The 28th season of the Premier League has finally concluded with Liverpool FC winning the prestigious title for the first time ever in the ‘Premier League era’ and dethroning defending champions Manchester City. Liverpool amassed a impressive total of 99 points in 38 games, suffering only 3 losses on the way. They finished a astounding 18 points ahead of previous years champion who finished the league in 2nd position with a total of 81 points. One could say that Manchester City’s season was hampered by injuries to some of their crucial players but that does not undermine Liverpool’s impressive achievement.
German manager Jurgen Klopp masterminded this success with his captain FWA Player of the year 19/20 Jordan Henderson. Their Rock Solid defence consisting of Brazilian goalkeeper Allision, Virgil Van Djik and Trent Alexander Arnold and also having a superstar attack trio of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohammed Salah. Many Pundits held them as favourites to win the league and they did not disappoint and claimed the title.
Though Liverpool mathematically became champions rather early on with 7 games to spare. The same cannot be said about the UEFA Champions League spots which are allotted to the top 4 positioned teams in the final standings. That battle went right down to the wire, with Leicester City, Chelsea and Manchester United all in contention. Ironically, the last game of two of those clubs Leicester and United were against each other. But Manchester United came through beating Leicester 2-0 with Bruno Fernandes converting from the spot and Jesse Lingard scoring a late goal to seal United’s Champions League berth at 3rd place. In another match Chelsea beat Wolves by the same scoreline of 2-0, with two first half stoppage time goals by Mason Mount and French international Olivier Giroud, which sealed the 4th position and final Champions League spot for Chelsea.
Some surprises were Manchester United finishing 3rd even though many pundits at the start of the season did not back them to even bag a Champions League spot. Especially as even till Mid season the team did not look like being a potential challenger for the top 4 places. Their success can be largely attributed to the signing of Bruno Fernandes in January who proved crucial by netting 8 goals and 7 assists in his first 14 games for the club. Chelsea also thoroughly impressed by earning their Champions League spot with newly appointed manager Frank Lampard, who is also a Chelsea Legend. Along-with their star player Eden Hazard leaving for Real Madrid before the season began. Leicester though having an impressive season failed to finish the season with the same momentum suffering 3 losses in their last five matches and only winning 1.
Yet, although the top 4 placed teams are allotted Champions League spots, in the event of Wolverhampton FC winning the UEFA Europa League they will also be allotted a Champions League spot. When talking about the second tier of European football, we talk about the Europa League. 3 teams may qualify from England which are the FA cup winners, Carabao Cup winners and the 5th placed team in the Premier League. There are some complications to this as well as if a team winning the Carabao/FA cup has already secured a Champions League spot, the Europa League spot is then given to the team who has finished 6th in the EPL. But also in the event of both the cup winning teams having secured Champions League spots, the 7th team from EPL will also qualify to play in the Europa league.
In the current scenario, Leicester City finishing 5th attain direct qualification. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City having already secured a Champions League berth and winning the Carabao cup ensures that 6th placed Tottenham Hotspur also qualify to the Europa League. Meanwhile the 3rd spot is still in contention as the FA cup final between Chelsea and Arsenal is to be played on the 1st of August. If Arsenal wins the match, they will qualify to the UEL with wolves missing out. But should Chelsea win, Wolves finishing 7th above Arsenal will qualify instead.
Moving on to the relegation battle, which involves the bottom three teams in the league being relegated to the second division of English football and vice versa three teams getting promoted from the championship to the EPL. Bournemouth FC, Watford and Norwich City were relegated finishing in 18th, 19th and 20th positions respectively. Norwich City by far had the most disastrous campaign managing only 5 wins and a measly 21 points in 38 games. But both Watford and Bournemouth narrowly fell into the relegation zone at the end of the season both with disappointing seasons overall.
Aston Villa narrowly escaped relegation by only one point finishing at 17th, though their season was largely disappointing overall. Their talisman Jack Grealish is one of the main reasons they avoided relegation. He looks set to become one of the Premier League’s stars in the upcoming season with him coming under the radar of star teams such as Manchester United, who are said to be keen to add his talents to their ranks.
With the 29th Premier League 20/21 set to commence on September 12th, it will be interesting to see how Liverpool proceeds about defending their title and also the performance of newly promoted teams such as Leeds United who make their return to the top tier of English Football after 16 years. West Bromwich Albion are the third team to be promoted and the third team will be decided by the EFL championship