What a frankly terrible year 2020 has been. From no football at all to games played out in empty stadia like it’s the only source of entertainment left in a post-apocalyptic world, the beautiful game has perhaps never endured such a testing period.
The good news, however, is that 2020’s almost over and the next calendar year can surely only get better. But before we pass the threshold into 2021, some reflection is in order. Here, GIVEMESPORT take a look back at every Premier League club’s last twelve months and rank them accordingly…
Sneaked their way to safety at the end of last season while employing a more expansive style of play under Graham Potter. But it’s all got a bit fancy football for fancy’s sake and the Seagulls have failed to kick on from their first campaign with the former Swansea boss at the helm.
With just one win in their last 14 games and little evidence to suggest Potter’s way of playing is any more efficient than Chris Hughton’s, don’t be surprised if the Brighton boss is the first manager to get the bullet in the new year.
37 points gained from 32 games played in 2020 pretty much sums up Newcastle’s year - just about good enough, but very little more than that. Magpies fans were treated to something of a run in the FA Cup as Steve Bruce’s side reached the quarter-finals, but overall it’s been another twelve months of pretty turgid football and limited ambition up on Tyneside.
Probably the best 2021 can bring is the end to another season in which Newcastle rarely look under threat of relegation, while never daring to really push for a place in the top half.
18. West Brom
Securing automatic promotion from the Championship with the fewest defeats of any side in the league certainly shouldn’t be downplayed - it’s a fantastic achievement for any team.
But West Brom have this knack of creating self-inflicted problems. They bizarrely decided to cash in on Ahmed Hegazi despite limited options at centre-back and just when Slaven Bilic appeared to be turning things around, the club opted to give the gaffer his marching orders.
Sam Allardyce has now come in and overseen their most embarrassing defeat of the campaign - a 5-0 loss to Leeds - and it’s starting to feel like groundhog day for a club that constantly bounces between the top two divisions.
17. Sheffield United
Last season ended well enough with 25 points taken from January onwards but the start to the new campaign has been nothing short of a complete disaster - just two points taken from 16 games and Carabao Cup elimination in the second round.
The summer signings have failed to deliver and Wilder-ball has either been found out by the rest of the Premier League or simply doesn’t have the same effect without thousands of baying Blades fans cheering Sheffield United on.
With just eight goals scored so far, the Bramall Lane outfit will do well to simply not break the Premier League’s most unfortunate records while slumping back into the Championship.
Nonetheless, considering Sheffield United defied expectations to not only get into the Premier League but also stay there last season, there has at least been some high points of 2020.
16. Crystal Palace
One of the biggest strugglers post-lockdown with seven defeats from the last nine games of the season and also managed to crash out of the FA Cup to Derby County in January.
However, Palace did hang onto Wilfried Zaha in the summer and have surrounded him with plenty of attacking talent this season in Eberchi Eze, Christian Benteke, Andros Townsend and Jeff Schlupp. That’s resulted in some big wins over Manchester United, Leeds and West Brom this season but the victories have dried up of late - no wins in their last five.
Overall, it’s been a so-so year for Palace and it feels like they’ve ended up back where they’ve started, despite a slightly more ambitious approach.
A brilliant start to 2020 after a frankly dire second half of 2019, with only two defeats in the Premier League from mid-January until the end of last season. This term began pretty rocky after perhaps the worst summer transfer window of any Premier League side, but Sean Dyche has managed to steady the ship in recent weeks, Burnley only losing twice in their last nine games.
The club takeover is set to be completed this week, which suggests a big 2021 ahead. But be careful what you wish for, Clarets fans - money doesn’t always bred success.
14. Manchester City
Finished a long way off Liverpool in last season’s title race, were eliminated from the Champions League by rank outsiders Lyon and lost to Arsenal in the FA Cup, while this term performances have been decisively flat. The former champions sit a lowly eighth in the Premier League with just one more goal scored than Palace.
David Silva departed in the summer and has since proved at Real Sociedad that he’s actually got a fair bit left in the tank, while Sergio Aguero appears to be on his last legs.
A Carabao Cup final victory, Pep Guardiola’s new contract and escaping a Champions League ban are the only silver linings from a largely tough year at the Etihad, but for a club with such wealth, talent and experience at it’s disposal, frankly that isn’t good enough.
An underwhelming year by the high standards Wolves have set for themselves, with the exception of making it to the quarter-finals of the Europa League. Early elimination from the domestic cups, a mediocre end to last season and some way off the pace so far this term with seven defeats suffered already.
Diogo Jota’s gone, Adama Traore’s struggling for goal involvements and Raul Jimenez is now a long-term absentee. 2020 has clearly seen Wolves take a step back in what is proving to be a transition period for Nuno Santo’s team, but they should also be grateful for what they have - Pedro Neto is one of the most promising youngsters around, and 25-year-old Daniel Podence is a handy player as well.
Promotion via the playoffs and subsequently the most unlikely music collaboration of all time between Scott Parker and The Streets. Premier League football was a real shock to the system with five defeats in their first six games, but the Cottagers have managed to steady the ship since then with an unspectacular but somewhat consistent trickle of points.
They’ve now got a fighting chance of beating the drop and considering the squad is hardly awash with proven Premier League talent, expecting anything more from them would be overstepping the mark. All things considered, a strong calendar year.
A disastrous end to last season saw Leicester miss out on the top four after picking up just 20 points from 18 games, as well as losing to Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-final.
They failed to progress beyond the third round in this season’s Carabao Cup but Premier League form has been a lot more encouraging with the Foxes currently in third place and just about within touching distance of Liverpool.
The Midlands side are also through to the Europa League knockout rounds where they face Slavia Prague and have notched plenty of big wins on their proverbial bedpost, chiefly over Arsenal, Man City and Spurs, which is made all the more impressive considering the injury problems they’ve had to deal with.
Nonetheless, how 2020 began can’t be ignored and it’s really been a year of two halves for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Chelsea can have few complaints about how Frank Lampard’s first season in charge ended - an FA Cup final and Champions League qualification despite not signing anybody for two consecutive transfer windows.
However, Lampard’s masterplan to flood his squad with top-draw talent this summer, at a cost of £222m, has started to backfire on him. Chelsea have lost three of their last five and are now behind Villa in the table.
Pressure seems to be mounting on the Blues boss to turn things around quickly and he goes into 2021 not sure of what his strongest starting XI actually is. 2020 has been a step in the right direction overall, but not quite far enough to be considered a resounding success.
A strong end to last term that saw Arsenal pick up 32 points from 18 games and beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final has been juxtaposed by a horrific start to the new season, which has made discussion of Arsenal’s survival hopes a running joke amongst English pundits.
Constant murmurs of dressing room unrest and the Gunners’ most experienced players continually failing to deliver (we’re looking at you, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Granit Xhaka and Willian) have seriously undermined Mikel Arteta, but shoots of a much brighter future are emerging through an incredibly promising batch of youngsters.
Surely Bakayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli can only make 2021 a more encouraging year for Arsenal.
8. Manchester United
The Red Devils really thrived after lockdown with the second-most points of any Premier League side, but they couldn’t get past the semi-finals of the FA Cup or the Europa League - losing to Arsenal and Sevilla respectively.
A very underwhelming summer transfer window was followed by a frighteningly poor start to the season, but Manchester United haven’t actually lost in the Premier League since November and somehow emerged as arguably the likeliest side to challenge Liverpool for the title.
However, missing out on the Champions League’s knockout rounds was a major disappointment and it still feels as though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is only ever a few defeats away from his job being on the line, with even Manchester United’s most hard-fought of victories having the pundits moaning.
Deeming 2020 a bad year for United would be a little harsh, but it hasn’t been particularly good either when compared to the club’s historic standards.
The year of Jose Mourinho; new styles of football, new types of player and certainly a new kind of manager. There wasn’t a great deal to write home about in the second half of last season; Spurs lost to Norwich in the FA Cup, were embarrassed by Leipzig in the Champions League and could only manage sixth in the top flight.
But this season has been much better, barring a recent drop in form, with Spurs well amongst the chasing pack and claiming huge results against their most important rivals, chiefly Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal.
They’ve also got a great chance of making the Carabao Cup final with Brentford drawn in the semis, so 2021 could see Spurs’ first trophy for some time. Overall, a year of progress ahead of what could be a very exciting 2021.
6. West Ham
The second coming of David Moyes has seen West Ham steer clear of relegation, pull of two decent transfer windows and start this season with a very respectable 23 points from 16 games.
A three-goal comeback against Spurs won’t be forgotten in a hurry either, although the Irons’ consistent inconsistency in looking fantastic against top teams and decisively average against decisively average ones continues to plague them.
Having got past the fifth round just once in the last nine years, surely West Ham’s relative comfort in the Premier League this season obliges a proper go at the FA Cup.
In comparison to recent years, though, it’s been a steady twelve months at the London Stadium.
Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment in December 2019 has had a transformative effect on Everton, with the Toffees picking up the seventh-most points of any Premier League side this calendar year.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been moulded into one of the Premier League’s most feared front-men while even recent injuries to James Rodriguez and Lucas Digne have only slowed Everton down temporarily.
Reaching this season’s Carabao Cup quarter-final was another mark of Everton’s progress so don’t be surprised if we see an FA Cup run in 2021, or for that matter qualification for Europe. They are fourth in the table, after all. A very strong year at Goodison.
2020 has really been Southampton’s year with the fifth-most points gained of any Premier League side and despite dropping to ninth in the table they’re still well in the mix for a Champions League spot, let alone Europa League qualification.
Jannik Vestergaard has been transformed into the Danish Virgil van Dijk, Danny Ings can’t stop scoring and even Theo Walcott’s enjoying a new lease of life at St. Mary’s.
However, only making the fourth round of last season’s FA Cup should be regarded as a disappointment, as well as elimination from this term’s Carabao Cup at the hands of Brentford.
More to show for their vast improvements would have Saints’ 2020 rated even higher.
3. Aston Villa
Reached the Carabao Cup final and escaped relegation on the final day of the 2019/20 season - you can’t expect much more from a newly promoted side, even if they did spend a pretty outrageous amount of money in the summer transfer window.
This season, Villa have emerged as one of the Premier League’s most enjoyable teams to watch and become a genuinely fearless side, something their 7-2 demolition of champions Liverpool paid direct testament to.
Jack Grealish has also managed to establish himself as England’s most loveable wrong’en, his contrast of off-field antics with on-pitch genius even winning over Gareth Southgate. Don’t bet against them for Europa League qualification.
A first league title in 30 years and their first of the Premier League era speaks for itself, even if Liverpool did have to celebrate it in a completely empty stadium. Jurgen Klopp’s side are back on top again this term and with the rest of the Premier League’s elite teams struggling for one reason or another, back-to-back titles looks more likely than not.
However, cup competitions have been disappointing: Liverpool lost to Chelsea in the FA Cup, Atletico in the Champions League and Arsenal in this season’s Carabao Cup. Easily one of the top teams in Europe, Liverpool should be doing a little better in that respect.
Nonetheless, the Reds have battled through the most debasing of injury crises to end 2020 on relatively strong footing, most notably a 7-0 demolition of Palace. It still feels as though they haven’t quite hit top gear in the Premier League this season, however, so maybe we’ll get to see that in 2021.
Won the Championship ten points clear of the rest of the league with Bielsa-ball easily dispensing of the second tier after a near-miss in the playoffs the season previous. The Yorkshire outfit have since established themselves as the Premier League’s resident wildcards, winning as many games as they’ve lost and scoring as many goals as they’ve conceded.
They’re capable of beating anyone or losing to anyone on any given day, which makes Leeds both incredibly exciting for the neutrals and rather fearsome for whoever they face. It’s been twelve months of huge success at Elland Road and few sides in English football have done as much to entertain the public as the Whites over the last year.News Now - Sport News