Roll on the party

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Shamik Chakrabarty | Updated: May 19 2014, 01:45am hrs
So City are now the only club in Manchester, and what a fall from grace for United! Liverpool rose steadily under Brendan Rodgers and got their Champions League football back after four years. But a Gerrard-esque slip on home stretch cost them the title. Jose Mourinhos Chelsea revelled in parking the bus, and also a few taxis, but returned empty-handed. Arsenal finished at their customary number four position despite being on top of the table for 128 days. Roberto Martinez unfettered Everton from David Moyes mediocrity and gave them a Europa League place. Tottenham Hotspur ran on owner Daniel Levys personal whims as Tim Sherwood became the latest victim of another unsatisfactory campaign. Overall, the 2013-14 Premier League season was a fantastic blend of excitement and unpredictability. For us, the neutrals, it provided huge enjoyment.

Manchester City first, because theyre the crowned champions. Quality all around the pitch from Joe Hart to Yaya Toure, David Silva, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero; and Manuel Pellegrini gelled them beautifully. The Chilean was dignity personified. After replacing Roberto Mancini, he turned down the noise level at Etihad and raised the performance level. His handling of Hart deserves special mention.

Pellegrini dropped his number one goalkeeper after a few bad games. But he didnt discard him. The manager rather put an arm around Harts shoulder, gave him confidence, encouraged him to train extra hard and then brought him back to the fold again. Hart returned as a better goalkeeper.

To become a football elite, City, however, have to conquer Europe. Problem is that theyre caught on the wrong side of Uefas Financial Fair Play regulations and have to be judicious in their spending in close season.

It was very unfortunate for Liverpool that Steven Gerrards slip against Chelsea, allowing Demba Ba through, became the defining moment of their effort. Still it was a season for the Reds to savour. From seventh place last time to finishing second this term, theyve come a long way. But retaining Luis Suarez would be imperative for Rodgers to build on the progress. A story is doing the rounds that Suarez might leave for the greener pastures of Santiago Bernabeu for around 60 million. Without the Uruguayan, Liverpool lose their cutting edge.

Chelsea searched for goals throughout the season and bereft of a top-class finisher, Mourinho went into a shell. Gary Cahill was outstanding at the heart of defence. John Terry enjoyed a second wind.

Willian became a force to reckon with in his first season at English football. Eden Hazard mesmerised with his touch before he became frustrated with his managers reactive football. Mourinho, on the other hand, questioned the midfielders work-rate and branded him as selfish.

Its not all hunky-dory at the Bridge post season and Roman Abramovich must be a little concerned. Weve to wait and see what Diego Costa brings to the table.

Arsenal are always happy to finish fourth but this time they played like a title contender for a considerable period. Arsene Wenger broke bank to bring in Mesut Ozil for 42 million. The German started brightly but lost his rhythm midway through. Then injuries rendered an excellent Aaron Ramsey ineffective which was a big blow. The Gunners lost their zeal and slowed down. Winning the FA Cup will see them break a nine-year trophy drought but Arsenal need a good striker to win the Premier League. Its good to see that Wenger is ready to spend close to 30 million for Karim Benzema.

Martinez transformed Everton from a mid-table outfit to almost a Champions League force. In the end they narrowly missed out on the big prize to Arsenal but this has been a season of progress at Goodison.

Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines were excellent as full backs, Romelu Lukaku turned out to be a fantastic loan signing with his goal-scoring ability, but the real shining light was Ross Barkley. The 20-year-old was a joy to watch and thoroughly deserved his place in the England World Cup squad.

Spurs invested close to 110 million last summer but finished sixth. And it was a big let down for Levy who always wanted Champions League action at White Hart Lane. Spurs struggled almost right from the start which made Andre Villas-Boas position untenable. Sherwood came as his replacement, improved the team but ruffled many feathers with his straight-talks. Levy was never going to give him another term. Another manager will arrive, but Spurs will continue to suffer for the lack of stability.

An empire crumbled at Old Trafford. It was arguably the worst season for Manchester United since 1974, when they were relegated. David Moyes was the chosen one but he was the wrong one. He never had the managerial pedigree to become Sir Alex Fergusons successor and Moyes looked like a man in a hurry as he tried to assert his authority, in his first season, at the world's biggest club. He failed miserably in the transfer markettargeted Cesc Fabregas, landed Marouane Fellainiand then made United the old Everton-like on the pitch. At any other football set-up he wouldnt have survived till Christmas. United board was lenient enough to allow his presence until mid-April. But by then all was lost. A great edifice was shattered to ruins. Louis van Gaal will preside over the rebuilding, clearing out the deadwoods. But it might take quite a long time for United to return to top flight again.

Away from the elite group, Mauricio Pochettino made Southampton easy on the eye. Young players grew into their job rapidly under his watch. Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana are the two prominent examples. United have reportedly placed a 27 million bid for Shaw. Liverpool are interested in Lallana. Pochettino himself might leave St Marys for White Hart Lane. But Southamptons youth system will ensure a steady supply of talent.

Tony Pulis galvanised Crystal Palace, Gus Poyet performed a managerial miraclewins against Chelsea and United and a draw against Cityto save Sunderland from the drop. Fulham, Norwich City and Cardiff City were relegated. They suffered for ownership eccentricities and poor management. They deserved to be relegated.

Premier League is over but weve a small matter of World Cup football coming up. Roll on the party.