Nearly a full calendar year after it began, the unprecedented 2019-20 Premier League season has come to an end. For a variety of different reasons, it will never be forgotten. In chronological order, we review 10 memorable moments from a campaign that had a little bit of everything, and then some.
Wounded Norwich shock reigning champions
Sept. 14, 2019
No one saw this coming. Norwich City were missing eight first-team players with injury when Manchester City visited Carrow Road, while Pep Guardiola’s ensemble had netted 14 times in its opening four matches of the season.
But the Canaries engineered a famous 3-2 win through the selfless running and clinical finishing of Teemu Pukki, some disciplined defending from the likes of Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis, and the sprightliness of Todd Cantwell.
Overall, Daniel Farke’s starting XI cost a paltry £6.45 million – around £400 million less than City’s lineup.
Leicester lash nine past Southampton
Oct. 25, 2019
Leicester City delivered the most resounding result of the Premier League season in late October, showing no mercy in a historic 9-0 dismantling of Southampton. The scoreline equaled the league record for the largest-ever margin of victory, which was set 25 years ago by Manchester United.
Golden Boot winner Jamie Vardy unsurprisingly scored a hat-trick, while the typically goal-shy Ayoze Perez very surprisingly netted a treble of his own.
The Foxes’ season fell apart to a certain extent after that – they were second in the table at the time – but that spectacular display still warrants praise.
Pochettino axed by Spurs
Nov. 19, 2019
Tottenham made the stunning decision to fire beloved manager Mauricio Pochettino in November, just 171 days after the Argentine led the club to the Champions League final.
After lifting Spurs to new heights during his five-and-a-half-year spell in north London and turning them into a consistent threat near the top of the league table, the move was met with a mix of outrage and confusion.
Adding to the consternation was the hiring of polarizing bench boss Jose Mourinho as Pochettino’s replacement.
Liverpool’s master class in Leicester
Dec. 26, 2019
Amid a season of ascendant displays, this one stood out. Liverpool, fresh off adding the Club World Cup to their cabinet, delivered a breathtaking performance against a Leicester side that had been flying high.
In recording a 4-0 victory at the King Power Stadium, the Reds moved 13 points clear atop the table and simultaneously sent out a warning to the rest of the league: nobody was taking this title away from them.
“This, then, was an almost feudal display, imperious rulers against bereft subjects. No one else has made Leicester look so puny this season,” was how The Guardian’s Paul Doyle described it at the time. Spot on.
United make deadline-day swoop for … Ighalo?
Feb. 1, 2020
With Marcus Rashford injured and options limited up front, Manchester United made a shock last-minute deal for Odion Ighalo before the close of the January transfer window. The move raised more than a few eyebrows.
Ighalo, 31, had been toiling away in China since 2017, and his rushed signing was lamented by fans as further proof of United’s waning strength.
In fairness to the veteran Nigerian, though, he’s been more than serviceable during his surprise stint at Old Trafford, most notably for his work on the training ground; Ighalo’s taken on a mentorship role to help Anthony Martial develop into more of a penalty-box presence.
Reds stung by Hornets
Feb. 29, 2020
A true shocker. We’re still flabbergasted.
Liverpool, already the champions-elect, had serious aspirations of etching their name in history with an undefeated season. A February trip to lowly Watford, who were mired in the relegation zone and hadn’t won a game in over a month, was supposed to be a formality on the road to immortality.
But powered by the irrepressible Ismaila Sarr, the Hornets rose to the occasion, thumping the Reds 3-0 at Vicarage Road. Seriously, how?
Season halted amid pandemic
March 13, 2020
More than any singular event on the field, the unprecedented circumstances that led to football’s shutdown will always define the 2019-20 season.
With concerns growing – rightfully so – over the necessity and value of staging sporting events during a pandemic, Arsenal announced March 12 that manager Mikel Arteta had tested positive for COVID-19. Hours later, Chelsea confirmed that winger Callum Hudson-Odoi had also contracted the disease.
Professional football in England was suspended the following day and didn’t resume for over three months.
Technology blunder on Premier League return
June 17, 2020
Some Aston Villa fans will suggest dubious decisions earlier in the campaign meant they were due some luck, but there’s no doubting that technology favored the Birmingham club after the restart.
Twenty-five days before Crystal Palace’s Mamadou Sakho peculiarly had a goal against Dean Smith’s side ruled out for a handball, Villa reopened the Premier League campaign by hosting Sheffield United. And they should’ve lost.
Hapless Villa ‘keeper Orjan Nyland clearly carried the ball over his own line following a collision with teammate Keinan Davis, but it wasn’t detected by goal-line technology and VAR failed to correct the non-call. Villa got away with it and, as a result, took a valuable point in their survival bid.
Liverpool end 30-year drought
June 25, 2020
They did it. They finally did it.
Liverpool ended a 30-year wait for English supremacy, romping to the title amid a dominant campaign. The season was short on drama at the top of the table – such was the dominance of Jurgen Klopp’s side – and in that way, perhaps it was fitting that the Reds weren’t actually on the pitch when they mathematically clinched.
But the manner in which the silverware arrived was never important. Liverpool are champions of England again. It’s about time.
Villa disarm the Gunners
July 21, 2020
Aston Villa, who looked hapless for so long – particularly defensively – sprung to life when all the chips were down. With relegation increasingly likely, they pulled off a stunning 1-0 win over Arsenal in their penultimate match of the campaign.
Coupled with Watford’s defeat against Manchester City, it allowed Jack Grealish and Co. to climb out of the bottom three for the first time in months.
They finished the job on the final day of the season, avoiding a drop to the second tier that had looked like a surefire bet for much of the year.