Pitchside

Facts: 7 truths – Superb City, petty United and Liverpool’s big challenge

Pitchside

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1) Manchester City are the best team in England

They have the best starting XI, which comes from their transfer policy; they have the biggest squad, which comes from their unparalleled riches; in the post Tevez-Balotelli era, they have great team ethic, which emanates from their captain Vincent Kompany. They also appear to like each other, for which – after the madness of Roberto Mancini – fans can thank Manuel Pellegrini, who is perhaps not the best coach in the business, but is unfussy and well liked. That team should win the Premier League at a canter and, now they’ve found their rhythm, they could well do in 2014/15.

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2) Liverpool will have it much harder next season

Hats off to Brendan Rodgers, who has overseen one of the most unexpectedly impressive seasons in Liverpool’s Premier League history by steering his side to second. But with the demands of Champions League football next season, they face a big challenge to repeat the feat. Liverpool’s squad was left untested by European football this year which helped them to enjoy such a brilliant and vibrant second half of the season. The Reds must be permitted to bring in around five new faces in the summer to maintain their stamina across 2014/15, otherwise, with rivals set to strengthen and improve, a top-four place might be the limit of their ambition.

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3) Shola Ameobi received one of the most bizarre red cards in history

The Newcastle striker has a reputation of being a nice guy but somehow he managed to get two bookings for dissent in the space of 10 seconds. Before play restarted following Liverpool’s second goal, Ameobi said something to referee Phil Dowd and was shown a yellow card. He then said something else and was promptly shown a second in one of the most farcical dismissals ever seen in what is expected to be his final game for Newcastle. To make it even more ridiculous, manager Alan Pardew hinted in his post-match press conference that referee Dowd had a sarcasm failure when Ameobi apparently asked the match official to send him off.

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4) Carrow Road showed why Arsenal might fail again at Wembley

In what was essentially a dead-rubber match against doomed Norwich, Arsene Wenger's side took full advantage of the lack of urgency to play their brand of football burden-free, enjoying 70% possession, creating that cracking Aaron Ramsey goal, getting Carl bloody Jenkinson on the scoresheet and even running out Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby after injury. But herein lies the problem: Arsenal are the greatest team on the planet in comfortable surroundings. But the FA Cup final won't be one of them. There will be far more eyes on that there were at Carrow Road and all of the pressure will be on them, not a Hull outfit who have over-achieved and secured European football win, lose or draw. If the Gunners were able to play like that in the key matches, they'd have been lifting the league trophy on Sunday.

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5) Manchester United have officially hit rock bottom

A generally-accepted rule of sports is that the biggest and saddest indication of a miserable season is that any given fanbase finds themselves taking greater satisfaction from the misfortune of other teams than in their own achievements. Man United's taunting of Liverpool on final day, while the sort of thing that would make Paddy Power proud, only underscores just how much Brendan Rodgers' men outperformed the champions-who-came-seventh in just about every department, on and off the pitch.

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6) Anti-climactic final days aren't terrible for everyone

Yes, we all hoped that such an unpredictable, open and exhilarating Premier League campaign would have ended with the sort of raging climax that would have suited the drama of the preceding 37 games. And yes, most teams and fans found themselves going through the motions on Sunday, even if they had a tiny bit of work left to do. But it's fair to state that was not the case for Sunderland, who after a season of highs and a ton of lows, pulled off a superb escape from certain relegation under Gus Poyet. Nobody cared about their listless 3-1 defeat at home to Swansea - and you can bet the Black Cats loved exactly how moot the end of their unbeaten run was.

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7) Vincent Tan should listen to the Cardiff fans

Forget waiting for promotion back to the Premier League, Vincent Tan could unite the Welsh capital by declaring the club blue on Monday morning to overshadow Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad announcement across the border. It has been reported that he is consdering a 180-degree-turn on his controversial decision to completely overhaul the side's colour scheme and if he were to change back to blue now, the timing would be smart with fan morale at a severe low thanks to a season full of lousy decision-making ending in relegation. Shirt sales would rocket and Tan would be heralded a hero somewhat, despite only returning the club to its origins and rectifying his own... no, one of his own mistakes.

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