Thus far, the 2020-21 campaign has been more random and unpredictable than seasons gone by. For a while now, the Premier League has held the tag-line ‘anyone can beat anyone on their given day’ – but this season it’s actually true.
As illustrated by the graphic below, a chain of results have formed that really show that every team is vulnerable, no matter who the opposition is. Let’s take you through it, match-by-match…
Sportsmail’s graphic shows that any team can beat anyone in this season’s crazily unpredictable Premier League season
Sheffield United earned their first league win of the season with victory against Newcastle at Bramall Lane on Tuesday night
We start with the result of the season, on the day of the season so far – October 4.
Tottenham had just hammered Manchester United at Old Trafford (more on that later) and we were all catching our breath, ahead of what seemed like a routine trip to Villa Park for Liverpool.
Having won three from three, a victory for the champions seemed inevitable. Yet in an absolute barnstormer of a first-half, an Ollie Watkins hat-trick saw Villa surge into a 4-1 lead at the break and it didn’t stop there, with the final result of 7-2 leaving supporters up and down the country speechless.
Remember too, this was the Reds with Virgil van Dijk in central defence although, glaringly, without Alisson Becker in goal.
Aston Villa stunned champions Liverpool 7-2 in what still is the result of the season on a memorable October day at Villa Park
Two weeks earlier, with their No 1 in goal, the Reds saw off Chelsea 2-0, in a match memorable for Kepa Arrizabalaga’s gift of a goal to Sadio Mane early in the second-half.
For Frank Lampard, that was the final straw with his Spanish goalkeeper, as he signed Edouard Mendy from Rennes. The Senegalese’s arrival saw a dramatic upturn in form, and 17 games unbeaten in all competitions.
That was broken by Everton in mid-December and now the Blues are in a spot of poor form again – their only league win in the past month was a 3-0 home victory against West Ham on December 21.
That same Hammers team, just two weeks later, beat high-flying Everton at Goodison Park on New Year’s Day, courtesy of Tomas Soucek’s late goal.
David Moyes’ side have exceeded expectations so far this season, but so have Carlo Ancelotti’s team, who started their campaign with an impressive win at Tottenham on the opening weekend of the season.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin was the star of the show in the first few weeks of the season and he scored Everton’s winner at Spurs
Dominic Calvert-Lewin was the league’s starring light in those early weeks in September and he scored the decisive goal to confine Jose Mourinho’s team to the worst possible start.
Immediately, questions were asked of Jose and his Spurs side. But they responded emphatically, with that performance at Old Trafford – on that bizarre day of action.
Tottenham wiped out Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team on their own patch, in what was the first sign of a potential title challenge developing from that patch of north London.
Tottenham pummelled Man United 6-1 at Old Trafford in the first signs that Jose Mourinho’s team could challenge for the title
But, as he has done so often throughout his two years in charge, Solskjaer came out the other end and now, United are top of the pile.
In a sequence of games which has included nine wins from 11 games since November 1, United stormed to a 6-2 win against Leeds in one of the most entertaining end-to-end matches of the season.
We’ve heard an awful lot about Leeds being ‘a breath of fresh air’ this season following their long-awaited return to the top-flight.
Leeds lost 4-3 on the opening-day of the season to Liverpool but came out on the right side of that scoreline versus Fulham
Their all-out attacking style, no matter the situation or the opposition, has certainly been an absolute treat to watch. After a 4-3 loss to Liverpool on the opening-day, they were this time on the right side of the same scoreline a week later, as they beat fellow newbies Fulham.
Scott Parker’s side had a difficult first few weeks in the top-flight, with Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher labelling them ‘certainties’ to go back down. Yet, the first signs of a proper Cottagers’ revival came with a startling 2-1 win at the ever-impressive Leicester on November 30 – which nobody saw coming.
It goes to show how unforeseeable some results have been. After all, this was the same Leicester team which beat Manchester City in September, at the Etihad, 5-2.
Manchester City were stunned by a supreme counter-attacking performance by Leicester City at the end of September
That was perhaps the first sign of erratic score-lines left, right and centre – a more expected result was City’s 5-0 win against Burnley, for the fourth consecutive time at the Etihad.
Sean Dyche’s team also experienced a difficult start to the season, but did win three out of four home games recently which included a surprise 2-1 win against Wolves.
Nuno Espirito Santo was particularly unhappy with the performance of referee Lee Mason in that game and the result was a blow to Wolves’ confidence, after they had beaten Chelsea a week before – and Arsenal at the Emirates two weeks before that.
Wolves beat Arsenal at the Emirates, with Daniel Podence netting the winner, in the midst of a terrible run of form for Arsenal
After a horror skull injury to Wolves striker Raul Jimenez early on, the visitors recovered to claim a memorable 2-1 victory in the midst of a terrible run of form for the Gunners, who lost four league games in a row at home.
Yet, just to show how quickly things can turn around, Mikel Arteta’s side are now looking towards the top-half again after three wins in a row, the third of which was a convincing 4-0 win against West Brom at the beginning of 2021.
The Baggies are 19th in the table and are the only Premier League team to have changed manager so far, ousting Slaven Bilic in favour of Sam Allardyce midway through last month.
Bilic, despite some dogged performances, was struggling and only managed to record one victory before his sacking, against fellow strugglers Sheffield United in November.
Conor Gallagher’s first-half strike was enough for West Brom to beat Sheffield United – their only league win of the season
Chris Wilder’s team, following on from a superb ninth-placed finish last season, have looked a shadow of their former-selves and have had to put up with comparisons to the worst Premier League teams of all-time, following just two points from 17 games.
Finally though, the Blades’ first win came against Newcastle this week, with reliable frontman Billy Sharp netting the winner from the penalty spot.
The Magpies have made their usual indifferent start to the campaign: two steps forward, one step back. A 2-0 win on the road against Crystal Palace last month, courtesy of two late goals from strikers Callum Wilson and Joelinton, was a highlight.
Similarly, Crystal Palace are among the group of teams hovering safely in mid-table – and are one of the most inconsistent teams in the division.
In fact, it seems like more than four months since their opening-day win at home to Southampton was followed by a 3-1 victory at Old Trafford.
Crystal Palace beat Southampton on the opening day yet its the Saints who have enjoyed a more fruitful start to the season
Brighton stunned early-season surprise packages Aston Villa with victory at Villa Park, Danny Welbeck netting the opener
On the Saints, they have continued to ascend under Ralph Hasenhuttl, and a comeback win against south coast rivals Brighton in early December triggered a run of form which has seen Southampton lose just once in their last seven league games, the last of which was a 1-0 win against the champions.
Lastly, back to Villa, who made a storming start under Dean Smith. Therefore a 2-1 defeat at home to Brighton on November 21 does go down as one of the surprise results of the season – or certainly against the grain.
And there you have it. Anyone really can beat anyone this season. Despite the absence of fans off the pitch, on the pitch the action has been as exhilarating as it has been dumbfounding – let’s hope for more of the same up until the league’s finale on May 23.