The English Premier League

via Mehdi Bolourian

via Mehdi Bolourian

Santiago Ramirez and Jakob Quarles

The 2019-20 Premier League season was one of the most exciting campaigns in recent memory. We will review the Premier League seasons of the top four teams.

Let’s start off with the champions, Liverpool. Liverpool had an incredible year where they were by far the best team in the league, ending with 99 points and beating out the second place team by 18 points. They were outstanding all year, and left the rest of the league far behind as they dominated in attack with a consistently strong defense. On the surface, they have nothing to fix. The Reds have an elite attacking trio, the best back line and keeper in the league, great midfielders, and a world class manager in Jurgen Klopp. What more could they want?

However, this team lacks depth, especially on the offensive. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are a dream pair of wingers, but after them, there really aren’t any options. Dejan Lovren is gone, so they could use another center back for the team, as only three remain. Currently, Thiago is still at Bayern, but if Liverpool can acquire him, he would be their best midfielder. Liverpool proved their quality all year, but Thiago is on a different level than their current midfielders. Captain Jordan Henderson had a great year, but to everyone’s surprise, he won player of the year. Henderson was not the best performer on their team, let alone the entire league. Regardless, Liverpool will still be looked at as the team to beat. They have only signed Kostas Tsimikas for depth at left-back so far, and they could use reinforcements given the depth of Manchester City and Chelsea. Coupled with the fact that they are competing on multiple fronts, Liverpool will not be considered the clear favorites for the title this year, but the Reds’ faithful should have high expectations for the upcoming season.

Second-place Manchester City will certainly be unsatisfied with their performance in the Premier League this season. Two-time reigning champions, the Sky Blues entered the year with sky high expectations. Manager Pep Guardiola reinforced his squad with the purchase of defensive midfielder Rodri and left-back Joao Cancelo. Additionally, superstar Kevin De Bruyne was returning from injury. However, City looked second-best to Klopp’s Liverpool. Defensive issues and injuries proved too difficult to overcome as City lost multiple games to lower-table clubs like Norwich City. They were out of the race for the title by the start of 2020. Despite that, City remained in contention for two prestigious cup competitions, the FA Cup and Champions League. However, they disappointingly lost in both. Despite a relatively underwhelming season for City, their side is nearly weakness free on paper.

Regardless of that, Pep has started the year strong by already completing sales for Dutch center back Nathan Ake and Spanish youngster Ferran Torres. They also targeted six time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, but were unable to land the Argentinian legend. This aggressive transfer strategy is nothing new from Guardiola, who has drawn criticism for spending too much money with lack of results, but City should still be considered co-favorites to win the Premier League next season along with Liverpool.

In third place came Manchester United, who had one of their wildest seasons in recent memory. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side started off horribly, with key players getting injured early and the Red Devils sitting in 14th place in October. Ole, however, continued to train his squad and picked up a few key draws and wins as 2020 came to a close and the transfer window approached. United lacked creativity, and star midfielder Paul Pogba wanted to leave. In the January transfer window, Manchester United solved their creativity problem and bought Portueguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes from Sporting CP. Fernandes instantly turned Manchester United around, becoming one of the best number ten’s in the league and the hero of United fans everywhere. Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood added goals in Marcus Rashford’s absence, and Manchester United entered contention for the top 4.

Notable problems were team depth and Goalkeeper David De Gea, who had a disappointing year in goal. United’s defense was great all year, with the key additions of new captain Harry Maguire and right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The Red Devils defeated Leicester City on the final matchday to secure third place and a Champions League berth for the upcoming season, finishing the campaign strongly. Paul Pogba has chosen to stay given the addition of Fernandes, and they signed Dutch midfielder Donny Van de Beek, a top young talent. Although it seems Manchester United will not sign young superstar Jadon Sancho this summer, there should be high expectations going into next year. Fans will be hoping they add a few more pieces to the squad before the window closes in order to keep up their good form.

Chelsea FC entered the Premier League campaign with a tall order ahead of them. Having finished the previous season in 3rd, the Blues sold club legend Eden Hazard to Real Madrid over the summer, and was unable to replace him due to a transfer ban placed on them by FIFA. This transfer ban seriously lowered fan expectations for them, especially entering the season under a new manager Frank Lampard, who had started his coaching career only one year earlier. American star Christian Pulisic began his first year in the Premier League after making the move from German club Borussia Dortmund. Expectations for his debut Chelsea season were massive. Many media outlets have a tendency to focus on him closely because of his status as one of the only American players to reach such success in Europe. Chelsea got off to a slow start, failing to win consecutive matches until 8 games into the season. During this time, Christian Pulisic struggled to get consistent minutes, and many pundits wrote him off as a bust, but he bounced back in a brilliant performance at Burnley, scoring a hattrick in the convincing win. This display gave Lampard faith in his abilities, and he remained a starter until an injury in January.

Chelsea held a strong position in fourth place for nearly the whole year, with inconsistency the main reason for their inability to get beyond that spot. Despite that, challengers Manchester United and Leicester City provided competition for the heavily coveted fourth place. The race came down to the wire, with Chelsea clinching fourth place with a home win on the last day of the season. Despite this relatively successful season, there are many areas to improve the Chelsea squad. The team is defensively weak as a result of poor positioning, careless mistakes, and perhaps most of all very disappointing play from goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who (only one year before) had been bought as the most expensive goalkeeper ever. The club is already planning a replacement for Kepa, having bought French goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. Frank Lampard has already bolstered his attack heavily in this transfer window, adding winger Hakim Ziyech, German striker Timo Werner, and 21-year old midfield superstar Kai Havertz. This huge spending spree has come as a pleasant surprise to most fans, who look forward to the bright future that lies ahead for Chelsea. With all these improvements to the squad, they should definitely con-tend for the Premier League title next year and many years to come.