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- Ibriana Jones: Red Devils of the Lost Ark!
- Chelsea set to win Title at a Kante!
- Leicester face tough choices as losses compile
- The Year of the Roo-ster!
- Marvel at the latest Craven Cottage arrival: Fulham Sign Thanos!
- Wayne Rooney’s goalscoring record is a rare piece of Manchester United history. Take notice.
- MOTD: Ibrahimovic salvages United point against Liverpool
- The Crystal (Palace) Maze!
- Glory Days for Andre Gray!
The Angry Birds of Football!
To celebrate the release of ‘The Angry Birds Movie’ and the conclusion to the Premier League season, Richard Lewis takes a look at which bird-named clubs will be angry with their league finish in England:
Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs/Cockerel)
The North London club with a cockerel on their badge were pipped to second place in the Premier League by arch rivals Arsenal on the final day of the season. All they needed was a draw against already relegated Newcastle United above the Gunners in the first time for twenty-one years, but embarrassingly lost 5-1 to Rafa Benitez’s men.
Meanwhile, Arsenal beat bottom side Aston Villa 4-0 at the Emirates to put a sour twist on Tottenham’s promising season. Tottenham’s form drastically tailed off at the end of the season after a 2-2 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge stole their remaining hopes of snatching the title away from Leicester City. Spurs saw yellow nine times against Chelsea with influential midfielders Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli suspended for the run-in, defeats to Southampton and Newcastle followed.
Tottenham fans are as green with envy as the evil pigs in Angry Birds at the success of Leicester this season, while the Gunners continue to clip their neighbors’ wings in the final standings.
Newcastle United (Magpies)
The season may have ended well for the North East club with a 5-1 victory over Spurs, but the supporters of the Magpies will be very angry that they were relegated by rivals Sunderland the week before.
Newcastle fans may feel Mike Ashley has been stealing and selling off their prized eggs for years now, leading to their second crash landing out of the top flight in seven years. The Magpies suffered a similar fall from grace in 2009, when they were last relegated, but they managed to bounce back at the first attempt.
If they can hold onto manager Rafael Benitez and keep key players like Andros Townsend, they should be able to repeat the feat, although the Championship is even more unpredictable than the Premier League these days. Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who was sent off on the final day of the season, certainly plays like an angry bird most of the time and if he can cool his temper, will play a massive part in the rebuilding of the Magpies’ squad over the coming season.
Norwich City (Canaries)
The Canaries will be most angry about all the points they have thrown away this season. A memorable 5-4 loss at home to Liverpool typified their inability to hold a lead even in the best of times and Adam Lallana stole the points from Carrow Road with his late strike for the Reds.
Alex Neil’s men succumbed to relegation after a dreadful run-in and they could see key players like English winger Nathan Redmond departing the Canaries over the summer. They certainly need a top striker in the Championship next season to gain automatic promotion and they are reportedly courting Fulham forward Ross McCormack.
Crystal Palace (Eagles)
Alan Pardew’s side may be in the FA Cup against Manchester United at Wembley on Saturday, but the Eagles will be vexed by their league form in 2016. At the start of the campaign they looked like they could compete for a European spot this season alongside the likes of Southampton and West Ham United, but their results and performances after Christmas were uglier than, say, green pigs!
The South London side were flying high in 2015, with Yohan Cabaye pulling the midfield strings and Yannick Bolasie bombing down the wings at Selhurst Park. They had already picked up enough points to assure their safety at the end of the season, but the dip in form doesn’t bode well heading into the FA Cup final this weekend.
That said, a victory would seal a group stage Europa League spot and a piece of unlikely silverware.
Swansea City (Swans)
The Welsh club were satisfied with a mid-table finish, but will be slightly irritated at the fact they could not improve on their 2014/2015 finish. The Swans sacked manager Garry Monk in the middle of the campaign and new boss Francesco Guidolin managed to earn a two-year deal by keeping the Swans in the top division.
However, their season as a whole has hardly been elegant like a swan. The only Welsh club in the Premier League will look to bring in some new recruits over the summer and they would do well to hold onto forward Andre Ayew, with both West Ham and Sunderland reportedly interested in the Ghanaian. Ayew would command a transfer profit, at least, as he was a free transfer for the Swans last year, and would now probably value at £11 million after his impressive campaign.
Brighton & Hove Albion (Seagulls)
The South Coast club heartbreakingly missed out on automatic promotion to the Premier League on goal difference after tying on points with Middlesbrough. Brighton finished third in the Championship with eighty-nine points, which in most other seasons would have been enough to seal promotion, but this time consigned Chris Hughton’s men to the playoffs.
The Seagulls then suffered defeat to Sheffield Wednesday over two legs and even the goals of Anthony Knockaert, James Wilson, and Bobby Zamora were not good enough for Brighton to succeed in the Championship promotion battle.
It’s a sad end to a term which started so well for the Seagulls, who might not get as close to the Premier League in a long time. Either Hull City or Sheffield Wednesday will now go up via the play-off final at Wembley in an all-Yorkshire affair. Seagulls, for now, will unfortunately remain most famous for stealing chips on the pier front.
Angry Birds and football may have both started out mere hobbies, but now the two of them are seen as more than just a game for many!
Homepage photo credit: Nick from Bristol, UK (Nathan Redmond, Fulham FC) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons