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Winners & Reflectors

The Premier League reached a thrilling conclusion at the weekend after five weeks of a jam-packed schedule the likes of which we have never seen in domestic football, in even more unprecedented circumstances.

Despite Liverpool’s title all but sewn up, the three-month gap in English football made the restart feel like a season in itself, with European football & relegation still to play for.

The turnaround until next season will be significantly shorter than it was between the two parts of this campaign, particularly for those still in Europe.

There is, however, still time for goalkeepers to reflect on their own individual exploits over the past month or so. This is all guess work, but we will be looking at those enjoying their short well-earned breaks and those toiling, waiting for the chance to put things right.

 

WINNERS

Emiliano Martinez

Emiliano Martinez has been at Arsenal for nine seasons but has played well over half of his Premier League games behind closed doors.

The Gunners feared the worst when Bernd Leno was ruled out for the remainder of the league campaign in the second game with Brighton, but Martinez, who has spent most of his Arsenal career out on loan, has proved to be a credible suitor.

Martinez has grabbed his rare opportunity and has been outstanding in the Arsenal goal, showing very capable handling and a very no-nonsense style that has provided the backline with some much-needed solidity.

He has not conceded more than once in any of his seven matches, despite Mikel Arteta’s men shipping five in the first two with Leno between the sticks.

It remains to be seen if Martinez will hold onto the number one spot, but he certainly hasn’t done his chances any harm, and you can expect several interested parties sniffing around the Argentinean.

 

Orjan Nyland

Cast your minds back to the post-Covid curtain raiser and possibly the most controversial moment of the Premier League season.

A rare hiccup with the previously immaculate goal-line technology and unreactive VAR did not award a legitimate goal to Sheffield United and Aston Villa were the beneficiaries of the decision to the tune of a Premier League point.

Orjan Nyland would not believe his luck, as the technology failed for the first time since its 2013 implementation when he carried an Oliver Norwood freekick over his own goal-line without triggering the alarm to referee Michael Oliver.

In a cruel twist of fate, Bournemouth were relegated on goal difference and had Villa lost to Sheffield United, would have stayed up.

Villa supporters would look back on Nyland’s error as one of the moments that sealed their fate but instead can enjoy a summer sipping cocktails and kicking back.

 

REFLECTORS

Kepa Arrizabagla

Kepa joined Chelsea for a healthy £70 million in the summer of 2018, the same year as Allison joined Liverpool for a similar fee, but their careers in England have taken very different paths.

The Spaniard had a mixed first season on our shores but has endured a torrid time of late and was dropped for Chelsea’s final day showdown with Wolves in favour of Willy Caballero after some very dodgy performances since the restart, including five goals conceded away to Liverpool a few days prior.

Although stats don’t always tell the full story, Kepa has 54.5% save ratio, which is the lowest in Premier League history.

The summer will be a time of reflection for both Kepa and Frank Lampard in regard to his future at the club.

 

David De Gea

Manchester United have the joint best record since the restart and along with Leicester’s capitulation, secured Champions League football which seemed very unlikely at the break.

Despite this after been talked about as many as one of the best in the world in recent years, De Gea has made a number of high-profile errors since the restart, which have left the likes of Roy Keane absolutely furious.

A fumble leading to West Ham’s equaliser on the penultimate day left United’s Champions League hopes dangling by a thread.

Dean Henderson’s magnificent displays for Sheffield United and his imminent return to Old Trafford may have De Gea sweating over his place in the starting line-up next season.

It seems a long time ago since United were doing everything in their power to prevent a mammoth move to Real Madrid.


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