10. Crystal Palace
The Eagles opened play post lockdown with a 2-0 win over Bournemouth. This made them winners in four of their last five. Granted, four of those matches were three months ago. Still, the team has been in fine fettle for the majority of the season. Veteran Gary Cahill leads a backline that only conceded 32 goals in 30 matches. Manager Roy Hodgson’s job came under question last season. Former Swansea man Jordan Ayew came to his rescue as he currently leads Palace with eight goals. As always, tricky winger Wilfried Zaha keeps opposing defenses on their toes providing space in other areas of the pitch. While their football is far from attractive, Palace gets the job done. They will see the rest of the season out comfortably with no fears of relegation.
The 2019-2020 season may arguably be the worst season in Arsenal’s Premier League history. Last time the Gunners finished outside of the top six was 25 years ago in 1995 when they placed 12th. Enduring three managerial changes in just this season alone, the club has looked like a downward spiral ever since manager Arsene Wenger left following the 2017-2018 season. Since then, the former Premier League champions have fallen from grace. A defense plagued by mistakes sees itself getting battered game after game. Center backs David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi are both prone to lapses that often cost goals. While chaos and disappointment have surrounded the club, world class striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continues to score, having 17 to his name so far. Outside of Aubameyang’s goal contributions, this season will surely be one to forget for supporters of the club.
8. Sheffield United
Newly promoted Sheffield are on pace to finish in the top half of the league under Chris Wilder. In their first season in the top flight since 2006-2007, the Blades currently sit 7th and in competition for the Europa League spot. Goalkeeper and Manchester United loanee Dean Henderson’s heroics this season made him a trademark name not only in England but around the world. Thanks to him and a defensive playstyle, other clubs have only managed to score 28 goals against the team. Perhaps Sheffield’s most impressive stat is their lack of high profile transfers, leaving them with an extremely similar squad to that which played in the Championship last season. Even if the Blades fail to qualify for Europe, this season would have to be described as an overwhelming success for the City and the club.
7. Tottenham Hotspur
Similarly to their North London counterparts Arsenal, Tottenham’s season is a far cry from their expectations set by seasons past. Last year saw Spurs narrowly lose in the Champions League final. This year, they are lingering out of the top six and are in danger of failing to qualify for any European football at all. Despite falling to injury, Harry Kane still has 11 goals, doing his part in aiding the team. After a poor start led to Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking, renowned manager Jose Mourinho came in midway through the season in hopes of European qualification. With a lineup brimming with stars, it is hard to see Tottenham failing to reach the top six. However, Wolverhampton is in form and can finish above Tottenham. This season may not be a complete disaster yet, but it is surprising to see last year’s Champions League finalists barely hanging onto top six hopes.
6. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Continuing this season as the last left off, Wolves’ have aspirations to play European football for the second season in the row. Currently still in the Europa League, the team is brimming with squad depth. Their signings since being promoted in 2018 helped immensely. Attention this year at Molineux Stadium mainly surrounds former Barcelona winger Adama Traore’s devastating pace and strength combo. Furthermore, Raul Jimenez’ has 15 goals to lead the team. However, Wolves sit as high as they do in the table due to a strong squad that features players like Portuguese internationals Joao Moutinho and Rui Patricio. Nuno Espirito Santo’s men certainly can push for the top six, but getting past the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea will be a tough task.
Despite a transfer ban over last summer and the January window, Chelsea are in the running to play in Europe next season. Club legend Frank Lampard took over the manager role at the season’s start and hasn’t disappointed. Currently sitting 4th, Chelsea were never touted to win the league, or to even be in the top four when the campaign began. Their reliance upon young players finally showed the brilliance of the Chelsea academy.
The likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Reece James and Fikayo Tomori all show great promise and Lampard’s trust in them visibly increased as the season progressed. Along with a plethora of young talent, world renowned players like N’golo Kante still grace the pitch at Stamford Bridge. Their remaining schedule only has two teams in the bottom half of the table. Fourth place and Champions League qualification is in reach, but a tough schedule may hurt those chances.
4. Manchester United
Not much was expected out of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad as the season started. Summer signings that consisted of Championship and Swansea winger Daniel James along with an extremely overpriced, 90 million pound transfer for Harry Maguire made the team look like a disaster before play even began. Surprisingly enough, critics may have been proven wrong. Leading goalscorers Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial each have an impressive 14 strikes this season. Even with the goals, United’s most important moment of the season came with the January arrival of Portugese midfielder Bruno Fernandes. Since his arrival at Old Trafford, he has six goal contributions in just seven matches. The prolonged break allowed Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford to return from injury, bolstering the squad’s strength. A relatively easy fixture list with only one match against a top 10 side has fans hoping for Champions League football at Old Trafford once again
3. Leicester City
What a season it has been for the Foxes. Leicester’s status as a club was changed forever after their famous 2015-2016 Premier League title. High profile signings Ayoze Perez, Dennis Praet and Youri Tielemans headlined a summer transfer window applauded by fans and players alike. In their most successful season since the title winning campaign, Leicester look like established Champions League challengers despite only having been in the competition once before. Club legend Jamie Vardy leads the league with 19 goals at the ripe age of 33. Aiding Vardy is Leicester’s stout backline that has seen Ricardo Pereira, Ben Chillwell, Caglar Soyuncu and Jonny Evans evolve into one of the league’s best. Third place is far from a title, but Leicester should be extremely happy with this season and the definite Champions League qualification that will come with it.
2. Manchester City
Manchester City had high hopes this season of challenging for first once again. Their current second-place standing would seem evident of an apparent challenge for the Premier League trophy. But City are an astonishing 23 points behind Liverpool. Pep Guardiola’s team looked largely disappointing for parts of this season, despite their prolific 76 goals on the season. Per usual, Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne have shined this season. However, an injury crisis in the backline ultimately led to City’s poor play. For a team with aspirations of a title, 23 points behind first is horrible and supporters will feel empty at the season’s conclusion. Paired with a potential ban from European play for financial misconduct allegations, this season is a massive disappointment for the club.
Confirmed champions, Liverpool started the season fresh off a Champions League trophy to their name. Ambition consumed the team that missed out on the Premier League title by just a point the year prior. Manager Jurgen Klopp retained the same starting 11 as the year before. Plus, he led the team to their first Premier League title and their first top-flight title in 30 years. A staunch defense spearheaded by Virgil Van Dijk dominated the opposition, allowing the fewest goals in the league.
Captain Jordan Henderson led a midfield that dominated possession throughout matches. Most excitingly, Anfield was home to one of Europe’s deadliest front threes for the third consecutive season. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino managed 40 goals between them as Liverpool scored 70 before the season’s end. The Merseyside will remember this drought ending title forever, and it may just be one of the club’s best ever.