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Season review: England

Published: Saturday 31 May 2014, 13.35CET
Manchester City FC were top for just 14 days before taking the title, with an exciting campaign bringing relief for Arsenal FC but pain for Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC.
Season review: England
City topped the table for just 14 days as they claimed the title ©Getty Images
Published: Saturday 31 May 2014, 13.35CET

Season review: England

Manchester City FC were top for just 14 days before taking the title, with an exciting campaign bringing relief for Arsenal FC but pain for Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC.

Manchester City FC took the title in their first season under Manuel Pellegrini, though the real story may have been how Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool FC buckled at the last – and how Manchester United FC struggled in their first campaign following Sir Alex Ferguson's departure.

Champions: Manchester City FC
"I'm just so happy for the manager because it's his first title in Europe," beamed Samir Nasri after a 2-0 final-day win against West Ham United FC confirmed top spot for Pellegrini's City. "He's done an amazing job. He's remained calm all season." That was no easy task in an unusually tense campaign, in which the lead changed hands 25 times. City were to spend just 14 days at the summit, with Arsenal FC, then Chelsea FC and finally Liverpool dropping the baton. City lost key games, but never lost their nerve, 20-goal midfielder Yaya Touré exemplifying their battling qualities.

Cup final: Arsenal FC 3-2 (aet) Hull City AFC
The Gunners were hugely relieved to claim their first trophy since 2005 – not least since they were 2-0 down inside eight minutes in the final, Santi Cazorla's stylish free-kick and a Laurent Koscielny effort forcing extra time, where Aaron Ramsey hit the 109th-minute winner. "Losing today would have been a major setback," conceded manager Arsène Wenger. "We'd done the double twice [in 1997/98 and 2001/02 ] before and on those occasions we weren't under the pressure we were today." The prospect of a first UEFA competition was some consolation for Steve Bruce's Hull.

League Cup final: Manchester City FC 3-1 Sunderland AFC
Sunderland's dream of a first trophy since 1973 – and a return to European football – was raised after Fabio Borini gave them a tenth-minute lead, but after the break Touré's long-range drive and further strikes from Nasri and Jesús Navas secured Pellegrini's first silverware as City boss. "I told them they had 45 minutes to change the score," said the Chilean. City's success also ensured that the side finishing sixth in the Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur FC – would get a UEFA Europa League berth.

European places*
Manchester City FC — UEFA Champions League, group stage
Liverpool FC — UEFA Champions League, group stage
Chelsea FC — UEFA Champions League, group stage
Arsenal FC — UEFA Champions League, play-off
Everton FC — UEFA Europa League, group stage
Tottenham Hotspur FC — UEFA Europa League, play-offs
Hull City AFC — UEFA Europa League, third qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

©Getty Images

Luis Suárez at the end of a brilliant season

Player of the year: Luis Suárez (Liverpool FC)
Footage of the Uruguay forward in tears after the Reds threw away a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 at Crystal Palace FC – and effectively hand the title to City – might be fresh in many fans' minds, but long-term it will be Suárez's extraordinary strike-rate that will define his season. Voted Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year by his peers, Suárez said: "The Premier League is full of really great players so it is a great honour when these players recognise your work on the pitch." Further acclaim followed as he tied with Cristiano Ronaldo on 31 goals for first place in the race for the ESM Golden Shoe.

One to watch: Adam Lallana (Southampton FC)
Everton's Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw of Southampton both impressed, but in terms of unheralded talent none could match Saints' late-blooming attacking midfielder Lallana – who turned 26 in May. Stylish, creative and dogged, his nine goals helped the south-coast club finish a very respectable eighth, and earned him a call-up to the England squad. "I'm ambitious," he said. "I want to one day play in the Champions League." Given the rumours circulating this summer, he may not have long to wait.

Surprise package: Crystal Palace FC
Sunderland's escape from relegation was dramatic, but the way promoted Palace surged up from the drop zone to come 11th was something else. With the Eagles seemingly holed below the waterline when they took just four points from their first 11 games, the arrival of Welshman Tony Pulis – recently dismissed by Stoke City FC – transformed them into a well-drilled yet deceptively stylish counterattacking side. "It was not easy turning people who have been told they're not good enough to compete," explained Pulis, who was voted Manager of the Year by his peers.

Leading scorer: Luis Suárez, Liverpool FC (31)

Relegated: Norwich City FC, Fulham FC, Cardiff City FC

Promoted: Leicester City FC, Burnley FC, Queens Park Rangers FC

Number: 33
Number of years since Manchester United FC last failed to qualify for Europe; David Moyes – chosen to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson – failed to get the champions to sparkle and was dismissed before the end of his first term. It was an unhappy final playing campaign for Ryan Giggs, who announced he was hanging up his boots aged 40 in May.

Quote: "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."
Chelsea manager José Mourinho always maintained that his team were not quite ready for a title push in his first season back at the club.

Last updated: 31/05/14 13.52CET