Premier League is the most viewed league competition in the world that houses some of the best talents the sport has to offer. Every season is followed passionately by the fans of their respective clubs. Each club tries to match the ambitions of their supporters which results in fierce competition from top to bottom.
The ongoing 2020/21 season, however, is unique due to several factors. The matches are being played behind either closed doors or with 25% supporters in stadiums that fall under the relatively safer areas in England.
The pandemic has nullified the home advantage, and a lack of proper preseason has led to many unexpected results. Therefore, these factors and following five reasons explain why this will be the most unpredictable season of the Premier League:
Home advantage has become irrelevant
One of the most clear and unique characteristics of this particular campaign and some of the last year’s campaign as well, is the absence of the fans. Without the home advantage, the games are closely contested and have resulted in a lot of away victories.
Manchester United have won all of their six away games while only winning two out of seven home games at Old Trafford. Apart from Liverpool, every other team has already tasted defeat at their home ground at least once already. Therefore, without the backing of their fans, the home team loses an advantage which leads to unexpected results.
Ambitious clubs aiming to break the ‘top six’ hierarchy
For years, teams like Leicester City and Everton have tried to break into the ‘top six’ positions in the Premier League table. Both these outfits have started the season on a positive note and have constantly found themselves in the first six places. Everton, under Carlo Ancelotti, have found new vigour and will aim for a top-four finish this season.
Add Southampton into that mix who have exceeded their own expectations. The Saints have consistently stayed in the top half and their intention is to stay there through the course of the season. With traditional clubs like Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs struggling, the top six positions are open for new entrants.
Arsenal’s horrendous start to the season
Mikel Arteta is under immense scrutiny as his Arsenal side have started the season on a completely wrong foot. The Gunners have only collected 14 points, losing eight games already. This has left the Gunners in 15th place in the points table after 14 games, which is unprecedented.
Given the quality of their side, chances are the club will pick up their form and win a few games to climb up the ladder. However, in a topsy-turvy season, a top-half finish is becoming a realistic target for the outfit. Until then, Arsenal need to be careful to not get dragged in a relegation battle.
Inconsistency among the teams leading to frequent variations in points table
There is massive movement in the league table after every gameweek because the teams are very close to each other in terms of points. There are gainers and losers every week due to inconsistent and unpredictable results.
For example, after gameweek 12, Tottenham Hotspur were leading the table. However, after gameweek 14, Spurs find themselves at fifth place all of a sudden. This makes it very hard to predict the eventual outcome of the standings due to the lack of consistency in teams where everyone can beat anyone on the day.
With expected contenders dropping points frequently, league title open for the taking
While Liverpool sit at the top of the league standings after gameweek 14, it’s still a very average start from their usual standards. The Reds have drawn four times and lost 7-2 to Aston Villa earlier in the campaign, to everyone’s shock. With plenty of injuries also hampering their squad, the challenge to defend their title has become tougher than ever.
Their closest rivals in Manchester City have also gone off to a shaky start. Pep Guardiola’s men have already lost two and drawn five of their first 13 games, which eventually may lead to them finishing outside of ‘top four’ by the New Year.
This has completely left the title race wide open. There have been early talks of Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United possibly challenging for the trophy given the nature of the results. There are no clear favourites this time around which will certainly keep the viewers on the edge of their seats.