We’re approaching the final stretch of a marathon football season.
The coronavirus pandemic has made it a campaign like no other.
Wolves, for one, have had a season lasting longer than a year. But plenty of other remarkable (and in some cases bizarre) things have happened.
1. Leicester won 9-0
The Foxes equalled the Premier League’s record win – set by Manchester United against Ipswich in 1995 – when they thumped Southampton 9-0 in October. It was the biggest away win ever recorded in the English top flight.
2. Watford had four managers
The combined efforts of Javi Gracia, Quique Sanchez Flores, Nigel Pearson and caretaker Hayden Mullins were not enough to save the Hornets from relegation.
Their next manager will be their 13th ‘permanent’ appointment in the past nine years.
3. Alphonso Davies owned TikTok
The Bayern Munich left-back was the standout star of the social media platform.
A couple of highlights from a glittering campaign:
4. Yeovil had their ball boys sent off
After referee Aaron Jackson deemed they were engaging in a bit of time-wasting during a match against Bromley, he brandished eight red cards.
5. A player was sent off while being substituted
Glentoran forward Darren Murray was dismissed after ignoring the new law that players being substituted should leave the pitch at the nearest point.
6. Sergio Aguero set a Premier League record
Manchester City striker Aguero’s hat-trick against Aston Villa in January took him past Arsenal great Thierry Henry and on to 177 goals English league goals. It was also his 12th hat-trick in the Premier League – more than any other player.
7. Roberto Firmino’s armpit was offside
The debate over video assistant referees continues to rage. One of the moments that attracted most attention was when Liverpool striker Firmino’s armpit was deemed to be giving him an unfair advantage.
8. A coach in Italy was sacked for being too good
Italian youth coach Massimiliano Riccini won the game, but lost his job.
9. Vivianne Miedema scored six times in one game
Miedema finished with six goals and four assists in an 11-1 win for Arsenal against Bristol City – the biggest victory in Women’s Super League history.
10. Alan Pardew got a brilliant welcome…
But left by mutual consent after eight games not long before his eight-year contract at Newcastle would have expired.
11. Sander Berge did too
Unfortunately for the Blades, they won’t be playing in Europe next season – but finishing ninth made this their best Premier League season.
12. Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah became dads again nine months after that Barcelona game
And neither of them saw fit to name the child after Divock Origi, who scored the winning goal in that Champions League semi-final against Barcelona, as well as netting in the final too.
13. Watford ended Liverpool’s unbeaten run
The Hornets, who were in the relegation zone, beat the eventual champions 3-0 at Vicarage Road in February to end an 18-game winning run, 44-game unbeaten run and 36-game run of scoring. Don’t ever call this game predictable.
14. Kaka got nutmegged in Hackney Wick
As ringers go, 2007 Ballon d’Or winner Kaka is not the worst.
15. Lockdown taught us a lot
It’s fair to say we all did a lot of learning during lockdown. One thing the absence of working barbers taught us was that Inter Milan’s Ashley Young can grow a full head of hair. Still reeling.
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16. Football resumed behind closed doors
Following the enforced hiatus, the first game of the new normal was Aston Villa against Sheffield United, on 17 June. It finished 0-0 – and not without controversy. Oliver Norwood’s free-kick crossed the line, but the goal was not given because the technology wasn’t working.
17. Footballers made powerful statements
The death of George Floyd in the United States in May sparked an international conversation around race. And powerful statements were made in English football.
18. New fans in the new normal
With the resumption of football behind closed doors, clubs toyed with different ways to bring atmosphere.
FC Seoul installing erotic dolls in the stands.
19. Liverpool celebrated the end of a 30-year wait
Manchester City’s 2-1 defeat by Chelsea meant Liverpool were crowned English champions for the first time since 1990. They finished the season on 99 points – just one below Manchester City’s record tally from 2017-18.
20. Leeds made it back into the Premier League
Along the M62, Leeds ended a 16-year wait to get back into England’s top division.
Phew. What a season. We can’t wait to do it all again. And we only have to hold out until September, when the Premier League and EFL return.
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