We’ve now had two positive campaigns back-to-back – could we push on and secure an even better third season next time?
I ask this because the stats show we don’t tend to back up positive campaigns with another. When we returned to the Premier League, we finished 10th in our first campaign but this was followed by pretty dire football and results for the next two seasons where we finished 13th and 12th.
Then we had the final season at the Boleyn where we finished seventh but then endured two mediocre seasons of -17 and -20 goal differences and 11th and 13th placed finishes respectively. Manuel Pellegrini arrived and we won 15 games in his first season, 52 points and a respectable 10th place finish. The wheels came off in the second season and we finished 16th under David Moyes.
Two positive seasons
But now we’ve had two very positive campaigns. The first saw us win 19 games, pick up 65 points – our most in the Premier League – with a goal difference of plus 15 and we qualified for Europe in sixth place. Many have crumbled with the added games but looking at it on paper, sure we lost three more games this season and picked up 56 points but seventh place was enough to qualify for Europe again.
Chuck in another season with a positive goal difference – we’ve only done that two other times in the past decade – and the memorable Europa League journey, and you could argue this season delivered just as much as its predecessor.
What would be considered another positive season? A top half finish in the league and maybe a cup final? Or would you settle for top seven and reaching the knockout stages of the Conference League? I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s a nice dilemma to ponder when you consider some of the seasons we’ve endured over the past decade.