May 13, 2014

Manchester City: Deserving EPL champions

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

If there’s one thing that I learned on Sunday, it was how hard it is to prepare a Mother’s Day brunch while watching and following 10 Premier League games at once.

If there’s one thing that we all learned, it’s that the best team in the league rightfully won the title.

Manchester City had the depth, the quality, the managing and the general ability to get it done, both offensively and defensively.

At certain points, Liverpool lacked at least some piece of that puzzle.

It’s depth was never really challenged thanks to the lack of Cup games and European play, but when Jordan Henderson was suspended and Daniel Sturridge hurt, the team suffered.

When the Reds needed to defend, they couldn’t stand up to even the below-average Crystal Palace attack last week.

But what was on show Sunday by both teams was that general ability to get it done.

City took until the second half to finally puncture the West Ham defence. Liverpool was the one that popped its own balloon, when Martin Skrtel deflected a cross into his own net.

It wasn’t until Newcastle – in typical Magpie fashion – came completely unraveled.

None was more telling than the fact that they finished the game with just nine men on the field. First, Shola Ameobi had two yellow cards in the space of about five seconds – one of the quickest accumulation reds in soccer history – and later Paul Dummett was sent off for a reckless challenge on Luis Suarez.

It was a good microcosm of Newcastle’s season: A bit of promise, then a hot-headed mess and a bad ending.

It was the only real drama in the games featuring the top two title contenders in the end. But, we knew how this would play out after Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip against Chelsea. Really, it was an anticlimactic end to a season full of wonder and surprise.

But, after 10 months and 38 games, Manchester City is drinking champagne and Liverpool is just drinking.


I think that the title of this website basically says it all.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t take long to calculate.


With the season finished, there were plenty of highlights in the wrapup including the goals of the season.

One that is getting far too much credit is Wayne Rooney’s chip of West Ham keeper Adrian from past mid-field. First, it shouldn’t have counted since Rooney fouled a defender immediately before the shot and second, it was terribly misplayed as opposed to being a great, well-placed shot.

As for my top five goals of the season, here they are in no particular order.

Alexander Tettey’s stunning volley for Norwich against Sunderland.

Jonjo Shelvey’s half volley from midfield for Swansea against Aston Villa.

Jack Wilshere finishing off some incredibly deft passing by Arsenal against Norwich.

Luis Suarez’s long distance chip against Norwich.

And, probably the best of them all: Pajtim Kasami’s half volley at full speed for Fulham against Crystal Palace.


It’s the end of the season, which means it’s time to see if any of our predictions came through.

With a season full of surprises, you can probably guess that I didn’t hit on many of them.

While I did have Man City winning it all, I also predicted that United would take second and that Arsenal would finish out of the Champions League places.

Also in the column of bad calls: Sunderland finishing eighth. That one was doomed almost from the get-go. I didn’t get any of the three relegated teams, but don’t feel too bad about predicting Stoke, Hull City and Crystal Palace would go down. All three were around the bottom all season and nobody would’ve thought Tony Pulis would take over the Eagles mid-season and make them respectable.

And while I had Liverpool finishing sixth, there was no way to tell that it would do so well with Suarez suspended for the start of the season.

Of course, when you make predictions while the transfer window is still open at the start of the season, you’re bound to get a lot wrong. For instance, back when it was published, Gareth Bale was still with Spurs, Luis Suarez was on the verge of leaving Anfield and United hadn’t come through with its bad idea of signing Marouane Felliani.


If you think that just because the Premier League season has ended, that there is no more soccer on the horizon, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Spain’s La Liga is coming down to a grand finale with Atletico Madrid and Barcelona essentially playing a title game.

Arsenal and Hull City play in the FA Cup final, with the Gunners looking to pick up their first tangible silverware in almost nine years.

There’s also the “most expensive game in football,” the League Championship playoff final of Derby against QPR, with the winner gaining promotion to the EPL and all the TV money that comes with it.

And only 31 days – just a month – away is the World Cup in Brazil.

We’re already seeing rosters coming out, previews being printed and questions being asked.

Rest assured, nobody will be forgetting about the world’s game any time soon.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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