101 Great Goals: 2021/2022 Premier League season review

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101 Great Goals: 2021/2022 Premier League season review

The Premier League season comes to an end on Sunday with the title race, top four battle and relegation dogfight going down to the wire.

After handing out player of the year and manager of the year awards at the end of April, the focus turns to other highlights of another Premier League campaign ahead of the final weekend of action.

The 101 Great Goals news team have had their say.

Moment of the season

Josh Barker: After collapsing on the pitch at Euro 2020 in an incident that left his teammates and many fans in tears, there were fears that Christian Eriksen would never play football again.

However, the Dane has since signed for Brentford and made his return to competitive action vs Newcastle on February 26. It was a touching moment for all involved.

Conor Laird: When it comes to pure feel-good moments across the 2021/22 Premier League season, few come close to Christian Eriksen’s stunning return to the pitch.

Just eight months on from bringing the football world to a complete standstill owing to his frightening collapse at the European Championships, Eriksen defied the odds in sealing a comeback to the top level of the game, with Thomas Frank’s Brentford. 

The fact that the Danish icon has since looked every bit of the player that saw him widely considered as one of the Premier League’s finest midfielders only makes the story all the sweeter, with Eriksen’s mental and physical fortitude alike a true testament to his character.

Andrew Thompson: In what has been another Premier League campaign filled to the brim with storylines, surely the moment to top all moments was the return of Christian Eriksen to competitive football with Brentford.

It was not long ago that the Danish football icon nearly lost his life in the summer during Euro 2020 against Finland when he collapsed on the pitch with a heart condition, and not only did he survive and recover, but he has thrived on the pitch for the Bees since coming under the command of fellow Dane Thomas Frank. Amazing does not begin to describe it.

Ben Browning: A rare moment in which allegiances were put aside and football celebrated together came when Christian Eriksen returned to Premier League football, just months after fighting for his life on the football pitch at Euro 2020.

It was unclear if the Dane would live, let alone play football again, and yet he has been a shining light for Brentford since his arrival, and has once again attracted the interest of Champions League sides. I don’t think that anyone would begrudge him a return to the European elite.

Signing of the season

Josh Barker: At the start of 2021/22, most rivals fans likely looked on in envy as they saw Manchester United snap up Raphael Varane for a cut-price fee whilst also bringing in Jadon Sancho – one of Europe’s hottest prospects at the time.

However, Manchester United and their new signings have since underwhelmed, as did a number of other major summer additions such as Jack Grealish and Romelu Lukaku.

Instead, a lot of the clever business was done in January, with Dejan Kulusevski to Tottenham an inspired signing that could lead to the Lilywhites securing Champions league football.

However, when it comes to the signing of the season, it is very hard to look past Luis Diaz. The 25-year-old only joined Liverpool in January, but has slotted seamlessly into Liverpool’s attack and is a major reason they are still able to complete a quadruple.

101 Great Goals: 2021/2022 Premier League season review

Conor Laird: This one caused some conflict. It almost feels like a cop out to opt for a mid-season arrival as the Premier League’s best for 2021/22, but the fact is that arguably both of the most impactful additions to England’s top-tier were indeed secured during the January window.

Dejan Kulusevski has been a revelation since joining Spurs, finally rediscovering his pre-Juventus brilliance to the tune of three goals and eight assists across 17 appearances, but he is just pipped by Luis Diaz.

As if Liverpool’s front three wasn’t already intimidating enough, the explosive Colombian has added a completely new element of directness on the left flank, looking near unplayable across his short English stint to date. 

Newcastle cult hero Bruno Guimaraes was also considered, but ten starts across all competitions thus far make it difficult to justify as much.

When it comes to the season as a whole, meanwhile, deserving of special mention are all of Ibrahima Konate, Cristian Romero, Hassane Kamara, Conor Gallagher and Aaron Ramsdale.

 

Luis Diaz at Liverpool

Competition Appearances (starts) Goals (xG) Assists (xA) xG per 90 xA per 90 xG + xA per 90
Premier League 12 (10) 4 (4.0) 3 (0.17) 0.41 0.17 0.58
Carabao Cup 1 (1) 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0) 0 0 0
FA Cup 5 (2) 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0) 0 0 0
Champions League 6 (3) 2 (2.3) 1 (1.1) 0.64 0.31 0.95

 

Andrew Thompson: Many will likely opt for Cristiano Ronaldo here given his return to United and chance to end the season on the 20-goal mark despite his struggles through phases of the 2021-22 campaign, but Nigerian forward Emmanuel Dennis has been a shining light for Watford despite the Hornets being consigned to relegation.

The former Club Brugge forward bagged 10 goals and added six assists this season in the league, and all for the incredibly low fee of 3million that Watford spent on him in the summer. A brilliant piece of business that could see them sell him for six or seven times that amount this coming summer.

Ben Browning: While there were plenty of candidates for this accolade, including the likes of Marc Guehi at Crystal Palace and Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa, I’ve opted for Cristiano Ronaldo simply for the number of holes he managed to get his woeful side out of this season.

Hat-tricks against Norwich and Tottenham ensured 3 points in both games courtesy of 3-2 wins, while he rescued countless Champions League points for a United side that would otherwise have been out in the group stages. Though he has endured a difficult season as part of Manchester United, on an individual note his star continues to shine bright.

Surprise of the season

Josh Barker: Following their Champions League final appearance in 2019, Tottenham had been on a steady decline which looked set to continue into 2021/22 after a very underwhelming start under Nuno Espirito Santo.

Even when Antonio Conte first took the reins, Spurs still looked a side lost and without a clear plan.

However, the Italian has since been able to transform Spurs into a cohesive unit that can go toe-to-toe with the best, dominate the smaller sides and, barring a major slip up on the final day, will be back in the Champions League next season.

Conor Laird: Brilliant Brentford. Upon Thomas Frank’s troops securing a return to the top-flight of the English football pyramid for the first time in over 70 years, the Bees were widely labelled as being amongst the favourites for the drop.

How wrong, though, such detractors have since been proven…

Courtesy of a stellar brand of all-action football, Brentford have defied the odds, on their way to a head-turning 46 points. The lack of established ‘stars’ in the capital outfit’s setup has only made their achievement all the more impressive, with a top-half finish, remarkably, still up for grabs heading into the weekend’s final round of fixtures.

101 Great Goals: 2021/2022 Premier League season review

Andrew Thompson: Not meant in the positive context, Chelsea have been a huge surprise this season in terms of their inability to kick on under Thomas Tuchel and produce a more appropriate challenge for the Premier League title.

At the time of writing, the Blues are 19-points behind Liverpool (2nd) and 20-points behind league-leaders Manchester City.

This, after they lifted the Champions League trophy last season at City’s expense, many anticipated that Tuchel would rally the troops at Stamford Bridge and have a more considerable title challenge on the back of that success. but the abject failure that was the return of Romelu Lukaku, coupled with patchy performances and inexcusable results, the Blues remain a long way off from where they want to be.

Ben Browning: It can’t really be anyone other than Manchester United considering just how poor the Red Devils have been. Going through two managers, plenty of finger-pointing and leaks painting the picture of a fractured dressing room, the would-be title-contenders have stuttered to sixth place, and could yet fall lower on the final day.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking removed the final shield from the players, and from top to bottom, the club is a mess. 10 new players could arrive this summer, with more departing, as Ten Hag tries to get things in shape.

This season, however, has been a colossal disappointment.

Disappointment of the season

Josh Barker: Was there really another choice? Manchester United finished second in 2020/21. The Red Devils then brought in three world-class options in the form of Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Said trio were expected to give Manchester United the push they needed to compete with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.

However, the Red Devils have instead looked a complete shambles for most of the campaign and, even if they beat Crystal Palace on the final day, are guaranteed their lowest ever points total from a Premier League campaign (the previous being 64 in 2013/14).

Conor Laird: When it comes to the most disappointing aspects of the term, it seems only appropriate to split this one up into two categories.

Beating the likes of Everton to the punch as most disappointing team of the season is a Manchester United outfit hopeful of finally getting back on track under the watch of Erik ten Hag next time out.

On the back of a summer which promised so much owing to the arrivals of all of Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, though, a likely sixth-placed Premier League finish this time round is not just underwhelming, but frankly embarrassing for all associated with the Red Devils.
Turning attentions towards signings, the aforementioned Sancho is certainly in the ‘most disappointing’ conversation, as many would no doubt argue is Jack Grealish, but none have toiled quite so badly in their efforts to make an impact across the season as Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian international was brought back to west London last summer to add a much-needed 30-goal-a-season presence to Chelsea’s frontline, but has since looked a shell of his once so brilliant self, surrendering starting duties to a combination of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz en route to a paltry eight league goals.

Andrew Thompson: A quick look at the Premier League table tells you all you need to know when it comes to Manchester United in 2021-22 and the absolutely abhorrent campaign they produced under both Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Ralf Rangnick at Old Trafford.

Despite the triple arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, and Raphäel Varane, the Red Devils regressed massively in comparison to the prior season that saw them finish runner-up in the league, and at current are a whopping 32-points behind league-leading Manchester City while in danger of not even finishing in the top-six contingent on results on the final day at the weekend.

Erik ten Hag cannot arrive soon enough for the United fanbase.

Ben Browning: When Chelsea signed Romelu Lukaku, it should have signalled a real challenge to the Manchester City and Liverpool duopoly at the top of the Premier League. And, while they came third this season, it was a long way behind, even if games between the trio are close (see the Cup finals between Chelsea and Liverpool).

For Lukaku though, it has been an awful season, not helped by that now-infamous interview he gave the Italian press, nor the unwillingness of he or Thomas Tuchel to adapt their styles until recently.

It has led to just 26 Premier League appearances, and just eight goals. Far from what was expected from the Belgian forward when he was brought back to England for a record fee.

Goal of the season

Josh Barker: There were a number of stunning strikers across the 2021/22 season.

Mohamed Salah sitting Bernardo Silva down before sending Aymeric Laporte the wrong way and firing past Ederson was a sight to behold. Andros Townsend also scored and absolute rocket early in the campaign against Burnley.

However, few should be able to argue that Mateo Kovacic did not net the Premier League goal of the season.

Chelsea were playing Liverpool when Caoimhin Kelleher punched the ball high into the air before it fell straight into the path of Kovacic who, rather than attempting to control the ball, struck it first time while backtracking to net an arcing volley into the top corner from the edge of the box. Brilliant technique.

Conor Laird: Possibly the most straightforward call of all on our list, Salah’s solo spectacular against Manchester City in October of last year proved special for so many reasons.

The goal in itself showcased all that makes the Egyptian such a remarkable talent, as Salah, in dancing beyond a rake of Citizens defenders, made use of a complete repertoire of touch, pace, strength, spacial awareness and finishing ability, courtesy of his seldom-utilised right foot.

What truly separates it when it comes to the season’s standout goals, though, is the fact that the wide-man saved his best for the grandest stage – an early-season Premier League title showdown between English football’s two best teams.

Andrew Thompson: Perhaps today I am in my feels and being sentimental, but despite some of the ludicrous goals that transpired this season – including two special moments from Mohammed Salah – but I return to Christian Eriksen once more and his goal during Brentford’s 4-1 rout of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Eriksen has been a shining light for the Bees since his return to top flight football in the second half of this season, and arguably has been the club’s standout performer after registering one goal and four assists in ten league appearances. But his strike against the Blues, his first club goal after what was so nearly a heartbreaking summer, stands above the rest.

Ben Browning: There has always been a certain beauty to a well-struck volley, and Matteo Kovacic’s effort against Liverpool was no different. With the Blues 2-0 down and heading into a tricky halftime team talk, a corner broke to the Croatian midfielder on the edge of the box, before he sent it back with interest, flying past Alisson and halving the deficit.

The response was instant too, with Christian Pulisic levelling the game in first-half stoppage time. It was Kova’s gorgeous strike that got the ball rolling, though.


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