This season saw the first slide in a full season with Jürgen. However, an excellent run in and a 3rd place finish was a lot better than it looked for a lot of the campaign. With just 68 goals scored, we finished 30 points off last year's tally, and all the reasons are well documented elsewhere. Here though is a chance to find some of the highlights out of the storm. Goals Of The SeasonTeam Goal Of The Season
v West Ham (a): Over the past 3 years we have gone to West Ham, faced a corner, cleared it away, then hit them on the counter and 10 seconds later we've scored again. After 3 years of a specific tactic working against a specific team in a specific venue, the opposition should have wised up to it. But they still haven't. This time the corner was cleared to Trent, who sent it 60 yards forward to Shaq who in turn sends it perfectly onto Mo's foot. Two touches later, the ball is in their net again and the three points are in the bag. We might even give it a go for the 5th time next season.
v Crystal Palace (a): In a first half where we've been more clinical than competent, Firmino wins the ball in his own half and sets Robbo free in his own half. Firmino runs alongside him, to get into the position to take Robbo's cross and slide it in for 3. Now it's a question of how many. It turns out to be 7 goals, a 6 point lead, and a Happy Christmas.
v Wolves (h): Top of the league and with the fans back, the players are scavenging the opposition, with the Kopites singing Merry Christmas Everton all around us, the whole team put together one of those 30 pass moves that end up in a goal. Santa Semedo knocks it in on our behalf, a player who clearly appreciates coming here with teams that lose 4-0 at Anfield. He'll always be welcome in that case. Individual Goal Of The Season
v Spurs (h): With our 100% home record on the ropes, Robbo takes a corner, Hendo takes Dier out, and Robbie takes his chance, a free header into an unmarked post. The 2-1 win puts us 3 points clear of the field, and looks as though it's going to be making a statement, which it did although not quite in the way we intended. It was our last home win for four months. The last time such a feat happened was eighteen seasons ago. At least we won the League Cup then.
v Everton (a): There's not many highlights from the derby, but there is one. Out of nowhere Mo hit his 100th Goal for us, with a first time volley to give us the lead with 20 minutes to go. It should have been enough to win the game on it's own, but that's a different story.
v West Brom (a): As during many seasons down the years, a banana skin was to be found waiting for us outside Allardyce's door. So after watching everyone who could score against them, waste chance after chance for 94 minutes, Alisson decided to have a go himself. So up he went for a last minute corner, knowing that if we went short as in the home fixture, it would be a waste of his time. But Trent gave him a good delivery, he got a great connection, the post was waiting there unmarked for him, and bingo, there's our 3 points. See lads, it's not that difficult, is it? Assist Of The Season
Only one contender for this though. It goes to Shaqiri for his assist to set up Jota's winner v West Ham (h). Having just come on, and a 11 man bus rigidly parked in front of him, Shaqiri breaks it up with one inch perfect pass for Diogo to run onto and thump it home, to win the game and send us off to City the following week, full of confidence. Save Of The Season
This year it's not reserved for Alisson. It's going to Kelleher instead for his world class stop on his league debut in front of the Kop v Wolves. To get back and claw the attempt to lob him, around the post was something Allison himself would be proud of. The standing ovation he got from the Kop for it was fully justified. His appearances were few this season, but he never put a foot wrong anytime he was called upon. Signing Of The Season
It was a tight call between Thiago and Diogo, and either couldn't really be argued. But I'm going to give it to Thiago, as he's the first ready made world class player to come to this club, and although we haven't seen it in every game, we are now starting to see why he's here and what he brings to the side. On his day there's nobody in the league who can come close to him, not even De Bruyne. And the best from him is still to come. Thank You VAR
v Chelsea (a) A turgid first half suddenly bursts into life just before half time, when Hendo spots Mane about to run clean through, until he is cleaned out by a cheat, who thought he could con Tierney into giving him just a yellow. But he can't con Michael Oliver, who shows him the footage of a clear case of Dogso. The yellow is swiftly changed to red, and any hope the home side have disappears with him down the tunnel. Within 10 minutes of a one sided restart, we're 2 goals up, and Thiago is running the show, passing the ball more in one half than Chelsea managed in two.
v Newcastle (h): 90 minutes of target practice at their keeper, brought just one early goal, so we had to see it out. Deep in stoppage time, they're clean through on goal, and Ali gets to a hand to it, but his wasn't the only one. The subsequent handball by the opponent means a goal can't be awarded, and thanks to VAR justice was done on the spot, just when we need it to be. We didn't win the game in the end, but at least the goal that followed was legal, and we were not robbed of a top 4 spot by a handball from a cheat instead.
v Wolves (h): Having handed Mo the chance to put us ahead, Coady is determined to get his side level. So determined that he's prepared to go to ground in the box under no contact by any Red. He cons Craig into giving them a penalty, but not Jon Moss in the VAR. He's never been a great friend to the club but at least he's able to work a PC properly, so he tells Pawson to see what really happened. It doesn't take very long for him to see he made a clear and obvious error and it can be put right, when it's supposed to be put right. Two years ago, the penalty would have stood and the result may well have been a different story. But the cheers the overturned decision gets, show again why it's here to stay. Because it works. Player of the Season
Sorry Naby, you just missed out again.
At one stage, it looked like the POTY might get it for being the longest player in the treatment room, given how full it was. Fabinho spent a few weeks there as well, but out on the pitch, he showed his class every week. Even when he's out of position, as he often was this season, he never has a bad game. He just takes to his job like a duck to water. Other players blow hot and cold, but he doesn't. So if you're motm ahead of him, you've really played out of your skin on the day. Game Of The Season
With stand out games few and far between this season, there is one clear and obvious winner which is v mancs (a). Wins there in any competition or circumstances are rare events, and after going behind early on, it looked as far away as ever. But we were ahead before half time and doubled it after the break, to seal our first win there in 7 years. It's clearly our best win of the season.
So that was 2020-21. It may have left a lot of room for improvement, but if anyone can do it, Jürgen can. The quest to win No. 20 resumes in August.