Mourinho - 'The Happy One'
It's been a typically tetchy season for Señor Jose on his return to the Premier League. He's picked fights at every turn, made enemies inside and outside of Stamford Bridge, belittled referees, bullied ballboys and generally behaved like the Jose Mourinho of old. All of which makes it ironic and worth recounting that he painted himself as 'The Happy One' when he first returned last summer. Happy? He doesn't seem very happy. And having seen his team bottle the title chase, he also doesn't seem much like 'The Special One' either.
Hungry Like The Wolf
When Dutch hitman Ricky van Wolfswinkel opened his Norwich account just 71 minutes into the opening day of the season, steering an expert header out of Tim Howard's reach, we all thought he might just be worth the £8.5m price tag hanging heavily on his shoulders. Twenty-six games, no further goals and one painful relegation later, we realised he actually wasn't. Willing, yes, just clearly not able.
Manchester United Top The Table
A confident, competent and at times classy 4-1 win away at Swansea on the opening weekend of the season in which Robin van Persie picked up where he'd left off suggested 'The Chosen One' David Moyes would take it all in his stride. One down, 37 to go.
What could possibly go wrong?
Di Canio's Madness
He may not actually be a goose-stepping fascist sympathiser, but the first few weeks of the season served to confirm that Paolo di Canio is about as unhinged an individual as the Premier League has ever seen. Having signed 14 new players over the summer months, he never stopped complaining of needing more to make his revolution work. Before he had chance to see it bear fruit, the Italian dictator found himself standing a coward's distance away from the Sunderland fans at the Hawthorns, imploring them to keep their chins up after another sobering defeat, their fourth in five games.
Owner Ellis Short responded with a gesture of his own; a slitting motion drawn across his throat, and Di Canio was dispatched. The first sacking of the season, and by far the most popular.
Public Enemy Suarez Serves His Sentence
By the end of the season, as the world lined up to lay accolades at his feet, it was easy to forget that Luis Suarez spent the first six games of the season sat twiddling his thumbs with a dark cloud above his head.
He wasn't the messiah back then, just a very naughty boy found guilty of biting an opponent and slapped with a 10-game ban.
Thirty-one mainly magnificent goals later, all of his sins were forgiven and largely forgotten. Well, apart from that one. And the other one.
Alan Pardew meets Manuel Pellegrini
Several weeks before the Newcastle manager made headlines landing the type of pathetic headbutt that would have a 12-year-old child laughed out of school, he found himself in a less celebrated rumpus with the Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini. Allowing himself to become psychotically overheated over an offside decision, Pardew was caught telling his opposite number to "Shut your noise you f*****g old c***".
For the record, Manuel Pellegrini is 60, Alan Pardew is 52. He's no spring chicken himself, that f*****g old c***.
Wigan. In Europe
Zulte Waregem 0-0 Wigan Athletic. Did this really happen? And if it did, why?
Spend In Haste, Repent At Leisure
Hindsight is a very convenient caveat, but when considering the most hopeless signings of last summer who sank without trace, of which there are many, it's worth revisiting the remarkable goings on at Tottenham Hotspur.
Otherwise known as How Not To Spend The Bale Billions, Andre Villas Boas was rich beyond his wildest dreams and had a point to prove to Roman Abramovich. So he brought in seven men who were expected to galvanise Tottenham's charge for a Champions League place – Nacer Chadli (£6m), Vlad Chirches (£8.5m) and Etienne Capoue (£8.6m) for small beans, Christian Eriksen (£11m) and Paulinho (£17m) in double figures, and Roberto Soldado (£26m) and Erik Lamela (£30m) for what we now know to be silly money.
The only point AVB proved to Roman Abramovich was that he was probably right to sack him at Chelsea, for of those seven men, only Eriksen could be considered money well spent. AVB of course paid the price for such spectacular failure, but you've got to wonder about the sanity of the man at the very top in all this. Daniel Levy is held up as being one of the shrewdest operators in the business, a man who strikes a hard bargain and likes to hold all the aces in any transfer dealings. He must have been off ill the day Spurs wrote all those cheques...
Chris Smalling: Suicide Bomber
The Manchester United defender made a large number of poor decisions over the course of last season, but none more brain-dead than hosting a party dressed as a suicide bomber. #LOLZ, as they probably don't say any more. Any suggestions that Sir Alex served punch dressed as Dr Harold Shipman have clearly just been made up.
Alf Garnett Refs Chelsea-Arsenal
What could have been a lively encounter between title-chasers Chelsea and not-so-much title chasers Arsenal was ruined as a contest when Andre Marriner brandished a red at Kieran Gibbs after he palmed away a goal-bound effort in the box. As we all recall now though, it wasn't Gibbs at all, but his team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. An honest mistake? Very probably, but cue the Twitter outrage nonetheless.
Jack Wilshere Smokes A Tab
Was it more depressing that a professional footballer should be spotted chugging on a fag outside a nightclub at 3am, or that such a sighting was considered to be front-page news by one particular newspaper the following day? We can no longer be sure.
Vincent Tan. Vincent. Tan.
The suspicion that Cardiff's Malaysian might be making it all up as he goes was given legs last October when he sacked the club's experienced and respected head of recruitment and replaced him with Alisher Apsalyamov, a 23-year-old from Kazakhstan who'd done some work experience at the club over the summer. Sadly, work visa issues put the kibosh on that ingenious little plan.
A series of imperious performances from Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany helped secure the Premier League title and very almost erased the memory of that impossibly comical slow-mo OG at Fulham. Almost, but evidently not quite. Of the 1,052 goals scored last season, this is by some distance our personal favourite.
The Miracle Of Crystal Palace
Lost. Lost. Won. Lost. Lost. Lost. Lost. Lost. Lost. Lost. Sacked.
As the plaudits now rightly rain down on Tony Pulis' bald bonce for masterminding the most improbable relegation escape, it's easy to forget just how inept the rag-tag rabble he inherited from Ian Holloway had been during those first few weeks of the season. Looking back now, how Palace survived a Premier League campaign for the first time and avoided Derby County's 11-point haul is nothing short of preposterous.
Morgan Amalfitano’s Devastating Dink
Looking back on the season as a whole now it's over, it's amusing to recall the number of hopeless home defeats Manchester United suffered against teams who hadn't won at Old Trafford in aeons. Yet it's easy to forget how the sorry run started – with Morgan Amalfitano’s cool-headed run and dink over David De Gea and Saido Berahino's low strike on September 28. It gave West Brom a 2-1 victory, secured their first win at United in 35 years, and saw a large white flag of despair hoisted high above Old Trafford.
By the season's end, six more teams would have inflicted defeat on the champions at home, a record high in the Premier League era, which is why it all feels so familiar now.
We all remember that Arsenal scored a wonder goal against Norwich City last season, but it's only by watching it repeatedly that the ridiculous magnificence of it all begins to sink in. Truly, truly ridiculous. Hold on though, was that third pass Gibbs or Oxlade-Chamberlain? Andre?!
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