The longest Premier League season in history is now finally over. The action concluded on Sunday with everything from Champions League qualification to relegation decided in a typically frantic afternoon.
Manchester United and Chelsea sealed the final two spots in the top four, with Leicester City the side having to miss out despite spending more days in the top four (325) than the aforementioned duo combined (Man Utd – 22 and Chelsea – 282).
Instead, the Foxes had to settle for 5th and a place in next season’s Europa League alongside Tottenham Hotspur and possibly Wolverhampton Wanderers should Arsenal fail to win the FA Cup final this weekend.
At the foot of the table, it would be Aston Villa that avoided relegation – at the expense of Bournemouth and Watford – thanks to Jack Grealish’s strike in their 1-1 draw with West Ham United.
Over in Italy, Juventus confirmed a 9th consecutive Serie A title and 36th in there history – the same number as both Inter and AC Milan combined (both 18) – with two games to play, as attention now begins to turn to the Champions League, Europa League and the reopening of the transfer window.
Wednesday 22nd July Silver Match Day Winners:
- Top Defender – Bruno Peres (5p)
- Top Midfielder – Riccardo Saponaro (5p)
- Top Forward – Carles Perez (5p)
- Star Player – Bruno Peres (4p)
- Media – Paul Pogba (3p)
Thursday 23rd July Bronze Match Day Winners:
- Top Defender – Matthijs de Ligt (2p)
- Top Midfielder – Luis Alberto (2p)
- Top Forward – Ciro Immobile (2p)
- Star Player – Luis Alberto (2p)
- Media – Jordan Henderson (3p)
Friday 24th July Bronze Match Day Winners:
- Top Defender – Gianluigi Donnarumma (2p)
- Top Midfielder – Alejandro Gomez (2p)
- Top Forward – Duvan Zapata (2p)
- Star Player – Alejandro Gomez (2p)
- Media – Jordan Henderson (3p)
Saturday 25th July Bronze Match Day Winners:
- Top Defender – Elseid Hysaj (2p)
- Top Midfielder – Dejan Kulusevski (2p)
- Top Forward – Romelu Lukaku (2p)
- Star Player – Elseid Hysaj (2p)
- Media – Jordan Henderson (3p)
Sunday 26th July Gold Match Day Winners:
- Top Defender – Diego Rico (10p)
- Top Midfielder – Kevin De Bruyne (10p)
- Top Forward – Musa Barrow (10p)
- Star Player – Kevin De Bruyne (8p)
- Media – Jamie Vardy (3p)
Kevin De Bruyne Puts on Final Day Clinic
In one of the games with little riding on it on the final day of the Premier League season, Kevin De Bruyne (£5.02) still produced a performance that garnered plenty of post-match headlines.
Manchester City thumped an already-relegated Norwich City 5-0, De Bruyne netted a spectacular brace to finish the season with 13 league goals – the first time he’s recorded double figures for goals scored in a single league season since his time at Wolfsburg in 2014/15.
More significant than that however was the assist for Raheem Sterling for his 20th league goal of the season and City’s 100th league goal of the campaign. It saw the Belgian equal Thierry Henry’s record of 20 assists in a single Premier League campaign, while his 33 goal contributions for the season is the most by a midfielder since Frank Lampard in 2009/10 (22 goals and 14 assists).
With the 5x In-Play Dividends in effect, that saw De Bruyne holders earn 15p alone, while he also won Star Player and Top Midfielder Dividends for the Sunday, equating to an extra 18p.
His performance over the Canaries has seen his Share Price increase by 13p in the last 24 hours alone, and with City in pole position in the Champions League last 16 tie against Real Madrid, De Bruyne could be very busy throughout August.
Musa Barrow Enjoying Life Post-Restart
One of Serie A’s top performers since its restart, Musa Barrow (£1.92) maintained his fine form in Bologna’s 3-2 win over Lecce on Sunday.
The forward, who is on loan from Atalanta, provided the assist for the game’s opening goal, before netting his 6th goal in his last eight games to earn Bologna all three points.
His performance was enough to earn him Top Forward Dividends on Sunday, while his Share Price his risen by an impressive 22p in the last 24 hours following his weekend exertions.
Bologna boss Sinisa Mihajlovic has already spoken of his desire to keep Barrow permanently, and it’s easy to see why following his form since the restart.
Joao Cancelo Staking Claim for Left-Back Spot
The left-back spot has been a problem for Manchester City, with the likes of Benjamin Mendy (£1.17), Oleksandr Zinchenko (£1.32) and Angelino (£1.42) failing to establish themselves in that position this season. Joao Cancelo (£1.30) however has done himself no harm following his recent displays.
The 26-year-old has played there in each of City’s last two games – winning Top Defender and Star Player Dividends in the first of those games – keeping a clean sheet in both as well as impressing with his attacking furrows down the left flank.
His Share Price has increased by 11p in the last 24 hours, and will likely start when City return to action in the Champions League in August as Pep Guardiola aims to win the competition for a third time and the first time for the club.
Transfer Window Sees Sancho Rise
With the transfer window open in England, one name that will be in the headlines is Jadon Sancho (£14.29).
The Borussia Dortmund starlet is repeatedly linked with a move to Manchester United, with this window set to be no different. The stage this transfer is at varies depending on which source you read, with the only definite being that United qualifying for next season’s Champions League has certainly strengthened their stance when it comes to negotiations.
Sancho is one of the few players to have been involved in over 30 league goals this season (17 goals and 16 assists) so its no surprise to see the most affluent sides in the world chasing the 20-year-old.
Transfer speculation has seen his Share Price rise by 50p in the last 24 hours alone, so expect him to be in and around the top of the Media Rankings over the course of the window.
Borussia Dortmund Eyeing Sancho Replacement
Borussia Dortmund are a side that continually react to losing their best stars by unearthing new stars that usually settle at the Signal Iduna Park.
Should Jadon Sancho leave the club, the Bundesliga side are already lining up replacements. Valencia’s Ferran Torres (£2.76) was a name that cropped up earlier this year, especially as the LaLiga side are set to sell a number of their top stars.
More recently however, Lille’s Jonathan Ikone (£1.32) has emerged as an alternative, as a number of the French club’s young stars are catching the eye of Europe’s elite.
While his numbers in 2019/20 were down slightly on the season prior – three goals and nine assists in 2018/19 compared to three goals and six assists in 2019/20 – his talent is undeniable and positional flexibility is a major bonus.
Ikone has four caps for France’s national team, as well as one goal, since his debut in September 2019, which is impressive considering the array of attacking talents Les Bleus have at their disposal.
If we’ve learned one thing about Borussia Dortmund in the last eight years or so, they usually get it right when it comes to replacing outgoing stars.
*All Share Prices, rises and falls accurate at time of writing