Premier League 2014-15 season review

2014-15 Premier League season review: PST’s Best XI of the Season

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All week at ProSoccerTalk we are reviewing the dramatic 2014-15 Premier League season. From dishing out awards to looking back at the highs and lows in the 380 games as 20 teams battled it out, we’ll have every angle covered.

[ ARCHIVE: All of PST’s PL season reviews ]

For the full archive of our review content, just hit the link above. Now, we crown our Best XI of the Season.

Here’s what our writers had to say about their selections…

Joe Prince-Wright selects…

David De Gea; Nathaniel Clyne, John Terry, Jose Fonte, Ryan Bertrand; Eden Hazard, Alexis Sanchez, Philippe Coutinho, Nemanja Matic; Harry Kane, Diego Costa

Had to selects De Gea who had a phenomenal season for United. Three of Southampton’s back four get the nod, while John Terry leads the back line. His reading of the game and leadership is something that just can’t be taught. I’ve gone for a loaded midfield with Nemanja Matic sitting in to allow Hazard, Sanchez and Coutinho to attack. Up top, Sergio Aguero is unlucky to miss out but I think Kane and Costa would be one heck of a partnership. Bruisers.

Nick Mendola selects…

David De Gea; Ashley Williams , Martin Skrtel, Jose Fonte; Santi Cazorla, Yaya Toure, Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic; Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane

I considered trumping my own XI from a month ago by inserting Daley Blind and/or David Silva in place of Fabregas and/or Toure, but the fact is that second-guessing is often the wrong route. John Terry, Philippe Coutinho and Alexis Sanchez fall victim to the numbers game, and Wilfried Bony’s move to Manchester City costs him here.

Kyle Bonn selects…

De Gea; Fonte, Terry, Ivanovic; Hazard, Coutinho, Matic, Cazorla, Alexis; Aguero, Kane.

Tough on Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, but there’s more than renough Chelsea blue to go around. The two Gunners on here also had seasons to remember, and should be the focal point of their title challenge next year.

Andy Edwards selects…

Thibaut Courtois; John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Pablo Zabaleta, Nathaniel Clyne; Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic, Santi Cazorla; Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane

Kyle Lynch selects…

David De Gea; Ryan Bertrand, Jose Fonte, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic; Santi Cazorla, David Silva, Nemanja Matic, Eden Hazard; Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero

De Gea was a rock for Manchester United, while the Southampton and Chelsea back lines continuously shut down opposing attackers. Cazorla, Silva and Hazard are all wizards in the midfield, while Matic sneakily could have been Chelsea’s most important player. Up top, it’s the men who scored more goals than anyone else.

Duncan Day selects…

David De Gea; Nathaniel Clyne, Jose Fonte, John Terry, Cesar Azpilicueta; Alexis Sanchez, David Silva, Ander Herrera, Eden Hazard; Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa

A Chelsea-heavy lineup, and Harry Kane would be the dangerous substitute at forward. Fabian Delph is also on the bench, ready to go early perhaps, based on how the midfield performs.

2014-15 Premier League season review: PST’s Manager of the Season

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All week at ProSoccerTalk we are reviewing the dramatic 2014-15 Premier League season. From dishing out awards to looking back at the highs and lows in the 380 games as 20 teams battled it out, we’ll have every angle covered.

[ ARCHIVE: All of PST’s PL season reviews ]

For the full archive of our review content, just hit the link above. Now, we crown our Manager of the Season.

Here’s what our writers had to say about their selections…

Joe Prince-Wright selects… Ronald Koeman

Saints were tipped for relegation at the start of the season. Instead they recorded their highest-ever PL finish of seventh and a record points tally. Koeman brought in key players like Graziano Pelle, Dusan Tadic, Sadio Mane, Toby Alderweireld and Fraser Forster following the huge summer exodus last season. Now, Saints’ squad looks much stronger. They blew teams away 8-0, 4-0 and 6-1 throughout the campaign and had the second best defense in the PL. An incredible season given it was Koeman’s first as a manger in England.

Nick Mendola selects… Garry Monk

While I think Ronald Koeman did a brilliant job, Monk was forced to navigate a half-season of play after selling Bony. The result? Not a terrible drop-off, and continued results. Orchestrated career years out of Ashley Williams, Lukasz Fabianski and Ki Sung-Yueng. You could also vote for Jose Mourinho and I wouldn’t blink, though I think he deserves more for the management of egos than the set-up on the field. Give me that roster and a top sports psychologist and we’ll still compete for a title!

Kyle Bonn selects… Jose Mourinho

With Southampton fading down the stretch and in danger of missing out on Europe, it cost Ronald Koeman his spot as Coach of the Year. Jose Mourinho dominated the competition and managed his players brilliantly. He’s one of the best in the game – if not the best – right now.

Andy Edwards selects… Ronald Koeman

Southampton were “supposed” to get relegated this year, after selling what felt like their entire squad in the summer. Instead, they challenged for a Champions League place all the way until mid-April. No one “overachieved” more than that, and did so under a first-year manager, to boot.

Kyle Lynch selects… Garry Monk

Jose Mourinho may be the politically correct choice, but Chelsea was expected to win the league and they did. In Garry Monk’s first full season as Swansea City boss, he led the Swans to a club record points tally and an eighth place finish. He’s gotten the best out of players like Gylfi Sigurdsson and Ki Sung-yueng, and expect the club from Wales to be even better next year.

Duncan Day selects… Ronald Koeman

Southampton didn’t finish in the top five, but the squad was hanging around with the big dogs for most of the season. It was a roster that had many parts contributing to the final product, and Ronald Koeman deserves praise for the outcome.

2014-15 Premier League season review: PST’s Player of the Season

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All week at ProSoccerTalk we are reviewing the dramatic 2014-15 Premier League season. From dishing out awards to looking back at the highs and lows in the 380 games as 20 teams battled it out, we’ll have every angle covered.

[ ARCHIVE: All of PST’s PL season reviews ]

For the full archive of our review content, just hit the link above. Now, we crown our Player of the Season.

Here’s what our writers had to say about their selections…

Joe Prince-Wright selects… Eden Hazard

The Belgian winger has lit up the PL with his writhing magic. Defenders don’t want to get to tight to him, but then allow him too much space to hurt them. Jose Mourinho is right to build his attack around Hazard and still just 24, expect plenty more from Chelsea’s No. 10 in the coming years. Majestic season as his creativity merged perfectly with the Blues’ solid defense.

source: Getty Images

Nick Mendola selects… Eden Hazard

He’s a wizard, a master manipulator of the ball, defenders and seemingly gravity. There is no young player in the world I’d rather have on my team for the next decade, and he’s said he’d like to stay at Stamford Bridge for such a period of time. Bonus for Blues.

Kyle Bonn selects… Eden Hazard

Sergio Aguero’s minutes per goal once again makes this no shoo-in for Hazard, but watching the Belgian is like watching an artist piece together a masterpiece on the field. He’s beautiful to watch.

Andy Edwards selects… Eden Hazard

Best player (barely) on the runaway best team. This year Hazard entered the “who’s the third-best player in the world” discussion.

Kyle Lynch selects… Eden Hazard

Not only the best player in the Premier League, Eden Hazard stated his claim as one of the best players in the world this season. With 14 goals and nine assists, the shifty Belgian was the most dangerous man on the pitch for Chelsea game-in and game-out. Hazard was the most fouled player in the league, which shows how much trouble defenders had containing him.

Duncan Day selects… John Terry

Giving respect to quality defending, John Terry spearheaded the firmest back line in the Premier League and did so nearing the 35 years of age. Impressive.

2014-15 Premier League season review: PST’s Young Player of the Season

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All week at ProSoccerTalk we are reviewing the dramatic 2014-15 Premier League season. From dishing out awards to looking back at the highs and lows in the 380 games as 20 teams battled it out, we’ll have every angle covered.

[ ARCHIVE: All of PST’s PL season reviews ]

For the full archive of our review content, just hit the link above. Now, we crown our Young Player of the Season.

Here’s what our writers had to say about their selections…

Joe Prince-Wright selects… Harry Kane

Tottenham’s striker has come from absolutely nowhere to become the darling of Spurs and England over the past nine months. A powerful forward who not only banged in 31 goals in all competitions but also held the ball up and became the focal point of Spurs’ attack. Expected plenty more from this 21-year-old.

Nick Mendola selects… Eden Hazard

He was only 23 at the start of the season… He’s a wizard, a master manipulator of the ball, defenders and seemingly gravity. There is no young player in the world I’d rather have on my team for the next decade. If you’re looking for variety, we can go with Harry Kane because he’s big and powerful and English, and I doubt the media will go for anything less than the Hurricane.

Kyle Bonn selects… Harry Kane

Harry Kane’s goal tally, given he only truly started in November, is something else. This is as easy of a decision as it gets.

Kyle Lynch selects… Harry Kane

The 21-year-old scored 21 goals on the year, good for second place in the Premier League. What makes it even more impressive, Kane didn’t get his first start until November 9. His goals won Tottenham 24 points, more than any other player in the league.

Andy Edwards selects… Harry Kane

He’s the breakout player of the year, from out of nowhere. If you predicted 21 goals from Kane this season, you need to be buying lottery tickets on a regular basis.

Duncan Day… David de Gea

High pressure was trained on Manchester United to crack the top four, and David de Gea stepped up magnificently. Without him, the Red Devils’ season may have unfolded differently.

2014-15 Premier League season review: Summer transfer needs

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All week at ProSoccerTalk we are reviewing the dramatic 2014-15 Premier League season. From dishing out awards to looking back at the highs and lows in the 380 games as 20 teams battled it out, we’ll have every angle covered.

[ ARCHIVE: Premier League season review ]

For the full archive of our review content, just hit the link above. Now, let’s take a look at the key numbers of 2014-15.

All week long here at PST, we’ve been taking a look back at the 2014-15 Premier League season — the season that was, if you will — but it’s not time to take an abbreviated look ahead to the 2015-16 season.

More specifically, the needs that must be addressed by each Premier League team in this summer’s transfer window before Aug. 8, the start of next season, arrives.

[ MORE: Top 10 goalkeepers | Defenders | MidfieldersForwards ]

Add one or two bodies to freshen things up Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Leicester City

Chelsea won the league by eight points this season, so wide, sweeping changes aren’t necessary at Stamford Bridge this summer. Instead, Jose Mourinho looks set to promote a handful of academy players to the first team, while probably adding just one or two big-money signings from elsewhere. The Blues’ No. 1 need: defensive midfield depth behind Nemanja Matic, who was a real difference maker this season, but can’t be relied upon to play upward of 35 games a season.

source: AP
Schweinsteiger — what the Arsenal midfield’s been missing?

Likewise, Arsenal are set up very nicely to carry over a strong second half of the season into 2015-16. Francis Coquelin may be the answer at the base of midfield, but he also might not be. A safer bet would be to sign Bastian Schweinsteiger, who seems to be on his way out at Bayern Munich, and really shore up the side’s biggest weakness the last few years.

Depending on who you ask, Man United will either challenge for the title next season, or they’ll finish around 10th and Louis van Gaal will be gone by December. Personally, I thought Van Gaal’s first season at Old Trafford was a huge success. When he’s recruiting players this summer, he’ll be doing so with the added promise of Champions League football. The quality of players his squad so desperately cries out for — someone to partner Michael Carrick and/or Ander Herrera deep in midfield — will be swayed by that. Paul Pogba? Arturo Vidal?

Tottenham finished fifth this season. You wouldn’t know it if you listened to their fans all season long, but they’re actually set up quite nicely to improve upon this season’s 64-point haul. Mauricio Pochettino was reunited with Paul Mitchell, his “head of recruitment” at Southampton, which should spell much-improved transfer dealings, compared to the debacle of two summers ago. For the first time in forever, a Spurs side isn’t crying out for a new starting center forward, thanks to Harry Kane.

Whoever takes over at West Ham will inherit a deep, talented squad. Winston Reid decided to stick around for the move to the Olympic Stadium — a development that will mean increased revenue and transfer budget — while last summer’s signings of Diafra Sahko, Enner Valencia and Aaron Cresswell worked out quite nicely. The big question: can they sign Alex Song permanently from Barcelona?

[ MORE: Top 10 newcomers to the Premier League | The best (and worst) transfers ]

In good shape, minor tweaks only — Southampton, Swansea City, Stoke City, Crystal Palace, Everton and West Bromwich Albion

source: Getty Images
Schneiderlin — will he stay or will her go?

Southampton were “supposed” to be relegated this season. Instead, first-year boss Ronald Koeman saw Saints to a seventh-place finish and has the South Coast club dreaming of another challenge for European qualification next season. Unless another mass exodus ensues this summer — Morgan Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne are constantly linked with moves away from St Mary’s — Southampton really only need reinforcements — depth signings — in the center of defense and an improvement upon Graziano Pelle’s feast-or-famine form of 2014-15.

There may not be a more stable, well-run club in all of England than Swansea. 9th, 12th and 9th: the Swans’ finishing positions at the end of the last three Premier League seasons. For a club of their history and respective standing in the game, that’s beyond a fantastic achievement. Out of respect to the wise folks running that club, I’m not going to even attempt to tell them what their squad needs, because I’m sure they’re already well aware themselves.

Mark Hughes’ second city at Stoke resulted in the club’s best-ever season (9th place, 54 points). Bojan Krkic proved to be an inspired signing last summer, while Mame Biram Diouf’s 11 goals (free transfer) turned out to be one of the best pieces of business done by anytime the last 12 months. This summer, the Potters could do well to re-work a somewhat aging defense, and add a bit of midfield depth to push Steven N’Zonzi, Charlie Adam and Glenn Whelan in the center of midfield.

Likewise, Alan Pardew has a great thing going at Palace, where the players so obviously believe in his vision. Now that he’ll have an actual transfer budget to work with, look for Pardiola to push Palace onward and upward, toward another top-half finish next season.

[ MORE: 2014-15 Premier League season by the numbers ]

Complete overhauls needed — Manchester City, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Sunderland

Manuel Pellegrini may not be going anywhere — maybe, but who knows? — but it seems as though half of Man City’s current squad will be moving on this summer. Yaya Toure, Edin Dzeko, Jesus Navas, Samir Nasri and Stevan Jovetic have long been rumored to be leaving the club this summer, setting the stage for a hugely important transfer window in the City Football Group’s plans for world domination. Pogba seems like the obvious answer, though it’ll take a lot more than the brilliant French midfielder and the $100 million price tag he’ll carry.

source: Getty Images
Markovic — in for a better second season, or a speedy Anfield exit?

Liverpool, oh Liverpool. You did a Tottenham, you know that, right? The combination of Champions League and Luis Suarez money spent last summer ($180 million) was…how can I put this nicely?…a complete disaster. The Reds spent a combined $110 million on Dejan Lovren, Lazar Markovic, Mario Balotelli, Alberto Moreno and Rickie Lambert. They can either ride out the storm and hope more than just Emre Can and Adam Lallana ($54 million combined) come good, or scrap last summer’s missteps and rebuild, again, this time without the allure of Champions League football.

As for Villa, Newcastle and Sunderland, the 2014-15 season nearly spelled relegation, and all three sides changed managers mid-season, while the latter two are expected to endure further managerial turnover this summer as well. God bless Tim Sherwood as he attempts to build his first team; best wishes to John Carver or whoever replaces him at Newcastle, working on a shoestring budget; and good luck to whoever fills the vacancy at Sunderland, getting a completely apathetic, disinterested group of players to suddenly care.