What Did the Premier League Look Like in 2013?
Premier League Winners - Manchester United (89 Points)
United Return To The Top
Manchester United had been denied their 20th title in the most heartbreaking and dramatic manner ever seen in English football thanks to Sergio Aguero and Manchester City in 2012, but they were able to beat their crosstown rivals to the signing of the league's best striker in Robin Van Persie in the summer and would rarely find themselves looking back. They rose to the summit of the table after thirteen games with a 3-1 win against QPR and would spend the remaining seven months on top.
Whilst Manchester City started off the season in some decent form, going unbeaten in the first sixteen games of their season, rumbling issues from the previous campaigns would rear their head throughout the campaign and destabilise the side. The likes of Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli would regularly start fights with manager Roberto Mancini, and both strikers would find themselves out of the club by the end of the season.
Chelsea might have been European champions by the time 2012/13 rolled around, however their campaign in the league couldn't have gone much worse. Despite a reasonably fast start, the tenure of Andre Villas-Boas was thrown into anarchy as key stars rebelled and the Portuguese man lost his job. The Blues finished the season two places and five points in the Champions League spots in third place.
Manchester United Best Games 2012/13
Relegated - QPR (25 Points), Reading (28 Points), Wigan (36 Points)
Wigan's Cup Heroics Unable To Save Them
Wigan might have shocked the world with their truly awesome FA Cup final triumph over Manchester City, however they were more or less an ever-present in a relegation scrap throughout the season. Roberto Martinez's side had been in the league for seven years going into 2012/13, however they had not finished above 15th in the table under Martinez and were seriously looking like a depleted side by the time they slipped into the bottom three.
On the flip side, QPR were a side that were overly saturated with talent. Everyone from Manchester United's Fabio and Park Ji Sung to Champions League winner Julio Cesar were brought in to fly QPR up the table. The reality however was that this was a side seriously over the hill in terms of age and seriously lacking in the heart needed to mount a survival bid.
For Reading, they were punished for one of the worst starts to a season imaginable, taking them until the 29th December to win just their second league game in the season. A real lack of quality cost the Royals, who haven't returned to the Premier League since this relegation.
Golden Boot - Robin Van Persie (26 Goals)
The Flying Dutchman Launches United To The Title
Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to pinch the league's best striker from Arsenal proved inspired as Robin Van Persie romped to another Premier League Golden Boot, his second in two years. Listening to the 'little boy' inside of him and snubbing rivals Manchester City helped create a magical legacy for Van Persie in the red heart of Manchester forever.
Luis Suarez was already beginning to show off some of his world class credentials by 2012/13, netting 23 goals for a fairly middling Liverpool side that would eventually end the campaign in 7th place.
Gareth Bale picked up the PFA Player of the Year and the PFA Young Player of the Year awards in 2012/13 and would finish behind Van Persie and Suarez in 3rd place for the race for the Golden Boot. The Welshman was the top scoring Home Nations player and arguably the top scoring non-forward in the league, depending on what you class as a forward.
Christian Benteke, Michu, Romelu Lukaku and Rickie Lambert surprised the odds with the biggest goal hauls of sides outside of the top 7, registering 19, 18, 17 and 15 goals for Aston Villa, Swansea, West Brom and Southampton respectively.
Memorable Match: Arsenal 7 - 3 Newcastle - 29th December 2012
Walcott The Hero As Arsenal Score 7
Whilst the season produced great games, particularly involving Ferguson's swashbuckling United side, we've decided to opt for Arsenal's demolition of Alan Pardew's Newcastle as the game of the season.
Arsene Wenger and Arsenal had attracted a lot of criticism for the sale of Robin Van Persie to United and the supposed failure to bring adequate replacements, however this display showcased exactly why Wenger remained such a force in the coaching world.
Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla were immense as creators for the Gunners, whilst Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were able to cash in the carnage and find the net themselves.