Another year, another Premier League season completed – except this wasn’t a typical campaign at all, was it?
COVID-19 threw a spanner in the works in March, meaning it took until July for proceedings to finally come to a close.
It may have been a weird, protracted slog of a season, but there’s still been plenty of exciting games for fans of the Barclays™ to enjoy. Whether it be exhilarating goal-fests, uplifting underdog stories or pulsating last minute drama, there’s been something for everyone to feast on.
Here are ten of the absolute best matches of the 2019/20 Premier League campaign…
Remember when Norwich were good? If it seems like ages ago, it’s because it was.
Before they regressed into the absolute horror-show of a team who lost ten on the bounce at the end the season, the Canaries treated us to a fascinating against-all-odds story, besting champions Manchester City 3-2.
A Kenny McLean header got the hosts off to a perfect start before a second goal from September’s flavour of the month Todd Cantwell put them two up. Sergio Aguero struck back for City but Norwich’s two goal cushion was restored when a trademark Nicolas Otamendi error allowed Teemu Pukki to smash home.
Rodri fired one back in the closing stages but it wasn’t enough. Cue absolute pandemonium at Carrow Road. Before you ask, yes of course the cameras panned to Delia Smith as soon as the final whistle was blown.
In scenes that shocked everyone – but particularly Troy Deeney – ten-man Arsenal showed some cojones to come back and defeat Aston Villa 3-2 back in September.
The Gunners conceded and had Ainsley Maitland-Niles dismissed inside 41 minutes and Nicolas Pepe’s equaliser on the hour mark was cancelled out less than 60 seconds later when Wesley scored the visitors’ second goal.
Not to be deterred by these strokes of misfortune, they rallied in the closing half hour with Calum Chambers and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both netting to earn Arsenal three points.
Manchester City’s glass jaw – or their inability to defend against half decent counter attacking sides – was again exposed against Wolves over Christmas.
Okay, the Cityzens did have Ederson dismissed 12 minutes in, but the ease with which Wolves sliced through Pep Guardiola’s defence signified the final nail in the coffin of City’s title hopes.
Raheem Sterling bagged a brace for the visitors but it wasn’t enough as goals from Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez, as well as a last minute strike from Matt Doherty, secured Nuno Espirito Santo all three points.
Prior to Liverpool’s trip to Watford in February, the Reds were looking likely to complete the season undefeated. They had failed to win on just one occasion all campaign and few expected their hot streak to end against Nigel Pearson’s struggling Hornets.
That’s the beauty of football though. You never know what might happen. Watford were incredible all evening, racking up 12 shots and restricting the so-called Mentality Monsters to just seven attempts on goal.
Ismaila Sarr grabbed a quickfire second half brace before Troy Deeney put the game beyond all doubt with a composed finish. It was genuinely shocking and may go some way to explaining why Liverpool faltered in the Champions League against Atletico Madrid soon after.
High stakes, great goals, late drama, Manchester United’s 3-3 draw with their Sheffield namesakes had it all.
A fortunate John Fleck goal in the 11th minute gave the Blades an ideal start and Chris Wilder’s side doubled their lead through Lys Mousset early in the second half. However, Mousset’s strike galvanised the visitors and led to a scintillating three goal salvo which put United ahead with 11 minutes left to play.
The Blades were not finished, however, with Oli McBurnie grabbing a 90th minute equaliser to ensure the points were shared.
I was actually at this game and it was one of the strangest sporting spectacles of my entire life.
It seemed like the game was won inside 20 minutes when Ayoze Perez extended Leicester’s lead to three over ten-man Southampton, and I remember turning to my friend and saying: “Well, this is going to be boring now.”
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
After the fifth goal the majority of Saints fans left, probably to go and find warmth and shelter from the evening’s torrential downpour in a local watering hole. A hardy few remained to see Jamie Vardy score the Foxes’ ninth and give an earful to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s players.
This Merseyside derby defeat signalled the end of Marco Silva’s mainly miserable managerial stint at Everton.
As he often is against the Toffees, Divock Origi was in a rampant mood, bagging himself a brace while Xherdan Shaqiri, Sadio Mané and Georginio Wijnaldum also bagged for a rotated Liverpool side.
This was one of Jurgen Klopp’s side’s best attacking displays of the season. The forwards were working together in perfect harmony, leading to a flurry of splendid goals.
A six goal thriller featuring a late strike from everyone’s favourite journeyman striker, what’s not to love?
West Ham raced into a two goal courtesy of Issa Diop and Robert Snodgrass before Brighton were handed a lifeline early in the second half when an unaware Angelo Ogbonna put the ball into his own net.
Snodgrass then fired in a superb third goal to seemingly settle things, only for the Seagulls to mount a spirited comeback. Pascal Groß capitalised on some suicidal Hammers defending to bring his side within one, and Glenn Murray popped up soon after with his only Premier League goal of the season to earn Brighton a point.
Going into this meeting of last season’s top two back in November, Liverpool already had a five point lead over their opponents and many pundits claimed a win over their rivals would see the Reds place one hand on the Premier League trophy.
Stakes like this would scare some players, but not Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, who burst out the gates in frantic fashion. Fabinho rifled in Liverpool’s opener with just six minutes played and just seven minutes later Mohamed Salah made it two. Sadio Mané then grabbed a third after the break before Bernardo Silva scored a late consolation.
The game was also filled with refereeing controversy as Pep Guardiola was all too keen to point out, accusing Liverpool of getting THREE rather favourable decisions. He even used his fingers to help illustrate his laboured point. It was one of the best managerial outbursts of the season.
Post-lockdown football has been pretty rubbish, to be honest. A brilliant advertisement of the importance of match-going fans, most contests have lacked drama, intensity or both.
There were some exceptions, however, such as when Liverpool edged out Chelsea in this eight goal thriller on the night they received the Premier League trophy.
Momentum shifted in this game like a seesaw, with Liverpool’s three goal lead being cut to just one when Christian Pulisic made it 4-3 in the 73rd minute. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s late goal eventually put the game beyond the Blues’ reach to ensure the Reds lifted their maiden title in a happy mood.