The 2020/21 Premier League season has already turned out to be a completely different story to what was witnessed last season.
With 17 games gone, champions Liverpool are level on 33 points at the top with Manchester United and the Red Devils have a game in hand. Leicester City sit just one point behind in third, while Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Southampton and Everton are all chasing the leading pack on 29 points respectively.
At this stage last season, Jurgen Klopp’s side had a ten-point advantage over the Foxes and a 14 point lead over the Citizens. Spurs and Manchester United were 23 and 24 points behind the Red respectively, while Everton and Southampton were languishing in the bottom half.
The 2020/21 Premier League Season is Vastly Different to the Previous Campaign After 17 Games
2019/20 and 2020/21 Have Been Indifferent Premier League Campaigns
This season has been bizarre. For starters, the new Premier League campaign didn’t kick off until September as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and matchday 17 took place after the turn of the new year.
Last season, it the same number of games has been completed by mid-December, but the league table is a stark contrast to what it looks like this season.
And it isn’t just the teams and league positions that have been unusual. Some of the results have been extraordinary, with Aston Villa beating Liverpool 7-2, Manchester United suffering a 6-1 home defeat against Spurs and Arsenal losing 1-0 at home to Burnley.
Some Sides are Very Inconsistent
Manchester United may be level at the top with Liverpool, but some of their results have been baffling. Having already touched on the Tottenham submission, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have also lost at home to Crystal Palace and Arsenal.
But on the road, the Red Devils had won five league games succession before a 2-2 draw at Leicester last time out.
Aston Villa are another side who look a different beast but are vastly improved from last season.
At this stage last year, Villa were above the bottom three on goal difference. Having avoided the drop on the final day, Dean Smith’s side are now eighth in the Premier League, just three points off a Champions League place.
But, like Manchester United, there have been some unusual results. The Liverpool win was something extraordinary, while wins on the road at Arsenal, Leicester and Wolverhampton Wanderers have held them in good stead.
Saints Have Marched On During 2020/21 Season
One remarkable story is the change of fortunes of Southampton. The Saints were in the bottom three with just 15 points at this stage last season and had recently suffered a 9-0 home defeat to Leicester. Now, Ralph Hassenhüttl’s side occupy a top-six place, level on points with Spurs and Manchester City.
The Saints ended last season as one of the in-form sides in the league, and have appeared to bring that into this campaign. After lockdown, Southampton lost just once in the league and picked up 18 points from their nine games.
West Ham United and Everton have also changed their fortunes. The Hammers sat 15th at this stage last season, just four points above Southampton, while the Toffees sat one point and one place below.
This season, David Moyes’ side are seven points better off and sit 10th in the league. Despite starting the season with defeats at home to Newcastle United and on the road at Arsenal, the Hammers bounced back and lost just once from their next eight matches, which included draws against Spurs and the Citizens. One win from their last five has slowed things down but nonetheless, it’s an improvement from last year.
Carlo Ancelotti has also turned his side around. The Toffees are 11 points better off at this stage than they were last season and are battling it out for a European place. Everton began the season with four straight wins before a draw in the Merseyside side derby. Four defeats from the next five games thwarted things but the Toffees have bounced back with wins over Chelsea, Leicester and Arsenal have shifted the focus back to a European charge.
Second Season Syndrome for Sheffield United
One of the biggest changes is that of Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United. After 17 games, the Blades sit rock bottom with no wins and just two draws, losing 15 times. Wilder’s side have scored just eight league goals.
However, last season, the Blades were seventh in the Premier League, level on points with Manchester United. Wilder’s side have struggled to pick up any sort of result this time around, with single points coming against Fulham and Brighton. The opposition having figured out how the club will play and have nullified their attacking threats with ease.
How the Promoted Teams Have Faired
Of the promoted teams last season, Norwich City were the worst off at this stage, sitting on 12 points in 19th place. Villa were just outside the bottom three in 17th, while Sheffield United were having a storming season in seventh.
This season, Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and Leeds were the sides to gain promotion from the Championship. After 17 games, both Fulham and the Baggies are in the bottom three with just 11 and eight points respectively. West Brom have recorded just one win all season and have lost 11 games. Fulham may have only won twice, but they do have two games in hand on the sides above.
As for Leeds, their return to the top flight has been similar to that of Sheffield United. The West Yorkshire side have lit up the Premier League with their different approach to the game and have been involved in some intriguing results. Marcelo Bielsa’s side are 12th on 23 points but are closer to the top three than the bottom three.
Leeds have been a breath of fresh air this season. Having opened the season with an enthralling 4-3 defeat at Anfield, high-scoring games is what they’re about. A 5-1 win over Newcastle, 6-2 defeat to Manchester United and 5-0 demolition of the Baggies sum up their entrainment value.
How Other Premier League Teams Compare
Chelsea may have had a dip in form with just one win from their last six games, but Frank Lampard’s side are only three points worse off than they were at this stage last season.
Wolves find themselves five places lower than at this time last season but have only accumulated two points fewer after 17 games.
Crystal Palace find themselves five places higher but, given the competitive nature of this campaign, are only one point better off.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side are tenth in the Premier League. However, they may be one place higher than at this stage last season but they have recorded one less point that last time out.
Newcastle, Burnley and Brighton are currently 15th, 16th and 17th on 19, 16 and 14 points respectively. Remarkably, the three sides were in the same order last season but occupied mid-table positions from 11th to 13th.