WITH another Premier League season nearing an end and a title chase that seems to be already finished, along with a top 4 that already seems to have already been picked, there doesn’t seem to be many surprises left for the end of the season. However, this season has had its fair share of surprise players emerging from the ranks and rising to the pressure that entails Premier League super-stardom and some utter disappointmentsin the transfer windows that were expected to take control this season. So with the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, here are the biggest shocks of the 2014/2015 Barclays Premier league.
What is there to say? Top scorer in all competitions this year in the Premier league and neck and neck between him and Aguero to get the Golden Boot, earned his first England call-up, shoe-in for young player of the year and even played in goals against Asteras Tripolas after Hugo Lloris was sent off. And at the age of 21, he is sure to dominate the league for years to come if he continues firing at this rate. ‘Hurricane Harry’, is there anything he can’t do?
Nothing but pure class this season. Performed unbelievably this season and with players like Diego Costa, Fabregas, Courtois and Oscar and with Eden Hazard playing the way he is, and the strength in depth they possess, it would be hard to go against them winning the league again next season.
Not such of a surprise but what is a surprise is that after years of buying, youth academy players have finally made the breakthrough to the main squad. Nathan Ake has been included a good amount this year, as well as players such as Lewis Baker, Izzy Brown, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Charlie Colkett and Dominic Solanke who have all been given professional contracts this year. The future is looking bright for homegrown Chelsea FC players.
Mourinho on the young academy prospects:
‘My conscience tells me that if, for example, Baker, Brown, and Solanke are not national team players in a few years, I should blame myself’.
Marouane Fellaini and Manchester United not ‘crumbling’
After a horrible season in 2013/14 where they finished a measly 7th, United have defied all expectations and criticism to turn things around this season and finish in the top 4. As a Manchester United fan, it was a tough year. Watching United was often a tedious and horrible ordeal. But with lots of questions over the summer signings and a shaky defence that had no real stability at the start of the year, United have become a force to be reckoned with once again and a tactical powerhouse under the guidance of Van Gaal. One player who has notably stepped up his game and is the main cause of this surge of excellence is Marouane Fellaini. After much criticism from supporters last year, myself included, for not providing enough after his mega-money move from Everton, Fellaini has been a real driving force behind Man United’s success this season and is sure to be one of the first names on the team sheet after struggling to establish himself last season. things are looking on the up for Fellaini and United, at long last.
‘Last season was a bad season for everyone, not just me,The criticism went to me because I was the first transfer of Moyes. I accept that.’
With all the anticipation around Alexis Sanchez moving to Arsenal and the goals and assists he has totted up, one man has gone under the radar, Francis Coquelin. Leading the league in interceptions and against Burnley, broke the season record for interceptions in a single game with 11, Coquelin is one of the first names on Wengers’ team sheet and an unsung hero in a star studded Arsenal team afetr a tough start to his career. Back in 2011 when the French midfielder was one of the biggest liabilities in Arsenal’s infamous 8-2 drubbing by Manchester United, he became somewhat of a laughing stock and caused a lot of people to question Arsene Wenger’s judgment. However, Coquelin has completely turned things around this year. After Wenger finally gave him another chance in the first team when the club’s injury list was filling up, the 23 year-old shocked and impressed everyone with his ability in the holding midfield position. He became a rock in the midfield, allowing players like Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla to push up more and create goals. Coquelin has almost instantaneously put himself in Arsenal’s starting XI and without him, the Gunners would not be having the hot streak that they are at the moment.
A surprise emerger as contender for Player of The Year, Coutinho has been in sensational form for Liverpool this season and after losing Luis Suarez to Barcelona in the summer, the injury woes of Daniel Sturridge, the misfiring Balotelli and all that has gone wrong for Liverpool up front, Coutinho has picked up the pieces, scoring goals for fun from midfield and really stepping up for Liverpool when they lacked a goal-scoring threat up front.
Liverpool and Mario Balotelli
Well, it wasn’t really their year after all now was it? It was a case of anything that could go wrong, did, this season for Liverpool. 5 games left and 6 points outside the Champions League spots, all is not lost. There is still alot to play for. But with all the hype they haven’t done what they would have liked this year, early exit from the Champions League,disappointing FA Cup exit to Aston Villa, injury riddled Sturridge, but above all else, Mario Balotelli.
Why always me indeed. He has never really got going since his arrival. Everyone knew how much of a gamble it was for Liverpool to sign Mario Balotelli, but the general feeling upon his £16 million arrival back in English football was the Reds had got themselves a bargain if the Italian could apply himself. What a disaster that has been though.
Seems like back to the drawing board for Rodgers. Maybe next season is their year, ehy?
Angel Di Maria
From galactico, World Cup star and FIFA Team of The Year, to sitting on the bench in favour of Ashley Young, it hasn’t been a season to remember for Di Maria. After a £59.7 million transfer, Di Maria had a very promising start scoring in his debut against QPR and looked to be the only world-class looking player in a sluggish Manchester United team. But form dropped soon after and has failed to return since, Di Maria hasn’t really justified his price tag and world-class status that he left Madrid with. However, with him determined to stay at United and prove his worth, and his return to the Champions League next year imminent, there is still alot of hope.
A bit harsh I guess. One of the brightest prospects in English football, Barkley hasn’t really built on from a great season last and after such a meteoric rise much was expected of him again this season. Many claim he should have been starting at the World Cup and perhaps this year was his year to announce himself as the best midfielder in England. Just one goal this season, and a target of frustration amongst the Everton fans. Hopefull next season will prove to be his defining one.
From what was one of the deadliest deadline-day signings to one of the biggest flops, Falcao has had a torrid time in Manchester. Deprived of game time due to injury at the start of the season and a lack of faith shown by the manager, Falcao has definitely not lived up to his credentials and may soon be going back to Monaco with a terrible spell in England added to his CV. With Robin Van Persie injured for most of the season, Rooney playing in a midfield role and Manchester United lacking goals it was thought that Falcao would add the firepower up front that Man United so desperately needed. However, that was not the case.
Sunderland’s 8-0 defeat to Southampton
Ugly from a Sunderland point of view, or fantastic if you’re a Saints fan! Either way, 8-0 is a colossal scoreline.