The curtain has been drawn on what has been yet again another whirlwind of a premier league season.
Seventeen teams will be happy to have retained their status in the English top flight, while three have been absolutely crushed to the second devision (Championship).
Amongst the seventeen the famed six will all have takeaways about what their season has been like. Some will be delighted while others will be disappointed.
Where better to begin than with the Champions
Many Liverpool fan would have been left with a sad taste in their mouths regarding the 2018/2019 season.
A season in which a whopping 97 points and just one defeat was still not enough to help them taste premier league glory. It all culminated in them finishing a single point behind eventual Champions Manchester city.
However, that outcome turned this Liverpool side into a monster, defined by a ruthless consistency. As a matter of fact, the just completed 2019/2020 season featured a rebirth of Liverpool.
For practically the whole season, they never took their feet off the gas. The pain of the past was not to be a deterrent from them lifting a much desired Premier league trophy after a 30-year wait.
The 2019/2020 season was well and truly a successful one, typified by dominance.
Jurgen Klopp’s team amassed a whopping 99 points, 18 points clear of Manchester city in second place.
The Reds will surely be looking to retain their crown at the end of the imminent, next season. A tough ask but I wouldn’t hold it against the ruthless holders.
For large parts of the 2019/2020 season, city looked a shadow of their selves.
They finished the season on 81 points, with 9 defeats to boot. That might not seem so bad overall but the number of defeats this season alone is more than the number of defeats in their previous two seasons combined.
City lost just four games in the 2018/2019 season. They lost only two in the 2017/2018 season. To put things into perspective, this season they lost just as many games as 7th placed Wolves.
This may be harsh to point out considering they finished the season as runners up with a bucket load of goals scored (102) but such are the high standards we’ve come to expect from Manchester City, Standards that they set for themselves.
A lot of premier league coaches would bite your hands off if at the start of the season you offered them 2nd place, 9 defeats and 81 points. That would not be the case with Pep Guardiola though because he would always expect and demand of his team to do more, be more and accomplish more.
City though have already secured silverware this season, defeating Aston Villa in the final at Wembley Stadium in London on 1 March 2020.
They still have the opportunity to add even more silverware to their trophy cabinet in the form of the elusive Champions League.
It is the trophy they crave the most and would be a huge coup if they can go all the way to the grand finale.
One of the teams looking from the outside in on not just the title race but also the top four race for large parts of the season.
They were however one of the most resurgent teams in the second half of the season, sparked to a large extent by their January signing Bruno Fernandez who inspired the team with his creativity and goals.
United finished off the season with 66 points, securing Champions league football in the process. The players will be happy, the fans will be relatively happy but the happiest person will undoubtedly be the club manager, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer because it means he gets to keep his job for yet again another season.
For him every single day he spends at the helm of affairs at the club will be a win as he’s living the dream, his dream in this managerial role.
The fans not so much because they still long for the glory days when they almost inevitably lived rent free at the summit of the premier league table.
They’re happy to make do with what they being served at the moment all things being considered, while eagerly waiting for that which they truly desire: unparalleled dominance.
The blues closed shop on 66 points, level with Manchester United albeit a lesser goal difference.
A team which was largely expected to crumble this season considering they had been slapped with a transfer ban and had put their hopes in the managerial novice Frank Lampard who also happened to be a club legend.
They were able to beat expectations and punched above their weight when you put into perspective their limited resources in terms of player recruitment.
Chelsea hit the ground running at the start of the season, making good use of the players already on their books , those from the academy and those who had to be reintegrated after coming back from loans at various clubs.
The youngsters were given a chance and they took it with their arms wide open.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows though as the team did falter in the course of the season, particularly midway through and towards the end.
They stepped up when it mattered though and managed to finish the season in fourth place, ensuring there would be Champions league football at Stamford bridge for next season.
The biggest winner in all this will undoubtedly be Lampard, as he has managed to endear himself to the fans and the board even more.
They do want more though which has been evidenced by their spending spree in the transfer market so far. It will be interesting to see where the club end up when the next season concludes.
A dismal season of enormous proportions. For a team which had become regularly accustomed to top four finishes in the past four years, this will be a season to forget.
More so because the fans expected more from a team that had just competed on the highest stage in the Champions league final last previous season.
It wasn’t to be the case though as the fall in performances was quite steep. Mauricio Pochettino, the fan favorite whom they had come to love did his best but seemed not to be able to get much more out of his players than he already had.
Crucially, and devastatingly coming at a time when creator in chief- Christian Eriksen- wanted out of the club.
Performances continued to drop and as is often the case in football, the manager had to pay the price and was axed.
In came Mourinho who was tasked to salvage a team languishing in 14th place when he was handed the helm almost immediately, midway through the season.
A series of ups and downs and he managed to get the club a top six finish and secure European football in the form of the second tier Europa league competition.
All eyes will be on the special one to see how high he can take this team in the course of a full season in charge.
Another below par season for the Gunners. For a team that once pulled off 20 consecutive top four finishes, the top four and Champions league football now seems to elude them in recent years.
An 8th placed finish would not have been what the fans hoped for when the 2019/2020 season kicked off but an 8th placed finish is what they got and what they’ll have to make do with.
The only team amongst the so called top six that managed to finish outside of the top six. Defensively frail, collectively fragile, the only element of this Arsenal team which managed to shine week in and week out was the attack.
This was in large part due to Aubameyang’s unwavering consistency in banging in the goals.
Sadly though, it remains to be seen whether the aforementioned player will extend his stay at the club or look for greener pastures.
The fans will be desperate for him to remain because he remains one of the few functional parts of a broken down car.
Arsenal Manager Arteta has his work cut out for him and the transfer window along with the preseason will be key for him to bring back smiles to the Emirates.
Plus, the Gunners have a wonderful opportunity to qualify for European football if they can win the FA cup final.
The only team not amongst the metaphorical top six that actually finished the season in the top six. The Fifth position to be precise.
That conclusion which from the outside looks like a success will be a huge blow to them though.
The fans, the team and the manager alike will be disappointed with how their season unraveled.
This is in large part due to the fact that for long periods in the season they were in the top four. At certain moments, second place and most of the time third place.
To the point they were pretty much considered a shoe in for the top four.
Football can be a cruel sport and inconsistency in the premier league is punished with unforgiving reprimand.
Injuries to key players didn’t help their cause and they eventually dropped down to fifth.
It’s not all gloom and doom for them though as they do have the Europa league to look forward to and a manager in Brendan Rodgers who inspires belief.
The premier league is gradually morphing from a high class of six to potentially eight as more teams seek to break into the upper echelons of the table.
The standards are very high and the performance levels required for the top four keep rising.
It is becoming increasingly inevitable that good teams will finish in not so good positions because it has overtime become crowded at the top.
Now there aren’t any guarantees for any team but isn’t that what makes the premier league so interesting?
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