The curtain was drawn on the 2019-20 English Premier League season as the most unusual campaign in living memory came to a dramatic climax on Sunday.
Manchester United and Chelsea beat Leicester and Wolverhampton Wanderers with similar 2-0 scorelines respectively to win the battle for the two remaining Champions League spots behind champions Liverpool and Manchester City.
At the other end of the table, three teams entered the final day fighting for one survival spot but it was Aston Villa who survived the drop with a 1-1 draw with Everton.
Watford lost their topflight status with a 3-2 defeat at Arsenal and Bournemouth’s five-year stay in the Premier League came to an end despite a spirited 3-1 win over Everton at Goodison Park. Both teams will join Norwich City in next season’s Championship.
Meanwhile, champions Liverpool beat Newcastle to finish the season with 99 points but Manchester City’s 5-0 thumping of Norwich in David Silva’s last game in the English topflight ensured they finished 18 points behind the Reds meaning Liverpool couldn’t set a new record for the highest points difference between first and second (19).
Here’s a look at the most outstanding individual players in the 2019-20 Premier League season.
Top Scorer: Jamie Vardy, 23 Goals (Leicester City)
The Leicester City striker became the oldest player to win the Premier League Golden Boot and took the gong despite failing to score on the final day as Leicester lost 2-0 to Manchester United to miss out on a Champions League place.
Vardy, 33, finished the season with 23 goals. a goal clear of Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Southampton striker Danny Ings, who both bagged 22.
He becomes the ninth English player to win or share the Golden Boot.
It wasn’t the former England striker’s highest ever haul in a single season as he scored 24 goals in 2015-16, Leicester’s title-winning season but missed out that time to Harry Kane’s 25.
Top Playmaker: Kevin De Bruyne, 20 Assists (Manchester City)
The Manchester City ace signed off the season by equalling Arsenal legend’s Thierry Henry’s long-held record for the most assists in a single Premier League season.
De Bruyne, 29, created his 20th league goal of the 2019-20 campaign when he set up Raheem Sterling during the 5-0 win against Norwich on Sunday.
That brought him level with Henry’s total from 2002-03.
The Belgian’s previous best was 18, set in 2016-17, and he now has a total of 66 assists in 154 Premier League games which places him in 15th place on the all-time Premier League assists list.
He is still some way off the record, though, which is held by Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs with 162.
Most Assists In A Single Premier League Season
|1. Kevin de Bruyne (Man City)||2019-20||20|
|1. Thierry Henry (Arsenal)||2002-03||20|
|3. Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)||2015-16||19|
|4. Kevin de Bruyne (Man City)||2016-17||18|
|4. Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea)||2014-15||18|
|4. Frank Lampard (Chelsea)||2004-05||18|
|7. Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal)||2007-08||17|
|8. Eric Cantona (Man Utd)||1992-93||16|
|8. Kevin de Bruyne (Man City)||2017-18||16|
Golden Glove: Ederson, 16 Clean Sheets (Manchester City)
Manchester City may have ended the season empty-handed after putting up a limp title defence, two of their players, however, claimed individual honours with Ederson ending the campaign as the league’s top goalie.
The Brazilian kept his 16th shutout of the season in the 5-0 thrashing of Norwich City to pip Burnley’s Nick Pope to the Golden Glove award.
Both shot-stoppers were tied on 15 clean sheets apiece heading into the final day but Pope conceded in Burnley’s 2-1 defeat against Brighton.
Ederson claims the award for the first time after being the runner-up in each of his first two Premier League campaigns, firstly finishing behind David De Gea in 2017/18, then compatriot Alisson last season.
Alisson (Liverpool), De Gea (Manchester United), Dean Henderson (Sheffield United), Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City) and Rui Patricio (Wolverhampton Wanderers) all finished joint-third with 13 clean sheets in 2019/20.
The Golden Glove has only ever been won by keepers of Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal and Manchester United since it’s inception in 2004-05.
Chelsea’s Peter Cech won the inaugural award in 2004-05 with 24 clean sheets, a record that still stands although Alisson last season and Edwin van der Sar in 2008-09 came closest to breaking it with 21 shutouts apiece.
Cech and former City goalie Joe Hart have won the most Golden Glove awards with four apiece.
And…. David Luiz Sets Unwanted Record
Most records are achievements to be proud off but Brazilian centre-back David Luiz might not be too chuffed with his latest milestone after he became the owner of one of the most unwanted records in the Premier League.
Luiz has endured a torrid maiden season at the Emirates and made yet another error on the final day against Watford when he conceded his fifth penalty of the season.
The Gunners were cruising with a 3-0 lead courtesy of goals from Pierre Emerick-Aubamayang and Kieran Tierney before Luiz clattered into Danny Welbeck in the box to concede a clear penalty just before the interval.
It meant that Luiz has now given away an incredulous five penalties this season – a Premier League record for a single player in one season.
The former Chelsea defender had held the unwanted record with seven other players – Ken Monkou, Luc Nijholt, Claus Lundekvam, Ibrahima Sonko, Gary Caldwell and Jose Fonte – before claiming it outright on Sunday.
In fact, the Brazilian has now managed to concede more penalties on his own than ten clubs – Southampton, Palace, Man City, Man Utd, Sheffield United, Wolves, Brighton, Chelsea, Newcastle and Liverpool.
His record is all the more remarkable as he had only given away three penalties during his 160 Premier League matches for Chelsea before this season.
The 33-year-old didn’t have the best of starts at the Emirate and conceded two penalties in his first four matches for the Gunners.
After less than assured campaign before the coronavirus lockdown, Luiz returned with an absolute disasterclass in the defeat to Man City.
Substituted into the match, Luiz was at fault for two goals and gave away a penalty, as well as being sent off in the defeat at the Etihad.
A week later he and Arsenal agreed to a new one-year contract.
Mikel Arteta would certainly hope for a less error-strewn display from the Brazilian next season if the Gunners are to achieve anything of note.