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Season review: England

Published: Monday 21 May 2012, 16.22CET
The Premier League season ended with Manchester City FC clinching their first league title since 1968 at the expense of rivals Manchester United FC, who finished second on goal difference.
by Sam Crompton
from London
Season review: England
Vincent Kompany and Roberto Mancini hold the Premier League trophy ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 21 May 2012, 16.22CET

Season review: England

The Premier League season ended with Manchester City FC clinching their first league title since 1968 at the expense of rivals Manchester United FC, who finished second on goal difference.

Manchester City FC finally emerged from the shadow of their cross-town rivals to land their first championship in 44 years, dethroning Manchester United FC on goal difference after a remarkable final day. In the process City became the fifth team to win the Premier League since its inception in 1992.

While both Manchester clubs were casualties of the UEFA Champions League group stage, European club football's most coveted prize would return to England. Roberto Di Matteo masterminded Chelsea FC's renaissance and after securing the FA Cup, the Italian ensured they became the first London club to win the European Cup, overcoming FC Bayern München on penalties in the final. Meanwhile, Liverpool FC ended a six-year trophy drought by lifting the League Cup.

Champions: Manchester City FC
City set the early pace and if anyone doubted their title credentials, those suspicions were soon dispelled when they dismantled the champions 6-1 at Old Trafford. Although Tottenham Hotspur FC threatened to disturb the Manchester monopoly, Harry Redknapp's side faded and paved the way for a two-horse race. Just as it seemed United's superior know-how had prevailed, City overhauled an eight-point deficit to return to the summit on goal difference, with one game remaining. Trailing 2-1 against Queens Park Rangers FC, the mood was ominous until Roberto Mancini's side broke free from the shackles of fragility and conjured two goals in added time to ensure a breathtaking denouement.

Cup final: Chelsea FC 2-1 Liverpool FC
Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool found solace in the cup competitions after an erratic league campaign. Their 2-1 semi-final triumph over neighbours Everton FC set up a showdown with Chelsea, who had put Tottenham to the sword 5-1. Reinvigorated by the assured countenance of Roberto Di Matteo, Ramires steered Chelsea in front, before talisman Didier Drogba popped up with a customary Wembley goal. Although Liverpool rallied and halved the deficit through Andy Carroll, it was not enough to prevent the Blues winning their seventh FA Cup and fourth in six years.

European places
Manchester City FC – UEFA Champions League, group stage
Manchester United FC – UEFA Champions League, group stage
Arsenal FC – UEFA Champions League, group stage
Chelsea FC – UEFA Champions League, group stage
Tottenham Hotspur FC – UEFA Europa League, play-off round
Newcastle United FC – UEFA Europa League, third qualifying round
Liverpool FC – UEFA Europa League, group stage

Player of the Year: Robin van Persie (Arsenal FC)
After taking up the reins as Arsenal captain, Robin van Persie thrived on the added responsibility, his goals ensuring the Gunners a UEFA Champions League berth. With his immaculate technique and unnervingly accurate left foot, the Dutchman finished the season with a career-best 30 Premier League goals, 11 of them match-winners, and was duly voted player of the year by his peers within the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA).

One to watch: Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur FC)
The marauding full-back enjoyed a memorable breakthrough season with Tottenham. Uncompromising in defence and wilfully adventurous going forward, Walker established himself as a first-team regular and was voted PFA young player of the year after helping Spurs to a fourth-placed finish. The 21-year-old made his senior England debut as a late substitute during last November's Wembley friendly against Spain, and made his first start three days later versus Sweden.

Surprise package: Newcastle United FC
Once labelled 'The Entertainers', the northeast side reinvented themselves once more under Alan Pardew, who became only the second Englishman to be named manager of the year in the Premier League era. Meticulously well organised and difficult to beat, Newcastle also showed sufficient flair and had the clinical touch of Demba Ba, who hit 16 league goals, and his compatriot Papiss Demba Cissé, who took up the scoring mantle from January to help the Magpies finish fifth. Tribute must also be paid to Swansea City AFC, whose uninhibited approach and carefully nurtured reputation for probing, patient football ensured they retained their top-flight status and set a new precedent for promoted teams.

Leading scorer: Robin van Persie, Arsenal FC (30)

Relegated: Bolton Wanderers FC, Blackburn Rovers FC, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

Promoted: Reading FC, Southampton FC, West Ham United FC

Number: 1,066
The number of goals scored in the Premier League this season, surpassing the previous best of 1,063 in 2010/11.

Quote
"Miracles do happen in Manchester, but it's this side of the road this time. This game was crazy, there is no other word to describe it. We've dreamed of this all our lives, when we were kids and we had no money, we had nothing. Now we are champions and that is all it's about. You want to say it's the best moment of your life, after the birth of my child and my wedding, but please never again this way, please." Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany on his side's dramatic title-clinching victory.

Last updated: 10/07/12 0.15CET

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