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  • Writer's pictureAmelia

2020/21 PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON REVIEW

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

Hi, it’s Amelia. I am a big football fan, and I aspire to work in sports journalism in the future. This is my first football piece, and I also wrote the Monaco Race Day Rundown. You’ll probably hear more from me in the upcoming weeks, so keep an eye out! I will also be uploading this to my Instagram page, @ameliasportfolio_ , where I will be writing more in the future. Be sure to give it a follow!

 

ARSENAL

What’s happening to the Gunners? An extremely poor season in their books, suffering without European football for next season for the first time since 1995/96. Signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seemed to be all the fans wanted last summer after his tremendous goal-scoring season, firing twenty-two in the net in the Premier League throughout 2019/20 . However, this season didn't match last year’s, with him only scoring ten goals. Mikel Arteta relied heavily on the newly emerging youngsters, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe, who’ve shown they have a bright future ahead of them. I’d like to see them stick and support Arteta, providing him with the funds they need to establish their place in English, and European, football.


 

ASTON VILLA

An eleventh place finish; that’s not bad considering how tight the margins were last year when they just avoided the drop. Perhaps they would’ve wanted more given how well the season started, with talks about European football. However the Villa fans can’t be too disheartened. They provided us with one of the games, and results, of the season, beating Liverpool seven-two - that result still baffles me to this day! Ollie Watkins showed why Villa paid £28 million for him, scoring a perfect hat trick, and he could have scored more! With star man Jack Grealish out injured, their progress was hindered, and they showed how much they rely on him when he was absent. One of the key players who helped their transformation was goalkeeper Emi Martínez, who they signed from Arsenal in the summer. He featured in Jamie Carragher’s Team of the Season, having 15 clean sheets and finishing 3rd in the Golden Glove race. It makes you wonder, what he was doing, sitting on Arsenal’s bench for all those years, only making loan appearances here and there?!



 

BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION

They managed to retain their spot in the League, finishing sixteenth. It could’ve been a lot higher if they took their chances; they play some amazing attacking football yet don’t have the clinical capabilities in front of goal. No wonder Graham Potter is wanted by some of the big boys, his team play well all round - I remember them hitting the woodwork 5 times against Man United, but they still managed to come out in defeat!


 

BURNLEY

Same old, same old for the Clarets. Despite a seventeenth place finish on the cusp of relegation, they can play some good football at times. A turbulent team, with results all over the place - they can beat Liverpool at Anfield, but cannot beat the likes of Brighton, Fulham or West Brom at Turf Moor, who are the teams around them in the table, also trying to keep their place in the League.


 

CHELSEA

A very successful season to be honest. Initially, I thought sacking Frank was very unfair, given how much of a club legend he is. Perhaps he deserved more time? Parting ways with a club legend can never be easy, but Roman Abramovich is known to have made tough decisions in the past. Thomas Tuchel proved himself, as soon as he walked through the door they became incredibly solid at the back, settling with a back three. The Blues have not always been clinical in front of goal, but it will come with time. Their star signing Kai Havertz showed why they paid £70 million for him, towards the end of the season, and scoring that all important goal in the Champions League final. However, Hakim Ziyech doesn’t look like Tuchel’s number one favourite, and Timo Werner is still adapting to the Premier League - next season I’m sure he will be ready. They’ll still be bitterly disappointed with losing the FA Cup to Leicester, however winning the Champions League is quite possibly better, I think. They finished in the Top Four too, which was looking incredibly unlikely at one point - teams better watch out next season!


 

CRYSTAL PALACE

They survived the relegation fight like they always seem to do under Roy Hodgson, finishing fourteenth. He’ll not be the man to do so next season, after he announced that he’s leaving his boyhood club. He received a Guard of Honour at the Eagle’s last home game, which ended in a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal. Their squad seems to be ageing, so it wouldn’t surprise me if we see a few new faces at Selhurst Park next season.


 

EVERTON

A season that started so promising yet ended quite frankly, in despair. There were talks of Top Four, but they only finished tenth. With a great star to the season, the Toffees won their first four games of the 2020/21 campaign. Following that, a result here and there wasn’t good enough, and poor home form cost them their chance of European football. Injuries played their part too, but I suppose they did in everyone’s season. Now Ancelotti’s left - they’re in turmoil, who’s going to replace him? Graham Potter? Eddie Howe? Who knows: but what is certain, is that they’ll have big boots to fill.


 

FULHAM

Straight up, and straight back down again. They didn't back down without a fight though, picking up some good results, like when they beat Liverpool one-nil at Anfield. They had Newcastle worried at one point (I should know!) It fizzled out when they just started their good run of form, but they were also guilty of letting in one too many goals. Scott Parker was unsettled on a number one striker, with Aleksandar Mitrovic not always in favour, whilst Josh Maja was.


 

LEEDS UNITED

A great return to the Premier League for them - Marcelo Bielsa has done a fantastic job. I think they slowly became everyone’s second team, nobody wanted to miss one of their games! They provided some great entertainment, and Patrick Bamford showed he is capable in the best league, proving the doubters wrong. Scored sixty two, conceded fifty four…they were involved in some unforgettable games. Perhaps they need to work on their defensive frailties; they’re capable of scoring more than enough goals to win games, so that’s not a worry. Their first game of the season against Liverpool kicked off the excitement, although they lost they were not disheartened. They were ready to come back stronger, and went unbeaten at home against the ‘Big Six’. Take a bow, Bielsa!


 

LEICESTER CITY

The Foxes repeated their fate from last season, and bottled the Top Four spot that they were surely going to get, right at the end. They ended up finishing fifth, outside the Champions League spots. They were in the Top Four the longest out of anyone this season, but still managed to find themselves below fourth at the end. That’s football. Still, winning the FA Cup is an amazing achievement, and they would have made Vichai proud. Owners like him and his son are the types of owners you want at your football club.


 

LIVERPOOL

Not the season they expected or hoped for. Early injuries to key players, the biggest one of all Virgil Van Dijk, prompted a big reshuffle. One poor run was looking to have dire consequences - no Champions League, no Europa League. Questions amongst the fans, such as ‘who will stay?’ and ‘who will go?’ Those questions were never answered, as a good run put together at the end of the season ensured their Champions League spot. A special moment in the back end of the season, was when goalkeeper Alisson rescued a last-gasp winner to all but secure Liverpool’s Top Four spot. All the more important to Alisson, dedicating the goal to his late Father. A heartwarming moment for any football fan.


 

MANCHESTER CITY

Well, successful in many ways, but still chasing the trophy that they desire the most, the Champions League. And what a chance they had to get it this season, reaching the final for the first time ever. You can’t blame Pep’s tactical tweaks for the defeat, however they will be questioned - why no Fernandihno or Rodri when at least one of them has played fifty-nine out of sixty games this season? Of course they wanted to win it, but they wanted it even more so to give Aguero everything he has always wanted at City. The blue half of Manchester will be gutted to see him go, but it was going to happen at some point; at least he got a great send off winning the League. Their campaign actually started off pretty poor, but they soon went on an incredible run and shot straight back up there - it was an unpredictable season for every club in these unprecedented times. With a League Cup in the trophy cabinet also, it’s not too bad overall, although probably not good enough in Pep’s eyes.


 

MANCHESTER UNITED

No trophies for Ole again. They sailed through the semi finals of a competition, this time the Europa League, which is something they’ve struggled to do under Ole. This was the best chance of winning a trophy, and going into the final as strong favourites, it was all looking good. Until the night, when they didn’t actually turn up until the last part of the game. Unlucky to lose on penalties, but that’s how it is. They managed second in the league, securing Champions League football for next season. Talking about the Champions League, what happened this season in it for the Red Devils? The ‘Group of Death’ started like the Group of Delight, comfortably sitting at the top of their group after 4 games, but before long, it fell apart, and they went crashing into the Europa League. I still believe Ole is making progress, and with the right summer signings, Man U will shortly be battling it out with the Big Boys. A new manager doesn’t always solve everything.


 

NEWCASTLE UNITED

Bias incoming. They had an odd season to be quite honest. During the season opener, they had a great two-nil win against West Ham where debutants Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick scored. This set the season up to be a good one. Well, so I thought. The season then began to look as if they had one hell of a relegation battle on their hands, but one man was the Magpies’ saviour, loanee Joe Willock from Arsenal. Seven goals on the trot at the end of the season, youngest player to do so in the Premier League; the second Newcastle player after club legend Alan Shearer. His superb goal-scoring run saw him pick up May’s Player of the Month award. After the heavy three-nil defeat by Brighton, where Newcastle showed no desire, enthusiasm or fight, I thought they were dammed with relegation; the Seagulls were one of their biggest rivals at the time, with them also battling to beat the drop. After that, they didn’t really look back. An unbeaten run in April saw Steve Bruce receive the Premier League’s Manager of the Month award. As much as many in the North East wanted to see Steve go, he does deserve some credit for finishing twelfth, although it is only a place and a point better than last season. What I think frustrates fans the most is the very defensive mindset they went into every game with, it was only really after the Brighton game they changed and took the handbrake off, posing a more attacking threat. It was written in the stars for Willock to score when fans were eventually allowed back in at St James’ for the penultimate game of the season. He wrote off in true style, forever holding a special place in The Toon’s heart.


 

SHEFFIELD UNITED

Where did it all go wrong? The strength of their back three was one of the reasons why they were so solid last season, but they all suffered injuries at some point throughout this season, putting a holt to that solidity. Injuries to their other key players didn’t help matters either. They conceded too many goals, and they didn’t score many either. Their fate was becoming clear at the midway point of the season, prompting Wilder to leave by mutual consent. Heckingbottom took over, but not much change occurred, and that was expected, given their priorities were to now prepare for the Championship, financially and mentally. They were rooted from the bottom since the very start. Slaviša Jokanović is now the new manager of the Blades, attempting to get them straight back up to the Premier League, which will be a very tough job.


 

SOUTHAMPTON

A mixed season for them - they were top of the League at one point, putting together a run of 7 games unbeaten in the earlier stages of the season. Later though, they struggled to put any run of form together, ending the season fifteenth. They had another horrid result which they'll wish to obliterate from all memory, this time at Old Trafford, with the game finishing nine-nil.


 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Still no trophy for them. It all was looking great at the beginning of the season, having an eleven game unbeaten streak under Mourinho, including wins over Man U (six-one, how could you forget?), Manchester City and Arsenal, shooting them straight to the top. The link-up between Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min was impeccable - Harry Kane isn’t just a prolific goal scorer, he’s a prolific playmaker too - proven by winning the Golden Boot, and the Playmaker award for the most assists - what a great player. But that wasn’t enough to keep the Special One, as Mourinho once regarded himself, in charge, with the announcement of his sacking coming hours after the Super League chaos. Ryan Mason became the interim head coach, making him the youngest Premier League manager in history. They reached the League Cup Final, but that ended in defeat, with Manchester City coming out on top, winning one-nil. Winning four-two against Leicester on the last day of the season cemented their seventh place finish in the league, so a place in the Europa Conference League is theirs.


 

WEST BROMWICH ALBION

Another team that are in the cycle of climbing their way up to the Premier League, only to tumble straight back down. The sacking of Bilic came at a surprising time, when The Baggies clambered to a one-all draw against Manchester City, thanks to goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who has had a great season. In came Sam Allardyce, who had never been relegated from the Premier League, always managing to keep his teams up. Despite this, West Brom damaged his squeaky clean record, and they succumbed to beat the drop. Perhaps Big Sam’s appointment came too late, when the damage was already done. He’s not staying with them to try and get them straight back up, someone else will have that job.


 

WEST HAM UNITED

What a season for the Hammers! From finishing just above the drop in sixteenth last season, to finishing sixth this season, securing European football for next season - David Moyes has done an incredible job. They’ve played some fabulous football too, with loanee Jesse Lingard being pivotal in it all. Everyone has played their part: the two Czechs, Soucek and Coufal, and England’s Rice and Lingard. I could’ve mentioned the whole squad. One of the games of the season, and comebacks of the season, has to be the game against Spurs. From three-nil down to finishing three-all, thanks to a last minute worldie by Manuel Lanzini, what a game!


 

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS

Not the season Wolves’ fans will have hoped for, after the highs of the previous season, playing Europa League football. They dearly missed Raúl Jiménez, who suffered that awful head injury against Arsenal back in the earlier stages of the season. We’d hoped to see him play before the end of the season but that wasn't to be. Finishing thirteenth, Nuno said goodbye to the club, after guiding them to the Premier League in the 2017/18 season.


 

In a season where we’ve been blessed with brilliant attacking flourish, unbelievable results and skilful players, we’ve also faced massive challenges. The Super League, which came and went within days, showed the power the fans have. The fans will never forgive the owners, prompting riots and protests against them; it caused uproar in the whole football community, with the biggest names speaking out in disgust, such as Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher and British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. We know it’s serious when fans from rival clubs come together as one, and united against this shambolic idea.


And on that note, I’ll finish with one brief message: football is for the fans - it always has been, and it always will be.


 

{ All photographs found through Google search, and all credit to the respective owners of each image }




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