The 2019-2020 English Premier League season was played in two stages, due to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. The EPL shut down in March, resumed in mid-June, and ended on July 26.
Liverpool won the title, its first since England’s top flight rebranded itself as the EPL. The Red Shite topped the old English First Division for the last time in 1989-1990.
The Shite was on its way to a record-shattering season when the EPL shut down. After play restarted, the team, having all but locked up the title, was far less impressive. This was evident in the first match — a 0-0 draw against Everton in the Merseyside Derby.
Even so, Liverpool finished 18 points ahead of second place Manchester City. Arsenal, managed by former Everton star Mikel Arteta, won the FA Cup.
Everton had a season to forget. The Toffees got off to a miserable first three months, capped by a 0-2 home loss to Norwich City, the EPL’s worst team by fr. This happened to be the match I attended — my first trip to Goodison Park in 20 years.
The silver lining was that, soon thereafter, Everton sacked its manager, Marco Silva. Things picked up immediately under interim boss — Everton legend, Duncan Ferguson.
Then, we hired Carlo Ancelotti, one of the most successful club managers in modern European football. The good results kept coming, but the team stalled towards the end of the long season. Unable fully to overcome the terrible start, we stumbled home in 12th place, despite having what I consider top half of the Table talent.
In my opinion, the best two players in the EPL after the restart were Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United and Christian Pulisic, the 21 year-old American sensation, for Chelsea. However, neither played enough matches over the full season to rate among the EPL all-stars named below (last year’s selections are here):
Dean Henderson — Sheffield United
Trent Alexander-Arnold — Liverpool
Andy Robertson — Liverpool
Virgil van Dijk — Liverpool
Harry McGuire — Manchester United
Declan Rice — West Ham United
Kevin De Bruyne — Manchester City
Adama Traore — Wolverhampton Wanderers
Sadio Mané — Liverpool
Danny Ings — Southampton
Jamie Vardy — Leicester City
Nick Pope — Burnley
César Azpilicueta — Chelsea
Lucas Digne — Everton
James Tarkowski — Burnley
Çaglar Söyüncü — Leicester City
Jordan Henderson — Liverpool
João Moutinho — Wolverhampton Wanderers
Raheem Sterling — Manchester City
Mohamed Salah — Liverpool
Anthony Martial — Manchester United
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang — Arsenal
Ederson — Manchester City
Aaron Wan-Bissaka — Manchester United
Ben Chilwell — Leicester City
Fernandinho — Manchester City
Chris Basham — Sheffield United
Wilfred Ndidi — Leicester City
James Maddison — Leicester City
Willian — Chelsea
Son Heung-Min — Tottenham Hotspur
Jack Grealish — Aston Villa
Marcus Rashford — Manchester United
Players who just missed:
Alisson — Liverpool
Ricardo Pereira — Leicester City
Jonny Evans — Leicester City
John Egan — Sheffield United
Jack O’Connell — Sheffield United
Raul Jiminez — Wolverhampton Wanderers
Player of the Year: De Bruyne
Runner up: van Dijk
Everton Player of the year: Richarlison
Richarlison didn’t make my all-star team because the competition at forward was so good this season, much better than at left back, where Digne plays. But Richarlison had an outstanding season.
He is playable at times only by being fouled, and he was fouled more than just almost anyone in the EPL. The referees don’t protect him enough, probably because in his early EPL days, he fell too easily and complained too much.
However, this past year, I thought the still young Brazilian’s conduct was exemplary. I hope the refs noticed and will give him more calls next season, which will probably be his last with Everton unless the team shows marked improvement.