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Premier League 2020-21: the best photos from a tumultuous season


A big screen showing fans watching the game between Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United.

September

With the start of the season delayed due to coronavirus and football fans still unable to attend matches, it was an eerie beginning to the 2020-21 football calendar. Few could have predicted how it would all turn out. The champions, Liverpool, opened their account with a seven-goal thriller against newly-promoted Leeds as Marcelo Bielsa’s side traded blows with the Reds only for a late Mohamed Salah penalty to decide the contest 4-3. Liverpool would go on to beat Chelsea and Arsenal that month as they made a confident start to their title defence. Elsewhere, Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton won at Tottenham, and Leicester City tanked Manchester City 5-2 at the Etihad.

Liverpool’s Diogo Jota is congratulated by teammates after scoring his team’s third goal against Arsenal at Anfield.
Julio Figueroa, first team coach of Wolverhampton Wanderers, wearing PPE before the match with West Ham.
Marcelo Bielsa, head coach of Leeds United, gives orders while sitting on his bucket at Anfield.
Romain Saiss of Wolverhampton Wanderers scores to make it 2-0 against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Brighton & Hove Albion’s Yves Bissouma kicks Newcastle United’s Jamal Lewis in the face resulting in a red card for Bissouma upon VAR review.
Manchester City’s players look dejected after Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans scores their fifth goal.

Evertomn goalkeeper Jordan Pickford lunges into Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool, ending his opponent’s season.

October

One of the defining moments of the season came in October, when Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk was scythed down by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby at Goodison. Van Dijk’s season was abruptly ended with a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury. However, Liverpool had already begun to show signs of defensive weaknesses: two weeks earlier, they were ruthlessly defeated by Aston Villa as Ollie Watkins scored a first-half hat-trick in a 7-2 win. Spurs were also 6-1 winners at Manchester United that day. Down at the bottom of the table, Sheffield United and Fulham both collected their first point of the campaign as they drew with one another.

Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins celebrates completing his hat-trick against Liverpool at Villa Park.
Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette is fouled by Leicester City’s Christian Fuchs at the Emirates Stadium.
Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay of Manchester United collide with Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea during their clash at Old Trafford.
Newcastle United’s Callum Wilson celebrates scoring his side’s third goal of the game against Burnley at St James’ Park.

West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United players hold a round of applause in memory of Diego Maradona who died on 25 November.

November

Football bade farewell to the great Maradona in November after the Argentinian World Cup winner died of a heart attack aged 60. In the Premier League, Southampton climbed to the summit for the first time in their history thanks to a 2-0 win over Newcastle, before being leapfrogged by Tottenham who beat Manchester City. Elsewhere, a horrific injury to Wolves striker Raúl Jiménez – who fractured his skull in an aerial challenge with Arsenal’s David Luiz – ended his campaign and heightened widespread concerns over head injuries in football. And VAR made headlines at Selhurst Park when Patrick Bamford’s cleverly orchestrated finish for Leeds was deemed offside because the striker had pointed into space to show his team-mate where to play the ball.

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Raul Jimenez of Wolverhampton Wanderers and David Luiz of Arsenal receive help after a head collision.
The corner flag is disinfected before a match at Selhurst Park.
Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City hits the post during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Burnley at Etihad Stadium.
Everton keeper Jordan Pickford sprays water in his eyes just before kick off against Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Ivan Cavaleiro of Fulham kicks his own foot as he skies a penalty against Everton at Craven Cottage.
Loan signing Gareth Bale celebrates with his of Tottenham Hotspur team-mates after scoring against Brighton.

Supporters wearing face-masks while social-distancing at the Amex in Brighton.

December

Fans briefly returned to football grounds in December as the government allowed up to 4,000 spectators to attend matches in low-risk areas. However, the second wave of Covid-19 soon caused further restrictions. On the field, Leeds cemented their status as the season’s entertainers with a sequence of hectic matches: after stuffing Newcastle 5-2, they fell to a 6-2 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford before putting five past West Brom. Arsenal’s poor start to the season under Mikel Arteta continued – the image of Granit Xhaka throttling Burnley’s Ashley Westwood during a 1-0 defeat encapsulated their early season frustrations. Elsewhere, Liverpool hit Palace for seven away from home, leaving them top of the table on Christmas day.

Granit Xhaka of Arsenal grabs Ashley Westwood of Burnley around the throat and gets a red card.
Crystal Palace’s Vicente Guaita makes a save against Totten ham at Selhurst Park.
Charlie Taylor of Burnley clears the ball from Raphinha of Leeds United at Elland Road.
A detailed view of the boots of Leicester City’s James Maddison before the match with Manchester United at The King Power Stadium.
West Ham United’s French striker Sebastien Haller scores an acrobatic goal against Crystal Palace at The London Stadium.

Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings in action with Manchester City’s Ruben Dias and Ilkay Gundogan.

January

Liverpool suffered their first defeat at Anfield for almost four years, with a 1-0 reverse against Burnley. Meanwhile, West Ham, won four on the spin from the turn of the new year to close in on the stuttering Reds. Across London, Chelsea sacked Frank Lampard when they were ninth in the table and replaced him with Thomas Tuchel following a 2-0 defeat at Leicester. As others faltered, Manchester City excelled: they moved top of the league with a 5-0 win over struggling West Brom.

A view of of the partially constructed Riverside Stand at Craven Cottage as Kenny Tete of Fulham tackles Ben Chilwell of Chelsea.
Heavy snow falls before the game between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal at the Hawthorns as a groundsman try to clear the lines.
New Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel watches the action against Burnley at Stamford Bridge.
Ayoze Perez and Jonny Evans of Leciester somehow combine to miss a simple chance against Leeds at the King Power Stadium.
Toby Alderweireld of Tottenham Hotspur receives treatment against Brighton.

Raheem Sterling scores Manchester City’s third goal against Liverpool at Anfield.

February

Liverpool’s slump worsened through Feburary as they lost at home to Everton for the first time since 1999 (Liverpool ended up losing six in a row at Anfield, their worst home run ever) while Manchester City looked invincible home and away. The match between the two sides at Anfield saw City thump the hosts 4-1 despite an early penalty miss from Ilkay Gündogan. Elsewhere, the biggest win of the season came at Old Trafford where Manchester United battered nine-man Southampton 9-0 – the same score by which the Saints had lost to Leicester the previous season. Fulham’s five-game unbeaten streak gave them renewed hope in the relegation dogfight.

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West Brom’s subs warm up at half time during their game at Newcastle United.
Steam comes off the head of Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand during their harrowing 9-0 defeat at Manchester United.
Aaron Ramsdale of Sheffield United saves a shot from Mbaye Diagne of West Bromwich Albion at Bramall Lane.
West Ham United’s Jesse Lingard (centre) celebrates with a mock band after scoring against Tottenham.
Ruben Neves of Wolverhampton Wanderers looks on following the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at St. James Park.
Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur attempts to clear from a corner against Burnley.
Fulham manager Scott Parker during the match with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Sheffield United and Southampton players clash at the end of their fixture at Bramall Lane.

March

With relegation seemingly inevitable, Sheffield United parted company with manager Chris Wilder on the eve of their match with Leicester City, during which the in-form Kelechi Iheanacho scored a hat-trick. Elsewhere, Manchester City lost the Manchester derby 2-0 at home, ending their astonishing 21 game winning streak in all competitions. Nevertheless, the gap between the sides was still 11 points and would prove to be insurmountable. In the race for European places, West Ham blew a three goal lead at home to Arsenal, while Eric Lamela scored a magnificent rabona in the north London derby to earn goal of the month.

BT Sports pundits Darrell Currie and Karen Carney before a match at Bramall Lane.
Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United celebrates after scoring a penalty against Manchester City at Etihad Stadium.
Burnley’s Matej Vydra scores their first goal against Newcastle at Turf Moor.
West Ham United’s French defender Issa Diop makes a goal-line clearance against Arsenal at The London Stadium.
Fog rolls in during the match betwqeen Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur fires a free-kick at an unorthodox wall against Arsenal.

Chelsea fans stage a demonstration against the proposed European Super league before their match with Brighton.

April

The self-declared “big six” clubs announced their intention to join the breakaway European Super League in April – a move which was met with scathing criticism from all quarters. Mass protests were staged outside the grounds of those involved as supporters hit back at the unseemly show of greed and entitlement. The action swiftly forced the clubs’ owners to withdraw from the plot. April also saw the departure of José Mourinho from Tottenham after 17 months in charge, while Jesse Lingard’s resurgence at West Ham continued apace as he picked up both the ‘player of the month’ and the ‘goal of the month’ accolades. Down at the bottom, Sheffield United were finally relegated, with Fulham and West Brom soon to follow.

Football fans burn a replica Liverpool shirt outside Elland Road before their match with Leeds in protest at the ESL.
A general view of the match during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Villa Park.
Leicester City’s English midfielder James Maddison vies with Southampton’s Japanese midfielder Takumi Minamino at St Mary’s Stadium.
In objection to the ongoing threat of racism in society, Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace opts to stand while his team-mates Patrick van Aanholt and Eberechi Eze take a knee before kick-off against Chelsea.
West Bromwich Albion’s Matt Phillips scores his side’s second goal against Southampton at The Hawthorns.

Alisson Becker of Liverpool is congratulated by his team-mates after scoring the winning goal against West Bromwich Albion.

May

When Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson went up for a corner in the dying seconds of their match against West Brom, the fate of Liverpool’s chaotic season was hanging in the balance. The Reds, drawing 1-1, knew victory would keep their hopes of Champions League qualification in their own hands going into the final two matches of the season. The Brazilian shot-stopper scored an unlikely header, triggering wild celebrations. Liverpool would ultimately finish third in the table, with Chelsea fourth, while Leicester City dropped to fifth on the final day after Kasper Schmeichel punched into his own net against Tottenham. At the Etihad, Manchester City celebrated their third league title under Pep Guardiola. City legend Sergio Agüero, who missed a paneka penalty earlier in the month, netted twice on the final day of the season – surrounded by 10,000 home fans – as City won the title by 12 points.

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Football supporters protest against Manchester United’s owners after breaking into Old Trafford. Their action caused the match with Liverpool to be cancelled.
Edouard Mendy of Chelsea easily saves a penalty from Sergio Aguero of Manchester City, who tried to dink it down the middle.
Harry Kane of Tottenham looking beleagured against Aston Villa.
Chelsea’s Italian midfielder Jorginho is mobbed by team-mates after scoring their second goal in a critical match with Leicester City at Stamford Bridge.
Nuno Espirito Santo bids farewell to the Wolverhampton Wanderers supporters after the last game of the season.
Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero is thrown up in the air by team-mates after his final league match for the newly-crowned champions.



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