By the time the final round of the Premier League took place we already knew the champions were Manchester City. The club who have more or less dominated English football for the past decade got their guard of honour the week before up at Newcastle before a match which gave us 7 goals as City won 4-3. Anyone thinking that Pep Guardiola's side would dial it down in their final league game at home against Everton was plainly wrong. Given that City have a Champions League final to play on May 29th one could have thought the club would hardly been focused. However with the return of a section of fans City turned it on and terminated Everton's hopes of a European finish as they beat the Toffees 5-0.
It was an emotional game that ended with Guardiola crying- not so much tears of joy but rather tears of a departing player- Sergio Aguero who will join Barcelona after 10 years service. For the record Aguero signed off his Premier League playing days with a brace. As for Everton this was a season hampered by dreadful home form, because on the road the club put together some impressive wins. No fan will forget victories against Arsenal and Liverpool but at the end of the day Everton finished in 10th place. Leeds United who were playing their first top flight football since 2004 finished above Carlo Ancelotti's team albeit on goal difference, but still. At the same time Everton finished with 10 points more than last season, nonetheless this season feels like a huge opportunity missed for the club.
Leicester City did it again- they failed to qualify for the Champions League at the final hurdle. This season was even worse than last because you could see that coming a mile off. But the Foxes looked to be in a great position and even by half time they were going to finish 4th. Liverpool were never realistically going to drop points at home to Crystal Palace and they won 2-0 which secured their top four finish. Chelsea were expected to beat Aston Villa but lost 2-1, all Leicester needed was to beat Tottenham at home. A team they had beaten away this season, but much like the recent 4-2 loss at home to Newcastle United, Leicester would repeat that trick and were beaten by the same score line as Gareth Bale reminded everyone how brilliant he can still be. What a mixed season it has been for Leicester, a top four side for the majority of the campaign and winning the FA Cup for the first time in their history but being nudged into 5th place in the final half hour of the season. Gutting perhaps but the club have won silverware and probably have a better chance of going further in the Europa League than the Champions League anyway.
As for Tottenham they have qualified for the qualifiers of the Europa League, not at all what the clubs goals would have been at the beginning of the season. It also means an early start to their new campaign. West Ham will rue the fact of losing twice to Newcastle for example because one more win would have secured Champions League football for the Hammers. Instead though the Europa League is a great achievement for the club. And then there is Arsenal whose 5 game winning run means they will play in the inaugural UEFA Conference League. It all sounds very non-league football, but should offer some more opportunities for other clubs to win a European prize.
This was a season that was won by Manchester City who wrestled the league title away from Liverpool who had an horrendous two month dip and City were really the only team able to find enough consistency to drive away into the horizon. It was also a season largely without any spectators and next season should see a full return, it was interesting to watch games without fans and see so many away wins for clubs, but it will be absolutely fantastic to see the return of supporters, vocally critical yes, but also the sheer drama, the sheer joy and the sheer human emotions of the game lie with the fans week in and week out- and we have all missed that.
Premier League: Team of the Season: Ederson. Stones, Dias, Chilwell, Cancelo. Gundogan, Fernandes, Sterling, Mahrez, Salah, Kane