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Things we learned from a Premier League season like no other

The 2019-20 Premier League season will go down in history for a number of reasons, both good and bad.

Liverpool won their first title in 30 years, and a long old campaign finished 352 days after it began due to the three-month coronavirus shutdown.  

Now it’s time to take a look back at the things we learned, both pre and post-lockdown, from a year of football like no other… 

Where better to start than with a success story in the North West, where Mason Greenwood has enjoyed a remarkable breakthrough campaign. While many will look back at the season with negative memories, for one 18-year-old it has been nothing but positive.

He started the season as a youngster who promised a lot but hadn’t yet played much football, and he finishes it with 10 Premier League goals and the brightest of futures ahead of him.

At the beginning of the campaign, he was getting little time on the pitch, four minutes against Chelsea and then one minute away at Wolves. In recent weeks though, he has been one of the first names on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team-sheet. 

This week, Alan Shearer claimed the youngster could break his Premier League goals record ‘in 12 or 13 years’. A big claim, but watch this space…

It has been a bruising campaign for Manchester City and Pep Guardiola, who were usurped at the top of the tree by the always-impressive Liverpool. 

City will go again next season, but one thing that has become abundantly clear is that they’re going to have to buy reinforcements if they are to reclaim the title and knock the Reds off their perch next season.

While David Silva’s exit will not concern too many people after the emergence of Phil Foden, there are still question marks over other positions. Centre-back has been a problem position for some time and there is talk of Kalidou Koulibaly coming through the door at the Etihad.

Whatever happens, it looks likely that the chequebook will be out again this summer in the blue half of Manchester. 

It was a difficult season for Spurs under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho, whose time in north London has perhaps not been as successful as he would have liked.

They have climbed the league but Mourinho has failed to put his stamp on the team as they would have hoped and expected. Going into the summer, they will be restricted financially and next season is vitally important.

Will they slump further away from the top four, or will Mourinho pull off the best turnaround of his managerial career? We’ve seem him perform miracles before… so is this to be the next? 

The months of March, April and May posed the Premier League the most difficult questions they had ever been asked. From deciding when to call off their games to working out exactly how they could get the season finished.

After much to-ing and fro-ing, and with plenty of video conferences along the way, it was brilliantly handled and much credit must be given to the Premier League for getting back up and running without too much of a hitch.

Of course, it would have been better with fans but needs must and they have made the best of a terrible situation. If we’ve learned one thing about the Premier League, it’s that the show must go on, no matter what happens. 

It’s been an incredible season for the likes of Sheffield United and Burnley, who have spent less money than those around them but are still managing to mix it with the big boys.

Chris Wilder’s Blades, in particular, enjoyed a ridiculous season in which they secured Europa League football in their first season back in the top flight. They didn’t spend big bucks, but created a team ethos that was difficult to beat for many of their opponents.

They – and Burnley – have proved that sometimes you can do a lot worse than creating a togetherness within your squad. Thriving off their underdog status, they have achieved more than they could possibly have dreamed.

Although the Premier League’s return was a success, even down to the canned crowd noise in the background, there’s something strange about watching games with empty stands behind the players.

When looking back at the 2019-20 season, it will be a tale of two halves – one with fans and one without – and there’s no doubt which part will be more fondly remembered. 

Football isn’t quite football without the supporters who pay their money to be there week in, week out and hopefully football clubs will have learned that during the post-coronavirus restart. 

When Frank Lampard arrived at Chelsea, even his cousin Jamie Redknapp was quick to dampen fans’ spirits, noting: ‘If you think Frank Lampard’s team should finish in the top four and win a cup, you’re deluded.’

Well, fast forward a year and Chelsea are in the FA Cup final and secured a top-four finish in their last game of the season on Sunday afternoon. Not even his nearest and dearest expected a result quite like that.

The England legend has proved that he can be the man for years to come, and with a young and exciting squad, the Blues could well be a formidable force at the top of the league sooner than many expected. 

After five seasons in the Premier League, Bournemouth’s luck has run out and they’re heading back down to the Championship. Eddie Howe impressed as boss but it appears the gloss has now rubbed off and the second tier beckons.

For a while, Howe was touted for a job much bigger than Bournemouth but he will accompany them down to the second tier with his reputation not quite at the levels it was a couple of seasons ago.

In truth, despite being seen as ‘plucky’ by many, Bournemouth have spent big on the likes of Jefferson Lerma (£25m), Nathan Ake (£20m) and Dominic Solanke (£19m) and could be in a bit of financial trouble if they don’t come straight back up. 

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