Looking back on another thrilling Premier League season

Football Tuesday May 21, 2024 By: Harry Howes

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and Manchester City winning the league. Another incredible Premier League season has come to a close, with City pipping Arsenal to claim yet another title.

As we start counting down the days until the next campaign starts (only 88 to go!), we’ve taken a look back at all the key moments that made the 2023/24 season so special.

Man City hold off Arsenal to claim record title

The title race went down to the final day but sadly for Arsenal, they needed something to happen that so very rarely does at this stage of the season – Manchester City to drop points.

And the north London side’s hopes were as good as over after just two minutes as Phil Foden fired City ahead against West Ham. The defending champions were imperious in the final few months of the campaign as they became the first team to ever win four successive Premier League titles. It was their sixth under Pep Guardiola and they could complete yet another double when they meet neighbours Manchester United in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

For the second year in a row, Arsenal were second best but they improved this time around, only missing out by two points. Yet they’ll be confident of improving next season with their young talismen like Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and William Saliba developing into genuine world class players in recent years.

The signings of Declan Rice, David Raya and Kai Havertz have undoubtedly made them stronger and a few shrewd additions in the summer could be the difference for Mikel Arteta’s side next year. But ultimately, to compete with City you can’t afford to take your foot off the gas and Arsenal will look at defeats to Fulham, West Ham and twice against Aston Villa as key turning points in their season.

The champions could argue they weren’t even at their brilliant best this season but their robotic ruthlessness shone through. Erling Haaland didn’t quite hit the heights of last season in terms of goals but he still blew the competition out of the water with 27 goals to claim the golden boot.

Meanwhile, Foden continued to show his brilliance and was rewarded with the Premier League Player of the Year award. England fans across the country will have their fingers firmly crossed that he can continue his form into the Euros.

With Arsenal likely to improve further and City looking as good as ever, it’s clear that these two will once again be the frontrunners in next season’s title race. But whether the Gunners can finally make up the ground is a different question.

Jurgen Klopp signs out with top-four finish

The title battle seemed to be a three-horse race for much of the season but a drop off from Liverpool in recent months saw them ultimately finish third. While Jurgen Klopp would have loved to have signed out with another Premier League trophy, he’ll be pleased to have secured Liverpool Champions League football having missed out a year ago.

The German has called time on his nine-year spell at Anfield in which he won eight trophies, including the 2019 Champions League. Klopp bid an emotional farewell to his home supporters on Sunday and went out on a high as Liverpool ended the season with a 2-0 win over Wolves.

With Arne Slot confirmed as his successor, next season will be an interesting one for Liverpool. The Dutchman has big shoes to fill and Liverpool fans will be forgiven for having reservations, particularly when you look at how Arsenal and Man United struggled in the wake of Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson’s departures.

However, new dawns can be exciting and they have the skeleton of a really strong squad. If Mohamed Salah fancies sticking around and they can add some new faces alongside their young talent, there’s no reason why they can’t challenge.

Liverpool will be joined in next season’s Champions League by Aston Villa, who were the surprise package as they secured fourth. The 1982 European Cup winners are back in the elite competition following a remarkable season that demonstrates the incredible job that Unai Emery has done since taking over 18 months ago.

As well as beating the teams they’d expect to throughout the season, they also proved they can compete with the big boys with a number of huge results, including doing the double over Arsenal and beating Man City, as well as smashing Brighton 6-1 early in the season.

With fourth place confirmed before the final day, there wasn’t a Villa fan in the away end at Selhurst Park on Sunday who cared that their campaign fizzled out with a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of in-form Crystal Palace.

Time will tell how they’ll cope with the addition of high-level European games – Newcastle certainly struggled this year – but it will be a test of how good the likes of Ollie Watkins and co. really are.

A mixed season for the rest of the big six

Tottenham started the season strongly under new boss Ange Postecoglu and their front-footed, aggressive style made them exciting to watch. For a while it looked as though they were going to be just fine without Harry Kane but their campaign petered out, with injuries and loss of form to key players a big factor.

They ultimately finished fifth, two points off a Champions League spot, and too much reliance on Son Heung-min for goals makes attacking reinforcements this summer a necessity if they want to break back into the top four.

Chelsea ended the season superbly, winning their last five games to finish sixth. Mauricio Pochettino took a while to get going in his first campaign at the helm and was regularly bailed out by Cole Palmer, who bagged a remarkable 22 Premier League goals in his maiden season at Stamford Bridge.

It’s impossible to predict how Chelsea will do each season but after years of mismanagement, they look like they may finally have a bit of structure. With a clever transfer window there’s every chance that they’ll be able to compete at the top of the table again.

It’s been a season to forget for Manchester United but an FA cup win on Saturday could give them some reason to be cheerful. Erik ten Hag appears to be a dead man walking and few expect him to still be in charge by the time next season starts.

A miserable eighth-placed finish sums up their dismal performances this campaign and they need a major squad shake up this summer, with plenty of deadwood to ship out. There could be exciting times on the horizon under the new ownership but it can’t be fixed overnight so things may get worse before they get better.

The three promoted clubs go down

There’s no clearer way of showing the gulf between the Premier league and the Championship than when the three promoted clubs go straight back down. The fact that Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton were comfortably relegated in a season where two clubs suffered points deductions is indicative of their woes.

The trio just weren’t good enough and although they enjoyed good moments, particularly Luton, their squads lacked the Premier League quality to survive. Everton and Nottingham Forest will count themselves lucky that they were deducted points in a season where it ultimately didn’t matter, as they may not have got off so lightly in a stronger season.

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