Premier League 2023-24 Season Review – Part Three

Breaches of financial rules, consequent points deductions, and plenty of VAR controversy to add to relegations both surprising and expected.
Luton Town v Fulham FC - Premier League
Luton Town v Fulham FC - Premier League / David Rogers/GettyImages

Premier League 2023-24 Season Review – Part One featured the clubs which finished from 1st to 6th in the table.

Premier League 2023-24 Season Review – Part Two featured the clubs which finished from 7th to 12th in the table.

Fulham did pretty much what they do: finished comfortably mid-table without ever the threat of either relegation or European qualification. Some big results against Arsenal, Tottenham, and West Ham in London derbies and a win away at Manchester United added some gloss to what might otherwise have been a rather dull season.

Wolves finished 14th and might have done better in a season when most people expected them to at least flirt with relegation if not succumb to it. More intrigue was on offer in their battles against VAR—which they attempted to have scrapped, unsuccessfully, at the end of the season—than anything else, and perhaps slightly marred what has been an excellent first campaign under Gary O’Neil.

Everton did well to secure 15th place in the end, and were it not for the eight [8] points they were deducted for breach of Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR), they would have finished in 12th, ahead of Bournemouth on better goal difference and level on points with Brighton in 11th. If they can find suitable new owners over the summer and keep hold of Sean Dyche, they might challenge for a top-half finish next season.

Brentford will, and perhaps should, be disappointed to finish 16th having secured 9th place the previous season but not too much. Mitigating factors include the ban of star striker Ivan Toney and several injuries across the squad. Their greatest fear over the summer will be their excellent manager, Thomas Frank, being poached by the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United.

Nottingham Forest had their own battles against VAR, perhaps larger and more gruesome than those fought by Wolves, and like Everton, they too were deducted points for financial breaches—four [4], in their case. However, they have managed to survive and fight another day in England’s top flight, and will aim to rise in the table next season.

Luton Town’s story in their first ever season in the Premier League is one of courage and resolve—not enough to keep them up ultimately but worthy of praise nonetheless when many expected them to be the worst team in the league. They won hearts everywhere they went, and made their own home a nightmare for visiting sides. If they can manage to bounce straight back up, they would be most welcome, indeed.

Conversely, nearly everyone expected Burnley to survive their first season back in the top flight, and to do so comfortably given the ease with which they dominated the Championship in their promotion campaign. However, strange transfer decisions coupled with naïve tactics meant they struggled throughout, and now might lose their manager, Vincent Kompany, to Bayern Munich.

The actual worst team in the league this season turned out to be Sheffield United. Even if they were expected to struggle and perhaps get relegated in any case, no one quite foresaw them being as bad as they proved. The only silver lining, if there is one, is they somehow managed to not break Derby County’s record of lowest points scored in Premier League history.

All three newly-promoted teams were relegated, despite points deductions for both Everton and Nottingham Forest, and perhaps it is evidence of the growing chasm in quality between the Premier League and the Championship. Or it could be these three teams in particular were simply not prepared nor equipped enough to handle the league’s rigors.

An exciting summer awaits with two major international tournaments and, of course, the transfer window with all the drama it can offer before we resume normal service for next season.

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