Winners and Losers from Premier League Matchweek 38

Shane EvansContributor IMay 24, 2021

Manchester City's Fernandinho raises the trophy to celebrate winning the English Premier League title after the soccer match between Manchester City and Everton at the Etihad stadium in Manchester, Sunday, May 23, 2021.(AP Photo/Dave Thompson, Pool)
Dave Thompson/Associated Press

That's a wrap, folks. What a season we have had in the English Premier League. We have our champions (Man City, again), our Champions League participants (all "super" performers) and our relegated trio (no surprises there).

It was a year that brought fans back to stadiums right at the end after what felt like an eternity away. We saw Tottenham Hotspur win 6-1 at Old Trafford and Aston Villa beat Liverpool 7-2. The Super League came and went in less time than it took to get a boat unstuck from the Suez Canal. Harry Kane, Bruno Fernandes, Kevin De Bruyne and many other top stars shone brightly all year long. The season had it all.

Let's look back on the last weekend of the season before we switch gears to the European Championship, Copa America and more. The EPL will be back in just a few short months, don't you worry.


Winner: Manchester City

There are lots of things worth celebrating in the blue side of Manchester these days. Just ask Pep Guardiola.

Man City just lifted its fifth Premier League crown and isn't showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Despite the departure of one of the club's all-time greats and talisman Sergio Aguero, the positives are all over the pitch for the Citizens.

Player of the Year center back Ruben Dias and a rotating cast of exceptional teammates on the back line keep things anchored in front of goalkeeper Ederson. De Bruyne is arguably the best midfielder in the world. Phil Foden is without question the best young player in the EPL. Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Ferran Torres, Gabriel Jesus—the list goes on. 

Also, Guardiola seems to have figured out how to win in England, and the former Barcelona boss is on the cusp of dominating Europe with a second club.

And we haven't even mentioned the inevitable signing of a megastar this summer, whether it be Harry Kane, Erling Haaland or...yep, Leo Messi. The club will add a big name in the months ahead and will be the favorite to win the league next season.

Enjoy it, City fans.


Loser: Leicester City

"Heartbreak" doesn't quite do it justice. Leicester City spent the most time in the top four of any of the big clubs (see below) but was the one to miss out on next year's Champions League after a last-day capitulation against Spurs. Leicester even got the help it would have needed from Midlands rival Aston Villa! 

B/R Football @brfootball

Leicester spent more time than any other team in the top four. But they drop out on the final day 💔 https://t.co/UDaRtr5jD4

The FA Cup victory two weekends ago was an unquestionable high point for the club in its long history, but missing out on the Champions League on the last day of two straight seasons is a crushing blow to the aspirations of this burgeoning member of England's elite football inner circle. Manager Brendan Rodgers is becoming known for his "nearly" moments after coming up short for the title with Liverpool in 2013/14 and now the last two seasons with the Foxes.

With Tottenham apparently circling Rodgers as a potential permanent replacement for Jose Mourinho and a number of talented young players who will draw interest this summer (names like Youri Tielemans, James Maddison and Wesley Fofana come to mind), the momentum could be slowing down for Leicester if it isn't careful in the months ahead.


Winner: Roy Hodgson, Crystal Palace

Farewell, Roy
Farewell, RoyFacundo Arrizabalaga/Associated Press

What a career for Roy Hodgson.

One of the sport's true gentlemen, Hodgson has retired from management after 45 years in the game. His resume reads as well as some of the best to have ever done it, and he has been treated as such.

Just enjoy his beautiful words with his lovely accent on his final day in charge of Crystal Palace. The sport means the world to him and cares so much about his stewardship of the club—his club—during the last four years of his career.

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

"I shall miss football, there's no question of that." 💔 Roy Hodgson bids an emotional farewell to the Crystal Palace supporters at Selhurst Park... https://t.co/YXVZkQ9Z2l

Good luck in whatever comes next, Roy, wherever that may be.


Loser: Arsenal

What does the future hold for Arsenal?
What does the future hold for Arsenal?Richard Heathcote/Associated Press

Despite ending the season on a high with a 2-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion, it was mostly doom and gloom for Gunners fans. Arsenal's second consecutive eighth-place finish is the club's worst position since a 12th-place finish in 1994/95. That was last season the London side failed to qualify for Europe, and the Gunners' 25-year run in European competition is now over.

Heading into a summer when it's unknown whether big-name additions will be made due to the above continental void, next season could mean even more reliance on the young talents. The patience with Mikel Arteta will be short, and frustrations from the red-clad north Londoners will be readily available, which is rarely a good equation.

It'll be interesting if they can reclaim more of the Arsenal identity that made the club one of the teams to beat in the '90s and early 2000s, though that typically required strong investment and a certain level of managerial prowess that some might call professorial.

Maybe new ownership will help...


Winner: Leeds United

What a first season back in the Premier League for Leeds United. A ninth-place finish and 59 points to boot. That's not a bad way to return to the big leagues after nearly two decades away.

SPORTbible @sportbible

Leeds finish on 59 points is the most by a newly-promoted club in the Premier League since 2000-01 👏 https://t.co/5qjciTq9U6

The performances were what mattered, though, and Leeds were one of the most active teams in the division, with their manager Marcelo Bielsa stressing a high-intensity style of play. Outrunning and outworking opponents seems like a simple enough strategy, but some teams embody it and fight for their place among the top clubs. Leeds this season was a perfect example of this.

With Bielsa nearing a 12-month contract extension, building on this year's success will be paramount going into the upcoming campaign.

Oh, and this stat is incredible:

Out of Context Football Manager @nocontextfm1

Leeds have more players in the Spain EURO 2020 squad than Real Madrid

Enjoy a summer of top-quality international football. The Premier League will be back again before you know it in August.


Shane Evans manages B/R Football content within the Bleacher Report app. For more, follow him on Twitter at @shanevans.