The 2018-19 Premier League season summed up in 10 games


Chelsea 3-0 Brighton & Hove Albion (gameweek 27)

It has been difficult to make sense of Chelsea's campaign, which has been characterised by both supporters and players struggling to understand Maurizio Sarri's methods but also brought a third-place finish and two cup finals.

The Road to Baku: Chelsea, Arsenal fans' long haul to Europa final

This game underlined the confusion about Sarri's preferred starting XI. The first goal was assisted by Callum Hudson-Odoi and converted by Olivier Giroud, two players who spent much of the campaign in Sarri's back-up XI, starting only in the Europa League. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, another in that situation, assisted the second for Eden Hazard, and the Belgian returned the favour for the third. Hazard has dragged this team to a Champions League spot, and his probable departure for Real Madrid might prove disastrous for a club faced with a transfer ban.

Brighton, meanwhile, attempted just three shots, and manager Chris Hughton substituted all three of his attackers, seemingly unsure of his optimum approach in the final third. For all Hughton's qualities, Brighton ultimately decided they needed a manager who offered more attacking endeavour and he was dismissed less than 24 hours after the final game of the season.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Cardiff City (gameweek 29)

Wolves' first campaign back in the Premier League was peculiar: Nuno Espirito Santo's side caused big sides problems but failed to break down weaker opposition. In that sense, a comfortable win over a relegated side probably isn't the best summary of their 2018-19.

However, Wolves' season improved after Nuno moved from 3-4-3 to a 3-5-2 system, in particular because Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota developed a wonderful attacking partnership, and they demonstrated that here. Jimenez teed up Jota for the opener; for the second, Jimenez crossed for the right for Jota, who chested the ball down and set back to Jimenez for an open goal. Nuno made plenty of changes for this match, but the front two remained in place and won him the game.

Cardiff, meanwhile, battled manfully against the drop with a limited squad, and Neil Warnock made the most of his resources. Their only chances here came from set pieces, particularly through Sean Morrison, a constant threat at dead-ball situations. Ultimately, that wasn't enough.

Liverpool's Sadio Mane was one of three African players to share the Premier League golden boot.

Liverpool 4-2 Burnley (gameweek 30)

Liverpool rarely won matches the easy way. The xG figures here were 4.4 to 0.5, yet it was only in stoppage time that Sadio Mane's second goal of the game sealed the victory.

- Marcotti: City, Liverpool complete truly special season

Mane's first came in typical Liverpool circumstances when Adam Lallana started an attack by steaming into a tackle high up the pitch, demonstrating Jurgen Klopp's emphasis on counter-pressing. The other two goals were both open goals, scored by Roberto Firmino after Mohamed Salah caused problems. Salah spent much of the season attracting the attention of opposition defenders, which created more space for Mane and Firmino.

But Liverpool were forced to come from behind here -- they won more points from losing positions than any other side this season -- after Ashley Westwood's left-wing corner drifted all the way in. Not only was this evidence of Burnley's tendency to unsettle opponents with direct football, but the goal was also helped into the net by a strong wind, one of Klopp's least favourite things about football in England.

Fulham 0-2 Manchester City (gameweek 32)

On a weekend when Liverpool recorded a 2-1 victory with a 90th-minute goal, Manchester City had their match won within half an hour. That was the story of the title race: While Liverpool had the emotion and the drama, City were cool and collected and denied their opponents many goal scoring chances.

- Ames: City's character shines through in title triumph
- Ogden: How Manchester City changed football forever

City's opener was scored by Bernardo Silva and assisted by Sergio Aguero. Then those roles were reversed for the second. While Raheem Sterling's impact shouldn't be overlooked (he was named the Footballer writers' Association's Footballer of the Year after all), it was those two who epitomised City in the final third: Silva was named their best player by Pep Guardiola, mixing outstanding technical quality with tremendous work rate, and Aguero enjoyed arguably his most consistent all-around campaign.

Both goals, however, came from dreadful Fulham giveaways in their own third, from Joe Bryan and Timothy Fosu-Mensah, respectively. Throughout the first half, Fulham were constantly playing into City's pressing traps and conceding possession readily, an apt summary of a dreadful campaign in which their early promise of technical football was undermined by a serious lack of quality in defensive positions and saw them relegated.

Lucas Moura of Tottenham celebrates scoring their 2nd goal while Huddersfield goalkeeper Ben Hamer looks dejected
Lucas Moura scored two hat tricks for Tottenham in his first full season at the club.

Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Huddersfield Town (gameweek 34)

Huddersfield were out of their depth and their 2018-19 campaign must be considered alongside Sunderland's and Derby County's efforts as amongst the worst seasons the Premier League has seen. They were outplayed here, with a wayward Steve Mounie header their only promising moment.

For Spurs, this game arrived between two Champions League quarterfinal legs against Manchester City, and therefore Mauricio Pochettino made seven changes as he desperately attempted to nurse his players through the final weeks of the season. There were some stereotypical performances from players who started the campaign as outsiders but finished it as vital tactical weapons: Moussa Sissoko was everywhere in midfield, and Fernando Llorente didn't look convincing in front of goal yet caused a nuisance.

The hero, though, was Lucas Moura, who scored a superb hat trick and looked genuinely emotional after the game as he hailed the supporters with his young son. Sure enough, Lucas scored another brilliant treble against Ajax weeks later to seal a place in the UCL final, again capped by an emotional postmatch television moment.

Most importantly, this Tottenham victory was achieved on a gloriously sunny Saturday lunchtime at their new stadium. For much of the campaign, Tottenham's football took a back seat as supporters wondered whether their new ground would be ready. It was. It looked magnificent and supporters absolutely loved it.

Southampton 3-3 Bournemouth (gameweek 36)

The campaign has been among the division's best seasons, not merely because of the quality of the top sides but also because of its strength in depth. Almost every side has had an obvious tactical identity and most have offered entertainment.

This south coast derby was a fine example of the Premier League's excellence. It was 14th against 16th in terms of final positions, and both sides took the game to the opposition and produced a topsy-turvy encounter.

Two of Southampton's goals were scored by youth products, James Ward-Prowse and Matt Targett, and it's clear that coach Ralph Hasenhuttl wants to return to Saints' philosophy of entrusting academy products. Meanwhile, Bournemouth's late equaliser was the most fitting goal: It was finished by Callum Wilson and assisted by Ryan Fraser. Those two combined for 12 goals this season, four more than any other pairing.