There were several surprises in the Premier League this season, as many clubs who were expected to perform failed to reach their objectives. Here are the top five.
1) Newcastle United
When Alan Pardew left Newcastle at the end of December, they were cemented in the top half of the Premier League but only managed to survive due to a final day victory over West Ham. The Magpies' fall from grace under John Carver was well documented and they were lucky to hold onto their Premier League status after just three wins in 2015. Whoever gets the job full-time will have a major rebuilding job to do at St James’ Park.
Everton were languishing down near the bottom of the table for the majority of the season. Roberto Martinez performed so well in his first year in charge, guiding the Toffees to fifth, but a bottom half finish in 2014-15 was not what was wanted. After sticking with a similar squad to last season, Everton need some new signings in order to challenge for European places once again.
3) Aston Villa
If Villa had kept hold of Paul Lambert for the full season, they would most likely be a Championship club right now. Under his successor Tim Sherwood, they did reach the FA Cup final but only did just enough to survive, ending up in 17th. If it were not for Christian Benteke’s spurt of form at the end of the season, they would have struggled massively. Having been a Premier League club since its inception in 1992, Villa should be finishing regularly in the top half and that’s what Sherwood will be hoping to achieve in his first full season in charge.
After a second place finish last season, Liverpool have gone backwards this year. Losing Luis Suarez to Barcelona and Daniel Sturridge to a series of injuries has cost them dearly as they limped to a sixth-place finish. Brendan Rodgers is under severe pressure and not only does Suarez still need replacing but so do outgoing captain Steven Gerrard and most likely, young star Raheem Sterling, who the Guardian say wants to leave the club this summer. It is a huge couple of months for the Reds as they look to keep up with their big-spending rivals.
5) Manchester City
Despite finishing in second, last season’s champions Manchester City have failed to live up to expectations this time around. With the squad at Manuel Pellegrini’s disposal, he should have pushed Chelsea all the way but instead the Blues won the title with three games to spare. City lost games at crucial times which saw their worryingly ageing squad come into question. Younger blood is sure to be on its way into the club this summer as City strive to regain their lost title next season.