How the Final Day of the 2020/21 Premier League Season Unfolded


The English Premier League is arguably the greatest sporting competition on the planet. Last season was a whirlwind of emotions as Liverpool dethroned reigning champions Manchester City to claim their first league title in thirty years, and first of the Premier League era. Sadly, their fans did not get to celebrate with their team as the coronavirus pandemic had the country on lockdown.

Move forward one season, and whilst not at capacity, some fans were allowed back into stadiums at various portions of the season. But once again Liverpool fans wouldn’t be there to witness their team lift the Premier League trophy. Despite being the Premier League odds on favourites to win back-to-back titles; numerous injuries and a poor run of form meant that it was their rivals down the M56, Manchester City, who would reclaim the trophy the scouse army had taken from them the year before.

A strange old season

It has been a crazy season to say the least. The majority of games were played in empty stadiums, with artificial fan noise  being utilized in games aired on television. The number of fixtures being confined into a shorter period of time, due to the delays of last year and in order to finish before the European Championships in the summer, was another oddity.

Games have come thick and fast, injuries have piled up, and controversy struck up with the announcing of a European Super League. Despite it sounding like a bit of a soap opera, the game we all love prevailed, and it has been another rollercoaster of a season.

But how did it all unfold on the final day?

pep guardiola

A day of mixed emotions for Manchester City

The final day was one that Manchester City fans were both looking forward to, and dreading at the same time. With the title sewn up a few games back due to Manchester United’s challenge collapsing during the final few weeks of the season, City fans knew they would get to see their team lift the Premier League title. But it was also going to be the last time they’d see club legend Sergio Aguero play for their side.

He’s the man who scored the most important goal in the club’s history. The goal scored in the last seconds of extra time against Queens Park Rangers on Championship Sunday that clinched Manchester City their first Premier League title back in 2012. It was time for him to call an end to his stint with the club that he joined ten years change ago.

The manager gave him the opportunity to start, but Aguero himself made the decision to start from the bench. Possibly with a thought in his mind that he wanted to stay fresh for the upcoming Champions League final against Chelsea next weekend.

But Aguero did make an appearance, as a second half substitute. And he rolled back the years as he put in a fine display, scoring two quality goals against an extremely poor Everton side who missed out on a qualifying place in European competitions next season.

It was almost like every City player on the pitch was trying to get the ball to Aguero to ensure he capped off his career with a goal. And whilst he broke Wayne Rooney’s record for the number of Premier League goals scored for one club, he sadly couldn’t find a third for the perfect send-off that would have seen him leaving with the match ball.

After the final whistle blew, fans began chanting his name. The trophy lift was done, but you knew the celebrations weren’t over. An on-pitch ceremony began as the fans and the club showed the appreciation for one of the club’s greatest ever players. Video messages played on the big screen from past players, managers and friends. He was in tears, the fans were in tears, even Pep Guardiola, usually not one to show emotion, was sobbing in his interviews after the game.

So whilst it was a happy day for Manchester City fans, it was also one of much sadness as they said goodbye to their Argentinian striker. Although he could yet make one final performance in the Champions League final next week before he officially announces his move to Barcelona next season.

The battle for Europe

With relegation certified for all three teams at the bottom of the Premier League, the only things left to fight for were places in next season’s European competitions. There were three clubs battling it out for Champions League qualification; Chelsea, Leicester and Liverpool, who took on Aston Villa, Tottenham and Crystal Palace respectively.

The previous weekend, Leicester had beaten Chelsea in the FA Cup final, winning the trophy for the first time in club history. They would then face each other 3 days later in the league, seeing Chelsea gain revenge on the East Midlands club and leapfrogging them in the table by a single point. All Chelsea had to do was better the result of the other two clubs and they would guarantee themselves 3rd spot. But Aston Villa caused an upset on the final day of the season, leaving the fate of Champions League qualification out of Chelsea’s hands.

For Liverpool, the Champions League seemed all but a very distant hope a few weeks back. Seven points off 4th place, with only a handful of games to go, it didn’t look like the Reds would be gracing Europe’s elite next season. But an improved form combined with the bizarre last minute winner scored by their keeper, Allison, against West Brom kept their hopes alive. And soon, they too were back in contention.

They started the day level on points with Leicester, who would’ve had to better Liverpool’s scoreline by 6 goals if they won. The day started well for the Foxes who took an early lead against Spurs. But Liverpool’s Sadio Mane kept them in contention thanks to a sublime finish. Leicester were then pegged back by a Harry Kane equaliser, before Jamie Vardy put them back in front with their second spot kick of the game.

With Chelsea losing, Leicester didn’t have to worry about Liverpool as long as they could hold out for the win. But sadly, for the second season in a row they collapsed on the final day, seeing them ship four goals against Spurs, and crushing their dreams of Champions League football next season.

Liverpool, unaware of what was going on elsewhere, just stuck to their gameplan, and Sadio Mane netted a brace which saw Liverpool not only clinch top four qualification for the Champions League, but also leapfrog Chelsea into 3rd.

Elsewhere, West Ham beat Southampton to claim their place in next season’s Europa League as they finished 6th, just a point behind a deflated Leicester team. The Foxes loss though will have been joy for Tottenham, whose win managed to net them the final European place up for grabs, as they become the first team to qualify for UEFA’s new Europa Conference League.

What next?

Besides the Manchester City and Chelsea squads, who meet in the Champions League final next week, and Manchester United who play in the Europa League final, it’s time for a well-earned break for the rest of the Premier League teams. Many will go on on international duty this summer with the delayed Euro 2020 tournament taking place this summer instead. The rest will be sure to wind down before preparations begin for next season.

With a fully fit squad back, could Liverpool reclaim their crown? Will Manchester City defend their title? Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain, next season will once again bring us another exciting campaign of football. And this time, fans will be back in the stadiums to enjoy it all.

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