July 28, 2020

EPL FREE KICKS: The longest season ever is officially a wrap

by In: Soccer

It was a season that we thought might end prematurely and also one that felt like it would never end.

It was also a season that saw a runaway champion, which was also 15 behind the second-place side in goal differential.

It was a season that saw Manchester United fall out of the Champions League spots in September, but then finish third in the table.

It was a season that saw Norwich City win five games and get relegated, but two of those five wins came against Manchester City and Leicester City — which was in third at the time.

Oh, and Jose Mourinho burned through about two-and-a-half years of his three-year cycle in just half a season with Spurs.

For a league that often saw teams like Sheffield United, Burnley and Wolves in the top six, looking destined for European play, it ended with those spots being filled by five of the traditional ‘Big Six.’

In a few years, many will look back at this table and see what looks like a pretty standard final seeding. That won’t do this season, one that saw so many weird and wild twists, the justice it deserves.

Even without the craziness of COVID-19 and the united stand by a truly international group of players in support of Black Lives Matter, this season was one to remember.

At the very least, there will be one group of fans that will never forget it — the ones that sing that they’ll never walk alone.

Congratulations, Liverpool. You are champions once again. Now, can you defend it?


It’s actually fairly fitting that our final player of the week is actually our player of the season, too.

Kevin De Bruyne was our unquestionable player of the season and finished the campaign strong, scoring twice and adding an assist against last-place Norwich. That brought his season tally to 13 goals and 23 assists, marking the first time a Premier League player notched 20+ helpers since Thierry Henry did so in 2002-03.

De Bruyne bounced back from an injury-riddled 2018-19 season and showed once again that he is the premier midfielder in world football. His playmaking ability is otherworldly and he may even still have room to grow.

And with City’s appeal being held and the Sky Blues not being barred from Champions League, there’s no reason why the Belgian would leave for years to come.


GK: Nick Pope, BUR

DEF: Andrew Robertson, LIV; Virgil Van Dijk, LIV; Harry Maguire, MNU; Trent Alexander-Arnold, LIV.

MID: Kevin De Bruyne, MC; Jordan Henderson, LIV; Wilfried Ndidi, LEI

FWD: Jamie Vardy, LEI; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, ARS; Sadio Mane, LIV

Manager: Chris Wilder, SHU

Bench: Dean Henderson, SHU; Matt Doherty, WOL; James Tarkowski, BUR; Anthony Martial, MNU; Mohamed Salah, LIV; Raheem Sterling, MC; Danny Ings, SOU; Raul Jimenez, WOL.


After 10 seasons and a ton of success, David Silva is leaving Manchester City. The (Little Magician) has been one of the best passers in football for years and an icon for the Sky Blues. Even in recent seasons as he got older and was dealing with personal issues, he was a professional on the pitch. He’ll be missed … Everton’s Leighton Baines is another stalwart who won’t be back next season. The English defender announced his retirement, but could stay on in another role with the Toffees … Also on their way out: Jan Vertonghen, Dejan Lovren and Pedro, just to name a few … Adam Lallana should be a solid signing for Brighton & Hove Albion. The former Reds midfielder can still put in a good shift when he’s healthy … City is rumoured to be a landing spot for Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake to the tune of 30 million GBP. With the Cherries getting relegated, we should see a lot players leave the South coast … What does Kepa’s future at Chelsea look like? The world’s most-expensive goalkeeper was dropped for the final match of the season and has clashed with managers during his time at Stamford Bridge. We don’t see the Blues recouping his cost, though … What exactly was Watford expecting when it sacked Nigel Pearson with just two games left in the season? The Hornets slumped to two losses and were promptly relegated. Not sure when we’ll be seeing this dysfunctional group in the top flight again … Welcome to the Premier League, Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion! The top two teams of the Championship will be joined by the winner of the very lucrative promotion playoff quite soon … Chelsea has already done some serious work in the transfer market, bringing in Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech. Rumour has it that Kai Havertz is next on the shopping. So, what exactly happened to that academy-led youth movement under Frank Lampard?


Jesse Lingard scored in the eighth minute of injury time, his first goal or assist this season, costing one bettor about $1,200. The man had gambled that the Man U midfielder would blank for the entire season – and lost in literally the last minute of it … Jack Grealish deserves credit for saving Aston Villa’s season. The man is also deserving of an England callup … Alexander-Arnold broke his own record for most assists in a season by a defender, notching his 13th in the finale … The Reds, having already celebrated their championship, rested several of their stars to start the match against Newcastle — and promptly conceded in the first minute of play … Manchester United was given an EPL record 14 penalties this season and the final one was against Leicester, which conceded the most penalties this season … Crystal Palace became the eighth team in EPL history to not score more than twice in a match over a season. It is also the first side to do so without being relegated … The season may be over, but the FA Cup is still to be settled. Arsenal and Chelsea will duke it out this coming weekend.


You would think that a team with the highest-paid goalkeeper in the world wouldn’t have a problem in between the sticks, but that’s the issue with Manchester United these days.

David De Gea, once thought of as one of the top goalkeepers in the world, has fallen on tough times, to say the least. The Spaniard has been anything but solid at times and even a liability all too often this season.

If not for a few bungled stops, United wouldn’t have needed some final day drama to seal its spot in the Champions League.

It’s not just the eye test which De Gea fails, either – the analytics do him no favours. De Gea has a goals prevented figure of 0.3 this season, which means he has barely prevented any goals beyond making routine saves. During his best season, 2017-18, that number was 13.7.

Even in Sunday’s win, De Gea didn’t have to make any saves that were out of the ordinary. The toughest was likely a blast that was right at him.

With Henderson returning from loan at Sheffield United – where he had a spectacular season lifting the Blades into the top half of the table – we should see some rock-solid competition for the proverbial No. 1 shirt at Old Trafford next season.

And if the young Englishman wins the role, we’ll just have to see how much the pricey De Gea is actually worth on the market.

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