The 2022-23 Premier League season featured so many shocks that even an outcome predicted by many wound up feeling a bit like one.
Manchester City won its third-straight Premier League title after spending most of the season looking up at surprise package Arsenal, while almost everyone else had an unpredictable season.
Seriously, look at the table. Did you have Chelsea with the fourth-fewest goals in the league and the sixth-fewest wins? Did you have Tottenham entering the final week with Europe not assured? How about Liverpool needing a red-hot surge to likely finish fifth?
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Did you have Newcastle, Brighton, and Brentford as season-long competitors for European places? How about Leicester City, West Ham, and Wolves as bottom-half for most of the campaign?
Twelve teams changed coaches at least once. The Premier League single-season goals record was smashed. Liverpool won games 7-0 (against Man Utd!) and 9-0 but lost by three or more goals thrice and twice went four matches without a win.
In other words, the Jim Halpert “What is going on?” gif was the unofficial sponsor of the 2022-23 season.
So who and what really were the best and worst parts of this wild and woolly season? Our lead writer Joe Prince-Wright was joined by Andy Edwards and Nick Mendola to pick everything from Best XI to Biggest Disappointment.
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Goalkeeper of the Year
JPW: Nick Pope – Key man in Newcastle’s top four finish and made some stunning saves as the Magpies were so solid at the back.
Nick Mendola: Alisson Becker — Only Bernd Leno prevented more goals than the Liverpool backstop, and the Reds are currently more than 11 goals better than xGA.
Andy Edwards: David Raya
Defender of the Year
JPW: William Saliba – What a season from the French center back. Arsenal’s late-season collapse coincided with his injury and that tells you how important he is.
Nick Mendola: Saliba — Ruben Dias was the best part of the league’s best defense and Kieran Trippier a sexier pick, but Arsenal’s steep drop-off without Saliba says it all.
Andy Edwards: Kieran Trippier
Young Player (U23) of the Year
JPW: Bukayo Saka – Tore teams apart all season long and was unplayable at times. He and the other Arsenal youngsters are so in-sync.
Nick Mendola: Saka — Faded badly down the stretch but is still just 21 and reached double digits in goals and assists.
Andy Edwards: Bukayo Saka
Manager of the Year
JPW: Mikel Arteta – To go from 5th to 2n.d is a huge leap and Arteta deserves huge praise for getting the Gunners back in the Premier League. With a deeper squad he can have them challenging for the title again.
Nick Mendola: Eddie Howe — Pep’s the best to do it (maybe ever), but Howe’s at least a year ahead of schedule by getting Newcastle into the Champions League. He kept the Magpies level while missing marquee signing Alexander Isak for November, December, and January. Newcastle only lost back-to-back league games once, and that was a Liverpool-Man City double whammy.
Andy Edwards: Eddie Howe
Kieran Trippier — William Saliba — Ruben Dias — Luke Shaw
Rodri — Kevin De Bruyne — Martin Odegaard
Bukayo Saka — Harry Kane
Kieran Trippier — William Saliba — Ruben Dias
Rodri — Bruno Guimaraes
Kevin De Bruyne — Martin Odegaard — Bukayo Saka
Harry Kane – Erling Haaland
Kieran Trippier — Manuel Akanji — Ben Mee — Fabian Schar
Bruno Guimaraes — Kevin De Buryne — Martin Odegaard
Bukayo Saka — Erling Haaland — Harry Kane
Player of the Year
JPW: Erling Haaland – Who else!? Broke the Premier League goalscoring record and was the missing piece of the jigsaw for City. A machine.
Nick Mendola: Erling Haaland — This could’ve been Martin Odegaard until Arsenal’s flame-out, as the Gunners went away with a whimper.
Andy Edwards: Erling Haaland
Non-Erling Haaland Player of the Year
JPW: Bukayo Saka
Nick Mendola: Toss-up between Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah. So… Rodri.
Andy Edwards: Bukayo Saka
Best Performance on a Relegation-Threatened or Relegated Side
JPW: Romeo Lavia – The teenager is a star in the making and will surely leave relegated Southampton and get snapped up by one of the top six this summer. 19 years of age and already a Belgian international, Lavia is going to the very top.
Nick Mendola: Amadou Onana — It might’ve been Tyler Adams had the American not been injured, but Onana was all-action and will fetch a king’s ransom even if Everton falls at the last hurdle.
Andy Edwards: James Maddison
Goal of the Year
JPW: Kaoru Mitoma for Brighton at Leicester. Amazing skill to cut inside and what a finish. One of the players of the season (along with fellow Seagulls Moises Caicedo and Alexis McAllister) as Brighton stunned everyone to qualify for Europe.
Nick Mendola: There have been some sensational bits of teamwork and some dazzlers from distance, and I’m going for the latter as unexpected rocket launcher Michael Keane let fly a knuckling and vicious late equalizer for Everton vs Tottenham.
Andy Edwards: Ivan Toney’s third goal of his hat trick versus Leeds on Sept. 6.
Best Signing not named Erling Haaland
JPW: Joao Palhinha – His importance to Fulham is huge and one of the best holding midfielders in the Premier League. The Cottagers will do well to keep hold of the Portuguese midfielder this summer.
Nick Mendola: Gabriel Jesus deserves a mention and Sven Botman is right there, but it’s Casemiro for me. The pair of red cards aside, he changed the entire feeling of what it meant for opponents to see Manchester United on the fixture list.
Andy Edwards: Casemiro
Club of the Year
JPW: Brighton – To finish in the European spots after losing Graham Potter early in the season is some achievement. And to do it the way they play with free-flowing, exciting and attacking football is even better. Roberto De Zerbi added a cutting edge to their attacking play and even though Brighton will lose plenty of stars this summer, their recruitment has been sensational and owner Tony Bloom has created the model club. Any young player on the planet will now want to sign for Brighton.
Nick Mendola: Brighton — Shouldn’t this say Man City? Maybe, but the Seagulls were forced to find a replacement for Graham Potter and nailed it, getting career seasons out of Pascal Gross and Solly March, turning Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister into the most-desired midfield duo in England, and even unveiling Kaoru Mitoma and Evan Ferguson as its next stars through the market and academy, respectively.
Andy Edwards: Brighton and Hove Albion
Favorite Moment of the Season
JPW: Manchester City 4-1 Arsenal – Title favorites squaring off in what felt like a decider and superstars dazzled for City.
Nick Mendola: The first Manchester derby of the year probably should be the date we agree the season arrived upon us. Manchester United won four-straight after a slow start for Erik ten Hag and there wasn’t a pair of eyes in the Premier League that weren’t trained on this one. That’s when Erling Haaland had three goals and two assists to tell the league to forget about the Golden Boot and Manchester that any red tide would need to wait a while.
Andy Edwards: Harry Kane scored his 267th goal to become Tottenham’s record scorer.
Biggest Disappointment of the Season
JPW: Leicester City – From pushing for the top 4, being in Europe and winning the FA Cup to basically relegation with pretty much the same squad. Huge season of underachievement.
Nick Mendola: The Big Six. You could make a case for three of the traditional big boys and maybe even four considering what Arsenal’s been doing since early April. Did you know the Gunners are no longer top two in expected points? Whether Liverpool’s mentality slippage and excuse making, Chelsea’s whirlwind everything, or Tottenham’s shocking waste of Harry Kane (and maybe Antonio Conte), well… wow.
Andy Edwards: Everything about Tottenham’s season that wasn’t Harry Kane breaking the club scoring record.
Biggest Headscratcher of the Year
JPW: Tottenham – From Antonio Conte’s meltdown to Harry Kane’s brilliance and so many superb and awful displays intertwined, the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde team in the Premier League. No idea what they were going to churn out from one week to the next.
Nick Mendola: Chelsea — Here are the teams to win fewer matches than the Blues with one matchday left: Forest, Leicester, Leeds, Everton, Southampton. We had questions after the ownership change meant unplanned exits for Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger, and more after Chelsea bought more than a dozen $10M-plus players and only uncovered one who will 100% definitely be a part of the big picture (Enzo Fernandez (We would’ve included Marc Cucurella but he’s reportedly unsettled).
Andy Edwards: Leicester sticking with Brendan Rodgers until April with relegation looming large.
Worst Sack of the Season
JPW: Ralph Hasenhuttl – Southampton hadn’t backed Hasenhuttl in the transfer market for almost four years and the first time they did, they gave him 14 games with a group of talented youngsters. He had done a great job to steady the ship amid lack of investment and the new owners, Sport Republic, should have given him longer to turn things around and work with new recruits in the January window. What a mess Saints were as they hired and fired Nathan Jones and then basically resigned to their fate when appointing assistant coach Ruben Selles. They now need to hit the reset button in a big way (Burnley style) in the Championship.
Nick Mendola: How to pick just one? Thomas Tuchel’s firing didn’t pan out for Chelsea, and Joe’s correct that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s dismissal wasn’t the answer, but at the risk of sounding biased I’m going with Jesse Marsch. The 49-year-old American was fired less than a week after the January transfer window slammed shut and even if you believe he needed to go, the club did not have a replacement ready for three matches. Eventually hiring Javi Gracia to solidify their defending, Leeds has kept a clean sheet on his debut, a 1-0 win over Southampton, and has not repeated the trick again.
Andy Edwards: Antonio Conte, for how long it took
PST’s Big 2022-23 Premier League Awards post (Good and bad) originally appeared on NBCSports.com