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Premier League final day: Five things we learned

Five things we learned from the final weekend of the Premier League season, featuring the phenomenal Phil Foden and Jurgen Klopp’s departure from Liverpool.

Phenomenal Foden the champion’s leading light

Phil Foden’s sensational season ended in dream fashion as the Manchester City midfielder scored twice to secure his side a title-clinching win over West Ham. Foden’s fantastic hit opened the scoring inside two minutes at the Etihad as the 23-year-old again rose to the occasion for Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking side.

In a campaign where Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland have spent large spells out, it has been Foden who has so often come to the fore for the Citizens. His 19 league goals are the best return of a career that has already scaled huge heights, with six of those coming from outside the box – a record for a Manchester City player in a single campaign.

The Premier League Player of the Season and FWA Footballer of the Year have already been added to the collection and the PFA award appears likely to follow, with Foden elevating himself to world-class status during the current campaign.

Much of the talk around the summer has centred around Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane as England head to Euro 2024, but Foden is of equal standing in a triumvirate that could end the long English wait for tournament success.

Arsenal need to dig deep to go again

For the second successive season, Arsenal ended the campaign as Premier League runners-up. The Gunners pushed Manchester City all the way once again but fell short of ending the club’s 20-year wait for the league title.

Arsenal spent a record 248 days at the top of the Premier League table last season before missing out across the run-in, while the North Londoners have ended 2023/24 just two points behind the champions.

Mikel Arteta’s team finished on 89 points, while their 28 wins is a single-season club record in the Premier League, eclipsing even their 2003/04 Invincibles vintage. It is an indication of the levels needed to topple City, who have twice seen off the threat of Liverpool teams who reached over 90 points to edge title races.

Arsenal should have hope ahead of next season with the core of their side yet to reach their peak, but it will take mental resilience to restart the attempt to scale the mountain.

Mitchell might be a solution for Southgate this summer

Gareth Southgate will name his squad for Euro 2024 tomorrow as the Three Lions gear up for a huge summer of football. Southgate will know the bulk of his selections for the tournament, though left-back is an area of concern.

Luke Shaw has not featured for Manchester United since February, while Ben Chilwell has also missed the run-in at Chelsea. Kieran Trippier’s recent return to fitness is a welcome boost even given his preference for the right, but Southgate is lacking natural options.

Could Tyrick Mitchell earn a shock inclusion? The 24-year-old has had a quietly underrated season at Selhurst Park and earned two caps for the Three Lions in 2022. Though two goals and three assists is a modest return going forward, he has been one of the most defensively sound full-backs in the Premier League in 2023/24. Mitchell ranks fifth in the Premier League for tackles and blocks this season and third for tackle success rate (86.7%). Absences elsewhere could lead to opportunity.

Newcastle must keep star names at St James’

Newcastle’s ambitious project has taken a slight step back this season with a seventh-placed finish in the Premier League. After the success of last season’s Champions League qualification, the Magpies were unable to sustain another top-four pursuit in 2023/24.

As the summer transfer window approaches, much of the talk at St James’ Park has centred around outgoings. Bruno Guimaraes is being courted across Europe and has a release clause of around £100m that will become active this summer, while Alexander Isak has turned heads at rival clubs, including Arsenal, after scoring 25 goals in all competitions.

Each could command nine-figure fees and ease financial concerns ahead of renewed investment, but equally, losing either would be a seismic blow to Eddie Howe.

Guimaraes and Isak are talented enough to take Newcastle to trophy-winning heights. Build around them.

Klopp leaves Liverpool in good stead for Slot era

Jurgen Klopp welcomed likely successor Arne Slot by chanting the Dutchman’s name during his Liverpool farewell at Anfield this weekend. A 2-0 win over Wolves ended Klopp’s tenure on a high ahead of a big change on Merseyside this summer.

Slot will take charge of the Reds next season tasked with replacing the irreplaceable, though he will inherit a team left in good stead from his popular predecessor. Last summer’s rebuild saw ageing stars moved on and fresh blood brought in, with Liverpool boasting an average age of just 25.6 this season.

Academy products Conor Bradley and Jarrell Quansah have become members of the first team, with others such as Jayden Danns, James McConnell and Bobby Clark also handed senior football.

After challenging for the title, a third-place finish feels like a disappointment to some. However, from pre-season expectations, it was ahead of schedule and can act as an ideal building block for the new regime.

Read – Premier League Team of the Week from the final day

See more – Premier League Awards: City champions, Caicedo’s corker

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