The final day of the 2014-15 Premier League season did not disappoint. It featured joy, heartbreak, and at the end, triumph. The third and final relegation place was confirmed, Newcastle gave their fans a remarkable send-off, and Chelsea finally got their valedictory reward. If you missed any of the action from the season’s final day, we’ll get you caught up.
On paper they were the favorites to go down heading into the final day, but as past relegation battles have shown miracles can happen. It helped that Newcastle were in terrible form and arguably have more problems on and off the pitch than Hull. The mountain the Tigers would’ve needed to climb was steep—they had to defeat Manchester United and then pray would Newcastle drop points—but anything is possible in this league. Sadly for Hull however, it was not to be. Manchester United held them to a draw, and Newcastle got their win. Their third season in the top flight ended with the Tigers skulking back into the Football League.
Jonás Gutiérrez spent the better part of the past two years battling cancer. There were times when the Argentine midfielder wasn’t sure if he’d be alive in a few years, much less play football again. Not only did he beat his cancer, he found his way back into the side as Newcastle desperately tried to avoid the drop. And in an almost-too-perfect ending to Gutiérrez’ and Newcastle’s season, he scored the late game-winner against West Ham to guarantee the Magpies’ safety. In a season and change that has been short on sentimentality, Gutiérrez’ story is worth celebrating.
The team that was known last season for blowing away teams by ridiculous margins ended this season with a taste of their own medicine. In what was originally presented as Steven Gerrard’s Official™, final, “We-Mean-it-this-Time” game in the Premier League, the match will go down in Liverpool history for another reason— the first time the Reds shipped six goals in a league fixture in over 50 years. Stoke were rampant while Liverpool had no answers to the waves of pressure hitting their backline. The Scouse Superman did manage to notch a consolation goal late in the game—his final goal in the Premiership—but former Red Peter Crouch poured salt in the wound near the end with with a trademark headed goal (tying the record for Premier League headers held by Alan Shearer). While it’s useless to speculate about the changes coming to Anfield this summer, they are coming. Based on Liverpool’s tail end of the season, they won’t be pretty.
With Liverpool in dire straits, Spurs had a golden opportunity to move into fifth and secure a spot in the group stages of the Europa League. Harry Kane, their swashbuckling home-grown hero, stepped up and delivered. His 24th minute header against Everton gave Spurs a slim lead that they would preserve until the final whistle. The win allowed Tottenham to leapfrog Liverpool into fifth place and the Europa League group stage. The winner was Kane’s 21st league goal, tying a club record co-held by Spurs luminaries Teddy Sheringham, Jurgen Klinsmann, and Gareth Bale. Pochettino has managed to stop the rot after one season—with help from his young English forward—and looks set up to build on this for next year. Though when it comes to Spurs, we’ve heard this before.
With third place practically sewn up and the FA Cup Final six days away, you could have forgiven Arsenal for staying in second gear at home to West Brom. Nobody told Theo Walcott. In his first start for the club in two months, Walcott scored a hat-trick inside 35 minutes, his third treble for the Gunners. Combined with Jack Wilshere’s (hey remember him?) awesome strike early in the first half, Arsenal cruised to an emphatic win that will surely boost their confidence heading into next weekend. We don’t get to see enough of Walcott these days, but when we does pop up his magic can be irresistible.
Thanks for reading our “Five Best Things” series this season! 2014-15 was an intense and dramatic ride, and we’re already looking forward to seeing what next season has in store. See you in August!