England’s top division, the Premier League, unfurled with all the glitter while carving out despair for some as well. Record goal margins, streaks, and moments were all on display during the season which was briefly interrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Let us dissect the campaign part by part as we analyze the wonder that is the Premier League.
A thirty-year long wait was brought to a screeching halt as Liverpool led the table right from the word go. After narrowly missing out on the elusive title to Manchester City last season, Liverpool made amends on the pitch.
The side ended with 99 points and most importantly the Premier League crown in the end as well. Liverpool had an eye on finishing the season unbeaten, but the dream came crashing after a shocking 3-0 defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson were on point again from the flanks while Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah enjoyed yet another fruitful campaign. Skipper Jordan Henderson led from the front with arguably his most efficient campaign so far.
Manchester City finished behind Liverpool by a huge margin of 18 points despite scoring a record 102 goals in the Premier League. The nine losses suffered across the campaign hurt their chances of completing the three-peat. The Cityzens, however, have completed the season on a major high and will be in contention for the title.
Injuries were also a factor in the side’s downfall. With Leroy Sane and Aymeric Laporte out for the majority of the season, City could not cope up. The departures of Leroy Sane and David Silva will prompt City to dip into their funds and also at the same time look to amend their defensive woes.
Ticket to the Champions League
With the top two positions being sealed pretty early on. Only two spots remained for Champions League football next season. The race for the spots went right down the wire with Chelsea and Manchester United ultimately clinching it in the end.
Chelsea, infused with their fresh manager Frank Lampard, built a system focusing on the youth, something which Chelsea are not associated with. The results brought out by the unit were relatively satisfying despite recording 12 losses in the campaign. The side barely slipped out of the top four and despite some nerves, in the end, the London side made it to Europe’s elite after a 2-0 win against Wolves on the final day.
The Red Devils, on the other hand, had a tumultuous first full campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Manchester United did not have the brightest of starts to the season and lagged for most of the part against their rivals. However, the team staged a sensational clawback to negate a 14-point gap and finish third on the table, to cap off only their third top-four finish since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. The side had a stellar 2020 in the division after having not tasted defeat since February.
It was a gut-wrenching situation for Leicester City as they faltered at the wrong time to slump into the 5th position of the table after having spent the majority of the campaign comfortably in the top four. The Foxes were hampered by injuries and suspensions after the resumption with Ricardo Pereira, James Maddison, Ben Chilwell, and Caglar Soyuncu all absent during the fag end of the Premier League.
Tottenham, on the other hand, leapfrogged arch-rivals Arsenal yet again by sealing the sixth spot in the Premier League. Languishing at the bottom half of the table at the time of Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking, the North London side had a revival under Jose Mourinho. While it was not pretty at times, but they got there ultimately courtesy of a six-game unbeaten streak in the end.
Wolverhampton Wanderers were touted for a Europa League spot right from the start and they justified it too with a brilliant campaign till the midway point. Despite a bright start after the lockdown both offensively and defensively, the team staggered at a crucial juncture with successive defeats to Arsenal and Sheffield United which made them bow out of the race. While the side have still mage to seal a spot in the Europa League qualifiers, it will amount to nothing if Arsenal manages to get their hands on the FA Cup.
Making a comeback into the Premier League, Norwich City were unable to keep up with the big boys. Things were expected to brighten up for the Canaries after their historic win against Manchester City. But they failed to come into fruition as the team only mustered up 5 victories and 21 points to finish last in the table.
After finishing in the top half of the Premier League table last year, expectations were high at Vicarage Road. However, the team endured a horrible start which ultimately a horrid season which included three managerial changes. Nigel Pearson prompted the fans to dream and almost pulled the task off. Watford’s worst nightmare came true after successive losses to West Ham and Arsenal at the end which sealed their fate.
Bournemouth were also one of the sides which suffered due to injuries. Despite some memorable outings against Chelsea and valiant spirit in the end with victories over Leicester and Everton, the side exited the Premier League by just a point after Aston Villa pulled out the great escape.
Golden Boot: Jamie Vardy
Golden Glove: Ederson
Playmaker of the season: Kevin de Bruyne
The 2020-21 Premier League campaign will kick off from September 12 and as the saying goes “Every time it goes away, it’s the longest wait”