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Sunday 02 June 2013

2012/13 Barclays Premier League season review: May

Sir Alex Ferguson, Scholes, Owen, Carragher & Neville retire, while Arsenal finish fourth

  • Retiring Sir Alex Ferguson lifted the Barclays Premier League trophy for the 13th time

  • Man Utd's veteran midfielder Paul Scholes also called time on his successful career

  • Liverpool stalwart Jamie Carragher played his final match at Anfield before retirement

  • Michael Owen hung up his boots after scoring 150 Premier League goals since 1997

  • Aston Villa's Stiliyan Petrov decided to retire as he continued his recovery from Leukemia

  • Phil Neville said farewell to Everton as he seeks a new challenge after eight years there

  • Arsenal finished fourth in the league thanks to a Laurent Koscielny winner at Newcastle

  • Spurs finished fifth despite a stunning winner from Gareth Bale against Sunderland

  • Frank Lampard became Chelsea's all-time top scorer in May with 203 goals

  • Chelsea won the UEFA Europa League with a late goal from Branislav Ivanovic vs Benfica

  • Wigan were relegated from the top flight for the first time when they lost to Arsenal

  • But the Latics won the FA Cup for the first time with victory over Manchester City

  • Hull secured promotion to the Premier League by finishing second in the Championship

  • Crystal Palace will be in the top flight next season after a play-off final win over Watford

MAY 2013

The last month of the 2012/13 Barclays Premier League season featured the retirement of the most successful manager in British football history, as well as the farewells of a host of vastly experienced players in the English top flight.

Sir Alex Ferguson, after winning 13 Premier League titles in a haul of 38 trophies during his glorious 26-year tenure as Manchester United manager, announced his decision to step down and take up a seat in the directors' box at Old Trafford.

Typically, his last match as manager at Old Trafford was completed with a late winner from centre back Rio Ferdinand, as United beat Swansea City 2-1 and lifted the Barclays Premier League trophy.

They finished off the season with a thrilling 5-5 draw with West Bromwich Albion, who earned their highest points total and final position in the Premier League under head coach Steve Clarke. That was the first such scoreline in Premier League history.

Ferguson will be succeeded by long-serving Everton manager David Moyes, who helped his club to sixth place. The Scotsman said farewell to the Goodison Park faithful with a 2-0 victory over West Ham United that helped them finish above Merseyside rivals Liverpool for the second consecutive season.

Scholes leads a star-studded farewell party

Veteran Man Utd midfielder Paul Scholes, who won his 11th league title, played the last match of his career as he and four other top-flight stars called it a day at their respective clubs.

Defender Jamie Carragher, who amassed over 500 appearances in 17 seasons at Liverpool, said farewell with a clean sheet, a victory over Queens Park Rangers and a thumping long range strike that cannoned off a post and out as he was narrowly denied the fourth league goal of a hugely successful career.

Stoke City striker Michael Owen made a substitute appearance during the Potters' 1-1 draw with Southampton on the final day as hung up his boots after deciding to retire earlier this year. Owen scored 150 Premier League goals with Liverpool, Newcastle United, Man Utd and Stoke.

Phil Neville was given a rapturous reception at Goodison Park as he decided to leave the club after eight seasons, while Stiliyan Petrov announced his retirement as he continued his recovery from leukemia. The former Bulgarian international will now take up a role in the club's coaching staff.

Gunners fire on all cylinders to finish fourth

On the last weekend of the Barclays Premier League campaign, there was still plenty to play for as Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur battled it out for fourth spot, which would secure a passage to the UEFA Champions League qualification rounds.

Arsenal started the day a point ahead of their North London rivals and they capped off a remarkable run of recent form with a 1-0 win away to Newcastle United, courtesy of defender Laurent Koscielny, as the Gunners qualified for the Champions League for the 16th consecutive season.

Tottenham finished fifth despite another stunning late winner from Gareth Bale against Sunderland. The in-form Welshman took his tally to 21 goals for the season and he was also honoured with the Football Writers' Association Player of the Year award in May.

The month was also a momentous one for Chelsea who, as well as finishing third in the Premier League, won the UEFA Europa League with an injury-time Branislav Ivanovic header baeting Portuguese side Benfica 2-1 in the final. Frank Lampard also became the club's all-time top scorer with a double against Aston Villa that took his tally to 203 goals in all competitions.

Relegated Wigan lift the FA Cup for the first time

At the bottom end of the league table, Wigan Athletic were relegated from the top flight for the first time. Their hopes were hit by a 3-2 home defeat by Swansea City and their fate was confirmed by a 4-1 loss away to Arsenal.

A cluster of clubs were in the relegation battle right up until the penultimate weekend but Aston Villa, who won five out of their last 10 matches, and Norwich City, who finished with back-to-back wins, were among the teams who secured their safety before the finale.

Before their relegation, Wigan claimed their first major trophy as they won the FA Cup with a superb 1-0 victory over Manchester City.

Manchester United forward Robin van Persie won the Golden Boot for the second consecutive season, netting 26 times in the 2012/13 campaign, while Sir Alex Ferguson won the Barclays Manager of the Year award and Gareth Bale won the Players' honour.

There were 1,063 goals in the 2012/13 season, the joint-second highest tally in the competition's history.

Newly promoted side Cardiff City were joined in the Barclays Premier League for the 2013/14 campaign by Hull City, who finished second in the Championship, and Crystal Palace, who won the play-off final with a 1-0 win over Watford at Wembley Stadium.

End of Season Award Winners

Manager of the Year: Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
Player of the Year: Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
Golden Boot: Robin van Persie (Manchester United)

Key quotes

"I will be able to go along and watch them rather than suffer with them. Those last-minute goals, the comebacks and even the defeats are part of this great football club. It has been an unbelievable experience."
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson retires as manager after 26 years in charge.

"The Premier League has had the privilege to witness many great players, managers and teams. No one has made as great a contribution to the Premier League than Sir Alex Ferguson. His drive, ambition, skill, passion and vision have not only shaped Manchester United, but in many ways the game of football as we now know it."
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore leads the tributes to the Sir Alex Ferguson

"I am delighted Sir Alex saw fit to recommend me for the job. I have great respect for everything he has done. I know how hard it will be to follow the best manager ever, but the opportunity to manage Manchester United isn't something that comes around very often. I am really looking forward to taking up the post next season."
Incoming Man Utd manager David Moyes expresses his delight at being offered the job.

"I am happy because the exceptional attitude and determination of this group of players has been rewarded. They continued to believe when we were seven points behind Tottenham in mid-March. We had no room for error any more and you could never see any sign of giving in."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger takes pride in another top-four finish for his team.

"The relegation is really disappointing but it is something that we can rectify. We will bounce back as we always do as we always do at Wigan Athletic. The club is on a fantastic financial footing, we are stronger than ever in that respect, our football style and philosophy is something for the long term."
Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez is sure the club will return to the Barclays Premier League after being relegated to the Championship

"We're in the Premier League now. It's absolutely massive for the club. We've got plans to change the ground [Selhurst Park], it's getting a bit old in places, so I'm just delighted for everybody connected with the club. They're gentlemen and I'm very privileged."
Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway relishes the challenge of competing in the Barclays Premier League again.

For May's results at a glance, click here

Barclays Premier League 2012/13 season honours

Barclays Premier League Champions: Manchester United.
UEFA Champions League qualifiers: Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal.
UEFA Europa League qualifiers: Tottenham Hotspur, Swansea City (after winning the Capital One Cup), Wigan Athletic (After winning the FA Cup).
Relegated: Wigan Athletic, Reading, Queens Park Rangers.
Promoted: Cardiff City, Hull City, Crystal Palace.

How they stood

Table on 29 Apr 2013                   Final League Table

    P GD Pts     P GD Pts
1 Man Utd
35 43 85   Man Utd 38 43 89
2 Man City
34 30 71   Man City 38 32 78
3 Chelsea 34 33 65   Chelsea 38 36 75
4 Arsenal 35 30 64   Arsenal 38 35 73
5 Tottenham 34 17 62   Tottenham 38 20 72
6 Everton 35 14 59   Everton 38 15 63
7 Liverpool
35 25 54   Liverpool 38 28 61
8 West Brom
34 2 48   West Brom 38 -4 49
9 Swansea 34 -1 42   Swansea 38 -4 46
10 West Ham
35 -8 42   West Ham
38 -8 46
11 Fulham
35 -9 40   Norwich
38 -17 44
12 Stoke 35 -10 40   Fulham 38 -10 43
13 Southampton 35 -10 39   Stoke 38 -11 42
14 Norwich
35 -21 38   Southampton 38 -11 41
15 Sunderland 35 -12 37   Aston Villa
38 -22 41
16 Aston Villa
35 -22 37   Newcastle
38 -23 41
17 Newcastle 35 -23 37   Sunderland 38 -13 39
18 Wigan
34 -23 32   Wigan
38 -26 36
19 QPR 35 -27 25   Reading 38 -30 28
20 Reading 35 -28 25   QPR 38 -30 25

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Key Points

  • Sir Alex Ferguson announcds his retirement after 26 years as Manchester United manager, with David Moyes to succeed him
  • Jamie Carragher, Michael Owen, Phil Neville, Stiliyan Petrov and Paul Scholes also called it a day with their respective clubs
  • Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal joined Man Utd in the UEFA Champions League qualification spots; Wigan were relegated