Friday, June 25, 2021

Premier League 2020/21 Season Review: 5 Big Stories From An Unprecedented Campaign

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 29 May 2021

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Romping their way to a 5-0 win against Everton on the final weekend, Manchester City wrapped up what has been another famous campaign at the Etihad in some style.

Lifting their third Premier League title in the last four years, Pep Guardiola’s side still have a triple-winning campaign at the top of their agenda before the 2021/22 season quickly gets underway.

In a campaign that saw West Ham mark a European return and Sheffield United drastically fail to match the same level they set on their Premier League return, we certainly witnessed an unprecedented year in English football.

With fans finally making their return to stadiums up and down the country, we have taken a look at 5 key talking points after an action-packed season in the Premier League.

City recapture their crown

Enduring what was a sluggish start to the campaign back in September, few across the Premier League would have expected Manchester City to recapture their domestic crown with such relative ease.

With Pep Guardiola electing to take a different approach this season, The Sky Blues’ rampant 5-0 win against Everton on the final weekend underlined what has been another hugely impressive campaign under the one-time Barcelona boss.

Despite seeing Chelsea end their FA Cup adventure last month and also any chance of a famous quadruple-winning campaign, City did lift the EFL Cup and also have the chance to win their first European title when they face off against Thomas Tuchel’s new-look Chelsea side on Saturday night out in Portugal.

Watching defender Ruben Dias come in and make an immediate impact, City showed their dominance this season with that remarkable winning streak of 21 games in all competitions between December and March.

West Ham upset the establishment

After only just about managing to hang onto their Premier League status after returning to action last summer, few would have expected what has been a stunning campaign for West Ham and David Moyes.

Despite suffering back-to-back defeats against Newcastle and Arsenal when opening the 2020/21 campaign, the former Manchester United boss guided The Hammers to their best ever points tally and their highest top-flight finish in 22 years.

Although some around East London would have been disappointed to have not eventually landed a top-four finish, West Ham’s 3-0 win against Southampton on the final weekend was enough to secure a group stage spot in next year’s Europa League.

Bringing in the likes of a resurgent Jesse Lingard on a loan deal back in January, there is no doubt that The Hammers cemented their spot as one of the Premier League’s stories of the season.

Leicester fall away, again

While Leicester might have lifted this year’s FA Cup at Wembley thanks to a 1-0 win against Chelsea earlier in the month, many around the King Power are still split on whether The Foxes eventually had a successful campaign?

Despite again gaining a string of plaudits under Brendan Rodgers this season, the former Liverpool boss saw his side suffer another rather public collapse as they reached the final stretch.

Remarkably spending 69 of the last 72 Premier League weeks in the top-four over the past two seasons, Leicester eventually had to once again settle for Europa League football after tumbling out of the Champions League spots with just days remaining of the 2020/21 campaign.

Suffering a 4-2 defeat at home against Tottenham on the final weekend, Rodgers’ side eventually won just one of their last five Premier League matchups, almost a mirror image to last season.

A Bramall Lane nightmare

While Sheffield United might have signed off the year with a 1-0 win against Burnley when fans returned to Bramall Lane last weekend, it doesn’t cover what was a real nightmare campaign for The Blades.

Although they might have stunned almost everyone when they secured a famous Premier League return last year, United drastically failed to keep up that momentum and really epitomized second season syndrome.

Parting ways with long-standing boss Chris Wilder in a public fashion back in March, The Blades recorded just a pair of points from their opening 17 Premier League contests and didn’t record a single victory until a 1-0 win against Newcastle on January 12th.

Collecting just a points tally of 26 and eventually ending the 2020/21 campaign sat 16 points adrift of top-tier safety, The Blades turned to former Fulham boss Slaviša Jokanović earlier in the week in an attempt to steady the ship at Bramall Lane.

Liverpool save their season

Although Liverpool might have opened the 2020/21 campaign with many tipping them to defend their Premier League crown, it quickly became a year to forget for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Left heartbroken after defensive talisman Virgil van Dijk suffered a season-ending knee injury after Jordan Pickford’s challenge in October’s Merseyside derby, The Reds failed to fill that void and eventually saw their title ambitions come to an end before they really got started.

Crashing out of the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid last month and without a trophy to show after last year’s famous campaign at Anfield, Liverpool did at least enjoy quite the fightback at the back end of the campaign.

Despite their woeful run of form at home earlier in the year and breaking a host of unwanted records, Klopp’s side did battle their way to a shock top-four finish.

Spearheaded by Alisson’s stunning last-gasp winner against West Brom on May 16th, the now-former champions won each of their final five Premier League games on course to leapfrogging Leicester.


Tom Dunstan

Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan



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