2003–04 FA Premier League
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The 2003–04 FA Premier League (known as the FA Barclaycard Premiership for sponsorship reasons) was the 12th season of the Premier League. Arsenal were the champions and Chelsea, who had spent heavily throughout the season, were the runners up. Arsenal ended the season without a single defeat – the first team ever to do so in a 38-game league season and the second team overall (the first was Preston North End in 1889, 115 years earlier, during a 22-game league season).
|Dates||16 August 2003–15 May 2004|
3rd Premier League title
13th English title
|UEFA Cup||Newcastle United|
|Goals scored||1,012 (2.66 per match)|
|Top goalscorer||Thierry Henry (30 goals)|
|Biggest home win||Portsmouth 6–1 Leeds United|
(8 November 2003)
Chelsea 5–0 Newcastle United
(9 November 2003)
Arsenal 5–0 Leeds United
(16 April 2004)
|Biggest away win||Wolverhampton Wanderers 0–5 Chelsea|
(20 September 2003)
Leicester City 0–5 Aston Villa
(31 January 2004)
|Highest scoring||Manchester City 6–2 Bolton Wanderers|
(18 October 2003)
Tottenham 4–4 Leicester City
(22 February 2004)
Middlesbrough 5–3 Birmingham City
(20 March 2004)
|Longest winning run||9 games|
|Longest unbeaten run||38 games, '|
|Longest winless run||14 games|
|Longest losing run||6 games|
|Highest attendance||67,758 |
Manchester United v Southampton
(31 January 2004)
Fulham v Blackburn Rovers
(12 April 2004)
Having qualified for the Champions' League the previous season, Chelsea were bolstered by a £100 million outlay on world-class players, a spree funded by the extensive financial resources of their new owner Roman Abramovich. Manchester United's attack was as strong as ever thanks to free-scoring Ruud van Nistelrooy, but the midfield was weakened following the £25 million pre-season sale of David Beckham to Real Madrid, and the centre of defence suffered a more severe setback after Rio Ferdinand was ruled out for the final four months of the season after being found guilty of the "failure or refusal to take a drugs test". The case of Rio Ferdinand started a debate about punishments relating to drug testing in football, with there being differing views on whether the punishment was too harsh or too lenient. Ferdinand's club sought to make direct comparisons with an earlier case of Manchester City reserve player who had in fact committed a lesser drug testing offence and as a result escaped with only a fine. City themselves had just moved from Maine Road to the City of Manchester Stadium.
Arsenal, meanwhile, had only signed German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann in the 2003 close season, but French striker Thierry Henry was instrumental in Arsenal's success. Away from the Premier League, Arsène Wenger's team suffered disappointment in the cup competitions. They were knocked-out by League Cup eventual winners Middlesbrough in the semi-finals. They lost their defence of the FA Cup (which they held for two seasons in a row) after losing to eventual winners Manchester United in the semi-final. Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League quarter-finals by Chelsea (3–2 on aggregate). These blows in the FA Cup and Champions League came within a few days of each other, and it was feared that Arsenal might squander their lead of the Premier League for the second successive season, but Arsenal thumped Liverpool only days later. Arsenal's Invincibles finished the season with 26 wins, 12 draws, 0 defeats and 90 points.
The three relegation spots were occupied by three teams bracketed together on 33 points. Wolves and Leicester City followed the trend of many other newly promoted Premier League clubs and were relegated just one season after reaching the top division. The other relegation place went to Leeds United, whose playing fortunes had dipped in the past two seasons after David O'Leary was sacked as manager and club debts had risen so high that many star players had to be sold. As a result, Leeds were finally relegated from the Premier League after 14 years of top division football – just three seasons after they had reached the Champions League semifinals.
In his third season as Middlesbrough manager, Steve McClaren had guided the Teessiders to their first ever major trophy – sealed with a 2–1 win over Bolton Wanderers in the League Cup final. McClaren was also the first English manager to win a major trophy since Brian Little guided Aston Villa to League Cup success in 1996. He was also the first manager to take Middlesbrough into European competition – they would be competing in the 2004–05 UEFA Cup.
Twenty teams competed in the league – the top seventeen teams from the previous season and the three teams promoted from the First Division. The promoted teams were Portsmouth, Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, returning to the top flight after an absence of fifteen, one and nineteen years respectively. This was also Portsmouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers' first season in the Premier League. They replaced West Ham United, West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland after spending time in the top flight for ten, one and four years respectively.
Stadiums and LocationsEdit
- Craven Cottage was still under refurbishment from the previous season and as a result, Fulham continued playing their home games at Loftus Road, which is also the home stadium of fellow West London club Queens Park Rangers.
- Manchester City moved to the City of Manchester Stadium after spending 80 years at Maine Road.
Personnel and kitsEdit
|Team||Outgoing manager||Manner of departure||Date of vacancy||Position in table||Incoming manager||Date of appointment|
|Aston Villa||Graham Taylor||Resigned||14 May 2003||Pre-season||David O'Leary||20 May 2003|
|Tottenham Hotspur||Glenn Hoddle||Sacked||22 September 2003||18th||David Pleat (caretaker)||24 September 2003|
|Leeds United||Peter Reid||10 November 2003||20th||Eddie Gray (caretaker)||10 November 2003|
|Southampton||Gordon Strachan||Resigned||13 February 2004||12th||Paul Sturrock||4 March 2004|
|Pos||Team||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Pts||Qualification or relegation|
|1||Arsenal (C)||38||26||12||0||73||26||+47||90||Qualification for the Champions League group stage|
|3||Manchester United||38||23||6||9||64||35||+29||75||Qualification for the Champions League third qualifying round[a]|
|5||Newcastle United||38||13||17||8||52||40||+12||56||Qualification for the UEFA Cup first round|
|11||Middlesbrough||38||13||9||16||44||52||−8||48||Qualification for the UEFA Cup first round[b]|
|18||Leicester City (R)||38||6||15||17||48||65||−17||33||Relegation to the Football League Championship|
|19||Leeds United (R)||38||8||9||21||40||79||−39||33|
|20||Wolverhampton Wanderers (R)||38||7||12||19||38||77||−39||33|
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored.
(C) Champion; (R) Relegated.
|Total goals: 1,012|
|Average goals per game: 2.66|
|Home \ Away||ARS||AST||BIR||BLB||BOL||CHA||CHE||EVE||FUL||LEE||LEI||LIV||MCI||MUN||MID||NEW||POR||SOU||TOT||WOL|
Colours: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.
- Most wins – Arsenal (26)
- Fewest wins – Leicester City (6)
- Most draws – Newcastle United (17)
- Fewest draws – Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur (6)
- Most losses – Leeds United (21)
- Fewest losses – Arsenal (0)
- Most goals scored – Arsenal (73)
- Fewest goals scored – Wolverhampton Wanderers (38)
- Most goals conceded – Leeds United (79)
- Fewest goals conceded – Arsenal (26)
|2||Alan Shearer||Newcastle United||22|
|3||Louis Saha||Manchester United/Fulham||20|
|Ruud van Nistelrooy||Manchester United||20|
|5||Mikael Forssell||Birmingham City||17|
|6||Nicolas Anelka||Manchester City||16|
|Juan Pablo Ángel||Aston Villa||16|
|Robbie Keane||Tottenham Hotspur||14|
|Month||Manager of the Month||Player of the Month|
|August||Arsène Wenger (Arsenal)||Teddy Sheringham (Portsmouth)|
|September||Claudio Ranieri (Chelsea)||Frank Lampard (Chelsea)|
|October||Sir Bobby Robson (Newcastle United)||Alan Shearer (Newcastle United)|
|November||Sam Allardyce (Bolton Wanderers)||Jay-Jay Okocha (Bolton Wanderers)|
|December||Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)||Paul Scholes (Manchester United)|
|January||Sam Allardyce (Bolton Wanderers)||Thierry Henry (Arsenal)|
|February||Arsène Wenger (Arsenal)||Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal) & Edu (Arsenal)|
|March||Claudio Ranieri (Chelsea)||Mikael Forssell (Birmingham City)|
|April||Harry Redknapp (Portsmouth)||Thierry Henry (Arsenal)|
LMA Manager of the YearEdit
PFA Players' Player of the YearEdit
The shortlist for the PFA Players' Player of the Year award was as follows:
- Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
- Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
- Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
- Jay-Jay Okocha (Bolton Wanderers)
- Alan Shearer (Newcastle United)
- Patrick Vieira (Arsenal)
PFA Young Player of the YearEdit
The shortlist for the award was as follows:
- Glen Johnson (Chelsea)
- Scott Parker (Charlton Athletic/Chelsea)
- Wayne Rooney (Everton)
- John Terry (Chelsea)
- Kolo Touré (Arsenal)
- Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City)
PFA Team of the YearEdit
Goalkeeper: Tim Howard (Manchester United)
Defence: Lauren, Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell (all Arsenal), John Terry (Chelsea)
Midfield: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires (both Arsenal), Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
Attack: Thierry Henry (Arsenal), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United)
PFA Fans' Player of the YearEdit
FWA Footballer of the YearEdit
Premier League Fair Play AwardEdit
Behaviour of the Public LeagueEdit
Given to the best-behaved fans, Arsenal won this, thus achieving a fair play double.
Premier League Manager of the YearEdit
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- Phil McNulty (24 September 2003). "Pleat the Spurs survivor". BBC Sport.
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- "Thierry is the tops again – and it's a big 'hats off' to divisional winners Darren Huckerby, Neil Moss and Lee Harper! | The PFA Awards | Give Me Football". Archived from the original on 26 September 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
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