By Faith Kordoo
The just concluded 2022/2023 English Premier League Season served exciting and scintillating football, as always. It’s been two weeks and counting since the season came to an end and I already miss the league so much.
It was a really entertaining season, so I thought a season sum-up would be nice.
Join me on a little retrospect as we categorize our faves and non-faves based on how they finished in the league.
Mikel Arteta’s side might have won their last game of the season, but that does not mean they won anything this season. Quite honestly, when the idea for an end-of-season sum-up came to mind, I didn’t see myself putting Arsenal in this category. I mean, we all joked and teased that they’d bottle league, but we had no idea they’d take it upon themselves to prove us right. And it took them a solid 248 days to do so.
In their defence, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are a tough act to follow.
However, Arsenal isn’t in this category simply because they lost the EPL to Man City. They are here because in what is arguably their best season in way over a decade, this north London club managed to crash out of every competition, both domestic and European, and with nothing left to worry about, they ran out of steam and did not win the league.
Yes, they broke the hearts of their fans once again and cemented their place in the history books as ‘Serial Bottlers’. I am beginning to think that if Newcastle were the ones chasing Arsenal for the title this season, Eddie Howe and his boys might have gone on to win it. I guess it’s time Arsenal fans agree and make peace with the fact that, when it comes to their team, you win some and bottle others.
(No, I’m not launching an attack on London clubs), but, Chelsea lost this season and that’s on BLUES FOR LIFE! Four managers, including a returning sacked legend, finished 12th (see page two of the EPL table), escaped dropping into the relegation zone, no silverware, and no European football next season. It was indeed a ‘BLUE’ season for Pride of London. I could go on to list Chelsea’s woes, but I am not one to beat the already downtrodden, so I will rest my case and ‘let the poor breath’
Anyhow, Mauricio Pochettino, is coming with ‘Renewed Hope’ so rival fans and clubs alike had better be very afraid.
Leicester City: Our 2015/2016 Premier League winners (Yes dears, Arsenal finished second that season. Absolutely, they bottled it! They and Tottenham. London clubs. SMH). After nine consecutive seasons in the EPL, the Foxes got relegated. I know, it breaks my heart too. Some might argue that it’s been a long time coming because, in recent seasons, they’ve been somewhat mediocre, but I honestly didn’t know or see it getting to this. They will be missed. I like them. On their good days, they played really good football. Hope to see them back in the EPL soonest.
Southampton and Leeds United: After 11 years in the EPL, Southampton were the first team to get relegated this season, with two games to go. You’d agree with me that The Saints caused some trouble for the big teams. And they held their own until they couldn’t. Sad to see them drop off, but I guess these things happen. Leeds United, on the other hand, had a short-lived time in the EPL, having returned in 2020. Though they had a good first season, finishing in the top half of the table, things went downhill afterwards. And it got so bad this season that even Big Sam couldn’t save them.
Eddie Howe and his boys went from finishing 11th last season to securing a top-four finish, which would see them participate in the Champions League for the first time in 20 years. In the course of this season, they recorded just five defeats, 10 lesser than the 15 losses they incurred last season and amassed 71 points, 22 points better than last season’s 49 points. Theirs is a story of resilience. At the beginning of the season, The Magpies might not have seen themselves achieving the feat that they did this season, but the moment they realized they actually could, they seized as many opportunities as they could and stopped at nothing. We saw it in every game they played, even the ones they lost. Personally, the only thing more shocking in the EPL in recent times than this Newcastle side this season, is Leicester City winning the league in 2016.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Following Graham Potter’s departure to Chelsea in September 2022, barely a month into the season, Roberto De Zerbi was appointed manager of the Seagulls. Under Potter, Brighton finished 9th last season, their best-ever finish at the time. De Zerbi bettered that, led the club to a 6th place finish and secured a place for them in next season’s Europa League, in what will be their first-ever participation in European football.
Brighton were a delight to watch this season. Focused, determined and not intimidated. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next season.
Manchester City: Obviously!! They won the league, scratch that! They won the TREBLE! They made History (following in the footsteps of the original Manchester club, Manchester United 🥱) Like I said earlier, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are a tough act to follow. I admire what Pep has done at City. He has built a formidable team, and turned players, who could pass as average any other day, to top performers. Pep’s Man City are the real Mentality Monsters (forget whatever Jürgen Klopp said about his Liverpool team).
And Erling Haaland! Boy, what a signing! What a player!! Forget about his performance in the champions league final. These things happen…🙄
The story of Man United this season is definitely that of from “Grass to Grace”. Imagine going from sitting pretty at the bottom of the table in the early stages of the season, falling out with the GOAT, getting badly humiliated by Liverpool, to finishing third and clinching the Carabao Cup along the way, their first trophy since 2017. David De Gea even won the Golden Glove and saved a penalty on the last day of the season. Mehn, Glory, Glory, Man United, indeed. They fell short against Man City in the FA Cup, but Erik Ten Hag deserves some applause for how far he took the team in his debut season. Things look promising for the Red Devils and we look forward to seeing how they fare next season.
Liverpool: They defeated Manchester United 7-0 and finished behind United, outside the top four, away from Champions League football. Fantastic season, if you ask me.
Tottenham Hotspur: I have nothing to say about this club. I’d just like to know what brand of loyalty has kept Harry Kane at this club till now!
That’s my sum-up for the 2022/2023 English Premier League season. Feel free to share your thoughts on the season.
The 2023/2024 EPL season will kick off in August. August 11, 2023, to be precise. Fixtures are out and there’s already a match to look out for on Match Day one. Cc: Chelsea vs Liverpool: Sunday, August 13, 2023. I am excited! I Can’t wait for club football to resume! Till then, enjoy the break….