The 2019/20 English Premier League was unique in a number of ways, but notably it was the first time the competition was played in the midst of a global pandemic which caused a three-month enforced break.
What were the highs and lows from the 38 week league, widely regarded as the best in the world? Below is a wrap-up of the best and worst moments, decisions from the just concluded season.
Liverpool bossed the league: Liverpool won an historic first-ever Premier League title, and boy, they achieved the historic feat in grand style! Here are some of the high marks Liverpool equalled and set last campaign:
• The Reds set the record for the most home wins in the history of the competition (24), eclipsing the previous mark set by Manchester City (20) between 2011 and 2012.
• Earliest title win, claiming the title with seven matches to spare.
• Fastest to 30 wins, a feat they achieved with a 3-1 victory at Brighton & Hove Albion at the 34th week of the league.
• Other records set include, best ever start to the season, most home wins in a season 18 (together with Manchester United and Manchester City) and equalled the record set by Manchester City for most victories in a season, 32 wins.
Legends make their mark on the touchline: Retired Premier League stars turned coaches seemingly made the effortless transition to managerial positions in their first full season in the league.
Frank Lampard, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Mikel Arteta all made brilliant tactical contributions from the touchline, Lampard and Solskjaer earning UEFA Champions League qualification, while despite missing out on a European place, Arteta recorded a 55.56 win percentage to finish eighth on the log.
De Bruyne double-double figures: Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne equalled the record for the most assists in a Premier League campaign, 20 assists, equalling the previous mark set by Thierry Henry in 2003. In addition, the Belgium international scored 13 league goals and undoubtedly was one of the player’s of the season.
Breakout stars: The concluded season was remarkable as it heralded the birth of the league’s next generation, a number of the teenagers already showing they can confidently hold down their own in the midst of superstar teammates and opposition.
Top of that list are Mason Greenwood, Bukayo Saka, Mason Mount, Tariq Lamptey, Phil Foden, Michael Obafemi and a host of others.
Hawkeye goof! News emerged this week that relegated Bournemouth are considering legal proceedings against Hawkeye, a computer system used in numerous sports including football to visually track the trajectory of the ball as a moving image.
While the Cherries’ alleged attempt might seem a long shot, but it’s worth nothing that Hawkeye incredibly malfunctioned for the first time since its 2013 introduction in the opening Premier League post lockdown between Aston Villa and Sheffield United.
A Blades free-kick was carried over the line by Villa Keeper Orjan Nyland and Hawkeye failed to spot the goal, an uncommon error which ensured Villa finished a point ahead of Bournemouth and ultimately cost the latter £200 million, the cost of relegation.
Watford managerial merry-go-round: What exactly were the owners and management of relegated Watford thinking?
The Hornets’ top hierarchy fired three managers in full-time capacity and twice appointed Hayden Mullins in interim capacity.
Even more astonishing was the decision to fire Nigel Pearson on the eve of the all-important home clash against Manchester City, a heavy defeat which worsened their goal difference and largely contributed to their demotion.
VAR controversy: VAR was introduced in the Premier League last season and caused much controversy with a total of 109 goals or incidents directly affected by the video ref.
An analysis of the VAR breakdown in the Premier League from last season are as follows:
Total overturns: 109
Leading to goals: 27
Leading to disallowed goals: 56
Penalties awarded: 22
Penalties overturned: 7
Penalties retakes: 4
Goals ruled out for offside: 34
Goals awarded after incorrect offside: 8
Goals ruled out for handball: 14
Goals allowed after wrong handball: 2
Red Cards: 9
Overturned red cards: 3
VAR analysis courtesy ESPN