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FA Premier League 2003-04

From Academic Kids

This article describes the FA Premier League 2003-04 season.


For most of the 2003-04 Premiership season, the title challenge was contended between Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea. In the end, Arsenal were crowned champions without losing a single Premiership fixture, but they had to fight off strong competition from their two deadly rivals.

Chelsea had been 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 pre-season £25million 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 because he had missed a drugs test. The case of Rio Ferdinand started a debate about The FA's harsh punishments relating to drug testing, especially highlighted by the fact that a Manchester City player had committed the same offence a few months earlier yet escaped with just a £2,000 fine.

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 Premiership, Arsène Wenger's team suffered disappointment in the cup competitions. 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 semifinal. Arsenal were ironically knocked out of the Champions League quarterfinals by Chelsea. These two blows came with a few days of each other and it was feared that Arsenal might squander their lead of the Premiership for the second successive season. But Arsenal finished the season with 26 wins, 12 draws, 0 defeats and 90 points.

The three relegation points were occupied by three teams bracketed together on 33 points. Wolves and Leicester City followed the trend of many other newly promoted Premiership clubs and were relegated just one season after reaching the top division. But the other relegation place went to Leeds United, whose playing fortunes had dipped in the past two seasons after David O'Leary was sacked 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 Premiership after 14 years of top division football - just four seasons after they had reached the Champions League semifinals.

In his third season as Middlesborough manager, Steve McClaren had guided the Teesiders to their first ever major trophy - sealed with a 2-0 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.

2003-04 saw a number of managerial changes in the Premiership. Glenn Hoddle was sacked as manager of Spurs in September, with Director of Football David Pleat taking over as temporary manager until the end of the season. He was then replaced by French national coach Jacques Santini, who was in the charge for five months before being replaced by assistant first team coach Martin Jol. Since the end of 2003-04, Frank Arnesen has been Director of Football for Spurs.

Leeds United sacked Peter Reid in November and installed first team coach Eddie Gray as interim manager until the end of the season, as they could not afford to buy another team's manager out of his contract. Gray was unable to save Leeds from relegation and was sacked by the club's new owners, who installed Gray's assistant Kevin Blackwell as their new manager.

Gordon Strachan quit as Southampton manager in March and was replaced by Plymouth Argyle's Paul Sturrock. Just after the start of 2004-05, Sturrock handed in his resignation and was replaced by Steve Wigley who spent three months at the helm before being replaced by Harry Redknapp.

At the end of 2003-04, Gérard Houllier was sacked as manager of Liverpool despite having won four cup competitions (including three in one season) during his six-year spell as manager. Liverpool then turned to ex-Valencia coach Rafael Benitez as the man they hoped could win the league title which has eluded Anfield since 1990.

Despite guiding Chelsea to runners-up position in the Premiership (their highest league finish for half a century) and to their first ever Champions League or European Cup semifinal, Claudio Ranieri was sacked after four years in charge at Stamford Bridge. Roman Abramovich then appointed José Mourinho as Chelsea's new manager. Mourinho, who won the 2004 Champions League with Porto of Portugal, was given a three-year contract.

Final League Table

Final League Table for FA Premier League 2003-04 Season
Team P W D L F A Pts
1 Arsenal 38 26 12 0 73 26 90
2 Chelsea 38 24 7 7 67 30 79
3 Manchester United 38 23 6 9 64 35 75
4 Liverpool 38 16 12 10 55 37 60
5 Newcastle United 38 13 17 8 52 40 56
6 Aston Villa 38 15 11 12 48 44 56
7 Charlton Athletic 38 14 11 13 51 51 53
8 Bolton Wanderers 38 14 11 13 48 56 53
9 Fulham 38 14 10 14 52 46 52
10 Birmingham City 38 12 14 12 43 48 50
11 Middlesbrough 38 13 9 16 44 52 48
12 Southampton 38 12 11 15 44 45 47
13 Portsmouth 38 12 9 17 47 54 45
14 Tottenham Hotspur 38 13 6 19 47 57 45
15 Blackburn Rovers 38 12 8 18 51 59 44
16 Manchester City 38 9 14 15 55 54 41
17 Everton 38 9 12 17 45 57 39
18 Leicester City 38 6 15 17 48 65 33
19 Leeds United 38 8 9 21 40 79 33
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 38 7 12 19 38 77 33

P = Games Played; W = Games Won; D = Games Drawn; L = Games Lost; F = Goals For; A = Goals Against; Pts = Points


See also

Template:FA Premier League teamlist
FA Premier League seasons

1992-93 | 1993-94 | 1994-95 | 1995-96 | 1996-97 | 1997-98 | 1998-99
1999-00 | 2000-01 | 2001-02 | 2002-03 | 2003-04 | 2004-05 | 2005-06 edit (https://academickids.com:443/encyclopedia/index.php?title=Template:FA_Premier_League&action=edit)

Football in England

League competitions

The FA

Cup competitions

FA Premier League FA Cup
The Football League (Champ, 1, 2) England
(men)
League Cup
Football Conference (Nat, N, S) FA Community Shield
Northern Premier League (Prem, 1) (women) Football League Trophy
Southern League (Prem, 1W, 1E) List of
clubs
FA Trophy
Isthmian League (Prem, 1, 2) FA Vase
English football league system Records FA NLS Cup

edit (https://academickids.com:443/encyclopedia/index.php?title=Template:Football_in_England_table_cells&action=edit)

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