Man City Pip Liverpool to the Line
The 2018-19 Premier League season produced one of the most exciting title races that we have ever seen. Manchester City and Liverpool dominated the league, with the Citizens pipping the Reds to the title by just one point in a truly sensational season. It was the epitome of a two-horse race as the chasing pack was 25 points or more behind the leading two.
At the other end, Huddersfield Town finished rock bottom, collecting a mere 16 points along the way with only three victories to their name all season. Fulham and Cardiff City, who were promoted together the season before, were also relegated to the EFL Championship on 26 points and 24 points respectively.
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Man City & Liverpool’s Dominance
Between them, Man City and Liverpool racked up a staggering 195 points in what was an extraordinary season for the pair. They swapped places at the top all season long, but Pep Guardiola’s boys held their nerve in the end and won the Premier League title by a solitary point. City finished with 98 points after 32 wins, two draws and four defeats. Despite being beaten just once, Jurgen Klopp’s men finished a point behind, winning 30 and drawing seven of the other 37.
Man City were the only team to beat Liverpool in the Premier League during this season, which proved to be highly significant in the end. They drew 0-0 at Anfield in October 2018, but City edged the game at the Etihad Stadium in January 2019. Sergio Aguero put Man City in front shortly before half time, with Roberto Firmino levelling for the Merseysiders in the 64th minute – eight minutes later, however, Leroy Sane netted to earn what turned out to be a crucial three points for Pep and his men.
For most of the season, it was clear the eventual winner would be either City or Liverpool but given that it could have gone either way right until the final day, it kept fans and neutrals enthralled to the end. Liverpool did their bit on final day, 12th May 2019, beating Wolves 2-0. But their fans were not exactly hopeful of Man City slipping up at Brighton. Having said that, the Seagulls took an unlikely lead in the 27th minute… only for Sergio Aguero to equalise for City a minute later. That flicker of hope was as good as it got for Liverpool on the final day as City confirmed themselves as champions with a 4-1 victory.
Spurs Beat Arsenal to the Champions League
The rivalry between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal is as fierce as any in English football. Matches between the duo are often spicy affairs and these two met three times during the 2018-19 season. Arsenal had the better of Spurs in the league meetings, taking four points, but Tottenham pipped the Gunners to fourth place and the final UEFA Champions League spot by just one point. Not quite as exciting as the title race, but the race for Champions League football also went to the wire and kept fans on their toes.
Tottenham, who also reached the Champions League final in June 2019, did enough to beat Arsenal to fourth place despite taking just one point from their last three fixtures. Arsenal also ended their season in poor fashion, though they did beat Burnley 3-1 at Turf Moor on the final day. Tottenham ended with 71 points, while Arsenal finished with 70. Both teams would go on to play in European finals shortly after.
Wonderful Season Back in the Big Time for Wolves
In the 2017-18 campaign, Wolverhampton Wanderers, managed by the popular Nuno Espirito Santo, won the EFL Championship at a canter to book their place in the 2018-19 Premier League season. Wolves had a good squad and were tipped to do well on their top-flight return, but not many people would have had them down to finish in seventh spot.
Wanderers made a very impressive start to their campaign, losing only one of their opening eight matches. They picked up four wins and a draw from five early on to fire themselves into the European places. Wolves managed to finish there at the end of a remarkable season, going on to take seventh place in the Premier League and qualify for the UEFA Europa League. Nuno’s troops won 16, drew nine and lost 13, finishing above the likes of Everton, Leicester City and West Ham United.
Golden Boot Shared Between Trio
In a season in which many things were decided by narrow margins, the race for the Golden Boot in the 2018-19 season was a fascinating one. No one player set the world alight, but three finished level at the top on 22 goals apiece. Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah had to split the award with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Salah and Mane had a sensational season for Liverpool, netting 44 of the Reds’ 89 Premier League goals. City were the top scorers with 95, with the prolific Aguero scoring 21 times. There were five Englishman among the top 10, as Jamie Vardy netted 18, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling scored 17 apiece, Callum Wilson bagged 14, and Glenn Murray helped himself to 13.
Relegations And European Qualifications
The battle for survival was one of the few things that did not go to the wire this season, with all three clubs relegated before the final day.
Cardiff had a real go under the experienced Neil Warnock, but they were already relegated before their shock 2-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on the final weekend of the season.
As often the case with relegated sides it was a case of too little, too late.
Man City and Liverpool eased into the Champions League, where they were joined by London duo Chelsea (on 72 points) and Tottenham (on 71 points).
Arsenal (70 points), Man United (66 points) and Wolves (back on 57 points) took the three Europa League spots.
Which Teams Were Relegated?
Huddersfield had a season to remember in the 2017-18 campaign, shocking most football fans and pundits by finishing their first year in the Premier League in 16th position with an impressive 37 points to their name. Unfortunately for the Terriers, second season syndrome kicked in at the John Smith’s Stadium, as Town mustered up just three wins and were beaten 28 times to finish with a mere 16 points in the bag.
Fulham were the second team to drop down to the Championship, as they struggled to get going despite spending an enormous amount of cash before a ball was kicked. The Cottagers won just seven times and shipped a staggering 81 goals to end on 26 points, 10 points adrift of safety.
To many people’s surprise, Cardiff went the closest in terms of Premier League survival, with Warnock’s men missing out by just two points in the end. A home defeat to Crystal Palace in their penultimate game put paid to any hopes of dragging it out to the final weekend. To be fair, the Bluebirds had a real go in tragic circumstances – as record signing Emiliano Sala lost his life in an aviation accident while in the process of joining the club in January – but their second spell in the Premier League ended after just one season again.
Which Teams Qualified For Europe?
Man City and Liverpool qualified for the Champions League with weeks to spare, but the battle for the last two places was far more thrilling. Chelsea finished in third with 72 points to their name. The Blues also won the Europa League, thumping Arsenal 4-1 in the final in Baku. Tottenham reached the Champions League final but lost to Liverpool in Madrid. However, Mauricio Pochettino’s boys made sure of their place in the 2019-20 edition by taking fourth spot in the Premier League.
Arsenal had started their season well, but inconsistency proved to be their Achilles’ heel in the second half of the campaign. Unai Emery’s Gunners, who lost to Chelsea in the Europa League final, also missed out on the Champions League via the Premier League route, finishing a point behind rivals Spurs, which was agonising for their fans (and delightful for supporters of Tottenham!). Man United took sixth position and qualified for the Europa League group stage.
As we touched on earlier, Wolves were arguably the surprise package in the Premier League this season, taking points off 17 of the 19 Premier League clubs to finish seventh and book their place in the 2019-20 Europa League. It was the highest finish for a newly promoted club since Ipswich Town’s heroics in the 2000-01 season. Santo’s side picked up three wins from their last four matches to finish on an outstanding 57 Premier League points.