It’s been a gruelling eight months and 11 days, but the 2020-21 Premier League season is finally done and dusted.
The compacted campaign kicked off on Sept. 12, 2020, just seven weeks after the 2019-20 term had finished, and plans for a winter break were scrapped in order to fit all the games in ahead of Euro 2020, which starts on June 11.
The cut and thrust may be over for another season, but we’re left with plenty of curious statistics, facts, records and trivia to sift through. Here’s our pick of the bunch.
Manchester City lift their 5th Premier League title! 🏆
What a team 👏 pic.twitter.com/brTQ4MU2vo
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 23, 2021
It’s not how you start, but how you finish
Manchester City completed a treble of men’s league titles this season by winning the Premier League, the PL2 title and the Under-18s Premier League. They were unable to complete the full clean sweep, however, as their women’s team finished second in the Women’s Super League, two points behind winners Chelsea.
Welcome to the club
City goalkeeper Zack Steffen is the first United States player to win the title, making him the first Premier League title-winning representative from the nation of more than 330 million people. Others who have been the first to achieve this for their countries include Javier Hernandez (Mexico), Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Mario Balotelli (Italy), Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) and Dimitar Berbatov (Bulgaria).
Of the 52 different nations that can claim a title-winning player since the Premier League era began in 1992, Iceland has the smallest population (357,000). That is courtesy of Eidur Gudjohnsen, who claimed back-to-back titles with Chelsea in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
Premier League regulations state that the club can distribute their 40 winners’ medals among coaches, players and officials as they see fit, provided that “every player who has made at least five Premier League appearances during the title-winning season gets one.” Like his fellow City keeper Scott Carson, Steffen played in one Premier League game this season Steffen had a medal around his neck during City’s title celebrations, but Carson is not pictured sporting one.
What a team 💙
Amazing to have all of you fans back in the stadium and celebrate with you 💯 One last game to go now! 👊🏾 pic.twitter.com/JoEy1XUbxv
— Zack Steffen (@zacksteffen_) May 23, 2021
Leaving in style
He left it late, but Sergio Aguero managed to bow out by breaking Wayne Rooney‘s Premier League record for the most goals scored with one club. Aguero netted twice against Everton on the final day of the season to take his tally to 184 league goals for City in his final appearance for the club, thus overtaking Rooney.
From zero to hero
Nathan Ake became a Premier League champion the very season after being relegated to the Championship as part of the Bournemouth side that finished 18th in 2019-20. This is a rare occurrence, especially for outfield players, with Roy Keane (relegated with Nottingham Forest in 1992-93, title winner with Manchester United in 1993-94) being the only other notable example.
Technically, the same applies to Danny Simpson, who played one game for Queens Park Rangers early in the 2014-15 before transferring to Leicester City, who went on to win the Premier League title in 2015-16. Harvey Elliott was with Liverpool in 2019-20, the season after being relegated with Fulham, although he missed out on a winner’s medal after making just two appearances in the league.
Several goalkeepers have managed the feat, with Tomasz Kuszczak picking up a Premier League winner’s medal in 2006-07 after making six appearances for Manchester United the season after being relegated with West Brom (2005-06). Ben Foster (relegated with Watford in 2005-06, won a title with Manchester United in 2006-07) and Ross Turnbull (down with Middlesbrough in 2008-09, won a title with Chelsea in 2009-10) both did likewise, though neither played regularly enough to be eligible for winners’ medals.
Back in the game
When Carson, 35, started in goal for Manchester City against Newcastle United on May 14, it marked the veteran keeper’s first Premier League appearance in a decade. Carson’s last top-flight outing came for West Brom in May 2011, coincidentally also against Newcastle.
That enormous gap of 3,645 days between appearances is unsurprisingly the longest between games for a goalkeeper in the entire history of the Premier League. Just to put that in some kind of perspective, Cristiano Ronaldo scored 325 goals during that time!
For the record, the longest overall gap between Premier League appearances for any player is the 4,173 days that separated Damien Delaney’s top-flight appearances between March 2002 and August 2013.
Good touch for a big man
Football eh. 𝐁𝐞𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐟𝐮𝐥.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 16, 2021
In the penultimate game of the season, Alisson became the first goalkeeper to score a competitive goal for Liverpool in the club’s grand 129-year history. The Brazil international is now one of six goalies to register a Premier League goal, and the first to do so with a header.
Caught slipping… again
Leicester City suffered a disappointing end to the 2020-21 campaign, missing out on Champions League qualification by a single point on the final day.
Just to compound matters, Brendan Rodgers’ side comfortably ended more days inside the top four (242) that any other club this season, only to see it slip away at the very end. The Foxes have spent 93% of the past two seasons (567 days in total) inside the top four, only to finish fifth on both occasions.
On the daily
Perhaps Leicester can take some solace in the fact that striker Kelechi Iheanacho became the first Premier League player ever to score on every day of the week in the same season.
Check out that ratio
Tottenham forward Gareth Bale averaged a goal every 84 minutes in the Premier League in 2020-21, a record only bettered once by a player to have made 10 or more appearances in a season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the only player to beat Bale’s ratio, having averaged a league goal every 71 minutes for Manchester United (12 goals in 19 appearances) back in their Treble-winning season of 1998-99.
Delighted to win these awards! Not possible without the team and staff throughout the season. 💙 pic.twitter.com/12kfT4LOfL
— Harry Kane (@HKane) May 23, 2021
Harry Kane finished top of both the Premier League goal-scoring and assist-making charts (23 goals, 14 assists), making the Tottenham striker only the second player to do so outright.
The only other player to achieve the feat was Andy Cole of Manchester United in 1993-94 (34 goals, 13 assists).
Joe Willock proved instrumental as Newcastle United stormed away from the relegation mire to secure a remarkable 12th-place finish by winning five of their last eight games.
The 21-year-old midfielder scored in seven consecutive games as Newcastle powered up into midtable, matching a club record set by Alan Shearer in 1996, a quarter of a century ago. The Arsenal loanee, who began his streak against Tottenham in early April, is also the youngest player in Premier League history to score in seven successive games.
Willock now has scored more Premier League goals (7) for Newcastle than teammate Joelinton (6) has mustered, despite the former only opening his account on April 17. Joelinton signed for a club-record £40m transfer fee in July 2019.
A new low for Carlo
In slumping to a 5-0 drubbing against Manchester City on the final day, Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti suffered his largest margin of defeat in his entire 1,167-game managerial career. It was also the heaviest defeat ever inflicted on a manager who has previously won the European Cup on three occasions.
The kids are alright
Arsenal have still never lost a Premier League match in which a teenage player has scored for them. Last week’s 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace (during which 19-year-old Gabriel Martinelli scored) saw the record extended to 60 games, of which the Gunners have won 50 and drawn 10.
Wood you believe it?
Wood is one of only seven players to have reached the 10-goal mark in each of the past four top-flight seasons, joining Kane, Salah, Jamie Vardy, Alexandre Lacazette, Son Heung-Min and Sadio Mane in the club.
No place like home?
Liverpool fans singing You’ll Never Walk Alone. Beautiful 🔊❤️
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 23, 2021
The 2020-21 Premier League season is the first in the history of England’s top-four divisions to see more away wins (153) than home wins (144). The lack of fans in stadiums certainly seems to have had an effect on the notion of “home advantage.”
The merry-go-round (almost) stops
The 2020-21 season saw just four managerial changes during the season, with Jose Mourinho (Tottenham), Chris Wilder (Sheffield United), Frank Lampard (Chelsea) and Slaven Bilic (West Brom) the only managers to lose their jobs. Sam Allardyce (West Brom), Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) and Nuno Espirito Santos (Wolves) all left their positions after the completion of the campaign.
This is lowest number of managerial changes witnessed during the same Premier League campaign since 2005-06 (three).