Premier League 2019/20 season comes to a close: What the outcomes mean for clubs and managers

Let's take a look at the 17 teams who will still be playing in the Premier League next year and reasons why managers of almost all of these clubs might have been pleased with the way the league has ended.

Anish Anand July 28, 2020 08:57:38 IST
Premier League 2019/20 season comes to a close: What the outcomes mean for clubs and managers

There's no debate that this season of Premier League was anything but normal. Jurgen Klopp, who acquired the moniker 'Normal One' would be the first one to agree that the just-finished season of top-flight football in England was 'extraordinary' as well as 'strange'. Extraordinary because his team, Liverpool, became league champions for the first time in 30 years. Strange because this was also the season of the pandemic, in which COVID-19 brought the whole world to a standstill.

But Premier League football – the most important of the least important things in life – came to life again after a break of 100 odd days or so. Premier League organisers successfully executed 'Project Restart' and teams completed the remaining matches to bring the season to an end on Sunday. Manchester United and Chelsea celebrated after clinching Champions League spots, Tottenham celebrated their qualification to Europa League, Aston Villa also celebrated after avoiding relegation.

In fact, apart from the three relegated teams – Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich – every other club would be happy or satisfied with the way the league concluded. Yes, even Brendan Rodgers, whose Leicester City couldn't finish in the top four despite showing plenty of promise for the most part of the season. Yes, even Mikel Arteta. OK, maybe not Carlo Ancelotti.

Let's take a look at the 17 teams who will still be playing in the Premier League next year and reasons why managers of almost all of these clubs might have been pleased with the way the league has ended.

Liverpool - 99 points

League champions after 30 years. Premier League champions for the first time. Blah...blah...blah.

Enough has been said and written about this team so here's a quote from their manager: "It’s unbelievable to be honest, we won four trophies, big ones, and I could not be more proud. I’m not usually a person who needs pictures with something because as long as I can remember something it is worth it, but I will have a picture with all four trophies because that doesn’t happen too often."

Klopp is a man of emotions and his joy was palpable when he uttered those words.

Manchester City - 81 points 

Right, this is tricky. Pep Guardiola knew he had lost the title way back in January, when his team's results began to pale in comparison to Liverpool's sensational run. If the uber-talented Manchester City players failed in their bid to win the league then the next best spot for the team is second. The gap between the first and second was massive this season, and Guardiola is not used to being second. Nevertheless, the gap won't bother him much. He knows that his team, even after the departure of legendary David Silva, is very much capable of winning the league next season with another 'record' tally of points.

City finished ahead of third-place Manchester United by 15 points. They were way ahead of the rest of the pack. They will also play in Champions League after Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned their two-year UEFA ban.

Manchester United - 66 points

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faced a whole lot of criticism until he didn't. It could've been a really, really bad season but Solskjaer, with the help of Bruno Fernandes and the front three of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, turned it around. Manchester United didn't lose a Premier League match since February. Nine wins and five draws. Since Bruno Fernandes joined the club in January, he scored eight goals and assisted seven times. Their sensational form since the turn of the year helped them in achieving a top-four spot. The players, manager, fans and board are all happy.

“I don’t think many were predicting it, the predictions were for us to finish sixth or seventh,” Solskjaer said. “I’ve always been made that way. If I’m getting criticised that makes me stronger in what I’m doing. We all have different ideas of management and I do it my way.”

He certainly did it in style.

Chelsea - 66 points

A new inexperienced manager had taken charge of one of the biggest clubs in the world, with a star player having left the team. UEFA imposed a transfer ban. A team full of exciting talents but certainly lacking in experience. Frank Lampard, the Chelsea legend, had a huge task ahead of him but at the end of 38 matches, what he has achieved is praise-worthy. It's not only the qualification to the Champions League, but the way he managed/coached the squad. Trusting youngsters to deliver, playing an attractive brand of football, not afraid to drop the most expensive goalkeeper due to bad form, keeping faith in Olivier Giroud.

Frank Lampard can be very happy with the way things have panned out, but instead, he is asking questions. "We know where we are at, it is progress and can we get better and now we’ve secured top four can we look to improve to close that gap?"

Leicester City - 62 points

Rodgers' side spent 30 match days in the top four bracket and they were 14 points ahead of Manchester United in January. Injuries to key players resulted in bad form and as a result, Leicester will play in Europe League next season. But is that really a bad outcome? Leicester are not traditionally a 'Big Six' team but they will be playing in Europe. Rodgers would've taken this result if he was told before the season.

Rodgers is disappointed but might not necessarily be sad. His team has shown their potential this season and the majority of the core players will remain for next season. The likes of James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Wilfred Ndidi, Caglar Soyuncu and Demarai Gray have exceeded the expectations. Not finishing in the top four can actually motivate Leicester to become even better. The only question is, can Jamie Vardy maintain his goal-scoring form?

Tottenham - 59 points

Sixth spot for last year's Champions League finalist is certainly a step in the wrong direction but overall, Tottenham would be delighted that in such a difficult season, they have still managed to qualify for Europe. A poor start led to the firing of Mauricio Pochettino, who had taken the club to exceptional heights in the previous seasons. Jose Mourinho, a proven winner but a polarising figure arrived at the club in November when the team was struggling at 14th spot on the table.

Mourinho couldn't cure the inconsistency but Tottenham managed to find crucial wins on either side of the restart. The entry to Europa League has thrilled Mourinho and his staff and it showed on the field after their 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace.

Wolves - 59 points

What Nuno Espirito Santo has done with his Wolves team should be discussed more often. A hard-working, determined team that can beat any opponents. Wolves might have missed a direct qualification to the Europa League after their defeat against Chelsea in the final gameweek but their league position could still be enough for qualification to Europa if Arsenal fail to win in FA Cup final. Either way, Wolves have once again shown they belong in the top half of the league despite enduring a long season that started a year back.

Till the start of this month, they had a realistic top-four chance but defeats against Arsenal and Sheffield United caused severe damage to those aspirations. Still, a tally of 59 points is their highest in Premier League history.

Arsenal - 56 points

This has been Arsenal's worst season in 25 years – ten points behind fourth place and 43 points behind champions Liverpool. The league position is a true reflection of the side that has regressed a lot. Still, Arteta's side can make it to Europe if they win the FA Cup by beating Chelsea. There have been a lot of negatives for Arsenal and plenty of work to be done but one solid positive for them is their manager. Arteta knows that his team is not good enough to compete with the best in the league and they have to start working on a process that will take some time to show results. The system is somewhat working, as was seen during the win against Manchester City in FA Cup semi-final.

Arsenal aim will be to do everything they can to keep their best player in their ranks – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The youngsters in the squad are also doing many things right. Arteta will neither be disappointed nor sad with regard to Arsenal's position. Simply because he has no time for it. He will be busy in the transfer market and in no time, another new season will start. There's a hint of optimism and that is because of Arteta.

Sheffield United - 54 points

What a season for Sheffield! A ninth-place finish in their first top-flight season since 2007 is a remarkable achievement. Before the league was halted because of the pandemic, Sheffield were favourites for the European spots. A drop in form in the final leg of the season doesn't take any sheen away from them. Chris Wilder is a serious contender for the manager of the season. There was a fluency to their attack while doggedness defined their defence. They were a joy to watch this season.

"The club and the players have overachieved massively," Wilder told BBC Sport. "To have had any talk of jumping into the top six means the players deserve an enormous amount of credit."

Burnley - 54 points

A top-half finish for Burnley is a job well done. Sean Dyche's side is not know for playing explosive football neither they are a completely counter-attacking team. Dyche has a small, tight-knit squad who get the job done. Be it either at Anfield to stop Liverpool from winning or beating inferior side like Bournemouth. Their goalkeeper Nick Pope had a brilliant season, he was the difference between a draw and victory. They also have their best win and clean sheet record this season.

Southampton - 52 points

Saints were one of the favourites for relegation after humiliating 0-9 drubbing against Leicester City. Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl offered his apologies but remained in his job. Southampton management reaped benefits for trusting Hasenhuttl as they collected more points than Leicester since that drubbing. A turnaround that deserves applause and plaudits.

Premier League 201920 season comes to a close What the outcomes mean for clubs and managers

Ralph Hasenhuttl and Chris Wilder pictured on the final day of the Premier League. AP

Danny Ings was exceptional, finishing joint-second with Aubameyang in goals tally – 22. A total of 52 points was the team's highest since 2015-16 season.

Everton - 49 points

Carlo Ancelotti is the odd one out in this mix. Everton finishing in the bottom half of the table is not something he envisaged when he took charge of the club in December after sacking of Marco Silva. Realistically, the club could've pushed for European slots or at least a top ten finish but Everton did not get their act together for most of the season. They finished 12th, their lowest position in 16 years.

Ancelotti achieved a lot of success in his long managerial career. His teams are always in the fray for trophies, but not this time, not with Everton. Ancelotti spoke about how he wants Everton to compete for the European spots, and that is what the manager will try to achieve next season. Doing well in domestic cup competitions will be an added bonus.

Newcastle United - 44 points

When Rafa Benitez left Newscastle after last season, there were doubts whether the Mike Ashley-owned club would survive the drop in Premier League. Then Steve Bruce came in and there was more noise from fans regarding the direction in which the club was going. Spending has been a problem with the club for some time and taking all things into account, Bruce did a decent job in ensuring the club don't get involved in a relegation battle.

The focus now shifts to the ownership issue as Ashley looking to sell the club to a consortium from Saudi Arabia. There's no clarity on the deal and that means there's no clarity on the transfer budget for next season. But just for a bit, Bruce can relax.

Crystal Palace - 43 points

Just like Newcastle, Crystal Palace did enough to avoid any relegation battle but they ended the season with their lowest points tally yet. The job was more or less done before the league was stopped so despite the drop in form since the restart, Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson did not fret. Hodgson was not too ambitious to finish in the top seven but he also avoided the stress of a relegation battle, so by that standard, he was successful.

Goal-scoring has been a big problem though with the team having the second-worst scoring record in the top flight, after Norwich. Wilfried Zaha is all set to leave the club so maybe next season, there will be a lot of trouble if Palace don't find the right replacement.

Brighton - 41 points

The club's style of play went through a major change under Graham Potter. They showed the desire to play out from the back. Their midfield showed more creativity in the midfield and their defence conceded less number of goals compared to the previous seasons. As a result, they have achieved their highest Premier League points total. Brighton have improved and they might do better in the next one.

West Ham United - 39 points

David Moyes, for the second time, saved West Ham United from getting relegated to Championship. Last time, his reward was not getting the contract full time, but that will not be the case this time around. West Ham did make some heavy investments with an aim to break into the top seven, but instead, they ended up in a relegation battle which they won only days before the final gameweek. Some praise for Moyes is due for his work but will it be the case against next season?

Aston Villa - 35 points

Dean Smith worked so hard this season and it was not until the end of match number 38 that he could finally take a breather after a draw against West Ham. He celebrated with his players and wanted to get drunk with captain Jack Grealish. To their credit, they had their moments in the league but the results were missing most of the time. Nevertheless, they deserve to stay up and for now, they deserve to celebrate.

Premier League 201920 season comes to a close What the outcomes mean for clubs and managers

Dean Smith in action on the final day of the Premier League. AP

"I'm emotional, pleased, proud - all the adjectives to go with it. It's a magnificent achievement," a jubilant Smith said.

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