BACK TO BACK TITLES FOR CITY
The Premier League came to an end last week as we witnessed Manchester City claim the top prize in English football and successfully defend their title. Great was the expectation for City to dominate the season and be triumphant after 38 matches. However, what we didn’t anticipate was Liverpool’s resilience and competitive desire to push Man City right down to the final hour of the season.
The season started off with the usual 4 horse race chatter, the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United were considered potential title contenders having acquired some of Europe’s most potent attackers (Lukaku & Ronaldo respectively). On paper you could see why fans of these clubs may have made a case, but as the season unfolded it was clear and obvious that their ambitions for the summit quickly faded (even more so for United).
Liverpool were consistent and able to mount a challenge to Man City. They produced some amazing football at times in the season and made improvements with their acquisition of Luiz Diaz in January. They managed to close the gap to City to 1 point when it seemed for a while that City had broken away from the pack. Not to be deterred, Liverpool fought back and had every chance of claiming the title had Aston Villa beating City on the final day. However, it wasn’t meant to be, Liverpool won 3-1 against Wolves whilst City overcame a two goal deficit against Aston Villa to win the 3-2. The victory was reminiscent of that Aguero moment back in 2012 whereby the Argentinian scored with the last kick of the game to secure City their Premier League title. The heroes against Villa were Gundogan and Rodri who contributed goals to attain victory for Pep’s Men.
In the battle for fourth, Spurs beat Norwich 5-0 to confirm their place in the Champions League next season alongside Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea. Meanwhile, Arsenal defeated Everton 5-1 at the Emirates but missed out on the top 4 place. The drama was entertaining between the two North London rivals and added more spice to the season. West Ham had shown great promise to qualify for the Champions League earlier in the season but just weren’t competitive enough what it truly mattered. Credit to David Moyes for doing a brilliant job with the Hammers and I am certain they’ll push again next season.
Brighton had a good season also as they finished 9th in the league but their football has been nothing short of exciting all season long. Newcastle deserve a mention also as they dragged themselves from the clutches of relegation to finishing 11th and also ruining Arsenals chances of top 4. Great job from Eddie Howe and with the new found wealth and buying power, we all envisage the Toon Army to be right up there in the coming years (that’s for sure!!).
The relegation battle could have had major consequences for some well-established teams, especially Everton. Frank Lampard was able to aid his team in avoiding relegation and will be determined not to undergo that experience again. Leeds also survived on the last day of season having beating Brentford 2-1. However, if they do not employ a new philosophy in the game next season, they might not be so lucky. That result meant we had to say good bye to Burnley who needed victory against Newcastle on the final day but suffered a 2-1 defeat and resigned them to the Championship along with already relegated Norwich and Watford.
All in all it was a drama filled season with many surprises, goals and imagination. I’m sure next season won’t be disappointing. Salah gets the golden boot along with Son, whilst Kevin De Bruyne in my opinion was the player of the season.