Premier League football never fails to entertain. Regarded as the best league in Europe, the English top flight has been a spectacular affair in 2019/20 as well, until the season was suspended last month due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the course of the season so far, there have been quite a few one-sided affairs filled with goals, some major upsets, while there have been equally captivating, nail-biting encounters.
With the campaign on pause indefinitely, let’s take a look back at five of the best matches from the 2019/20 Premier League season.
Norwich City 3-2 Manchester City (September 2019)
Matchday five of the 2019/20 season. A newly-promoted Norwich City, who had won just one of their four games at the time facing up against the reigning champions of England, who hadn’t lost a league game since January. Surely, there was only one way this match was going to end, right? Just a matter of how many Man City would score, right?
Norwich, though, had different ideas altogether. Eighteen minutes in Kenny McLean headed home an Emi Buendia corner, before Todd Cantwell put the finishing touches to a flowing move from the Canaries to send the Carrow Road in raptures and stun Pep Guardiola & co.
City though, were champions for a reason. And Sergio Aguero’s header on the verge of half-time hinted at a comeback. But a defensive lapse early in the second period meant Teemu Pukki restored Norwich’s two-goal cushion again, to set up one of the biggest upsets of the season, just one month in.
Rodri pulled one back for Manchester City in the 88th minute, to set up a tense finish. However, Daniel Farke’s men held on to their lead announcing that they had arrived in the Premier League, while also showing this Man City side wasn’t infallible.
Southampton 0-9 Leicester City (October 2019)
One of the most memorable encounters in the history of Premier League, let alone this season, Leicester City equalled a 24-year-old record for the biggest win in the Premier League when they thrashed Southampton 9-0 at St. Mary’s.
Ben Chilwell had given the Foxes an early lead just ten minutes in. Minutes later, Southampton saw Ryan Bertrand get sent off for a reckless challenge on Ayoze Perez and the floodgates were blown open! Brendan Rodgers’ men put the Saints to the sword relentlessly as Youri Tielemans made it 2-0, before Perez added a couple more and Vardy made it five before half-time.
Leicester continued to dominate and added four more after the break with Perez and Vardy going on to complete their hat-tricks, while James Maddison also got into the goalscoring act. The Foxes recorded the biggest ever victory by an away side in an English top-flight league match in the 131-year history of the Football League
It was a huge statement of intent from Rodgers & co, who would move into the second spot in the table after the win, hinting at a potential title challenge that wouldn’t materialize though. Even then, Leicester look set for a top three finish when the season resumes.
Wolves 3-2 Manchester City (December 2019)
Festive period often seems to bring out the best among teams, as action-packed encounters with edge-of-the-seat finishes a common occurrence during a packed schedule of football. And Wolves and Manchester City put on a show on Boxing Day last year, reminding fans why Premier League football was such an extravaganza.
Just twelve minutes in at the Molineux, the Cityzens were a man down after Ederson had been given his marching orders for a foul on Diogo Jota. Surely, it was Wolves’ game from there on. But City rallied and were up 2-0 in the 50th minute.
The first goal for the Cityzens came in the most dramatic circumstances, as the VAR stopped play to award City a penalty, then would go on to intervene to issue a retake after the first one had been saved by Rui Patricio. The retake too was saved by the Portuguese, but Raheem Sterling was alert enough to score from the rebound, before doubling his tally in the 50th minute.
But, Wolves, roared on by a vociferous home crowd, fought back in spectacular fashion. Adama Traore, in one of his finest performances for the club, pulled one back in the 55th minute, before setting one up for Raul Jimenez to put Wolves back on level terms. And when Matt Doherty drilled home a shot with just a minute left, there was pandemonium at the Molineux. A comeback for the ages for Wolves!
Liverpool 3-2 West Ham United (February 2020)
Speaking of comebacks, champions-elect Liverpool scripted one of their own in February. Heading into the game, Jurgen Klopp’s merry brigade hadn’t lost a single game in the league till date and were sitting comfortably at the top. They were chasing City’s record of 18-game winning streak in the top-flight, while West Ham, having brought in David Moyes, were fighting for survival.
Things began in a disastrous fashion for the Hammers as Lukasz Fabianski allowed Gini Wijnaldum’s straightforward header to creep into the net just nine minutes in. But, the visitors would strike back almost immediately as Issa Diop rose the highest to head home past Alisson Becker in the Liverpool goal.
A tense affair ensued thereafter, but when substitute Pablo Fornals swept home a strike nine minutes into the second period, Liverpool had their backs against the wall. Their 27-game unbeaten streak in the league was under threat, that too at their fortress Anfield, against a team that was involved in the relegation dogfight.
But another error from Fabianski in the 68th minute allowed a speculative effort from Mohamed Salah squirm into the net to set up for a grandstand finish. There was a sense of inevitability though, that Liverpool will strike again. And strike they did, with nine minutes left Sadio Mane turned in a Trent Alexander-Arnold pass into the net to send the Kop End into raptures. West Ham almost pulled it back late on through Jarrod Bowen, but Alisson produced a clutch block to bag the win.
An intense affair, it once again highlighted the champion mentality that Liverpool had displayed all throughout the season. As the old adage goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Watford 3-0 Liverpool (February 2020)
A week after that special comeback against the Hammers, there was no rallying this time for Liverpool, as another team battling the relegation fight, put them to the sword and brought an end to their dreams of an invincible season.
Liverpool were never able to get going on the day, as Watford put in a thoroughly dominating performance, especially in the second period. The first-half remained goalless thanks to a fine save from Alisson to deny Troy Deeney, with Liverpool hardly mustering up any meaningful effort.
Watford continued to ramp up the pressure on the leaders and nine minutes into the second period, Ismaila Sarr poked home an Abdoulaye Doucoure cross, before doubling the Hornets’ advantage six minutes later, lobbing the ball over Alisson with utmost calm and composure after being put through by Will Hughes.
There would be no rallying, no fightback from Klopp’s Reds this time out though, as the Hornets did what West Ham had failed to do a week ago, hammering another goal through Deeney to confirm a victory. It was a very one-sided affair, with Liverpool having just one shot on target.
But what made it memorable was how the Reds’ running train had been brought to a screeching halt by a team fighting for survival. It was the first time that Liverpool had failed to score in a Premier League game since March 2019 (36 matches)
Photo: AFP/ Justin Tallis