At the start of 2013, the Premier League was following a familiar script. Manchester United were top, and the rest were nowhere. Sir Alex Ferguson was bestriding the Premier League like a colossus; a colossus which was starting to crack around the edges a little, but a colossus none the less.
Fast forward a year and the English football landscape looks completely different. Ferguson has gone and Liverpool, the club he knocked off their perch, have scrambled back to the summit under Brendan Rodgers, a man blessed with the energy and intelligence which brought United's legendary manager so much success. Jose Mourinho, a man who once seemed capable of driving Ferguson into obsolence, has returned, while Manuel Pellegrini has been lured to take charge at Manchester City.
Tottenham who bought some of Europe's most promising young talent over the summer, have imploded, while Arsenal endured a far more frustrating transfer window but eventually emerged with Mesut Ozil and have never looked back. Everton have become even stronger since David Moyes left to succeed Ferguson at Old Trafford, and a profusion of bright young stars have emerged, spearheaded by the Belgians Romelu Lukaku, Christian Benteke and Adnan Januzaj, United's next great hope.
With so much change and uncertainty, it's no surprise that 2013 has served up more than its fair share of classic matches. Here are just a few of the games that have lit up our year and proved, once again, that English football is in a league of its own for drama, flair and rip-roaring entertainment.
1. West Bromwich Albion 5-5 Manchester United
Given the entertainment Sir Alex Ferguson served up during his 27 years at United, it would have been appropriate to finish with anything other than a bonkers bonanza, full of late goals. True to form, his players delivered; only this time United were on the receiving end of a last-gasp comeback, the sort they produced so often during Ferguson's tenure.
From being 5-2 up in the 63rd minute, the Red Devils handed the initiative back to the Baggies where they scored three goals in the final 10 minutes. Shinji Kagawa, Alexander Buttner, Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and an own goal from Jonas Olsson racked up the scoreboard for United while a hattrick from Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku graced the occasion for West Brom.
Such was United's dominance in the first half that the hosts could not get out of their penalty box but a period of brilliance from Lukaku in the second period made sure that Ferguson's 1500th game was one of the craziest.
2. Everton 3-3 Liverpool
In one the greatest games between the two clubs in recent history, Everton and Liverpool played out a 3-3 draw at Goodison Park - and, again, Lukaku was heavily involved.
Liverpool took the lead as early as the fifth minute through Philippe Coutinho while Everton equalised equalised soon after through Kevin Mirallas. Luis Suarez gave Liverpool back the lead with a brilliant free kick before the end of the first half but then Lukaku came into his own, scoring two goals in quick succession and almost literally wrestling the game away from Liverpool.
Liverpool were on the verge of defeat but a corner from Steven Gerrard set up Daniel Sturridge to conclude a riveting encounter. The game was a fine presentation of how far the two teams had come and gave the Premier League an early indication of what the new Everton, under Roberto Martinez, were capable of.
3. Liverpool 2-2 Chelsea
Luis Suarez has scored 10 goals in December, more than any other player in a month in the Premier League. Yet eight months back, on the 21st of April, his career reached its nadir when he was suspended for 10 games for biting Branislav Ivanovic on Chelsea's visit to Anfield. In many ways, the game was an embodiment of Suarez as a person and as a player.
The Uruguayan scored and assisted to tie the game for Liverpool after Chelsea had twice snatched the lead through Oscar and Eden Hazard. However, a moment of madness then put Suarez's career in jeopardy and shamed the whole Liverpool fraternity. On the flipside, as with every cloud, there is a silver lining and that was the game that ostensibly reformed Suarez as a human being. If he maintains his current form, he may single-handedly lead Liverpool to the Premier League trophy.
4. Swansea City 3-3 Stoke City
This is the sort of fixture which usually ends up at the bottom of the Match of the Day schedule, aired when most viewers have gone to bed or nodded off during Alan Shearer's banal attempts at analysis. But this time the two unfashionable clubs played out a pulsating draw in south Wales, as Stoke blew a two-goal lead before stealing a point with a penalty in stoppage time.
Stoke had taken the lead through Jonathan Walters and Steven Ireland in the first half, while Swansea struck back with two of their own through Wilfred Bony and Nathan Dyer. With the Potters stupefied, the Swans scored the third through Bony with just four minutes on the clock. However, there was one final twist left to unfold as the referee pointed to the spot in injury time, having adjudged Wayne Routledge to have handled in the penalty box. Charlie Adam scored from the spot to provide a fitting ending to a superb game of football.
5. West Ham 2-3 Tottenham
Tottenham got the better of their London rivals with a brilliant strike from Gareth Bale in the final minute of the game. The north London club took the lead when Bale opened the scoring in the 13th minute. However, Andy Carroll restored parity in the game after converting from the spot. West Ham, with their tails up, took the lead early in the second half through Joe Cole but Gylffi Sigurdsson's strike in the 76th minute, and then Bale's brilliance, secured three crucial points for Spurs.
The game ensconced the importance of Bale to the Tottenham team who have failed to recover since his transfer to Real Madrid this summer. His ability to score a goal out of nothing made him the best player in the league last season and Spurs have a huge task in their hands as they look to replace the prodigious Welshman.