City Edge Out Reds in Thrilling Title Battle
Manchester City and Liverpool once again went head-to-head for the Premier League title in the 2021-22 Premier League season. The Reds came from nowhere after a stunning run of form to close the gap on City in the latter stages. On a dramatic final day, Pep Guardiola’s men snatched the Premier League trophy, securing a sensational comeback win over Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium.
The fight for European places and the relegation battle went to the final day, too. Chelsea joined Man City and Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League, while Tottenham Hotspur pipped rivals Arsenal to fourth spot. Leeds United survived by the skin of their teeth after a 2-1 win at the Brentford Community Stadium. Norwich City finished bottom, and Watford and Burnley also dropped into the 2022-23 EFL Championship. We look back and reflect on what was an extraordinary 2021-22 Premier League season, with possibly the most dramatic final day in the history of the competition.
Half Time / Full Time Result
|Score||Home Count||Away Count||Total||Percentage|
Over / Under
Man City Leave It Late
Man City went into the 2021-22 Premier League season as the defending champions, which made the Manchester giants the pre-competition favourites with the bookies to retain their crown. City got off to the worst possible start when they were beaten 1-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. However, they soon hit their stride, securing back-to-back 5-0 home wins over Norwich and Arsenal in the next two and looking like the City we have come to expect under Pep.
Things went smoothly until Man City crashed to a shock 2-0 home loss to Crystal Palace in late October, however that sparked a superb run of 12 straight league victories. Tottenham ended City’s 15-game unbeaten run in the Premier League with an outstanding 3-2 victory at the Etihad Stadium in February. Man City’s excellent form continued after that, but a rampant Liverpool kept them honest at the top.
The Citizens went into the final day a point above Liverpool with a better goal difference, knowing that a win on home soil would see them to yet another title. Jurgen Klopp’s men were also at home, to Wolverhampton Wanderers, while City entertained Gerrard’s Villa. The Reds went a goal down early on but were level halfway through the first period.
Incredibly, the Villans were 2-0 up at the Etihad with 14 minutes to go and it seemed that Gerrard was going to help his childhood club to the title in a way he never quite managed as a player. However, City know all about leaving it late to claim title glory and they kicked into life and netted three goals in five crazy minutes to seal a 3-2 win and secure their sixth Premier League crown.
Reds Reach Three Finals & Finish PL Runners-up
For all that it ended in disappointment, Liverpool had a remarkable 2021-22 season. The Reds beat Chelsea in both domestic cup competitions and reached the final of the Champions League, losing out to Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid in Paris. They also pushed Man City all the way in the race for the Premier League title.
Klopp’s boys were incredibly consistent all season, starting their league campaign with six wins and four draws before suffering their first loss of the campaign against West Ham United in early November. The Merseysiders went on to win the next six and suffer just one more league defeat all season.
Liverpool’s form was frightening in the latter months, as they took the title race to the wire. Man City edged them out on a dramatic final day, but the Reds had another memorable season. At one point, the quadruple was a serious possibility, but they had to settle for just the two cups in the end. Whilst their achievement of playing in every single game they possibly could (making all three cup finals) was incredible, the fact that they missed out on the two biggest prizes will still have hurt Klopp and all Reds fans.
Golden Boot Shared
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Tottenham’s Son Heung-min shared the Premier League’s Golden Boot, with both players netting 23 league goals. This was Salah’s third top-scorer accolade after also winning in 2018 and 2019. The Egyptian was also awarded the Playmaker of the Season award after racking up an impressive 13 assists.
Spurs’ Son had an incredible season in front of goal. We have become so used to seeing Harry Kane fire the goals in at Tottenham, but the South Korean was the Londoners’ main man in the 2021-22 campaign. Son was named Tottenham Hotspur Player of the Season for a third time as a result of his goalscoring heroics.
Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Man United and had a very productive season at Old Trafford. The Portuguese scored 18 goals, with Kane finishing on 17. Sadio Mane, who would go on to leave Liverpool after the season, netted 16 times for the Reds. Kevin De Bruyne, Diogo Jota and Jamie Vardy scored 15 apiece, while Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha bagged 14. Raheem Sterling helped himself to 13 goals in his farewell season with Man City, moving to Chelsea in the summer.
Relegations & European Qualifications
For the first time in Premier League history, the battle for Champions League and UEFA Europa League places, and the fight for the title and survival all went to the final day. The championship trophy stayed at Man City, while Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs qualified for the Champions League.
Things were tight for the other European spots, with Arsenal and Man United both having to settle for places in the Europa League. West Ham United qualified for Europe once again, though this time it was the UEFA Europa Conference League for the Hammers s they fluffed their lines on the final day.
Which Teams Were Relegated?
Norwich were doomed early doors, with Dean Smith unable to keep the Canaries up after taking over from the popular Daniel Farke. City suffered yet another instant return to the Championship. Norwich struggled all season, mustering just five Premier League wins. They drew seven and lost 26 of the other 33 to finish bottom of the pile with a mere 22 points to their name.
Like Norwich, Watford also dropped back down to the second tier after just one season away. The managerial merry-go-round continued at Vicarage Road, with Claudio Ranieri replacing the sacked Xisco Munoz in October. Ranieri was then sacked in January, with Roy Hodgson taking over to little effect. The Hornets finished just a point above Norwich in 19th.
The final relegation place was settled on the last day. Everton survived a few days before the end of the campaign following some incredible matches and lots of ups and downs. Their late-season revival left Burnley and Leeds United to battle it out for 17th spot. Both clubs went into the final weekend level on 35 points, with the Clarets having a better goal difference. Leeds looked doomed, playing away, with their rivals at home. A win would have guaranteed Burnley’s safety, but they lost 2-1 in front of their own fans to Newcastle United. Leeds beat Brentford 2-1 on the road to ensure their survival and end Burnley’s six-year stay in the top flight of English football.
Which Teams Qualified For Europe?
Man City and Liverpool qualified for the Champions League at a canter. Chelsea’s problems off the pitch threatened to derail their season, but the Blues finished third comfortably in the end. Thomas Tuchel’s side also won the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup and reached both domestic cup finals, giving them plenty to build on.
At the death, Tottenham snatched fourth place away from bitter rivals Arsenal. The Gunners finished with a convincing 5-1 home win over Everton, but the damage was done with back-to-back defeats to Tottenham and Newcastle just before. Spurs made sure of fourth in style, with Antonio Conte’s side thumping relegated Norwich 5-0 at Carrow Road.
West Ham still had a chance to overhaul Man United and nick the last Europa League position, but a 3-1 loss at Brighton & Hove Albion put paid to those hopes. Instead, David Moyes’ Irons finished seventh and qualified for the second edition of the Europa Conference League.