We look at the major takeaways from a chaotic, action-packed and often dramatic final day of the Premier League 2020-21 season.
The 2020-21 edition of the Premier League ended pretty much how it began – in chaotic fashion. The league season began when fans had not even digested the end of the previous season. Indeed, for large parts this year, the lack of fans and an absolutely brutal schedule had many tune out – even if sporadically. However, there was much at stake on the final day and the action delivered. The league’s traditional ending format – which sees all teams play in 4:00 PM kick-offs – also lends itself to drama. For some, that drama was of the good type. Others would have preferred different results.
Here we look at the major takeaways from the final day of the Premier League.
Perhaps no side had a more rollercoaster final matchday than Chelsea. The Blues suffered a potentially devastating loss to Aston Villa. Yet Leicester City’s late implosion against Tottenham Hotspur saw Thomas Tuchel’s men just about make the top 4.
That they were even in this position is down largely to the renaissance they enjoyed under the new manager. When Frank Lampard was sacked, Chelsea were ninth in the league. That Tuchel could sneak a top 4 finish despite losing 2 of their last 3 league games says a lot about their positive form prior to the final match day.
Liverpool’s recent run of results were also nothing short of miraculous. The defending champions were hamstrung by injuries and a top 4 finish seemed unlikely at one point. That they came into the final gameweek holding their fate in their own hands is amazing.
A lot has been said about Jurgen Klopp’s man-management as well as his ability to coach players. It was the former that was on display for the second half of the season. With their backs against the wall, the Reds fought and fought some more. Few will argue they didn’t deserve their top 4 finish.
Brendan Rodgers has done an amazing job at Leicester City – that much is certain. However, even he was left disappointed at the fact that they missed out on the Champions League spots. And not for the first time either. That will undoubtedly hurt more.
Leicester’s first FA Cup victory was one that fans savoured. However, in a pragmatic sense, a top 4 means just as much. Merely playing in the Champions League guarantees a side more prestige and better reach – and that’s not even mentioning the financial benefits. How Rodgers rebounds from this will define his time at Leicester.
Tottenham could be forgiven for looking ahead rather than living in the moment. They are at a crossroads as a club and, with skipper Harry Kane making public his desire to leave, the present isn’t very bright either. Yet they managed to come back from behind twice against Leicester and register a shock win.
Their win did rivals Chelsea a huge favour, but it also displayed a trait not often associated with Spurs – character. Too often Spurs have reached cup finals only to fall woefully short. This wasn’t a cup final as such, but they knew a win would guarantee European football next season via the Conference League. That they won the way they did potentially bodes well for the future.
League champions Manchester City and runners-up Manchester United came into the final matchday with nothing to play for. Yet both registered wins which showed why they are England’s top 2 sides this season.
City ended a dominant season with a 5-0 thrashing of Everton. United, meanwhile, beat Wolves 2-1 to end the season with an unbeaten away record – a fabulous achievement under any circumstances.
How they fare next season remains to be seen. Yet very few would bet against the Manchester sides contesting for the title again in 2021-22.