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The five most important results of the 2012/13 EPL season

With the 2012/2013 Premier League season done and dusted it’s time to look back on the five most important results of the season. The 380 matches played provided every indication as to why the league is arguably the worlds best and within those games were plenty of memorable results.

Justin Keane walks us through the biggest moments for the fans, players and most importantly the managers in charge.

5. Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea

 Having to battle the opposition in the Premier League is hard enough. But when the manager lacks the support of the fans then their time is usually limited at the club. After the surprise sacking of Chelsea’s Champions League winning manager Robero Di Mateo the club appointed interim manger Rafael Benitez, who made it clear in his time at Liverpool that he would never want to manage at a club like Chelsea and the supporters did not welcome him. Benitez defied the expectation of failure, steering Chelsea through a horror run of fixtures to Europa League glory and Champions League qualification. The decisive moment in their hopes for qualification came against Aston Villa. The relegation threatened club took a 1-0 advantage at the break and to compound Chelsea’s woes Ramiers was sent off. With the odds against the Blues, inspirational captain Frank Lampard scored a brace which also marked his record breaking 141th goal for the club. The 89th minute winner highlighted Benitez ability to rally his troops in such an important game, a game in which the blues were expected to win with ease.

4. Newcastle United 0-3 Sunderland

It was a horrid year for Sunderland with the club many expected to finish mid table only narrowly avoiding relegation. The form of September player of the month Steven Fletcher and fellow attacker Stephane Sessegnon dropped off resulting in the Black Cats scoring a low 41 goals for the season. The turning point came late in the season in the Tyne-Wear derby; newly appointed manager Pablo Di Canio saw his team score three second half goals seeing them prevail over Newcastle 3-0. The strikes all looked like contenders for goal of the season, especially David Vaughan’s cracker at the end. Equal to the brilliance of the goals was the highly spirited celebrations from Di Canio. The celebrations sent a clear message to the Sunderland fans that he was the man to take them forward. The win came at a time when both teams enriched in first division history were flirting with relegation; both would eventually keep their Premier League status.

3. Manchester United 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur

When Tottenham appointed Andre Villas Boas as their manager, many pundits expected the North London club to slide down the table. AVB was appointed as manager of Chelsea the season prior and seemed to have failed in the eyes of many. The Portuguese manager was sacked by the midpoint of the season after not meeting Chelsea’s high expectations. The Europa League winning manager embraced the Spurs job which breathed new life into his managerial career. In a crucial match at Old Trafford in September; first half goals from Vertonghen and Bale saw Spurs take a 2-0 lead into the break. The second half provided more entertainment as the sides went goal for goal early on with AVB’s side holding on to claim their first win there in 23 years. From that point, the football world’s respect for him as a manager grew and by the end of the season he had earned Tottenham their highest ever Premier League points tally of 72.

2. Newcastle United 0-1 Arsenal

The fight for Champions League positions came down to the final round of the EPL season. The Gunners held a one point advantage over cross town rivals Tottenham and knew a win against relegation battlers Newcastle would guarantee a 17th consecutive appearance in Europe’s premier club competition. The first half was pretty uninspiring with a few chances falling, mainly to Newcastle. Both sides went in nil all at the break. With their Champions league aspirations on the line it was Laurent Koscielny who stepped up early in the second half to deliver the decisive blow to Spurs Champions league hopes. When the final whistle sounded the large contingent of Arsenal away supporters celebrated and the players rejoiced with their fourth place finish, while Arsene Wenger looked to have secured his job for yet another season.

1. Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United  

The game that shaped the course of the season was the first instalment of the Manchester derby in December. Coming off their gut retching second place league finish to City on goal difference, United had a point to prove that they were still the best team in England. After trailing 2-0 early on, City fought their way back in the second half to level things up. It would come down to a late Robin Van Persie free kick that deflected off Samir Nasri and into the back of the net.  The win would spur United on to the Premier League title in what was to be manager Sir Alex Fergusons final season at the helm. Manchester City, on the other hand, fell off the pace, producing subpar performances all season, especially against mid table clubs. City manager Roberto Mancini was criticised for being unable to make decisions and substitutes to change a game, especially considering the depth of players in the city squad. By season’s end the Italian was sacked, making way for former Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Cover image credit: Timothy Boyd/Flickr

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