Premier League Season Review:Part 3

Last Season:15th
Pre-Season Expectations:Mid-Table

Final Position:16th

Sunderland had a busy summer transfer as they signed no less than 9 players and even more went out. They increased their strength in depth with players such as Ferdinand, McCartney, Diouf, Malbranque and Cisse. Manager Roy Keane resigned due to an inconsistent start to their campaign. Coach Ricky Sbragia was appointed caretaker manager initially and then permanent manager. But Sunderland still struggled for form which resulted in them winning only one match from March till season end making them relegation candidates. Sbragia later resigned after the season ended and Wigan coach Steve Bruce was brought in instead.

Next Season:

Sunderland need some first-team players that show commitment and do not go missing during matches. Early signs show them as bottom-half candidates.

Blackburn Rovers

Last Season:7th
Pre-Season Expectations:Avoid Relegation

Final Position: 15th

Blackburn were predicted to struggle in this campaign with Mark Hughes leaving for Manchester City and prolific striker Santa Cruz injured. They did just that. Paul Ince was chosen as Hughes' successor. Though Ince managed to convince Santa Cruz to stay, Bentley and Friedel left the club. Friedel's successor was to be ex-Spurs keeper Paul Robinson. Ince had a dream start to the season as his team came form behind to win 3-2 at Everton. However other results were not as good as Ince was sacked in December following a streak of eleven games without a win. Sam Allardyce was announced as his successor the very next day. They had a decent run under him and finished a decent 15th.

Next Season:
Blackburn Rovers will be looking to get a mid-table position next season.They will hope to get Sam's bargain buys with the money recieved by selling Santa Cruz.

Portsmouth FC

Last Season:8th
Pre-Season Expectations:Mid-Table

Final Position:14th

Portsmouth began their season under Harry Redknapp with only Peter Crouch and Younes Kaboul being the prime acquisitions. However Redknapp quit the club for the second time to replace Juande Ramos. Assistant Manager Tony Adams was promoted to the Manager's post. That was a huge gamble as Tony Adams seemed utterly clueless about managing a club. Adams only lasted for just more than 3 months. Youth Coach Paul Hart was promoted to the manager's post until the end of the season. Their fortunes turned and they climbed out of the relegation zone and finished 14th eventually.

Next Season:
Portsmouth was taken over by a UAE businessman in the close season and they may look into a bright future.

Bolton Wanderers

Last Season:16th
Pre-Season Expectations:Avoid Relegation

Final Position:13th

Bolton began their season with breaking their transfer record by signing Johan Elmander. Bolton had a decent run throughout the season. Boss Gary Megson won the Manager of the Month Award for November. They sold their captain Kevin Nolan to Newcastle United in January, for reasons known only to them.Other than that they did what was expected of them and finished 13th.

Next Season:
Bolton should look to get a safe mid-table position next season.

Stoke City

Last Season:2nd(Championship)
Pre-Season Expectations:Relegation Candidates

Final Position:12th

Stoke City had a great season in which they exceeded expectations. Their most memorable result was winning 2-1 against Arsenal. They also drew 0-0 at Anfield. Stoke's most lethal weapon probably was Rory Delap. Rory Delap's Quarterback-like throws ended in many a headed-goal. Though Stoke performed poorly in Cup competitions, they still performed well when called upon. Stoke had signed many players in the summer. Dave Kitson was their expensive signing for £5.5m who turned a flop. Yet they finished 12th. Boss Tony Pulis must be credited with this achievement.

Next Season:
Stoke will be looking to avoid relegation next season and try to get the best out of Rory Delap.

Wigan Athletic

Last Season:14th
Pre-Season Expectations:Bottom-Half

Final Position:11th

Steve Bruce intially changed Wigan from a relegation candidate to a uefa-cup spot chasing team with good early form.Egyptian striker Amr Zaki was brought in on loan and he scored 6 goals early on to lead the Golden Boot rankings. He finished with 10 goals. Wigan sold two of their most important players in Heskey and Palacios in January. Despite these massive changes they finished 11th which was their second best ever finish in the Premier League.

Next Season:
Bruce left the club after the season to go to Sunderland and was replaced with Roberto Martinez. Wigan fans will be hoping this won't be another Paul Ince incident.

Manchester City

Last Season: 9th
Pre-Season Expectations: Mid-table

Final Position: 10th

Last season was the first for Manchester City under new ownership. Abu Dhabi United Group took over as owners on the last day of the transfer window - day which ended up in quite a cameo with Manchester City bidding for every-player-on-the-earth. They managed to sign Robinho for a record deal. Amassing 50 pts. they were just short of Europa League qualifications. However, Home form was key to their points tally at the end. City had a up-down season throughout but managed to put a string a good performances at the end.

Next Season:

City will be spending and spending BIG. Hughes needs to buy players which would quickly settle down into his system. Mark Hughes seems to have steadied the ship but with big names seemingly sure to come alongwith the new found wealth he must show the character to control big egos at the club.

West Ham United

Last Season:10th
Pre-Season Expectations:Top Half

Final Position:9th

West Ham United have seen quite a revolution after Gianfranco Zola has taken over at the club. They've had a good season and have shown glimpses of what they are capable of doing next season. Credit has to be given to Zola in this situation. At first he's put a system in place and most importantly he's made them play their own style of football by giving them freedom of expression on the field which has no doubt brought the best in them

Next Season:

West Ham are going in the right direction and under Zola they have a bright future. His prioirty next season would be breaking into the Europa League spots.

Tottenham Hotspur

Last Season:11th
Pre-Season Expectations:UEFA Cup

Final Position:8th

A roller coaster season for Tottenham ! 2008-09 saw the worst start to a season in the club's history. Tottenham managed to score only 1 point from the first four premiership games. Following the string of bad results, Juande Ramos was eventually sacked in October losing to Udinese in the UEFA Cup. Harry Redknapp, the former Portsmouth Manager came to their rescue. He took the club out of relegation zone within two weeks of appointment as the Manager and brought Tottenham back to thier "Traditional" ways. January transfer window saw the return of their influential Captain Robbie Keane who had failed in his short stint at Liverpool. Tottenham made a dream comeback from the bottom of the League to finish 8th at the end of the season, with some remarkable victories over title contenders Chelsea and Liverpool.

Next Season:

They were an outlandlish contender for the Big 4 last season before the season began. The 'Harry Houdini' continues its magic - with a couple of good signings and avoiding the terrible start they had last season should make them worthy Europa League contenders.

English Premier League Season Review: Part 4
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