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2018/19 Season Review

29 May 2019

After one of the Premier League's closest title races, Manchester City edged out Liverpool to become the first club to retain the title in a decade.

Pep Guardiola’s side claimed the Trophy with 98 points, just two fewer than the historic 100 they earned in 2017/18.

But even that haul was only one point more than Liverpool, who despite only one defeat all season ended as runners-up.

The top two's combined total of 195 points was also the most ever as Manchester City and Liverpool established unmatched levels in a title chase.

Chelsea make fast start

The season kicked off with Manchester United beating Leicester City 2-1 on opening night, while Man City started their title defence by handing new Arsenal head coach Unai Emery a 2-0 home defeat.

Arsene Wenger’s successor then suffered a 3-2 loss at Chelsea, who were operating under a new head coach of their own, Maurizio Sarri. But Emery then oversaw a 14-match unbeaten league run.

The first showdown between Liverpool and Man City in October ended goalless at Anfield, as the visitors' summer signing Riyad Mahrez missed a late penalty.

Chelsea were among the early pacesetters as Sarri became the first ever manager to remain unbeaten throughout his first 12 Premier League matches.

The Italian also handed Man City their first loss of the season, winning 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in December.

That was part of a run of three defeats in four matches for the champions, who were shocked by Andros Townsend’s Goal of the Season in a 3-2 home defeat by Crystal Palace, before Leicester beat them 2-1.

Ederson, Manchester City
Man City goalkeeper Ederson is powerless to stop Ricardo Pereira's winning goal for Leicester City
Red-hot Liverpool

Liverpool capitalised with a nine-match winning streak to move seven points clear at the top of the table at the end of 2018. That run included a 3-1 home success against Man Utd that turned out to be Jose Mourinho’s last match in charge.

Tottenham Hotspur, who were the only team to not make a signing in either transfer window, were two points behind second-placed Man City after Matchweek 20, having won 15 fixtures and drawn none.

The new year started with the top two meeting at Etihad Stadium. The fine margins went Man City’s way as John Stones superbly prevented the ball from going over the line by just one centimetre while the score was goalless. Then Leroy Sane's strike went in off a post to earn a 2-1 win for the hosts.

That swung the title race in favour of Man City, for whom a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle United in January was the last time they dropped points, while Liverpool suffered a run of four draws in six matches.

John Stones, Manchester City
Unstoppable Man City

City kept their advantage with victories in April against Spurs and Man Utd. The latter had turned their season round under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who oversaw a six-match winning run that took his side into top-four contention and earned the Norwegian a permanent contract as manager at Old Trafford.

But Liverpool maintained the pressure, beating Chelsea thanks to a stunning goal from Mohamed Salah.

Just when a Leicester side revived by the hiring of Brendan Rodgers were thinking of damaging Man City's title hopes in the penultimate match of the season, Vincent Kompany stepped up to thunder in a long-range winner to maintain the one-point advantage going into the final day.

An epic comeback win over Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals gave Liverpool belief of another comeback in the league.

But Guardiola’s men recovered from going 1-0 down at Brighton & Hove Albion to win 4-1. Their 14th league win in a row allowed Kompany to lift the Premier League Trophy for the fourth time as Man City captain.

Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool
Sadio Mane earned a share of the Golden Boot, while Virgil van Dijk won the EA SPORTS Player of the Season but Liverpool were edged to the title by a point
English teams dominate in Europe

A week later Kompany was raising aloft the FA Cup in one of his final acts before leaving the club as City claimed an unprecedented domestic treble, including the EFL Cup. 

Sadio Mane's two goals for Liverpool against Wolverhampton Wanderers on the final day were not enough for the Premier League title but the Senegalese joined Salah and Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as joint-winners of the Golden Boot with 22 goals each. 

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson claimed the Golden Glove with 21 clean sheets, beating Man City’s Ederson by one shutout, while Virgil van Dijk was named the EA SPORTS Player of the Season. 

Eden Hazard claimed the Playmaker Award with 15 assists as Chelsea clinched third and a return to the UEFA Champions League 

Spurs inaugurated their impressive new stadium with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace in April on their way to a fourth-place finish.

In Europe, history was made as the finals for the UEFA Champions League and Europa League were all-English affairs. Spurs would face Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League in Madrid, while Arsenal and Chelsea would meet in the UEFA Europa League final in Baku. 

Arsenal fell short of a return to the top four, although Eddie Nketiah had the honour of scoring the 1,072nd and final goal of the season, sealing a Premier League goal record for a 20-team campaign.  

Wolverhampton Wanderers
Promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers qualified for the UEFA Europa League qualifiers after finishing seventh
Mixed fortunes for new faces in the dugout

Solskjaer could not prevent an end-of-season slump as United finished sixth, while Wolverhampton Wanderers’ seventh was the highest finish by a promoted side since Ipswich Town came fifth in 2000/01. 

At the other end of the table, Jan Siewert replaced David Wagner as Huddersfield Town head coach but could not get them off the bottom to avoid relegation 

Fulham were also down before new head coach Scott Parker oversaw a three-match winning streak and made Harvey Elliott, aged 16 years and 30 days, the youngest player in the competition's history. 

Ralph Hasenhuttl had a more instant impact at Southamptontaking over from Mark Hughes while Saints were in the relegation zone after one win in their first 15 matches.  

The Austrian engineered wins over Arsenal and Spurs as he secured a 16th-place finish, while striker Shane Long scored the fastest goal in PL history, netting after 7.69 seconds at Watford. 

Brighton and Cardiff City battled to avoid ending up in the final relegation spotCardiff gave themselves hope by beating the Seagulls in Aprilbut a run of three consecutive defeats condemned them to the drop on the penultimate weekend. 

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