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It was a little bit underwhelming wasn’t it? I mean, aside from Stoke hitting Liverpool for six, Leicester putting five past the lifeless Queen’s Park Rangers and Theo Walcott scoring a first-half hat-trick.
But when it all comes down to it, nothing really mattered much. The main thing to decide on was which team would join Burnley and QPR in slipping down to the Championship. And fittingly, the greatest coach in the Premier League was able to put the brakes on Newcastle’s recent slide.
Steve Bruce’s Hull were the team to lose out here, despite their goalless stalemate with Louis Van Gaal’s Red Army. Usually a draw with the Premier League’s most successful team would be celebrated, but this only consigned Hull to an arguably undeserved trip to second tier football.
Although certain members of SCAN’s editorial team would disagree, the final day was ultimately disappointing. Newcastle’s 2-0 victory over a flat West Ham side was their first victory since February left. But despite the Magpies’ dismal performances of late, it was difficult to see anything other than this scenario, as Hull faced a difficult task at home to Manchester United. And it was just the two of them. Despite this being one of the closest regulation battles for years, most teams seemed to pull themselves together by May, with Sunderland the last to guarantee safety with an impressive draw at Arsenal.
Leicester, supposedly doomed in March, gained 7 wins from 9, topping their season with a 5-1 demolition of QPR. Aston Villa scored decent wins against Everton and West Ham to secure their ever-present Premiership status. West Brom beat Man United and Chelsea to cap an impressive second half of the season, whilst Burnley and QPR were relegated with games to spare. So there wasn’t as much tension as there could have been.
The same applies at the top of the table. Chelsea had wrapped up the title having been in charge since the turn of the year. Manchester City had secured second place and barring an unlikely monstrous collapse against West Brom, Arsenal had fought off United for third place. This meant the only positions worth fighting for was the coveted fifth place.
It effectively came down to which team from Tottenham, Liverpool and Southampton didn’t want a Europa League space least. It seemed that Liverpool felt that this wasn’t for them, so they collapsed unbelievably against Stoke. Turns out they can’t even do it on a sunny afternoon in Stoke, let alone a rainy night. Southampton continued their poor run of form (despite their Villa romp) by losing to Manchester City, leaving Harry Kane to grab 5th place after beating Everton 1-0.
Then we had Burnley winning at Villa Park 1-0 and Crystal Palace beating Swansea 1-0 also. Hardly electrifying. A damp squib of a final day, but is this a fair representation of the season? Does a poor conclusion cancel out the tense fights we’ve witnessed leading up to the 38th games?
Simply put, yes. It had been a decent season to an extent. We had witnessed Newcastle covering most positions in the league at some point, West Ham and Southampton having extraordinary starts to the season, and Swansea punching above their weight and beating both Arsenal and Man United twice in the process.
But it all seems a bit irrelevant now. As interesting as it is to see underdogs give the top teams a run for their money, the final day isn’t about seeing who will grab ninth place. It should be about deciding teams’ destinies, which didn’t really happen considering the drab performances of West Ham and Man United. The record books will state that the final relegation place was decided on the final day, but it never really had that final day aura, like in 2012 when Agüero scored that goal, or in 2005 when no team had been relegated by the final day.
At least there was some excitement on the final day though, no one can possibly forget Steven Gerrard’s last Liverpool game now. And this has thrown Brendan Rodgers’ job into speculation. But aside from this I can’t imagine this final day will live long in the memories of supporters.