Package and David Moyes' Disaster, 10 Big Moments of EPL 2013-14
The lead changed hands 25 times during the 2013-14 English Premier League before Manchester City were finally crowned champions. City spent only 15 days at the top of the table compared to Arsenal's 128, Chelsea's 64 and Liverpool's 59 days.
When you know that the lead in the title race has been changed 25 times during a single English Premier League season, you can judge it's been a gripping one! The 2013-14 EPL season has been one replete with dreams but not all of them ended in a sweet reality. Let's have a look at the ten big happenings during EPL 2013-14 that football fans will relish for a long time.
10. Arsenal's longest stay at the top
Arsene Wenger's side did not begin as they would have wanted, losing 3-1 to Aston Villa on the first day of the 2013-14 EPL season but things got very interesting when news of them buying Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Ozil for a club record fee of 71.6 million dollars (42.5 million pounds) started doing the rounds.
After they beat north London rivals Tottenham 1-0, Arsenal caught hold of the top position in the table at the end of August, with a two-point advantage over Liverpool.
However, nobody would have imagined Arsenal finishing fourth on the table at the end of the season after spending 128 days at the top, 8 times more than eventual champions Manchester City's 15 days and 2 times that of Chelsea (64 days).
9. Everton's surprise package
Roberto Martinez's side may have started their Premier League campaign with three draws but by the end of September, they were the only side to remain unbeaten and scripted a historic moment for themselves when they beat Chelsea 1-0 at Goodison Park.
Climbing into the top four with the upset, they proved to everyone that a Champions League spot for them this year could even be reality. It was sad to see them lose the spot to Arsenal, who dropped to fourth after leading the league for a long period.
8. Manuel Pellegrini fails to impress in first part of season
Although both Manchester teams were not in a very impressive position at the end of October, with Manchester City stuck at seventh and Manchester United sitting at eighth, fans were more critical of the Chilean Manuel Pellegrini initially with Man City having spent the most amount of money in transfers. On the other hand, United fans were still hopeful David Moyes would settle down slowly and bring them back into title contention.
7. Manchester City's goal-fest and Arsenal's stronghold at the title
By the end of November, Arsenal were leading the table by seven points from Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton as Aaron Ramsey looked in a punishing mood with his good form. However, the main highlight of this month was Manchester City beating Norwich City 7-0 and Tottenham Hotspur 6-0 to roar back into title contention, for the time being at least!
Losing 7-0 to Manchester City meant Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas had to face tough times ahead, as his team dropped to ninth in the table.
6. Bad New Year for coaches and great Christmas for Liverpool
After a string of defeats, four clubs including Fulham, Tottenham, West Bromwich Albion and Cardiff City changed their coaches. Arsenal were humiliated by Manchester City 6-3 at the Etihad Stadium, giving the obvious signal that the lead at the Emirates was just momentary and City would catch up on Arsenal eventually in the Premier League competition.
However, there was more excitement to follow. The most talked about player of 2013 and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez scored 10 Premier League goals in December and became the first to do so in a month. Liverpool were now at the top of the table before the Christmas break.
5. Manchester City's rise to the top and more transfers
Manuel Pellegrini's City won all their four matches in January and that included a 5-1 thrashing of Tottenham. The result was City finishing at the top of the table at the end of January for the very first time in the 2013-14 EPL season.
January also saw a whole lot of new transfers with the window opening again and Chelsea made the most of it by signing two reasonably big players in Nemanja Matic from Benfica and Mohamed Salah from Basel.
With these changes, Chelsea also sold Juan Mata to Manchester United for 37.1 million pounds, with David Moyes' Manchester United struggling to even make it to the Champions League.
4. Mourinho's 'Little Horses' top the table
Jose Mourinho chose to be humble when Chelsea started winning more matches and said his side were 'little horses' compared to the 'big horses' of Manchester City and Arsenal. However, it was these little horses only that topped the EPL table at the end of February. Chelsea had just beaten Manchester City 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium and Arsenal had suffered a setback to their title chances with a 5-1 thrashing by Liverpool at Anfield.
3. Moyes becomes 'Wrong One' from 'Chosen One' and Liverpool, Manchester City continue striking
Liverpool won all their five matches in March and went to the top giving fans hopes of the Premier League title returning to Anfield for the first time in 24 years.
However, the main highlight of this month was Manchester United boss David Moyes completely missing the cue and facing criticism through aeroplane banners above Old Trafford saying 'Wrong One- Moyes Out'. United had just lost to both Liverpool and Manchester City 3-0 at home in a dreadful season after Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager.
Meanwhile, Manchester City extended their dominance by beating Sunderland 3-1 to win the League Cup but there was clearly more work to be done in terms of the Premier League.
City also failed to make it past the last 16 stage of the UEFA Champions League but this later proved to be a blessing in disguise for them to be able to dominate England.
2. Liverpool's 11-game winning streak brought to an end by Chelsea, Moyes thrown out of United
Just as Liverpool's ultimate dream of winning the Premier League title was only waiting to be realized, Chelsea beat them 2-0 at Anfield to dent their title hopes.
In the backdrop, Liverpool had just beaten Manchester City and Norwich 3-2 in thrilling victories whereas Chelsea's title hopes had slipped after they suffered a shock 2-1loss to Sunderland at home. This also ended Mourinho's 77-game unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge.
However, there was more to come as the biggest managerial sacking came at Manchester United where David Moyes was told to leave immediately after 295 days in the job. After United lost to Everton 2-0, Moyes became the 10th manager to be sacked during the 2013-14 EPL season, which was a record in itself in the Premier League.
1. Manchester City win the title, Norwich, Fulham and Cardiff are relegated
Although Liverpool were ahead of Manchester City when the final phase of the Premier League started in May, Pellegrini's side had played a game less than the Merseysiders and were way ahead on goal difference.
After City edged Everton 3-2 at Goodison Park to again top the table, Liverpool had a great chance to put the pressure back on their rivals by winning at Crystal Palace. However, Liverpool giving away a 3-3 draw to Palace after leading 3-0 only meant City were now favourites to clinch the title. Pellegrini's side now only needed a draw against West Ham to win the silverware after thumping Aston Villa 4-0.
Later during the month, Liverpool beat Newcastle 2-1 and Manchester City beat West Ham 2-0 with goals from Samir Nasri and Vincent Kompany. This meant Man City had won the title with a two-point lead over Liverpool, for their second title-win in three years.
Chelsea finished third, Arsenal fourth while Norwich City, Fulham and Cardiff City were relegated. (EPL Final Points Table)