Football Features

“He is a genius… we will miss him” – The five subplots of the Premier League 2020/21 final day

By Chris Smith

Published: 20:15, 23 May 2021

The 2020/21 Premier League season has come to a close, with the final day full of drama, twists and turns.

Liverpool and Chelsea won a fierce battle for a place in the top four with Leicester dropping into fifth, while West Ham sealed Europa League football and Tottenham had to settle for a place in the inaugural Europa Conference League.

But the final league table barely scratches the surface of what happened during a dramatic Sunday afternoon. Read on for some of the biggest stats and stories you might have missed.

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1. Aguero gets perfect Premier League send-off

With the title long since sealed, the main talking point of Man City’s clash with Everton was undoubtedly Sergio Aguero’s final Premier League appearance ahead of his move to Barcelona. Everyone remembers that goal against QPR all those years ago and without that moment, who knows how the Man City dynasty would have shaped out.

Aguero was only good for a place on the bench on Sunday but that didn’t stop him from sealing a perfect send-off in his last game at the Etihad, scoring twice within just 11 minutes of coming off the bench against a rather pathetic Everton defence.

“Sergio Aguero deserves all the plaudits he gets,” Dion Dublin said of the Argentine striker. “He is a goal machine. He has won everything and he is a genius. I’m really pleased he is getting a proper send-off and we will miss him.”

Who would put it past Aguero deciding next week’s Champions League final?

2. Willock makes history with yet another goal

Joe Willock has been a revelation for Newcastle United since joining the club on loan from Arsenal at the end of the winter transfer window. The 21-year-old put in another top-quality performance on the final day, scoring the opening goal of the game as the Magpies beat already-relegated Fulham 2-0 at Craven Cottage.

That was Willock’s eighth goal in just 14 appearances for Newcastle but more remarkably, it makes him just the second player to score in seven consecutive Premier League games for the club, alongside Alan Shearer. Across the league as a whole, he joins an illustrious yet short list of names to achieve that feat, including Jamie Vardy, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Thierry Henry.

Never mind making the loan permanent, Arsenal could do with a goalscorer like Willock themselves!

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3. Kane shows what he’s learned from Bale ahead of possible Spurs exit

While Spurs went into the final day chasing a Europa League spot, Harry Kane’s focus will have also been on securing his third Premier League Golden Boot, and his first for four years. The England international was level alongside Mohamed Salah on 22 goals and was able to get himself onto the scoresheet against the Foxes to bring home another individual prize.

If Dion Dublin’s description of the goal was anything to by, it would appear Kane has been taking pointers from the footballing world’s best golfer and Spurs teammate, Gareth Bale. Bale, of course, netted the third and fourth strikes in a 4-2 comeback win for the Lilywhites on Sunday.

“Harry Kane is on the edge of the six-yard box and the pressure is on,” said Dublin. “He has to connect and he swings through the ball and connects beautifully. It is like a golf shot. Very smooth.”

England. Golf. Spurs?

4. Wijnaldum a Liverpool “legend”, says Carragher

Another player who looks to have played his last Premier League game this weekend is Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum.

“As it looks right now, it is (goodbye). The club and I didn’t agree to a new contract,” Wijnaldum said ahead of Sunday’s Anfield clash against Crystal Palace. “If you look at the facts, from the first of July my contract is over.”

The Netherlands international managed 78 minutes as the Reds beat Palace 2-0 and as he left the field to be replaced by James Milner, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher was left in “no doubt” that Wijnaldum will go down as a club legend.

“That man will never be forgotten for the role he’s played in the success under Jurgen Klopp,” he said of Wijnaldum. “There’s no doubt he’ll go down as a legend.”

5. Chelsea scrape top four but Mendy a UCL final doubt

For a while there, Chelsea’s place in the top four looked in serious doubt. The Blues were 2-0 down away at Aston Villa, while Liverpool and Leicester both found themselves ahead against Palace and Spurs, respectively. In the end, although Thomas Tuchel’s men only managed to halve the deficit in their own match, London rivals Tottenham saved their skin, running out 4-2 winners at the King Power Stadium.

That should have been cause for celebration for Chelsea, but instead, the Blues are more likely to be worried about the possibility of losing goalkeeper Édouard Mendy for next week’s Champions League final against Man City.

The Senegal international collided with the post as Bertrand Traore turned the ball home shortly before half-time and didn’t emerge from the tunnel after the break, being replaced by Kepa Arrizabalaga.

“Edouard, he fell on the frame,” Tuchel told reporters after the match. “He has big pain in his ribs, we need to wait when we get home to do some images. We will see if it is possible.”

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