season of the FA Premier League
began on 13 August 2005, and concluded on 7 May 2006. The Season saw Chelsea F.C
retain their title after defeating Manchester United
3-0 at Stamford Bridge towards the end of April. On the same day, West Bromwich
and Birmingham City
were relegated, joining Sunderland
in The Championship
for the following season.
Final league table
P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points
1.West Ham qualified for the UEFA Cup as FA Cup finalists
|Premier League 2005-06 Winners |
2nd Title (3rd Top League of English Football Title)
| Total Goals: 944 |
| Average Goals per game: 2.48 || |
final season at 93-year-old Highbury
ended without a major trophy as they finished fourth in the Premiership (only narrowly pipping local rivals Tottenham
to the final Champions League
place) and were defeated 2-1 by Barcelona
in the European Cup final, despite being reduced to ten men and taking an early lead. The final season at Highbury was also the final season of legendary striker Dennis Bergkamp's
illustrious playing career, and sadly his final season brought no major honours. However, on the final day of the season an Arsenal win followed by a Tottenham Hotspur
defeat at West Ham United
(partially blamed on food poisoning) saw Arsenal trump their longtime rivals for fourth place, thus ensuring a place in the UEFA Champions League
qualifying rounds the following year.
Manager David O'Leary's
job was thrown into further doubt as Villa dipped to 16th place in the Premiership and spent much of the season battling against relegation. It was the total opposite to what David O'Leary had been hoping for when he arrived at Villa Park
in June 2003 - he had been hoping for cup triumphs and European qualification. The fact that O'Leary had never won a trophy or achieved European qualification caused great frustration among Villa fans, and during the close season he was dismissed in favour of Martin O'Neill
as chairman Doug Ellis
finally appeared to be ready to sell the club to American billionaire Randy Lerner
A season of struggle ended in relegation for Steve Bruce's
Birmingham City side, who had never finished below 13th in their first three seasons following the long-awaited return to the top flight. They also endured a 7-0 humiliation at home to Liverpool
in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup
, but chairman David Sullivan
kept faith in Bruce as the man to bring an immediate Premiership return to St Andrew's
After two successive 15th place finish, Mark Hughes
finally gave Blackburn Rovers a long-awaited return to the UEFA Cup
as they finished sixth in the Premiership with 63 points and were in the hunt for a Champions League place until the penultimate game of the season.
Eighth place in the Premiership was not enough for another UEFA Cup adventure, but it was still a very good finish for one of the division's smaller clubs, whose manager Sam Allardyce
was strongly linked to the England
job when Sven Goran Eriksson
announced that he would be quitting as national coach after the World Cup
. In the end, it was Middlesbrough's Steve McClaren
who took over, meaning that Bolton still had the manager who had taken them to unprecedented heights.
Just before the end of the season, Alan Curbishley
announced that he would be resigning as Charlton Athletic manager after 15 years at the helm. When he had taken over in 1991, they were a struggling side in the old Football League Second Division
, ground-sharing with West Ham United
while they endured a long wait for The Valley
to be brought up to modern standards. He left the club in a totally different position - containing some of the top flight's most respected players, playing in a quality stadium, and having comfortably secured their seventh successive Premiership campaign. 13th place finish was the second lowest spot that Charlton had occupied in six years, and they had peaked at seventh in 2004. Curbishley's name had been linked with the England job when Sven Goran Eriksson's imminent resignation was announced, but in the event Curbishley left Charlton to take a break from the game, allowing Iain Dowie
to take over.
Chelsea secured a second successive title with 29 wins and 91 points. Their domestic title challenge saw them lead the Premier League from the opening weekend of the competition, but their chances of winning their first double were ended when they lost to eventual winners Liverpool FC
in the FA Cup
semi-finals. Their European season came to an end in March, as they met a resurgent FC Barcelona
side, whom they had defeated the previous year. In the round of 16, Barca knocked them out over two legs. Frank Lampard contributed another 20 goal season, and was again named player of the year, and excellent seasons from John Terry
, Petr Cech
, and newcomer Michael Essien
. The season was, in part, defined by three major victories over Chelesa's title rivals throughout the year. In October, the blues crushed Liverpool at Anfield
to the tune of 1-4. This was the Merseyside club's worst home defeat since the First World War. In
December, Chelsea gave a convincing performance against Arsenal
, solidly defeating them 0-2 and cementing their status as league leaders.
Finally, with the title already won Chelsea confirmed their status as champions in late April by beating their nearest contenders Manchester United
3-0 at Stamford Bridge
with Joe Cole
scoring a sensatioanl individual goal. Though they did not match their two trophy haul from the previous year, it was still an excellent season for Jose Mourinho
and his expensively assembled side. But their lack of continental success this year saw them embark on signings the following summer to improve their form in Europe.
A terrible start to the Premiership campaign left Everton in real danger of relegation, and an early exit from Europe was an even bigger blow for the blue half of Merseyside
. But Everton's form improved as the season went on, and they managed to finish 11th with 50 points - 16 points clear of relegation. The acquisition of striker Andy Johnson
from Crystal Palace
gave renewed hope that Everton would soon be chasing for honours again.
third full season as Fulham manager brought a respectable 12th place finish from a side who performed consistently enough to stay clear of the relegation battle, but at the same time failed to perform anywhere near well enough to even look like contending for a European place.
82 points is often enough to win the title, but Chelsea's 91 points and Manchester United's 83 raised the bar and meant that Liverpool had to settle for third place in the Premiership. Their consolation for their 17 year title wait came in form of a dramatic victory over West Ham United
in the FA Cup final
. They were 2-1 down at half-time and still 3-2 down in the 89th minute, but a late equaliser from Steven Gerrard
forced extra time and Liverpool finally won the game on penalties.
A great start to Stuart Pearce's
first full season as Manchester City manager saw his side establish themselves as firm contenders for a European place, and they were still looking like good bets for European qualification in the New Year. When Sven Goran Eriksson announced his intention to step down as England manager after the World Cup, Pearce's name was linked with the job, but he ruled himself out of the running. City's season ended in terrible fashion as a run of bad results dragged them down to 15th place in the final table, and it was only their strong form earlier on in the season that saved them from being sucked into the relegation zone.
2005-06 was a trying season for Manchester United. Long-serving captain Roy Keane
left the club on 18 November when his contract was terminated, and a week later
the club was plunged into mourning by the death of legendary former player George Best
at the age of 59. Around this time, United's form was disappointing, with a 4-1 defeat by Middlesbrough being one of their worst Premiership results to date. That match, midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo
mananged to score the Premier League's 1000th goal in the 90th minute. However, United soon recovered their form, and were in contention for the Premiership title until the end of April, when a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea
at Stamford Bridge
meant that the Premiership trophy would be staying in London. There was some silverware, however, in the shape of the Carling Cup
, attained with a 4-0 win over Wigan Athletic at Millennium Stadium
A dismal Premiership campaign saw Middlesbrough finish 14th in the final table - their lowest finish since 2001 - but they made up with this with a remarkable UEFA Cup
run. In Europe for only the second time in their history, Middlesbrough reached the UEFA Cup final after overcoming a three-goal defecit by FC Basle
in the semis, but their dreams of glory were ended in the final as they were hammered 4-0 by Sevilla FC
of Spain. On 4 May 2006, it was announced that Steve McClaren
would be quitting as Middlesbrough manager to take over as England coach from Sven Goran Eriksson
after the World Cup. Veteran player Gareth Southgate
was appointed by Middlesbrough as McClaren's successor.
The £17million club record signing of Michael Owen
in the close season did little to improve Newcastle's form after they finished 14th in 2004-05, and manager Graeme Souness
was dismissed at the beginning of February with Newcastle in the bottom half of the Premiership. Glenn Roeder
succeeded Souness as manager, and helped Newcastle climb to seventh in the final table and secure UEFA Intertoto Cup
qualification. Legendary striker Alan Shearer
broke the club's goalscoring record before retiring as a player at the end of the season.
unsuccessful reign as manager ended in November after just eight months, and Harry Redknapp
(who had left a year earlier) returned to the club for a second spell as manager. His comeback was greeted with much scepticism after Portsmouth's form failed to improve and they looked doomed, but a great run of form in the final weeks of the season confirmed their survival at the end of April.
Tottenham were pipped to the final Champions League place by local rivals Arsenal, but finishing fifth (their highest Premiership finish yet, and their highest in the top flight since they came third in 1990) was an excellent final position for Tottenham in their first full season under Martin Jol's
management. Tottenham go into the UEFA Cup
for the first time since they entered it as Worthington Cup winners in 1999.
West Ham United
Losing the FA Cup final
on penalties to Liverpool, who forced a 3-3 draw after West Ham had led 2-1 at half time, was in no way a dampener on West Ham's first season back in the Premiership. They finished ninth in the league, ahead of several much more fancied sides including UEFA Cup finalists Middlesbrough and last season's fourth-placed side Everton, and manager Alan Pardew
was finally free of just about all of the sceptics who had questioned his suitability of manager almost from his first day in charge nearly three years earlier.
Survival would have been enough for any club in the top flight for the first time in their history, but Wigan Athletic did more than that in their first season at this level. They were second in the Premiership in late October, and well into the New Year were contending for a UEFA Cup place. They reached the Carling Cup final (their first ever domestic cup final) but lost 4-0 to Manchester United, and eventually finished 10th in the Premiership. Manager Paul Jewell
was even linked with the England job, having created a frenzy for his achievements at a club who had still been in Division Two when he took over five years earlier.
For the second time in two seasons José Mourinho's Chelsea triumphed in the Premier League, with a home win over closest rivals Manchester United confirming them as champions after a record setting albeit tense season.
Chelsea's early season form with 15 wins out of 16 gave the champions an unequivocal head start. With Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool falling way short of their expectations before Christmas, Chelsea had effectively became 'Champions-Elect' by early 2006. However a sudden collapse in form by mid-March caused their seemingly unassailable lead of 18 points to be cut down to just 7 in two weeks due to the impressive late run of form of Manchester United who went on a ten-match winning streak scoring over 30 goals. However a shock home draw with bottom of the table Sunderland (who were evidently relegated as a result) at Old Trafford killed United's title hopes. The momentum was back with Chelsea who didn't need a second bite at the cherry with wins over Bolton, Everton and finally Manchester United giving the west Londoners their second successive championship under Mourinho.
The top two clubs at the end of the season earned the right to participate in the UEFA Champions League group stages, while the third- and fourth-placed clubs get places in the Champions League Third Qualifying Round (where they progress to the Champions League group stages if they win or the UEFA Cup if they lose). However, if an English team wins the Champions League, but finishes outside the top four, then they get the final Champions League spot instead of the fourth-placed club, who have to settle for a place in the UEFA Cup. This could have been the case with Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, but Arsenal pipped Spurs to fourth place in the final matchday of the season before losing 2-1 to F.C Barcelona in the final of the UEFA Champions League.
The fifth-placed club always earns a spot in the UEFA Cup. The winners of the FA Cup also earn a place in the UEFA Cup. If they have already qualified for European competition by their league position or winning the League Cup, then the FA Cup runners-up get their place. If the runners-up, too, have already qualified, then the highest league finisher who have not already qualified for Europe (normally sixth place) are given the place. This season, the FA Cup final featured Liverpool and West Ham. Since Liverpool finished third they were assured of a spot in the Champions League qualifying round, which in turn meant that West Ham received the cup winner's UEFA Cup place.
The League Cup winners also qualify for the UEFA Cup. If they have already qualified for European competition through other means then their place is, unlike the FA Cup, not awarded to the runner-up, but instead the highest league finisher who has not qualified for Europe. League Cup winners Man United finished second, placing them directly into the Champions League group stage. This meant that the sixth-placed club, Blackburn Rovers, qualified for the UEFA Cup. The team directly after the UEFA Cup places, goes into the UEFA Intertoto Cup which means in turn, if the team - which was Newcastle United this season - wins a 2-legged match means they earn a place in the qualifying round of the UEFA Cup.
Top goal scorers
These three teams were promoted from The Championship
at the start of the season:
These three teams were relegated to The Championship
at the end of the season:
- This was Arsenal's last ever season at their long-time home of Highbury. Their last ever match there was a 4-2 victory over Wigan Athletic, where Thierry Henry scored a hat-trick - the last in the Barclays Premiership this season. After scoring his hat-trick goal from the penalty spot, Henry kissed the grass at Highbury. The Gunners opened the 60,000-seat Emirates Stadium in the summer of 2006.
- With 27 goals, league leader Thierry Henry outscored the entire Sunderland squad who managed to score just 26 goals. This is the second time a Premier League squad has been outscored by individual players. The first instance also involved Sunderland when they were outscored by three players, including Henry, in the 2002-03 season. In the 2007-08 season, would be out scored by three players.
- In the season's first match, Everton hosted Manchester United, losing 0-2 to United. Ruud van Nistelrooy scored the season's first goal.
- Marlon Harewood scored the first Barclays Premiership hat-trick of the season in West Ham United's 4-0 victory over Aston Villa.
- Chelsea, having been originally founded in 1905, celebrated their centennial year with a series of events, and a second consecutive Premiership title.
- Liverpool recorded the highest points total (82) for a third-placed club.
- Several clubs reported disappointing attendances and/or trouble selling out their grounds for the opening weeks' matches. Many have argued that this was due mainly to the comparatively early season start, and cricket's Ashes Test cricket series which caught the nation's imagination and which England went on to win. Other possible reasons are continued escalation of ticket prices and the increasing number of games shown on television (which has had the knock on effect of greater variation in kick-off times). The overall decline in attendances for the season was only around 2%, but that figure is reduced by the fact that bigger clubs were promoted into the Premiership than were relegated and several clubs have suffered larger falls.
- Alan Shearer and Dennis Bergkamp both retired this season after long and successful Premiership careers. Shearer was injured and in essence, has had his career ended early.
- The largest win during this season was recorded when Arsenal defeated Middlesbrough 7-0.
- Sunderland had the worst ever season in the history of the FA Premier League after picking up only 15 points and three wins all season. They broke their previous record of 19 points in 2002-03, along with the previously mentioned fact that the entire team was outscored, goal wise, by Thierry Henry of Arsenal. That record would be broken by Derby County in 2007-08, with a total of 11 points and one victory (through games of 4 May 2008).
- Fulham FC were almost the third Premier League club in history to go a whole season without an away win, however a 2-1 victory over Manchester City on the penultimate week spared them that record.
- After witnessing West Bromwich Albion's miraculous 'Great Escape' the previous season Portsmouth FC completed their own version of this recovering from being 8 points adrift of safety with less than 10 games left to relegate West Brom and Birmingham City by the second to last game of the season with a 2-1 win over Wigan.
- With Tottenham Hotspur already guaranteed a European place, all they needed to do was equal Arsenal's result when playing away at West Ham. However the night before, the team came down with sickness. West Ham, Spurs and the Premier League could not agree a new date/time for the game. The match went ahead at the originally planned time, Spurs lost 2-1 and Arsenal got the final UEFA Champions League place.