2008/09 Premier League Champions: Manchester United
Champions League places: Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal
Europa League places: Everton, Aston Villa, Fulham.
Promoted (from 2007/08): West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City, Hull City
Relegated: West Bromwich Albion, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United
Leading Scorer: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea) 19 goals
Premier League Table 2008 – 2009
|9||West Ham United||38||14||9||15||42||45||-3||51|
|20||West Bromwich Albion||38||8||8||22||36||67||-31||32|
2008/09 Season Review
Holders Manchester United defended their crown to win the Premier League title for the eleventh time and finish again on top of the 2008/09 Premier League table.
United fought off the nearest challengers, Liverpool, to clinch it on the penultimate weekend following a 0-0 draw at home to Arsenal on 16th May 2009. It was the Red Devils’ 18th championship overall, and the achievement draws them level with Liverpool.
Big rivals Chelsea led the embryonic league table under new manager Luiz Felipe Scolari with Liverpool, Aston Villa, and West Ham United enjoying promising starts.
British Transfer Record
But Manchester City caught the headlines when they smashed the British transfer record to sign Brazilian superstar Robinho for £32m, while neighbors United paid Tottenham Hotspur £30.75m for Dimitar Berbatov’s signature.
West Ham United’s Alan Curbishley was the first managerial casualty of 2008/09, swiftly followed by Kevin Keegan at Newcastle United, with Joe Kinnear taking temporary charge at St James’ Park. Gianfranco Zola took up the post with the Hammers.
Tottenham Hotspur endured their worst start to a Premier League season, so they waved goodbye to Juande Ramos. New manager Harry Redknapp would take over and lead the struggling outfit to the top half of the table. Tony Adams replaced Redknapp at Portsmouth, but his tenure did not last long, with coach Paul Hart coming in and guiding Pompey to a 14th place finish.
Barclays Premier League newcomers Hull City continued their excellent start with a shock victory against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. Still, things would turn sour for the second half of the season, with the Tigers winning only one league match in that time and starting dropping down the 2008/09 Premier League table.
Liverpool kept up their title aspirations by ending Chelsea’s 86-match unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge, while Roy Keane quit lowly Sunderland and former United team-mate Paul Ince left Blackburn Rovers.
Coach Ricky Sbragia was promoted to Sunderland manager and would eventually keep the Black Cats up on the last day. However, Sam Allardyce revived Rovers’ fortunes when he took the Ewood Park hot seat and moved them clear of danger.
Russia hotshot Andrey Arshavin made big money move to Arsenal in January with the Gunners looking off the pace as United stole a march at the top of the table. However, United was solid as ever at the back as keeper Edwin van der Sar broke Petr Cech’s record with 11 straight clean sheets and reached 14 overall.
Another Chelsea Manager
Guus Hiddink replaced Scolari at Stamford Bridge until the end of the season. The Dutch manager would leave a lasting impression at the club, winning the FA Cup with a 2-1 victory over Everton. But he had to make do with a third-place finish in the league as Liverpool, and Manchester United battled it out for the title.
Ex-Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer returned to his old club for the final eight matches due to Kinnear’s ill health but could only register one victory in that time.
Despite winning plaudits for their attractive football, West Bromwich Albion had struggled most of the season and was the first side to be consigned to the championship after a 2-0 at home reverse to Liverpool on 17th May to end the campaign rock bottom.
The North East Clubs
On an exciting final weekend of the campaign, the last two relegation places were taken up by northeast clubs Middlesbrough and Newcastle, whose fates were sealed with defeats at West Ham United and Aston Villa, respectively.
Relegation rivals Hull City, and Sunderland stayed up despite losing their final day fixtures. It was the first time since 2006 that more than one promoted club survived their maiden Premier League season, with Stoke City staying up relatively comfortably under the wise stewardship of Tony Pulis.
Arsenal ended up in the fourth Champions League place while Everton came through strongly to finish fifth, just ahead of Aston Villa.
Roy Hodgson’s Fulham claimed the final place in the newly-formed Europa League, finishing a highly creditable seventh on the 2008/09 Premier League table just a year after avoiding the drop on the last day of the 2007/08 season.
2008/09 Cup Results
2008/09 FA Cup Winners: Chelsea [Final – Chelsea 2-1 Everton]
2008/09 League Cup Winners: Manchester United [Final – Man Utd 0-0 Tottenham (aet), Man Utd win 4-1 on penalties]
2008/09 Champions League Winners: FC Barcelona [Final – Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United]
2008/09 UEFA Cup Winners: Shakhtar Donetsk [Final – Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 Werder Bremen]
2008/09 Managerial Changes
Chelsea: Avram Grant out, Luiz Felipe Scolari in, Luiz Felipe Scolari out, Guus Hiddink in
West Ham United: Alan Curbishley out, Gianfranco Zola in
Newcastle United: Kevin Keegan out, Joe Kinnear in, Joe Kinnear out, Alan Shearer in
Tottenham Hotspur: Juande Ramos out, Harry Redknapp in
Portsmouth: Harry Redknapp out, Tony Adams in, Tony Adams out, Paul Hart in
Sunderland: Roy Keane out, Ricky Sbragia in
Blackburn Rovers: Paul Ince out, Sam Allardyce in
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!