It was an insane season from start to finish, and there were some truly outstanding (and lackluster) performances across the league.
Harry Kane won yet another golden boot in the midst of his uncertain future at Spurs, and Timo Werner somehow found new ways each game to bottle easy chances for Chelsea.
Here are my end-of-season awards for the 2020-2021 EPL season.
Player of the Season // Ruben Dias
There are many reasons why Man City won the title, but there’s no way they could’ve done it without Ruben Dias. Dias has brilliantly filled the gap in Man City’s defense left by the legendary Vincent Kompany. I would argue that Dias established himself as one of the best defenders in the world over the past season, mainly due to his exceptional shot-blocking ability and his unmatched strength in defense.
He’s only 23 but plays the game in a much more mature manner than his age would succeed. Especially in Pep Guardiola’s tactical system, which relies on defenders playing effectively from the back, Dias stood out as an elite passer. Dias is a deserving EPL Player of the Season winner in my book.
Manager of the Season // David Moyes
This was actually a challenging award to pick because there were so many good choices. Pep and Jurgen Klopp are always in the running, and Thomas Tuchel did wonders at Chelsea to help them eek into the top 4. However, there was no better manager in the Premier League this season than David Moyes.
People forget that at the start of the season, West Ham was in turmoil. They had just survived relegation during the prior campaign, and it appeared that Moyes had lost his locker room after Declan Rice reportedly requested a transfer. So I actually predicted them to get relegated this season.
Clearly, I was very wrong as the Hammers had an unbelievable season, finishing 6th in the table, good enough for a Europa League spot. Moyes steadied the club during a very shaky period, and for that, he gets manager of the season.
Young Player of the Season // Phil Foden
Foden is a pretty easy choice for young player of the season. The 20-year-old star ranked highly in just about every offensive category and was a key player in Man City’s title run. His consistency on the pitch really stood out to me this season because it is such a rare trait for young footballers.
Not much more needs to be said. Foden will be one of the best players in the league for years to come.
Best Signing // Edinson Cavani
My Chelsea bias almost caused me to give this award to Edouard Mendy, but Edinson Cavani was the signing of the season, if I have to be impartial. Nobody wanted Cavani after a couple of injury-riddled seasons at PSG. Finally, Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Man United took a chance on the Uruguayan striker, and boy did it pay off. Cavani scored 10 goals in 26 Premier League appearances, ranking third in the league in goals per 90 minutes. His pace and spacing also allowed Bruno Fernandes to play freely in the midfield, which did wonders for the United attack.
Cavani may not be the most glamorous signing, but he was certainly the best.
Worst Signing // Willian
Someone, please explain to me why Arsenal love to sign Chelsea rejects? It seldom works out in their favor. Willian was no exception. The Brazilian winger was inexplicably offered a three-year contract by Arsenal, and pretty much right away, the deal blew up in the Gunners’ faces. From day one, Willian has added nothing to the team, and even worse, he’s taken away playing time from Arsenal’s plethora of young talent (Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, etc.).
Mikel Arteta is partially to blame for including Willian in the squad so often, but he doesn’t really have a choice with a player who commands the third highest wage on the team. I don’t know what Arsenal was thinking with this signing.
Best Moment // Alisson’s 95th Minute Goal Against West Brom
Without a doubt, a moment of the season goes to one of the most improbable goals I’ve ever seen. Liverpool was tied 1-1 with West Brom in the 95th minute, desperately looking for a goal to keep their top 4 hopes alive.
Alisson came all the way up the pitch for the final kick of the game, and the impossible happened.
IN STOPPAGE TIME! ALISSON SCORES THE WINNER! ? pic.twitter.com/e78RHNlEc0
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) May 16, 2021
What a moment for the Liverpool keeper, who lost his father just a few months prior. The Reds went on to finish third in the EPL after Alisson’s goal, securing another year of Champions League football.
Worst VAR Decision // Mane Ruled “Offside” Against Everton
It was a rough year for VAR, and it really is an indictment of the technology that there were so many bad decisions to pick from. However, ultimately I think Sadio Mane’s fractional offside call was the worst of the lot. I mean, how is this ruled offside?
The horrific call cost Liverpool a winning goal against Everton and was understandably ripped by fans and players alike. There’s no reason why VAR should be overturning a non-offside decision on the pitch when it is this close. If VAR isn’t used properly next season, it has to be scrapped.
Featured Image: ESPN