Euro 2020 Special

Premier League: Mad For It In Manchester

The Blue Moon has risen again as Manchester City celebrated their third Premier League title in four years, winning the 2020/21 competition by a clear 12 points and ending the campaign with a stunning 5-0 victory over Everton.

It was an emotional day for City fans who bade a fond farewell to scoring sensation Sergio Aguero who made his final appearance for the Sky Blues. The Argentine striker came on in the 65th minute and scored a quick-fire double, to the delight of the fans in the Eithad Stadium. The league title has been added to City’s Carabao Cup win and they can complete an historic treble when they play Chelsea in the Champions League final next week.

The Premier League 2021 betting odds here at SBOTOP backed Pep Guardiola’s all stars from the moment they embarked on a spectacular run in November, after a slow start had left them with some catching up to do. The 12 point gap to second placed Manchester United is in no way flattering as the Sky Blues have been simply sensational in 2021.

Red Devils fans too can be happy with their team’s endeavours this season, as they finished five points clear of Liverpool in third. And head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has guided United to a Europa League final against Villarreal on Wednesday, so he rested a few players for their final game of the league season, away to Wolves. The Red Devils won to become only the fourth team in history to complete a top flight season unbeaten away from home.

It’s been a good year for Manchester in the English league, and within the next six days the city might just have conquered Europe too!


Cream rises to the top

For a brief couple of days, in April, the Premier League 2021 news was overshadowed by a bombshell dropped by owners of 12 of Europe’s biggest clubs who had schemed to break away from domestic football to form a European Super League. The idea was anything but super according to UEFA, several governments, fans and some players; and the idea went up in smoke, for now anyway.

Premier League: Thomas Tuchel's men Chelsea qualify for the next season's Champions League
Thomas Tuchel during Chelsea’s match against Aston Villa

For a while afterwards fans scoffed at the idea that England’s ‘Big Six’ were anything special as the two Manchester clubs plus Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal tried to win back favour, while neutral fans hoped to see them fall flat on their faces. But by the end of the campaign, only Leicester City and West Ham, in fifth and sixth, could break up the six teams which attempted to break up the order of football.

The Foxes, for a second season running, looked nailed on for a top four place and West Ham were in the frame to. But a late run from Liverpool and Thomas Tuchel’s rejuvenation of Chelsea edged them both out and they will contest the 2021/22 Europa League.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool looked in disarray when they were seven points adrift of the top four, but a ten match unbeaten run and 26 points from a possible 30 lifted the Reds into third place. Meanwhile Tuchel took Chelsea from 10th place, in January to a fourth placed finish and, with 2020 signings Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz with a season under their belts, they could pose a serious threat next season. The Blues can, of course, become champions of Europe if they beat Manchester City, which they have done twice recently, in the league and the FA Cup.


Foxes run out of steam…again

You have to feel sorry for Leicester who finished fifth for the second season running after spending almost the entre campaign in the top four. Defeat to Spurs on the final day was a cruel blow, especially after the Foxes had led twice through two Jamie Vardy penalties. A catastrophic own goal from Kasper Schmeichel sparked a comeback from Spurs as Gareth Bale scored two late goals to fire Spurs into the Europa Conference league, leaving Arsenal in eighth in the process, and out of Europe for the first time in half a century.

Leicester fans can console themselves with the memory of their 2021 FA Cup triumph to add to their 2016 Premier League title…not bad for a small club!

For the rest, a fast start really matters

While teams at the top of the table made a late run to grab vital places there was no such drama at the bottom end. Perennial strugglers Newcastle United and Brighton started quickly, and that gave them enough breathing space to stay out of trouble.

Sheffield United, West Brom and Fulham all made slow starts, along with Burnley, but while the Clarets found their form in time to be mathematically safe with three games to go, the other three stayed put in the relegation zone, and none of them achieved 30 points.

Though they finished 11 points above the drop zone, Burnley will need to add to their threadbare squad or they could have another below par campaign next term. But it’s going to tough, as ever, for the three promoted teams. Norwich City and Watford have bounced straight back and the Championship play-off final pitches Brentford and Swansea together.

The Bees are aiming for their first season in the top flight and the chance to play against the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool.

It’s the biggest prize in football!