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Premier League 2020-21 season’s strangest stats and facts

It’s been a gruelling eight months and 11 days, but the 2020-21 Premier League season is finally done and dusted.

The compacted campaign kicked off on Sept. 12, 2020, just seven weeks after the 2019-20 term had finished, and plans for a winter break were scrapped in order to fit all the games in ahead of Euro 2020, which starts on June 11.

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Manchester City sealed a third title in four years, while at the other end of the table we bid farewell to the relegated trio of Sheffield United, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham.

The cut and thrust may be over for another season, but we’re left with plenty of curious statistics, facts, records and trivia tidbits to sift through. Here’s our pick of the bunch.

It’s not how you start, but how you finish

Despite finishing third and second respectively, Liverpool (139 days) and Manchester United (155) both spent more time in the top four than eventual champions Manchester City (130).

Treble tops

Manchester City completed a treble of men’s league titles this season by winning the Premier League, the PL2 title and the Under-18s Premier League. They were unable to complete the full clean sweep, however, as their women’s team finished second in the Women’s Super League, two points behind winners Chelsea.

Welcome to the club

City goalkeeper Zack Steffen is the first United States player to win the title, making him the 20th player to become the first Premier League title-winning representative from a nation of more than 330 million people. Others include Mexico (Javier Hernandez), Egypt (Mohamed Salah), Italy (Mario Balotelli), Algeria (Riyad Mahrez) and Bulgaria (Dimitar Berbatov).

Of the 52 different nations that can claim a title-winning player since the Premier League era began in 1992, Iceland has the smallest population (357,000). That is courtesy of Eidur Gudjohnsen, who claimed back-to-back titles with Chelsea in 2004-05 and 2005-06.

Steffen had a medal around his neck during City’s title celebrations, even though Premier League regulations state that a player should make five appearances in order to receive one. Like his fellow City keeper Scott Carson, Steffen played in one Premier League game this season, but Carson is not pictured sporting a medal.

Leaving in style

He left it late, but Sergio Aguero managed to bow out by breaking Wayne Rooney‘s Premier League record for the most goals scored with one club. Aguero netted twice against Everton on the final day of the season to take his tally to 184 league goals for City in his final appearance for the club, thus overtaking Rooney.

From zero to hero

Nathan Ake became a Premier League champion the very season after being relegated to the Championship as part of the Bournemouth side that finished 18th in 2019-20. This is a rare occurrence, especially for outfield players, with Roy Keane (relegated with Nottingham Forest in 1992-93, title winner with Manchester United in 1993-94) being the only other notable example.

Technically, the same applies to Danny Simpson, who played one game for Queens Park Rangers early in the 2014-15 before transferring to Leicester City, who went on to win the Premier League title in 2015-16. Harvey Elliott was with Liverpool in 2019-20, the season after being relegated with Fulham, although he missed out on a winner’s medal after making just two appearances in the league.

Several goalkeepers have managed the feat with Tomas Kuszczak picking up a Premier League winner’s medal in 2006-07 after making 6 appearances for Manchester United the season after being relegated with West Brom (2005-06). Ben Foster (relegated with Watford in 2005-06, won title with Manchester United in 2006-07) and Ross Turnbull (down with Middlesbrough in 2008-09, won title with Chelsea in 2009-10) both did likewise, though neither played regularly enough to be eligible for winner’s medals.

Back in the game

When 35-year-old Carson started in goal for Manchester City against Newcastle United on May 14, it marked the veteran keeper’s first Premier League appearance in a decade. Carson’s last top-flight outing came for West Brom in May 2011, coincidentally also against Newcastle.

That enormous gap of 3,645 days between appearances is unsurprisingly the longest between games for a goalkeeper in the entire history of the Premier League. Just to put that in some kind of perspective, Cristiano Ronaldo scored 325 goals during that time!

For the record, the longest overall gap between Premier League appearances for any player is the 4,173 days that separated Damien Delaney’s top-flight appearances between March 2002 and August 2013.

Good touch for a big man

In the penultimate game of the season, Alisson became the first goalkeeper to score a competitive goal for Liverpool in the club’s grand 129-year history. The Brazil international is now one of six goalies to register a Premier League goal, and the first to do so with a header.

Caught slipping… again

Leicester City suffered a disappointing end to the 2020-21 campaign, missing out on Champions League qualification by a single point on the final day.

Just to compound matters, Brendan Rodgers’ side comfortably ended more days inside the top four (242) that any other club this season, only to see it slip away at the very end. The Foxes have spent 93% of the past two seasons (567 days in total) inside the top four only to finish fifth on both occasions.

On the daily

Perhaps Leicester can take some solace in the fact that striker Kelechi Iheanacho became the first Premier League player ever to score on every day of the week in the same season.

Check out that ratio

Tottenham forward Gareth Bale averaged a goal every 84 minutes in the Premier League in 2020-21, a record only bettered once by a player to have made 10 or more appearances in a season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the only player to beat Bale’s ratio, having averaged a league goal every 71 minutes for Manchester United (12 goals in 19 appearances) back in their Treble-winning season of 1998-99.

One-man industry

Harry Kane finished top of both the Premier League goal-scoring and assist-making charts (23 goals, 14 assists), making the Tottenham striker only the second-ever player to do so outright.

The only other player to do achieve that feat was Andy Cole of Manchester United in 1993-94 (34 goals, 13 assists).

Loan star

Joe Willock proved instrumental as Newcastle United stormed away from the relegation mire to secure a remarkable 12th-place finish by winning 5 of their last 8 games.

The 21-year-old midfielder scored in seven consecutive games as Newcastle powered up into mid-table, matching a club record set by Alan Shearer in 1996, a quarter of a century ago. The Arsenal loanee, who began his streak against Tottenham in early April, is also the youngest player in Premier League history to score in seven successive games.

Willock now has scored more Premier League goals (7) for Newcastle than teammate Joelinton (6) has mustered, despite the former only opening his account on April 17. Joelinton signed for a club-record £40m transfer fee in July 2019.

A new low for Carlo

In slumping to a 5-0 drubbing against Manchester City on the final day, Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti suffered his largest margin of defeat in his entire 1,167-game managerial career. It was also the heaviest defeat ever inflicted on a manager who has previously won the European Cup on three occasions.

The kids are alright

Arsenal have still never lost a Premier League match in which a teenage player has scored for them. Last week’s 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace (during which 19-year-old Gabriel Martinelli scored) saw the record extended to 60 games, of which the Gunners have won 50 and drawn 10.

Wood you believe it?

He may not be the most fashionable player, but Burnley target man Chris Wood must now be ranked among most consistent strikers in the Premier League.

Wood is one of only 7 players to have reached the 10-goal mark in each of the past four top-flight seasons, joining Kane, Salah, Jamie Vardy, Alexandre Lacazette, Son Heung-Min and Sadio Mane in the club.

No place like home?

The 2020-21 Premier League season is the first in the history of England‘s top-four divisions to see more away wins (153) than home wins (144). The lack of fans in stadiums certainly seems to have had an effect on the notion of “home advantage.”

The merry-go-round (almost) stops

The 2020-21 season saw just four managerial changes during the season, with Jose Mourinho (Tottenham), Chris Wilder (Sheffield United), Frank Lampard (Chelsea) and Slaven Bilic (West Brom) the only managers to lose their jobs. Sam Allardyce (West Brom), Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) and Nuno Espirito Santos (Wolves) all left their positions after the completion of the campaign.

This is lowest number of managerial changes witnessed during the same Premier League campaign since 2005-06 (three).



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