The 2020-21 EPL season started out looking like a wide-open race for the title. At least half a dozen teams held the league lead at one time. Everton was among them. Heck, even Southampton was.
However, around the turn of the year Manchester City went on a merciless run, and ended up winning the title in a rout. City also claimed the League Cup. The FA Cup went to Leicester City.
EPL teams dominated in Europe. Three of the four semi-finalists in the European Club tournaments were English. Manchester United, which finished second in the EPL, was the losing finalist in the Europa League tournament (to Villareal of Spain). And in the big one, the Champions League final, Chelsea shaded Manchester City.
Everton faded badly after its phenomenal start. We finished tenth.
Injuries were partly to blame. Each of our big-name acquisitions — Allan, Abdoulaye Doucouré, and James Rodriguez — missed big blocks of time, and that’s when our decline began.
However, even after Allan and Doucouré recovered, restoring our midfield spine, we failed to regain our form. We were particularly poor at home, which might have had to do with the absence of fans. There was no “Goodison roar” to spur the team on. But that’s no excuse.
To add insult to injury, after the season we lost our manager, Carlo Ancelotti, to Real Madrid, of all teams. It’s not every day that the Spanish giants poach Everton’s manager. But it’s not everyday that Everton lures a world renowned manager to Merseyside.
Ancelotti hardly did a spectacular job at Everton. Indeed, he seems to be slipping (which is why we got him in the first place). Still, Ancelotti showed he could produce when he had a healthy squad. I very much doubt his replacement will be of the same caliber.
As for this year’s EPL all-stars, here are my selections:
Ederson — Manchester City
Aaron Wan-Bissaka — Manchester United
Andy Robertson — Liverpool
Ruben Dias — Manchester City
Harry McGuire — Manchester United
Ilkay Gündogan — Manchester City
Tomas Soucek — West Ham United
Kevin De Bruyne — Manchester City
Bruno Fernandes — Manchester United
Jack Grealish — Aston Villa
Harry Kane — Tottenham Hotspur
Emiliano Martinez — Aston Villa
Vladimir Coufal — West Ham United
Luke Shaw — Manchester United
Tiago Silva — Chelsea
James Tarkowski — Burnley
Wilfred Ndidi — Leicester City
Mason Mount — Chelsea
Phil Foden — Manchester City
Son Heung-Min — Tottenham Hotspur
Mohamed Salah — Liverpool
Jamie Vardy — Leicester City
Nick Pope — Burnley
Trent Alexander-Arnold — Liverpool
Ben Chilwell — Chelsea
Wesley Fofana — Leicester City
Lewis Dunk — Brighton
Rodri — Manchester City
James Ward-Prowse — Southampton
Sadio Mané — Liverpool
Rahim Sterling — Manchester City
Patrick Bamford — Leeds United
Dominic Calvert-Lewin — Everton
Player of the Year — Kane (he led the EPL in goals and assists)
Runner-up — De Bruyne
Everton Player of the year — Calvert-Lewin