The just concluded league campaign provided some of the best football we have seen with gripping stories right through the way.
From beach balls to kung-fu kicks, the English Premier League has always been one of the biggest footballing spectacles that the world had to offer. However, the 2018-2019 season was important for several other reasons.
We at Khel Now walk you through the top five reasons for why this season of the Premier League has been exactly what English football needed.
5. The rise of Liverpool and Wolves
The 2013-2014 season was the first one since the inception of the Premier League that did not finish with either Arsenal or Manchester United in the top two positions. While the league has always maintained its reputation of unpredictability, it was starting to get a little predictable.
This season has been anything but that. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side exceeded all expectations as they took off attempting to steal the title out of the hands of the cup holders, Manchester City. Klopp joined Liverpool after the departure of the former boss, Brendan Rodgers and walked into a side that was lacking in quality, talent and prospects.
A series of smart signings, investment from the owners and trust in the manager came to fruition this season as we were treated to one of the most brilliant attacking sides that the Premier League has witnessed.
It was a heroic run in the Championship in 2017-18
Perhaps the most inspiring story of the league, Wolverhampton Wanderers. The newly promoted team showed spirit, determination, and proof that a well-handled club could do wonders in any environment. The 2018-2019 season showed that the essence of the Premier League is well and truly alive.
The likes of Ruben Neves, Jota and Raul Jiminez have been attracting attention from all over Europe and are a testament to Wolves’ resolve in backing their manager financially.
4. A defender winning the PFA POTY after 15 years
It was the great Sir Alex Ferguson that said that attack wins you games while defence wins you titles. The fact that the last defender to win the Player of the Year title was John Terry, 15 seasons ago, shows just how criminally underrated they are.
However, Virgil Van Dijk‘s stellar performances in the heart of the Liverpool defence for an entire season earned him the trophy and got one back for the defenders.
Van Dijk went the entirety of the season without being dribbled past and was instrumental in his side’s push in both the Premier League and in European competitions. He also contributed to Liverpool’s 22 clean sheets this season, a stellar return for the Merseyside club.
3. Spending does not guarantee success
While it may be true in other leagues, it certainly is not in the English Premier League. The primary example of this would have to be Fulham FC. Making no less than 11 signings on their return to the top flight, amounting to sums exceeding €112m, Fulham FC were expected to carry on their stellar Championship form into the Premier League.
The Summer 2018 signings by Fulham FC
However, six months and a manager later, it became evident that something was wrong down at Craven Cottage. The club were relegated from the Premier League and now face the daunting depths of Championship football yet again.
Manchester United are another club that are guilty of spending to no avail. The club spent €50m on the signing of Fred while ignoring the other gaping holes in the side.
This season of the Premier League has shown more than ever that a club that trusts its roots, its academy and the foundation on which it is built and the direction in which the manager sees the club going, is far more likely to succeed than one that just opts to throw money at their problems.
2. Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur: Fighting against the odds
Newcastle and Tottenham are two of the greats of the English game. However, in recent years the ambitions of the two clubs have changed considerably. Newcastle face struggles to stay in the league while Tottenham face struggles to win it.
However, the 2018-2019 season saw neither club delve into the transfer market with too much conviction for varying reasons. Newcastle’s struggles with their owner, Mike Ashley meant that the club were severely tied up financially.
Tottenham did not do any business in the previous two transfer windows and yet are in the UCL Final and finished at the 4th place in the Premier League
Tottenham’s new stadium meant the same for them. Both clubs have however risen up against all odds and gave good account of themselves this season and that is what the league is all about.
Tottenham’s success comes from their tightly knit squad and their manager who knows exactly how to treat each player to get the best out of them. Their rise to the champions league final is a testament to just this.
Newcastle United’s best players this season have been Ayoze Perez and Solomon Rondon. Perez was brought to Tyneside from the second division of the Spanish League due to financing constraints.
Rafa Benitez has done an incredible job in managing to keep his side up despite the constraints in what is the richest league in the world.
1. Waves against racism
Perhaps the most important thing that the 2018-2019 season has brought us had been the fight back against the virus that is racism. This was not just restricted to the English game but to football in the world over.
When Raheem Sterling finally decided to fight back against racism, rivalries and points tables went out the window. The footballing fraternity united as one and when that happens, things get a little better. It showed that every time someone was brave enough to stand up for something they believed in, the world becomes a better place
This is something that involves us all. It does not matter if you’re the Player of the Year in England or a little 17-year-old in Italy, spreading his arms out wide in protest, we’re all the same and it’s football that unites us.