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Premier League season review 2019/20

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Which teams shone and which had seasons to forget? We take a look back on the highs and the lows of the 2019/20 Premier League campaign for every team. 

 

Another season to remember:

The 2019/20 Premier League season has certainly been one to remember, living up to its reputation as the most entertaining league in the world. This most recent edition has given us some truly unforgettable moments, from Norwich’s shock 3-2 win against reigning champions Manchester City, to Leicester’s 9-0 thrashing of Southampton in October. Not to mention the controversial debut season of VAR.

It has been a typically competitive campaign, with both the race for Champions League qualification and the fight to avoid relegation being decided on the final day.

After a hard fought 38 gameweeks, it was Liverpool who came out on top, claiming their first Premier League trophy by a surprisingly comfortable 18 point margin over last seasons champions, Manchester City. At the other end of the table, Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich all failed to avoid the drop and will be playing Championship football next year.

 

Off the pitch, the past 12 months saw teams face an unprecedented challenge. The global Coronavirus pandemic abruptly halted the season on the 13th of March, causing speculation as to whether it would even be completed. After much deliberation and constant review, the English top flight did resume on June 17th, but with a number of precautionary measures in place. These included; no fans in the stadiums for games, Coronavirus tests for all players and staff on a weekly basis, and even sanitised match balls, corner flags and goalposts.

With this beautifully bizarre competition now over for another year, it is time to take a look at how each team has fared over the past 12 months, and which players have lit up the league. We score each team out of 10 based on how they performed in relation to their pre-season expectations.

Arsenal – 8th (5/10)

Outstanding player: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

The 2019/20 season held great promise for Arsenal after breaking their record transfer fee to bring Nicolas Pépé to the Emirates. However, it proved something of a turbulent season for the Gunners in which they ultimately suffered their lowest Premier League finish to date. This came despite an impressive 22 goal haul from Gabonese talisman, Aubameyang. A tally only one goal shy of the golden boot.

The club endured an inconsistent start, possessing one of the leagues leakiest defences under Unai Emery. A winless run of 7 games, and a clear disconnect between fans, players and staff saw the club part company with the Spaniard in November. Following an interim managerial spell for ex-player Freddie Ljungberg, Mikel Arteta was appointed as head coach in late December.

Upon his arrival, performances did begin to pick up as the ex-Arsenal captain started to address the evidently poorly structured defence. However, despite a shock 2-1 victory over champions Liverpool in July, the North London side ended the campaign a distant 10 points off the Champions League places.

There remains a lot of work to be done at the Emirates if they are to challenge for Champions League qualification next term.

Aston Villa – 17th (7/10)

Outstanding player: Jack Grealish

After gaining promotion via the playoffs in 2019, the Villains splashed the cash in an attempt to ensure Premier League survival. This saw the club bring in 12 summer additions to the tune of over £144 million. Such investment meant that relegation was simply not an option for them.

Despite this spending, Villa struggled to put together a run of good results, spending the majority of the season in the relegation zone. However, following a controversial ‘ghost’ goal against Sheffield United, they amassed 8 points from their final 4 games to clinch survival on the final day of the season.

The key to survival for the Birmingham based side was unquestionably local lad and captain, Jack Grealish. His classy performances and passion for the club were plain to so, as he led the side for minutes played, goals scored and assists provided. The club will do well to keep hold of their prized asset this summer, who has already been linked with a move to a ‘big 6’ club.

AFC Bournemouth – 18th, relegated (3/10)

Outstanding player: Nathan Aké

The 2019/20 season was one to forget for the Cherries, as their 5 year maiden spell in the Premier League came to an end.

After being praised for their free flowing attacking football in recent years, Eddie Howe’s side had looked set for another mid-table finish this year. However, an inability to defend, alongside key injuries to an already thin squad saw them lose a fatal 22 games.

With a number of proven Premier League performers in their ranks including the likes of Callum Wilson, Josh King and Nathan Aké, it looks likely that this current Bournemouth squad may be picked apart over the summer. However, if they can keep hold of their stars, don’t rule out a quick return to the top flight for this squad.

Brighton and Hove Albion – 15th (6/10)

Outstanding player: Lewis Dunk 

The Seagulls underwent something of a transitional season, shifting from the disciplined defensive style of Chris Hughton, to a more progressive approach under Graham Potter.

This produced a mixed bag of results. Victories against both North London sides were undoubted highs, but the South coast club tended to struggle to produce results against their closest rivals in the league.

Given that pre-lockdown they looked like relegation candidates, Brighton will be delighted to have finished a comfortable 7 points clear of the drop. This stylistic transition therefore has to go down as a success, with a number of players such as Lewis Dunk and Aaron Mooy thriving under Potter.

Burnley – 10th (8/10)

Outstanding player: Nick Pope

Burnley will be extremely content with their 2019/20 campaign, once again outperforming expectations with a top half finish. Their characteristic defensive solidity and team spirit proved effective, leaving Nick Pope only one clean sheet short of the golden glove.

The Clarets’ centre back pairing of Ben Mee and James Tarkowski once again grabbed the headlines for their contributions to a formidable defensive unit. At the other end of the pitch, Chris Wood bagged an impressive 14 goals, whilst Dwight McNeil continued his promising development.

Sean Dyche will undoubtedly be looking for more of the same from his troops next year.

Chelsea – 4th (7/10)

Outstanding player: Matteo Kovacic

2019/20 marked a new era for last years Europa League champions. With their talisman Eden Hazard departed to Real Madrid, club legend Frank Lampard in the dugout, and a transfer ban imposed, they were something of an unknown.

After a disappointing opening day thrashing at the hands of Manchester United, the Blues went on to be one of the league’s most entertaining sides, both scoring and conceding goals on demand.

At the heart of this side were a number of highly rated youngsters who were finally handed a chance to shine by Lampard. They repaid his faith generously, with Tammy Abraham netting 15 times in the league and Mason Mount contributing to 12 goals throughout the campaign.

With the exciting signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech already confirmed, the Chelsea fans have reason to be excited for the future.

Crystal Palace – 14th (6/10)

Outstanding player: Vicente Guaita

The Eagles produced another solid, if not inspiring season. Roy Hodgson’s men got off to a fast start, losing only two of their opening 8 matches. However, 1 point from their final 8 fixtures left a lot of questions to be answered.

Having kept hold of him amid transfer speculation last summer, Wilfried Zaha was unsurprisingly the bright spark in an otherwise dull side. He completed the second most take-ons in the league, but could only muster 7 goal contributions all season.

With Zaha looking increasingly likely to be on his was out of Selhurst Park and an ageing squad, what is next for the London club?

Everton – 12th (5/10)

Outstanding player: Dominic Calvert-Lewin

It was another underwhelming season at Goodison Park. After investing over £100 million in new recruits; Alex Iwobi, Moise Kean, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and André Gomes, they finished a distant 17 points off the Champions League places that they crave.

Following a poor start which saw the club hovering above the relegation zone, Marco Silva was sacked and replaced by ‘superstar’ manager Carlo Ancelotti. This change saw a slight upturn in form. In particular, Dominic Calvert-Lewin emerged as a prolific goal scorer, netting 13 times to match the output of strike partner, Richarlison.

Although there are clearly the foundations of a good squad at Everton, a 12th place finish is simply unacceptable given the level of investment at the club in recent years. They have a lot of work to do ahead of next year.

Leicester City – 5th (8/10)

Outstanding player: Jamie Vardy

Before the start of the season, many tipped Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester as an outside shout for the top four, and they came so close to delivering just that.

For the majority of the campaign, the Foxes were a revelation, sitting comfortably in the top 4. The likes of Soyuncu, Maddison and Ndidi got many well deserved plaudits, with the latter making an unrivalled 209 tackles and interceptions throughout the year.

But it was Jamie Vardy who took the headlines. His 23 goals earned him the golden boot, also taking him past a landmark 100 Premier League goals in the process.

Golden Boot Winner | All 23 Jamie Vardy Premier League Goals ...

Since Project Restart, injuries meant that the Foxes struggled to put together a run of form, ultimately seeing them miss out on 4th spot after a 2-0 final day defeat to Manchester United. Despite this, the past 12 months have to go down as a success for Brendan Rodgers and his team.

Liverpool – Champions (9/10)

Outstanding player: Trent Alexander-Arnold 

The Reds put together a truly remarkable 2019/20 campaign, claiming their first Premier League title. Over the first half of the season they proved unbeatable, steamrolling all who came before them with 17 wins and 1 draw. They were eventually beaten in late February, suffering a shock 3-0 defeat to Watford.

They played with all the hallmarks of champions from the day one, with assured defending, an industrious midfield and a frightening attack.

File:Liverpool vs. Chelsea, UEFA Super Cup 2019-08-14 53.jpg ...

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané were typically lethal, scoring a combined 37 league goals, but Trent Alexander-Arnold was arguably their top performer, contributing to 17 goals alone from right back.

Indifferent form since the restart saw some of the gloss come off of their achievement, but that won’t have worried them too much. They will undoubtedly be challenging for their second title next season under Klopp.

Manchester City – 2nd (7/10)

Outstanding player: Kevin De Bruyne

Last years champions were once again sublime going forward this season, bagging 102 goals. However, following the departure of club captain Vincent Kompany, their defensive frailties were exposed. This resulted in 9 defeats throughout the campaign which ultimately cost them.

Despite this, the Citizens were comfortably the leagues second best side. Kevin De Bruyne’s 20 assists equalled the record set by Thierry Henry, whilst last years PFA player of the year, Raheem Sterling notched 20 goals.

Pep Guardiola will surely look to dip into the transfer market over summer as he looks to close the gap to Liverpool ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.

Manchester United – 3rd (7/10)

Outstanding player: Marcus Rashford 

The Red Devils will consider their 3rd place finish a huge success after ensuring Champions League qualification on the final day of the season.

The expensive acquisitions of Maguire and Wan-Bissaka helped to tighten up a leaky defence, as they boasted the 3rd best defensive record in the league. This was complimented by impressive displays from Martial and Rashford up front.

Despite this, United often struggled to unlock a sitting defence, resulting in humiliating defeats against Crystal Palace, Newcastle and Watford. The January addition of Bruno Fernandes proved the answer to this problem, as he contributed to impressive post lockdown form.

Much like Guardiola, Solskjær will be eager to close the huge gap to Liverpool next term, but it certainly won’t be easy.

Newcastle United – 13th (7/10)

Outstanding player: Allan Saint-Maximin

Following the departure of fan favourite manager Rafael Benítez and subsequent appointment of Steve Bruce, Newcastle were another side many tipped for relegation. However, the Magpies enjoyed a relatively comfortable year, relying on a well organised defence.

Attacking summer signings Joelinton and Saint-Maximin had rather contrasting debut campaigns. Club record signing Joelinton struggled for form, netting only twice all season. Saint-Maximin on the other hand looked to always pose a real threat to opposition defences, with his mazy runs offering a much needed attacking outlet.

With rumours of an imminent takeover circulating, the Toon will be hoping that the club invest in a patchy squad ahead of next season.

Norwich City – 20th, relegated (3/10)

Outstanding player: Todd Cantwell

Having topped the championship table in 2018/19, the Canaries invested less than £10 million in their squad over the summer, the lowest amount of any Premier League club. This set them up for a difficult season in which they struggled at both ends of the pitch, conceding the most goals and scoring the fewest of any side in the division.

Despite looking out of their depth, Daniel Farke’s side provided one of the moments of the past 12 months, beating Manchester City 3-2 at Carrow Road early on in the season.

Results such as that highlighted the abilities of some of their young stars like Todd Cantwell, Max Aarons and Emi Buendía. However, these performances were produced far too infrequently, and they will be back challenging in the Championship again next term.

Sheffield United – 9th (8/10)

Outstanding player: Dean Henderson

There weren’t many who thought Chris Wilder would steer Sheffield United clear of relegation this season following their promotion from the Championship. But that is exactly what he did.

The surprise package of the season, the Blades, with their unique ‘overlapping centre back‘ system, defied expectations to earn a top half finish. Their hard work, organisation and team spirit made them difficult opponents for any team, boasting the 4th best defence in the league. This record was aided significantly by on loan goalkeeper, Dean Henderson, who the club will be hoping to have back at Bramall Lane next term.

Wilder will undoubtedly be looking to consolidate on his impressive work to date, nurturing the environment he has created to secure Sheffield United’s status as a Premier League club for years to come.

Southampton – 11th (7/10)

Outstanding player: Danny Ings

The 2019/20 campaign was a tale of two halves for the Saints. An opening day 3-0 loss to Burnley set the tone for a poor run of results, leaving them in a relegation scrap. However, following a 9-0 humbling at the hands of Leicester in late October, their fortunes began to change.

The club stuck with Ralph Hasenhüttl who galvanised his side, going on to record impressive victories over Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester City. These results saw any fears of relegation disappear, with the team playing free-flowing pressing football.

One of the feel good stories of the season was the imperious form of striker Danny Ings. Having struggled over his career with injuries, the ex-Liverpool man appeared in every game for the Saints, scoring 22 goals to finish as the league’s joint second top goal scorer.

Tottenham – 6th (6/10)

Outstanding player: Harry Kane 

Much like their North London counterparts, Spurs endured a turbulent season. Poor results and worse performances over the opening months in their new stadium led to the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino, who was replaced by José Mourinho. This huge stylistic change in management saw results on the pitch improve marginally, but it remains to be seen whether Mourinho is the right man for the job.

Although they got the better of Arsenal, Manchester City and Leicester throughout the course of the season, it seemed that for every good result, there was a bad one the following week.

Project restart appeared to work in Spurs’ favour, as a rested Harry Kane saw a return to form, helping fire the Lilywhites to Europa League qualification. With the transfer window open, it will be interesting to see the direction that Mourinho takes this somewhat ageing Tottenham squad.

Watford – 19th, relegated (3/10)

Outstanding player: Ismaïla Sarr

Last years beaten F.A Cup finalists would have expected a solid mid table finish this season. However, they just never seemed to get going. Inconsistent form on the pitch saw the club ownership sack 3 managers. This included the bizarre dismissal of Nigel Pearson, who had led the Hornets out of the relegation spots with 2 games remaining.

A bright spark in an otherwise largely uninspiring team was Senegalese winger, Ismaïla Sarr. His 2 goals and man of the match display against Liverpool demonstrated his ability, but this sort of form was not seen often enough.

Many of the current Watford squad are experienced Premier League names, so it will be intriguing to see who sticks around for them in the Championship next season.

West Ham United – 16th (5/10)

Outstanding player: Michail Antonio

Last summer, the Hammers looked to consolidate their move into the London Stadium by splashing a combined £70 million on exciting talents Pablo Fornals and Séb Haller. These additions, alongside the appointment of a Premier League winning manager in Manuel Pellegrini had their fanbase excited going into the season.

However, these additions failed to settle and the club made a faultering start to the campaign. Following a loss to Leicester in December, Pellegrini was replaced by David Moyes as the owners looked to ensure Premier League survival.

It was left to familiar faces to dig the club out of trouble. Michail Antonio stepped up for the Irons, hitting the back of the net 8 times post-lockdown, whilst Declan Rice put in a number of impressive performances at the heart of midfield.

After a season which promised so much from West Ham, it appears that it is back to the drawing board for the club hierarchy.

Wolves – 7th (8/10)

Outstanding player: Raúl Jiménez

It was another superb season from Wolves as they finished just short of an automatic Europa League spot. Nuno Espírito Santo has built a very well-structured system in which every player knows their role.

The black country club were one of the leagues most consistent performers, rarely finding themselves lower than 8th position. Although they may feel they could have challenged higher up the table at one point, they will be pleased to have backed up their good work last campaign with another strong finish.

Adama Traoré caught the eye at the Molineux, completing an unrivalled 183 take-ons. But it was Raúl Jiménez who was arguably their most effective player, contributing 23 goals over the 38 game season.

After two outstanding Premier League campaigns, the question for Wolves is: have they hit their ceiling? Or can they push for a place in the Champions League in years to come?

 

We hope you enjoyed this article. Who do you think were the biggest overachievers and underperformers in the Premier League this season? Were you happy with where your team finished? Let us know! 

 

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I have recently graduated from the University of East Anglia with a 2:1 in in BSc Geography. I am now looking to use my skillset to pursue a career in sports journalism, starting by writing what I hope are interesting, informative articles on the sports I love. If you want to contact me, feel free to drop me an e-mail at: solliecook@gmail.com.

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