james debate
james debate

Sunday 29 May 2022

Another doozy of a season in the record books, which means it is time for The Ephemeric's traditional end of season review. We had drama, tension and last minute twists, but who did what and which players caught our eye? Read on to find out.

premier league 2021 manchester city champions klopp pep guardiola tuchel lampard chelsea ephemeric european super league
The 2021/22 season kept us in suspense right up until the final whistle, but in the end it is another title for well-funded Manchester City, a title that may seem something of a consolation prize for a team still eluded by the European glory they so crave. For runners up Liverpool, however, it is a tale of oh-so-near. Having been within a realistic shout of an unprecedented quadruple just days ago, they instead need to settle for the two domestic cups, neither of which, it has to be said, were claimed all that convincingly. The tale of English football's top clubs is rounded out by Chelsea who, while injury crisis prevented them from sustaining a title push, did manage to end the season as Champions of the World and with another Super Cup to boot. 

Now we head into the next season with so many tantalising plotlines to follow. Have Tottenham finally got it right with Antonio Conte? Can Erik ten Hag work his magic and find a way to turn Man United's cast of disparate starlets into a cohesive unit? What does the future hold for Chelsea in a post-Abramovich world? The Premier League remains football's most exciting competition, and we are already looking forward to next season.

Now without further ado it is time to move on to the Ephemeric end of season awards, followed by our carefully selected Premier League team of the year.

The Ephemeric Premier League Awards 2022:

Winners: Manchester City 

Relegated: Burnley, Watford, Norwich 

Player of the Year: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) - Arguably the best player in football today. Salah topped both the goals and assists table and remains the essential player of one of the world's best sides.

U-21 Player of the Year: Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace) - A competitive year for this prize. On another day I could easily have awarded this to Reece James or Phil Foden, but in the end it is the Crystal Palace loanee that has most impressed. To make his Premier League debut and immediately exert such influence and poise is a remarkable accomplishment and hopefully the beginning of a very strong career.

Best Goalkeeper: Alisson (Liverpool) - The most clean sheets, and just a constant presence in this Liverpool defence. Alisson just seems to have every attribute a keeper needs.

Top Scorer: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) & Son Heung-Min (Tottenham) (23) 

Most Assists: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) (13) 

Manager of the Year: Antonio Conte (Tottenham) - For years Tottenham have seemed like a club adrift, consistent only in their underachievement, even under the stewardship of some top level managers. In Conte it seems the club may finally have found someone with the will to elevate these players and finally achieve some level of consistent results.

Best signing of the season: Luis Diaz (Liverpool) 

Worst signing of the season: Dele Alli (Everton) 

The Ephemeric Premier League Team of the Season 2022:

english epl bpl premier league best team xi of the season 2021
A surprisingly difficult XI to pick this year. Alisson in goal picks himself, along with the league's two standout players Salah and Son, but for every other position there were at least two or three players who could have made a credible claim to be in this team. 

The inclusion of Reece James over Trent Alexander-Arnold may raise a few eyebrows, but quite frankly it shouldn't. TAA has shown himself time and time again to be shaky at the back (as we saw this past weekend to tragic effect), while James has been arguably Chelsea's most rock-solid defender, to the extent that he has often played at centre-half. James' attacking talents are also underappreciated, the fact that he has a higher combined goals and assists tally than TAA despite being injured half the season says everything. Trent is a fantastic footballer, but Reece James, when fit, was arguably among the league's best players this season.

Harry Kane is another who seems to have flown under the radar, possibly as a result of Son stealing the headlines. While it is true that Kane has had a quiet season by his standards, the statistics don't lie. 17 league goals and 9 assists, a very formidable tally by anyone's standards. Kane remains one of the most dependable attacking talents in world football.

Then there is Kevin de Bruyne, the Premier League's official player of the year. His pick over the likes of Salah and Son may be questionable, but there is no denying that he is a world class talent and the beating heart of a very good Manchester City side. I choose a tantalising central midfield for this XI with the marauding creative talents of De Bruyne and Mount (fun, underappreciated fact: only two players in the Premier League had a greater combined goals/assists than Mount) playing off a Declan Rice fulcrum. 

Completing the defence with the standout players of the league's most miserly defences seems like a no-brainer.

So there we have it, another season of Premier League football gone by. We'll see you again next season!

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