Premier League 2023-24 Season Review – Part One

Another season has come and gone, and after so many thrills, ups-and-downs, and heartbreaks, much of what was … has remained the same
Manchester City v West Ham United - Premier League
Manchester City v West Ham United - Premier League / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

It rings particularly true for Manchester City and Arsenal—the champions and contenders respectively—at the end of the English Premier League’s 2023-24 season. The seventeen teams who remained at the end of last season are also the ones who will continue into the next.

And while there was drama, excitement, and despair in equal measure—young, breakout stars, some extremely late goals, and unexpected results which were perhaps yet half-anticipated—there was also the old controversy about VAR, some extremely late goals, and unexpected results which we thought were coming even if we care not to admit as much to ourselves.

Manchester City are champions. Once more. For the sixth time in seven years. They have made history. Again. They were Centurions in 2018. Treble-winners in 2023. And in 2024, they have become the very first club in England to be crowned champions four consecutive times. Oh, and Erling Haaland won his second Golden Boot in two seasons. Fewer goals scored this time, yes but what else is new?

For Arsenal, it was quite the bittersweet campaign. One they took all the way to the final day, only for it to end in heartbreak. They won more games and scored more goals in one season than they ever have before, had the best defense, kept the most clean sheets, recorded their best ever goal difference, and achieved their second highest points total. And … it still was not enough!

One difference compared to the previous season is this one offered us a three-horse title race, at least for large parts of it. For a brief period, there was talk of a Liverpool quadruple—and it would have been the most fitting of swan songs for their departing manager, the legendary Jürgen Klopp—but things unravelled quickly, and in the end, they were left with only the Carabao Cup.

Aston Villa, with a well-deserved fourth-place finish, proved to be the surprise package, and indeed played a massive role in the title race by defeating Arsenal twice but Manchester City only once. If Unai Emery can keep hold of his core group of players over the summer, they should once again be a force to be reckoned with next season.

For all the premature talk of a title-winning campaign in September and the near incessant gushing over their new manager, Tottenham’s season went as most would expect it: high on misplaced expectation but missing its mark in actual execution. Many will argue they have improved, and they did finish higher in the table, but Ange Postecoglou appeared somehow broken and lost after the penultimate game against Manchester City.

Chelsea took perhaps their first steps in the right direction since the end of the Abramovich era but Todd Boehly and co. appear insistent on reversing the trend by creating unnecessary uncertainty around Mauricio Pochettino’s job. If they stumble upon the correct decision and retain him, Chelsea could easily challenge for the top four next season given their recent form.

Part Two of this review will be published tomorrow, featuring the clubs which finished from 7th to 12th in the table.