Sport

Tuesday 17 October 2017

The 20 most shocking moments of the 2013/14 Premier League season

Simon Rice

Another Premier League season is nearly over, and most would agree it's been a terrifically entertaining campaign.

But as well as a thrilling title race, a 'miracle' at the bottom of the table and some exceptional football, as is always the case, there have been some moments to forget for those involved.

So here, we look back across the season and remember the moments that even Arsene Wenger couldn't fail to miss and left onlookers as bewildered as David Moyes.

1. The sacking of David Moyes

It was obvious things weren't going well - but having handed him a six-year contract and with just about everyone ever associated with Manchester United saying he needed more time - the dismissal of David Moyes still came as a shock.

The axe fell just 10 months after he replaced Sir Alex Ferguson. A couple of lessons were learnt: Dismissing a manager needs no more than a two paragraph explanation on a club's website and a tweet.

And if you want a manager dismissed, fly an aeroplane over the stadium trailing a banner saying as much.

A plane flies overhead with a banner criticising Manchester United Manager David Moyes during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford

2. Crystal Palace come from 3-0 down against Liverpool

With the Reds chasing the Premier League title - three points and lots of goals to reduce the goal difference between themselves and Manchester City was the plan.

And it was going well with 15 minutes to go.

But then Palace, a team with absolutely nothing to play for, staged the comeback of the season to draw the game 3-3. It was a result that left Luis Suarez in tears - an incident worthy of inclusion by itself.

3. Tim Sherwood

From his ultimatum to get the job, sitting in the stands to watch some matches, lambasting his players in public and persisting with that gilet through the ups and downs of Tottenham's season (apart from the time he took it off so he could throw it in anger), Tim Sherwood has managed to raise eyebrows at every turn.

Tottenham Hotspur Manager Tim Sherwood on the touchline during the match during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.

4. Arsene Wenger spends some money

In recent years, the only thing dustier than Arsenal's trophy cabinet has been Arsene Wenger's cheque-book.

So when they completed a deal for a truly world-class player in Mesut Ozil and spent £42.5m in the process, the Arsenal manager was probably as surprised as most observers.

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Mesut Ozil racks up the likes on Facebook with famous quote

5. Michael Jackson removed, only to reappear elsewhere

Just weeks after buying Fulham from Mohamed Al Fayed, new owner Shahid Kahn decided to remove the most famous statue in football, despite threats from his predecessor that his moustache would be cut off if he dared to do so.

Few knew the whereabout of the King of Pop after it disappeared from Craven Cottage, until rather bizarrely the National Football Museum revealed Fayed had donated it to their collection.

The eccentric Egyptian owner said the removal of the statue had been the reason for Fulham's relegation.

The Michael Jackson statue outside Craven Cottage is to be removed

6. Theo Walcott mocks Tottenham fans... twice

Despite being stretchered off with an injury that would rule him out for the rest of the season and the World Cup - Theo Walcott had a big grin on his face as he was carried off the Emirates pitch in what was an FA Cup tie.

That's because he was winding up the visiting Tottenham fans by making a gesture about the 2-0 scoreline. Spurs fans were furious with some pelting Walcott (and those carrying him, even though it turned out some were Tottenham fans) with coins.

Despite causing such a furore, Walcott made the same gesture during Arsenal's parade around the pitch after their final home game.

7. Ian Holloway walks away

Managers are rarely short of confidence, despite nearly half of them not being deemed good enough and replaced during the course of the season.

So it was rather refreshing when Ian Holloway held his hands up, admitted he didn't feel things were working out with Crystal Palace and left the club.

At the time Palace had lost seven of their first eight Premier League games.

The decision by Holloway was in retrospect possibly the best of the season from the Eagles' point of view, with Tony Pulis coming in and against the odds guiding the club to safety.

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There has been speculation over Ian Holloway since the defeat to Fulham

8. Swansea at war

Six Swansea players were reportedly involved in a fight at the club's training ground - an incident made all the worse thanks to chairman Huw Jenkins happening to witness the clash.

While training ground bust-ups are nothing unusual, the frequency with which they happened at Swansea over the course of this season has been.

In January a 'screaming Chico Flores' was reported to have picked up a brick during a row with Garry Monk, the man who would later replace Michael Laudrup as manager.

Michael Laudrup held a special press conference at Heathrow

9. West Ham boo boys

Supporters at times appear to have become a fickle bunch, demanding instant success and castigating their teams every time they have a bad game.

Yet West Ham fans managed to take things to a new level when they booed their side off the pitch even though they had just watched their team win.

Those at Upton Park were unhappy with the manner of their side's scrappy 2-1 win over 10-man Hull.

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Sam Allardyce has been West Ham boss since June 2011

10. Alan Pardew

Alan Pardew has always been rather animated on the touchline (just ask Arsene Wenger), but the Newcastle manager took it to a bizarre new level when his team played Hull this season.

As David Meyler looked to quickly retrieve the ball from Pardew's technical area, he came into contact with the Newcastle boss.

That was enough provocation for Pardew to go and head-butt the defender.

It led to his club fining him £100,000 and giving him a warning and the FA banning him from stadiums for three games with a further four-match touchline ban. Quite easily the strangest moment of this, or indeed, any season.

11. Cardiff employ Kazakh work experience kid

Vincent Tan is something of an unorthodox club owner - from his leather gloves to disregard for Cardiff fans in changing the club colours from blue to 'lucky' red - but his choice of replacement for Iain Moody after the head of recruitment was sacked was even stranger.

The man charged with replacing the experienced Moody was Alisher Apsalyamov, a 23-year-old from Kazakhstan who had been at the club on work experience over the summer.

Apsalyamov, reportedly a big fan of Fifa and a friend of Tan's son, didn't last long in the role due to problems with his work visa.

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Cardiff City's owner Vincent Tan

12. Chris Hughton sacked

That Chris Hughton was sacked during the season came as little surprise.

But that Delia at the Norwich board left it so late was bizarre. There were just five games of the season remaining when it was deemed a change was needed, so out went Hughton and in came youth coach Neil Adams.

At the time the Canaries were five points clear of the relegation zone. Before the season was over they were relegated.

Chris Hughton was sacked by Norwich with five games of the season left

13. Luis Suarez becomes likeable

Having missed the first six games of the season due to biting an opponent, changing opinions seemed an impossible task for Luis Suarez.

But across the season the Liverpool striker has been the best player to watch, hitting the 30 goal barrier in the process.

The Uruguyan's redemption was confirmed with the two highest individual honours - the Football Writers' Award and the PFA Players' Player of the year.

14. The quenelle

When Nicolas Anelka made a gesture during a match around Christmas time it went largely unnoticed, probably because people were more in shock that he had actually found the back of the net for West Brom.

But it turned out the gesture, dubbed the 'quenelle' or an 'inverted nazi salute', is deemed by anti-semitic by some. It led the FA to issue the Frenchman a five-match ban and £80,000 fine.

Meanwhile the Baggies sacked him for gross misconduct. Despite Anelka having played for half the teams in England, no-one seemed particularly sorry to see him go.

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Nicolas Anelka received a five-match ban for his 'quenelle' gesture

15. Mark Clattenburg upsets Adam Lallana

Mark Clattenburg, something of a moth to the limelight, found himself the centre of attention for what seemed to most an innocuous remark.

While officiating a Southampton match, he allegedly told Adam Lallana: 'You are very different now, since you've played for England - you never used to be like this.'

It was enough for Saints to lodge an official complaint and suggest that Clattenburg had insulted their player and should not referee their games again. The official was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Adam Lallana of Southampton is spoken to by referee Mark Clattenburg during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Southampton at Goodison Park on December 29

16. Steven Taylor Twitter gaffe

Steven Taylor escaped FA action, but needed to be reminded of his responsibilities after an ill-judged tweet.

In response to being mocked by team-mates over his poor French, The Newcastle defender tweeted a picture of Massadio Haïdara along with some 'look-a-likes' - two other black players - Papiss Cissé and Moussa Sissoko - as well as a tribesman.

It was accompanied by the words 'it's always good to see you guys smiling'.

17. Tom Huddlestone haircut

Tom Huddlestone's hair was getting out of control. But having vowed not to cut it until he found the back of the net, it just kept getting bigger.

So when the Hull midfielder ended his 32-month goal drought in the 6-0 win over Fulham (a game possibly deserving of it's own mention in this countdown) the barber was called in.

In front of the photographers in the KC Stadium changing rooms, his unwieldy hair was trimmed and in the process a lot of money was made for charity.

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18. Sunderland win at Chelsea

The Black Cats seemed destined for the drop, particularly with such a difficult run-in.

But after picking up a point against title-chasing Manchester City, they went to Stamford Bridge with optimism. Even so, Jose Mourinho's incredible run of 78 games without a Premier League defeat at Stamford Bridge made leaving with three points look unlikely.

But thanks to Fabio Borini's late penalty, that's exactly what they did. They then went on and beat Manchester United at Old Trafford.

19. Arsenal get smashed - again and again

Arsenal were genuine title contenders for much of the season, but defeats to the top sides saw their challenge come undone.

Losing to the teams at the top isn't unforgivable, but the manner of many of the defeats was shocking.

Over the course of the season, Arsene Wenger's side lost in equally disastrous circumstances to the other three teams in the top four, going down 6-3 to Manchester City, 5-1 to Liverpool and 6-0 to Chelsea.

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and team coach Steve Bould react during their English Premier League soccer match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

20. Steven Gerrard slip

As the years progress, many of the moments included here will be forgotten.

But this particular moment at Anfield is likely to be re-lived again and again. With Liverpool seemingly on an unstoppable charge to the title, Chelsea came to Anfield with not one bus but two parked in front of the Reds' free-scoring attack according to Brendan Rodgers.

Showing little ambition to score at the other end, Demba Ba was gifted an opportunity when Steven Gerrard miscontrolled the ball and in an attempt to recover slipped on the turf.

Ba raced through on goal to score, Chelsea went on to win 2-0 and Liverpool's title bid came crashing down.

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