And that’s a Wrap…

on the Premiership season.   Man United were the deserving champions holding off a resilent Chelsea.  The other 18 teams finished like this.  Liverpool and Arsenal finished 3rd and 4th, and will endure 1 round of qualifying in August for the Champions League. 

Tottenham won the “league within the league” i.e. finishing 5th behind the Top Four Clubs.  Good news for Spurs fans that the best signing of the year, the brilliant Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov indicates he’ll spurn offers from the Top Four and remain at Tottenham.  Click for highlights of Berbatov’s impressive season in throwback black&white fittingly set to some cool beats.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgH0OtJMYtU

Besides Tottenham, Everton and Bolton completed successful campaigns to qualify for the UEFA Cup next season.  TTL expects Tottenham and Everton to perform well in the UEFA Cup while it could be difficult for Bolton if they don’t bolster their roster.  While playing in Europe brings with it some lucrative money, clubs have to be careful not to overextend their players in too many games.  A club really needs at least 18 quality players to compete well in European competitions, their domestic cup and, most importantly, their domestic league.  That takes a big budget and not many teams have the financial resources to do this. 

Entertaining Reading just missed out on an UEFA Cup berth with their 8th place finish.  This is a solid club who could benefit from not playing in UEFA next season as they’ll have an interesting off-season deciding on the make-up of their club and could struggle to stay up in the Premiership next year.  No need to add European pressure to an already tough season ahead.   

Overlooking the logjam in the mid-table, 3 teams were dealt that harshest of fate:  Relegation.  Watford, Charlton and Sheffield United were all set back down to the Championship but this could be overturned via the courts.   West Ham were fined a record 5.5 million pounds for their shady signings of Argentians Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez.  Masherano moved on to Liverpool (and played fantastic) while Tevez was the hero during West Ham’s incredible escape from relegation, topped by scoring the goal in the Hammers 1-0 victory on Sunday at Man United.  At least 5 Premiership clubs are attempting to take West Ham and the Premiere League to court insisting that West Ham should be docked points for their 2 controversial signings and, therefore, relegated.  This could get ugly, English legal-style. 

As always the managerial carousal goes round at the end of the season.  Wigan coach Paul Jewell resigned for health reasons after leading Wigan out of relegation courtesy of Sunday’s nailbiting 2-1 win at Sheffield United.  He’ll be replaced by assistant Chris Hutchings.  Stuart Pearce was sacked at Manchester City following a disappointing 14th place finish courtesy of a woeful offense that scored only 29 goals including a paltry 10 at home.   He’ll most likely remain the coach of the England Under-21 side. 

Overall, it was a good season in the Premiership.  Man U held off Chelsea in a compelling title race.  3 clubs reached the semis of the Champions League while Man U flirted with a treble and Chelsea an unprecedented quadruple (Carling Cup as well).  And there are 2 big games left:  The “Dream” FA Cup Final on Saturday at the new Wembley of Man U-Chelsea and the Champions League Final on May 23rd of AC Milan-Liverpool. 

As promised, here is a Best of Sports #5 which features the Top 10 goals of the year in the Champions League.  Also provides a nice recap courtesy of ESPN2 of all networks.  TTL will toot a bit as goals #3 and #4 were featured in this little ‘ole blog. And here’s hoping the team responsible for the #1 goal as a few more left in them. Enjoy the games.

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