Last Season: 17th
Pre-Season Expectations: Avoid Relegation
Pre-Season Transfers(Major):
IN:
John Pantsil and Bobby Zamora (£6.3m)
Zoltan Gera (free)
Mark Schwarzer (free)

OUT:
Dejan Stefanovic (undisclosed)
Ricardo Batista (undisclosed)
Carlos Bocanegra (free)
Brian McBride (free)

Final Position: 7th

A dream season for Fulham! The fans and the club alike would have never even dreamt of achieving a 7th position in the league at the start of the season. It must have been magical for the Fulham supporters. Last season, Fulham had done the unthinkable by avoiding relegation by the scruff of their neck. All thanks to the 1-0 wins they cropped up at the end of 07-08 season. This season too, they did the unthinkable. Nobody would have thought that Fulham would finish 7th come the end of the season. Not even the Fulham fans! They did so and thereby qualified for the Europa League(new name for the UEFA Cup).

The success at this club this season was majorly because of their defence. Brede Hangeland proved to be rock in the Fulham defence. He was very well complimented by his fellow defenders. Fulham had become very tough to break down. They achieved very good results against the top four clubs at home collecting 7 points out of a possible 12. Fulham neither conceded many goals, nor scored many. They proved time and again that they were a consistent team which reflects on the position they achieved this season.

Next Season:

The future certainly looks exciting for this club. They now have another competition to play in, the Europa League. If they can hold onto Brede Hangeland in the summer, their defence certainly looks stable and balanced. With expectations from Fulham now higher than ever, lets see how they cope with the pressure!


Aston Villa




Last Season: 6th
Pre-Season Expectations: Qualify for UEFA Cup
Pre-Season Transfers(Major):
IN: Steve Sidwell (£5m)
Curtis Davies (undisclosed)
Brad Friedel (£2m)
Emile Heskey(£3.5m) --> January

OUT:
Thomas Sorensen (released)
Patrik Berger (free)
Luke Moore (£3m)

Final Position: 6th

Before the season, not many expected Aston Villa to do what they did this season. Last season, they were unlucky not to qualify for the UEFA Cup due to Tottenham and Portsmouth winning the 2 domestic cups and Everton securing the 5th place. But this season, they earned their place in the UEFA Cup by finishing 6th again. Infact, Villa almost managed to break into the top four with only 19 players used in the season. But the poor form they showed after 25 BPL matches proved vital. They were in the top four for major part of the season. They even climbed above Chelsea to 3rd place for a while. They were now the serious contenders to break into the top four. But a poor run of matches with only 1 win in 10 matches came at the wrong time for them. Arsenal capitalised on their mistake and climbed above Villa into 4th place. It now seemed that the honeymoon was over for Villa. Thier poor run continued and even Everton overtook them and they fell into 6th place. They somehow managed to maintain their 6th spot for an automatic qualification into the Europa League.

Next Season:

With a very good manager in Martin O'Neill, Aston Villa fans are sure to have a good future. But with club captain Gareth Barry gone to City now, the spine of thier team is lost. Unless a suitable replacement for Barry is found, they are sure to have a mid-table spot next season.


Everton



Last Season: 5th
Pre-Season Expectations: Qualify for UEFA Cup
Pre-Season Transfers(Major):
IN: Jo (loan) --> January
OUT: Lee Carsley (free)
Stefan Wessels (free)

Final Position: 5th

A marvellous achievement by David Moyes and his side considering the resources Everton had! Many pundits had predicted this season that Everton would occupy the mid-table anonymity. Looking at the first-half of the season, it seemed so that the pundits had got it right once again. But after that, the form showed by Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill, Steven Piennar and Jolean Lescott helped Everton to perform consistently. Everton played as a team which was the key to their success. They never relied on one or two individuals heavily. Hats off to David Moyes!! He even earned the praise of Sir Alex Ferguson and Rafa Benitez for his work. Everton thoroughly deserved this position and once again qualified for the Europa League.

Next Season:

With the quality that Everton has throughout the side and with a manager like David Moyes, it would be tough to go against Everton. With a couple of good signings in the summer, they would certainly be capable of breaking into the top four.
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