Premier League sets new standards
"One goal now could change it all. It's maddening, it's enthralling, it's the English Premier League and there is nothing quite like it."
That was the verdict of BBC football commentator Jonathan Pearce during Wolves' 3-2 defeat by Blackburn on Sunday, where Stephen Hunt's late strike meant both teams survived to enjoy the madness again next season.
It could also quite easily pass as a judgment on the whole season, where the emergence of new names, a new side and a general narrowing of teams' points totals made the Premier League as unpredictable as it has ever been.
"An absolutely fantastic season, one of the best ever," said former Liverpool defender and Match of the Day pundit Alan Hansen. "I think the fact that the big sides were regularly beaten by some of the lesser sides just made it complete."
Defensive connoisseurs might want to look away now but this season was perhaps the most entertaining yet.
But for those who regard that as further proof of a league which is high on entertainment but low on technical quality there is also evidence to suggest otherwise.
While there were more headed goals compared to the previous two seasons, there were also more goals from open play.
And based on figures over the last three seasons, the number of passes has increased overall as well as their accuracy. The number of dribbles attempted is also on the up, while the percentage of long passes of 35 yards or over has dropped to a level below the last two seasons.
That has all resulted in more drawn games and fewer away wins, something that champions Manchester United can attest to.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side managed only five wins on the road all season, a figure they shared with relegated Blackpool, who lit up the Premier League with an attacking approach rarely seen from newly-promoted teams.
In fact, if any team were to epitomise the extra goals and fewer clean sheets change then it would be Ian Holloway's side.
Captain Charlie Adam demonstrated his ability to play in the top tier, but his fellow team-mates in defence suffered, conceding 78 goals this season - that is seven more than West Brom and eight more than West Ham.
"If you aim for the stars, you might hit the moon," said Holloway after being relegated. "I have nothing but pride for my players and the way they have performed. I am ready for the fight to get us back."
Blackpool's 55 goals almost saved the Tangerines and 56 strikes did wonders for West Brom, but it was the lack of goal threat that was Birmingham's downfall.
Averaging less than one a game, the 37 goals that Blues registered was the league's lowest total and only Craig Gardner hit double figures this season in all competitions.
The frustrating thing for West Ham fans must be the fact that at various points during the season they have looked capable of winning more than seven league games.
That might indicate a mental problem, or perhaps fitness issues, but they also suffered from a lack of a regular goalscorer with leading marksmen Demba Ba finding the net only seven times, despite joining the club in January.
West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie proved his value at the Hawthorns with 15 league goals after signing from Lokomotiv Moscow last August. Mention must also go to Baggies boss Roy Hodgson, who has guided his team well clear of the bottom of the table to finish 11th.
Yet it was a season in which many of the mid-table teams have flirted with relegation at some point.
In the final reckoning, just 10 points covered eighth-placed Fulham and relegated teams Birmingham and Blackpool, and the likes of Aston Villa and Sunderland only pulled clear of danger in the final stages of the season.
Newcastle and Bolton managed to steer clear of relegation stresses and had relatively successful seasons, Bolton more so until they were deflated by their FA Cup semi-final loss to Stoke.
The Potters, meanwhile, can look back on a hugely encouraging term, as they reached their first FA Cup final and qualified for the Europa League next season.
Since King Kenny returned on 8 January only Manchester United and Chelsea have earned more points than the 33 the Reds have picked up.
Their Merseyside neighbours were hampered by injuries again this term but managed to use the fewest number of players in the league, while Fulham weathered a long period without Bobby Zamora by remaining firm at the back. Mark Hughes' team conceded the fewest goals from set-pieces.
Despite two defeats since Dalglish's job was made permanent, the Scot will want to crack the top four next season, and it looks like the table summit is developing into a six-way rivalry.
Tottenham were let down by their home form where the nine games they drew were more than any other team. Arsenal, on the other hand, will need to further bolster a defence which conceded a high ratio of goals from set-pieces.
Manchester City might have received scorn for their defensive approach at times this season but their 18 clean sheets is three better than Manchester United or Chelsea and, unlike Arsenal, they have a trophy to show for their efforts this season to go with their automatic Champions League place.
Roberto Mancini's side will no doubt recruit further players this summer and now Chelsea are set to begin a period of transition following Carlo Ancelotti's sacking, it could mean that City are the ones to rival Manchester United next term.
City and Chelsea struggled against the top four teams this season and both fell short of Manchester United's goals tally of 78, which is way down on the 97 goals Ferguson's side scored in 1999/00.
Part of that is down to United's away form, where they drew 10 games, the most of any team in the league this season.
As former United midfielder Nicky Butt said: "It didn't surprise me that Manchester United won the title, but it did surprise me how weak the other [challenging] teams were.
"Chelsea made a great start and I thought they would be the team to beat to win the title. To United's credit, and as the manager always says, they came good after Christmas and he has proved the point again this year. It's not where you are through the league it's where you end up."
You can argue what all this means for the English national team yet for the neutral the Premier League remains enthralling.
For those more heavily involved from fans to players to managers, maddening probably only describes the half of it.