Paul Pogba, Andros Townsend, Marcelo Bielsa, Sheffield Wednesday, Daniel Farke, Jose Mourinho and Tottenham’s new stadium all feature in our end-of-season awards
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 16/05/19 12:11am
What was the best game of the 2018/19 season? Who scored the best goal? Who sent out the best tweet? What was the best celebration?
With the 2018/19 season now in the book, we have looked back over the campaign to pick out some of the highlights and talking points.
Do you agree with our selections?
Game of the season
Even in a season packed with great games, it was impossible to top Manchester City’s remarkable Champions League semi-final second leg against Tottenham.
From four goals in a frantic opening 20 minutes to the debate over Fernando Llorente’s third for Spurs – did it come off his arm? – and then the dramatic conclusion when City thought they had snatched victory in injury-time, only for the Video Assistant Referee to deny them due to offside.
Goal of the season
John McGinn and Jack Grealish scored a couple of stunners for Aston Villa, but Andros Townsend’s strike to inspire Palace to a shock 3-2 victory at Manchester City in December takes the honours.
Townsend, unsurprisingly, said the goal was “definitely the best of my career”, and added: “It sat up perfectly for me. I knew the way Man City press that if I took a touch they’d be all over me so I knew I had to take it first time and, as soon as it left my foot, I knew it had a very good chance.”
Press conference of the season
Who can forget Jose Mourinho calling for “respect…respect…respect” after Manchester United’s 3-0 defeat to Tottenham?
But Marcelo Bielsa upped the ante with his PowerPoint presentation following the ‘Spygate’ revelation, described as an “incredible…tactical masterclass” by Sky Sports reporter Tim Thornton.
Interview of the season
Away from controversy, rants and talk about title races or relegation, Jurgen Klopp gave a revealing and amusing insight into himself when he spoke to Soccer AM towards the end of the season.
Klopp answered the most asked questions about Klopp on Google, such as ‘where did Jurgen Klopp grow up?’ and ‘is Jurgen Klopp angry?’ Well worth a watch…
Comeback of the season
Or Manchester United overcoming a 2-0 first-leg CL deficit to knock-out Paris Saint-Germain with a last-minute penalty.
But none of them really come close to matching the incredible results Liverpool and Tottenham pulled off on back-to-back nights, first when Liverpool recovered from a 3-0 first-leg defeat to beat Barca 4-0 and then when Tottenham scored three times in the second half, including a last-gasp winner, to shock Ajax and join Liverpool in the final, leaving Mauricio Pochetttino in tears.
Save of the season
Rui Patricio’s fingertip save to flick a shot from Raheem Sterling onto the bar stands out. As does Alisson’s point-blank save to deny Andre Gomes in the Merseyside derby in December.
However, Bernd Leno takes the award for his superb double save against Tottenham.
He made the first save look routine to deny Christian Eriksen from close range, and then showed superb reactions to keep out Moussa Sissoko’s follow-up shot with an outstretched hand.
Pass of the season
Paul Pogba against Tottenham? Kevin De Bruyne against Crystal Palace? Ruben Neves against Leicester?
The top two are: Mesut Ozil’s sublime pass to Sead Kolasinac against Burnley and David Luiz’s superb no-look over-the-top assist against Newcastle.
Luiz sneaks it.
Awkward moment of the season
Dave Jones and Graeme Souness – “why are you looking at me like that?”
So awkward that Jones took to Twitter afterwards…
Signing of the season
Goalkeepers Alisson, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Bernd Leno have all been good additions, so have Raul Jimenez, Lucas Torreira, Lucas Digne, James Maddison and Fabinho.
However, would Newcastle have stayed up without Salomon Rondon?
The striker, who is on loan from West Brom, has provided a crucial focal point for Newcastle’s attack and has also scored 11 Premier League goals and provided seven assists.
In terms of January signings, Youri Tielemans and Miguel Almiron both impressed, but Karlan Grant became Huddersfield’s joint-top Premier League scorer for the season just six weeks after joining from Charlton. Admittedly he only needed three goals to achieve that feat, but he still looks a snip for a reported fee of £2m.
Player you hadn’t heard of before the season started
Crystal Palace full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka was certainly not an established name before this season, but had started seven Premier League games.
However, Matteo Guendouzi was a complete unknown to everyone except Ligue 2 enthusiasts when he joined Arsenal from Lorient in the summer.
Signed for around £8m, Guendouzi has proved to be a shrewd addition as he has played in 33 Premier League matches and impressed in midfield.
Miss of the season
There were two terrible misses in successive nights in November as Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie and Roma’s Cengiz Under both failed to score with the goal at their mercy.
Shane Long also missed a sitter just a few days after scoring the fastest goal in Premier League history.
However, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting takes the award for his remarkable miss for Paris Saint-Germain.
The former Stoke player was unable to tap in from close range and even got the ball to stop on the line before a defender cleared it away.
Fan TV moment of the season
‘Mo Salah, you little dancer!’
Quote of the season
Mauricio Pochettino: “It is like a cow that, every day in 10 years, sees the train cross in front at the same time. If you ask the cow, ‘what time is the train going to come’, it is not going to know the right answer.”
Scorers of amazing goals
Take a bow, Sheffield Wednesday.
The Owls have scored some stunners this season, with Barry Bannan, Lucas Joao, Fernando Forestieri, Stephen Fletcher and Marco Matias all getting in on the act.
Special mention for Adam Reach, though, who has netted nine goals this season, three of which have been fantastic strikes. How many other players can say that about a third of their goals?
Surprise of the season
Jose Mourinho not lasting until the end of his third season…?
Or, more seriously, Norwich and Sheffield United exceeding expectations to win promotion? Or Fulham not living up to top-half expectations having spent over £100m in the summer? Or Wolves finishing seventh and making the FA Cup semi-finals?
But let’s hear it for Ajax providing the biggest surprise this season. Having come through two qualifying rounds to make the Champions League group stage they then reached the semi-finals after knocking out European giants Real Madrid and Juventus.
Although they suffered heartbreak against Tottenham, they recovered to continue their bid to win the Eredivisie for the first time since 2013/14 and also won their domestic cup.
Stat of the season
Sheffield United trailing for a total of 34 minutes at Bramall Lane in the Championship in 2018/19 was impressive.
So was Roy Hodgson’s longevity (the oldest ever manager to take charge of a Premier League game aged 71 years 276 days), Wolves’ return to the Premier League (their total of 57 points is the most by a promoted club since 2000/01) and Tottenham’s lack of draws (they went 28 games without a draw from the start of the season).
However, Vincent Kompany’s stunning strike against Leicester was his first effort on target from outside the box since 2013. It proved to be a hugely significant moment in the title race.
Mid-season managerial change
Brendan Rodgers impressed after taking over at Leicester in February, introducing an attacking style and picking up plenty of wins along the way.
Wally Downes managed to keep AFC Wimbledon in League One, having been appointed in December with the club seven points from safety.
However, when Sol Campbell took over Macclesfield in November they were not only bottom of League Two with two wins from 19 matches, but there were questions about Campbell’s suitability in his first role in management.
Campbell finished the season with seven wins – including victories over relegation rivals Notts County and Yeovil – and 10 draws in his 25 games as Macclesfield avoided relegation on the final day.
Celebration of the season
“I’ve been busting it out in a couple of clubs so time to bring it out on the pitch.”
Always a good premise for a celebration.
A week after celebrating a goal against Leicester by caressing a carpet, Michail Antonio becoming the first opposition player to score at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium by thrusting his hips and….well it’s probably better just to watch it and see:
Tweet of the season
Paul Pogba’s reaction (or a scheduled marketing post) after Jose Mourinho’s sacking.
Which was followed by Gary Neville reacting to Pogba’s reaction
Also, Raheem Sterling getting people talking about racism.
Fine margins of the season
Where might the Premier League title have ended up this season if goal-line technology was not in use?
Its influence became critical when Liverpool were denied a goal in their 2-1 defeat to Manchester City in January when John Stones managed to clear off the line with just 11.2mm to spare.
City then won 1-0 at Burnley in late April when goal-line technology showed that Sergio Aguero’s shot went 25.3mm over the line. Fine margins..
Showboat of the season
It’s difficult to pick one from all the no-look passes, flicks, tricks and spins.
Check out the video below to see our pick of the best skills from the Premier League season, featuring Eden Hazard, Paul Pogba and Mesut Ozil.
Animal of the season
Sorry Wolves, it’s the Goodison Park cat.
The black cat wandered onto the pitch during Everton’s match against Wolves in February and held up play for several minutes before he was whisk-ered away. Even though Wolves won, Nuno Espirito Santo was not impressed.
“Where I come from in Portugal, the black cat is bad luck so I never want to see cats again. I don’t like black cats.”
Silent treatment of the season
What else but Neil Warnock revealing his frustration after a couple of debatable refereeing decisions saw Cardiff lose in cruel fashion to Chelsea, Warnock instead just stood on the pitch and stared at the officials after the full-time whistle. It was a perfection expression of his utter disappointment, although he did also call the Premier League officials the “worst in the world” afterwards for good measure.
Pundit of the season
With Manchester United’s struggles and Liverpool’s success, it’s been a tough season for Gary Neville. However, the former United defender has continued to provide forthright views and give insight on Raheem Sterling, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who would win a match between a team of Jamie Carraghers and a team of Gary Nevilles, and much more.
Alex Scott has also been excellent as a regular pundit, but for a special guest appearance there’s no trumping Roy Keane.
Whether it’s eye-rolls and head shakes as he listened to his former team-mate Neville or his frank views on Paul Pogba, Keane was on top form when he was in the studio for Manchester City’s derby win over United in April.
Controversy of the season
Leeds allowing Aston Villa to score after they didn’t kick the ball out was remarkable, as was Kepa Arrizabalaga’s refusal to be substituted in the Carabao Cup final, but both are topped by Scunthorpe’s hugely-controversial final-day goal against Plymouth.
With both teams fighting for survival in League One, Plymouth were 2-1 ahead when goalkeeper Matt Macey appeared to suffer an injury.
Macey tried to throw the ball out of play to receive treatment, but Scunthorpe’s Josh Morris kept it in and then curled a shot over the goalkeeper to level the scores.
The goal sparked a mass melee and Scunthorpe chairman Peter Swann apologised afterwards for the “unsportsmanlike” incident. Plymouth’s Twitter feed called it “the most unsporting goal in Home Park history”.
Funniest moment of the season
It’s got to be Roberto Firmino posing for a photo with a baby during the Merseyside derby hasn’t it?
Saga of the season
Debate over Mourinho’s future rumbled on for a while and there were a few transfer stories that carried through January (see Callum Hudson-Odoi, Bayern Munich and Chelsea), but Tottenham’s stadium opening was a saga with longevity.
It was originally supposed to be open on September 15, but was then pushed back to October, then December and then into 2019. There was talk about safety concerns, the cost, whether Spurs should just wait until next season, and whether it would negatively impact their season.
Eventually it opened on April 3 with a game against Crystal Palace, which Spurs won 2-0 – and a stadium lauded as being worth both the expense and the wait.
Substitution of the season
Gerard Deulofeu’s introduction in Watford’s FA Cup semi-final win over Watford proved to be inspired.
Javi Gracia said that Deulofeu was “angry” at being omitted from the starting XI, but he certainly made his mark after he came on in the 66th minute with Watford 2-0 down.
Deulofeu pulled a goal back with a fine chipped finish and then, after Troy Deeney had sent to the game to extra-time, scored the winner in extra-time.
Manager of the season
Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp were involved in a record-breaking title race in the Premier League, Downes worked wonders to keep AFC Wimbledon in League One and Campbell managed to keep Macclesfield in League Two after initial doubts – and some mocking – over his appointment.
However, the two managers at the top of the Championship have to be the best-performing duo of the season.
With very little money spent between either of them, Chris Wilder, who won the LMA award, did a remarkable job to get Sheffield United promoted to the Premier League while Daniel Farke won the division having been under pressure at the start of the season after one win from their first six matches.
Farke takes the prize, just.
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