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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Barclays Premier League 2009/10..!! part1



Arsenal may have been off the pace in the inaugural Premier League season in 1992/93, but they made up for it by winning both the FA and League Cups.

The Premier League crown eluded them until 1998 - two years into manager Arsene Wenger's tenure - when they did the league and FA Cup double. Under the Frenchman, the Gunners shook off their "boring" image and began to play some of the most attractive football in England.

In eight of his 13 seasons at the club, Arsenal have finished first or second. And together with star players such as Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp, Wenger took Arsenal to another "double" in 2002.

The Gunners reached the Champions' League final in 2006, becoming the first London team to do so, but lost to Barcelona. Their Barclaycard Premiership title in 2003/04 saw them become only the second team to win the league without losing a match - earning them the title "The Invincibles." Overall they went 49 matches unbeaten, which is a national record.

Arsene Wenger

The Frenchman is Arsenal's most-successful and longest-serving manager of all-time.



The inaugural 1992/93 Premier League season saw Aston Villa miss out on their first title in 12 years when they finished runners-up to Manchester United. Villa got their revenge over the champions by beating them in the League Cup Final the following season.

Chairman Doug Ellis had been unimpressed by Villa's league form and replaced the flamboyant Ron Atkinson with Brian Little in 1993/94. The former Villa player led the club to a 3-0 win over Leeds United in the 1996 League Cup final.

In 2000, Villa reached their first FA Cup final since 1957 but were defeated by Chelsea. Although Villa remained a hard side to beat, the loss of several star names and further managerial changes did little to help consistency.

Matters came to a head in 2006 when manager David O'Leary left in acrimonious circumstances, but Martin O'Neill has been heralded as the man to lead them up the table. He led them to sixth-placed finishes in 2007/08 and 2008/09.

Aston Villa - along with only Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers - have finished in every position in the top flight.

Martin O'Neill

After winning seven trophies with Celtic, the Ulsterman is building a team to challenge for major honours.



Birmingham City exploded onto the Barclaycard Premiership stage in 2002. Having suffered play-off heartbreak in the previous three seasons, they won the play-offs under former manager Steve Bruce and seemed determined to make up for lost time.

In their first season, they finished a highly creditable 13th and did the double over arch rivals Aston Villa. Another mid-table finish in 2004/05 was followed by relegation a year later and a mass clear-out in an effort to reduce the wage bill.

But Birmingham bounced straight back up in the 2006/07 season, clinching automatic promotion as Championship runners-up. They became the first senior club in English history to postpone a match because their newly-laid pitch wasn't ready. The Blues have the dubious honour of playing on what was originally the spare pitch for the new Wembley.

After suffering the heartbreak of relegation on the last day on the 2007/08 season, Alex McLeish's side bounced back at the first time of asking, winning promotion back to the Barclays Premier League by finishing the 2008/09 season as Championship runners-up.


Alex McLeish

The former Scotland manager is looking to make a success of his first job in the Barclays Premier League.



The birth of the Premier League also heralded Blackburn Rovers' return to the top flight for the first time in 26 years. They underlined their ambition by breaking the English transfer record to sign a 22-year-old Alan Shearer for £3.2m. Other expensive signings ensured they finished an impressive fourth.

Owner Jack Walker continued to splash his cash and in their second season, his team were runners-up to arch North Western rivals Manchester United in 1993/94. The positions were reversed the following season as Rovers pipped United to the title on the last day of the season.

The team have failed to reach those heights since then and in 1999, Rovers became the first former Premier League champions to be relegated. The club bounced back in 2001 and progress under Graeme Souness and then Mark Hughes has seen them qualify for Europe four times in six years.

Hughes left the club for Manchester City in June 2008 after helping them to a seventh place finish. He was replaced by Paul Ince later that month.

However Ince was sacked on 16th December 2008 after a poor start to the season which brought just three wins from 17 matches. Sam Allardyce took over as manager, charged with the task of hauling Rovers away from the drop zone. They finished 15th, seven points clear of relegation.

Sam Allardyce

Sam Allardyce took over from Paul Ince at Ewood Park in December 2008.



Bolton Wanderers have established themselves as a respected Premier League club since rejoining the top flight in 2001. The Trotters made their Premier League bow in 1995 but were relegated after just one season when they finished bottom.

They returned to football's elite a year later after winning the Division One title, but went down again - this time on goal difference. Sam Allardyce guided Bolton back up in 2001 and the club has gone from strength to strength.

Bolton qualified for the UEFA Cup for the first time in their history in 2005 after finishing sixth. After an eighth-place finish the year after, they came seventh in the 2006/07 season to make the UEFA Cup again.

But Allardyce left the club for Newcastle United at the end of that season and was replaced by his assistant Sammy Lee. A poor start to the 2007/08 season saw Lee relieved of his duties and Gary Megson took over. Megson narrowly steered his side clear of relegation then consolidated their top flight position in 2008/09.



Gary Megson

After taking over in October 2007 he helped the Trotters avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League.




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