The Premier League has been a topsy turvy ride in 2023, with the year showcasing the end of the 2022/23 season, and the halfway point of the 2023/24 season. It has been a year of twists and turns, agony and ecstasy, new regimes, established dynasties, and the rise and fall of numerous sides.
So, let’s take a look at how 2023 shaped up for the world’s best and most popular league.
The Title Race
The title race in 2022/23 became one of the most exciting in recent times, with Arsenal and Man City engaged in a battle for supremacy. Despite the Gunners being top for 30 of the 38 league games, they fell short in the final few weeks of the season, and City, buoyed by Erling Haaland’s goals, scooped their third league title in a row.
The 2023/24 season started with Arsenal and City once again posting strong campaigns, but it has been Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, the side traditionally going toe-to-toe with City, who have emerged as the league leaders this season, following a poor 2022/23 campaign that saw them finish 5th.
Unexpectedly, the Reds’ midfield rebuild has been a big success, and they lead the Premier League table by 2 points in the early days of 2024.
As for the race for Europe, the top 4-top 6 battle has been heating up nicely. Manchester United and Newcastle United clinched 3rd and 4th spot at the close of the 2022/23 season, with both clubs enjoying strong ends to the campaign. However, both have had disastrous starts to the current season, with the Red Devil’s sitting 8th, whilst the Toon Army are one place below.
A transformed Spurs, bouncing back from the loss of Harry Kane, and reinvigorated by former Celtic boss Ange Postecoglu sit in 5th, just 1 point off Arsenal, whose mixed start to the season sees them end the year in 4th position.
The feel-good story of the Premier League in 2023 has been Aston Villa, with former Arsenal boss Unai Emery taking charge in November and guiding the Villains to 7th place. Their great form has continued, and they currently lie in 2nd place moving into 2024, and with the possible £50m signing of Israeli rising star Oscar Gloukh on the horizon, they can strengthen their position for the second half of the season.
Brighton and West Ham sit just outside the top 5, and are also very much in contention for European football.
The relegation fight in 2022/23 ended with a couple of predictable relegations in Southampton and Leeds United, as well as a surprise heartbreak for Leicester City. This season, heading into the turn of the year, the bottom 3 consists of the three newly promoted sides, Luton Town, Burnley, Sheffield United respectively.
However, Everton’s 10 point deduction for breaching FFP has thrown a cat amongst the pigeons, and the Toffees sit 17th on 16 points, just 1 point ahead of Luton Town. Whilst Ivan Toney-less Brentford, who started the season so well, have been sucked into a relegation scrap due to poor form.
Mid Table Also-Rans
Mid table always tends to be the least compelling component of any season, though Bournemouth and Wolves are flying under their respective managers, and may have faint aspirations of securing European football. Chelsea are the biggest fall from grace story of the campaign, failing to improve on last season’s dreadful form, despite over £1 billion spent, and the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino as manager.
The club sit 10th at the halfway point, 11 points behind Spurs in 5th, and 12 points off the top 4. This is 2 places higher than their 12th placed finish last season, but still nowhere near what the club would have hoped for. Elsewhere Fulham and Crystal Palace also occupy lower mid table spots.
To conclude, the past year in the Premier League has been a thrilling 12 months, with the best and worst of the league on display. 2024 looks set to bring new highs and lows, and many neutrals will be hoping a team besides Man City can claim the league title. The journey is only halfway through, and it’s set to be a bumpy ride, so buckle up!