2020: The Final Chapter

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

November commenced with Arsenal earning three points at a fellow 'Big 6' team for the first time in almost six years. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s penalty gifted the Gunners victory over Manchester United for their first Premier League win at Old Trafford since 2006.

Mikel Arteta's cavalry went 504 minutes without scoring a league goal from open play, while United would go on to collect maximum points from their next three PL fixtures.


PL title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool met at the Etihad Stadium as managers Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp renewed their rivalry once more. In a lively first half, Liverpool took an early lead through a Mo Salah penalty before the hosts replied via Gabriel Jesus. City were awarded a spot-kick of their own, which Kevin De Bruyne fluffed wide of the goal.

The second half did not quite live up to the tempo of the first and the contest ended all square, one goal apiece.


Klopp’s injury-plagued Reds later overcame Leicester City 3-0 at Anfield to reach new heights and set a club record of 64 league matches unbeaten at home, stretching back to May 2017.

High-flying neighbours Everton were brought back down to earth with four league defeats in five – courtesy of Southampton, Newcastle Utd, Man Utd, and Leeds Utd.



José Mourinho is by no means lacking confidence, with his Spurs side in scintillating form. Mourinho’s men saw out November with a vital 2-0 win over Man City (and long-time foe Guardiola) before they shared the spoils with Chelsea, spearheaded by Mourinho’s former player Frank Lampard.


Spurs star Heung-min Son was awarded PL Player of the Month for October, while Wolves boss Nuno Santo bagged the corresponding Manager award.


More than a quarter way through the league season, Spurs sit at the summit of the PL table as we head into the final month of the year.

Everton ace Dominic Calvert-Lewin leads the Golden Boot race with 10 goals in as many matches.


P W PTS GD

1. Tottenham 10 6 21 +12

2. Liverpool 10 6 21 +5

3. Chelsea 10 5 19 +12

4. Leicester 10 6 18 +5

_________________________________

18. West Brom 10 1 6 -11

19. Burnley 9 1 5 -13

20. Sheff Utd 10 0 1 -12



The conclusive international break of the year featured a friendly match in Amsterdam between 2010 World Cup finalists Netherlands and Spain, who on this occasion played out to a 1-1 draw. Sergio Ramos later surpassed Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon to become the most capped European player at international level. In his record 177th outing, Ramos squandered two penalties in Spain's UEFA Nations League stalemate with Switzerland.


The Spanish next met Germany to decide which nation would finish atop of Group A4 and advance to the UNL semifinals. Luis Enrique’s army ran riot and put six goals past the 2014 WC winners in a humbling victory, as Man City forward Ferran Torres claimed the match ball with a sublime hat-trick. This was Germany‘s heaviest defeat since 1931.


N'Golo Kante netted the only goal as World Cup holders France edged reigning UNL & European champions Portugal.


Belgium, France, Italy, and Spain advance to the Nations League Finals, having all secured top spot in their respective League A groups; the Finals are set to be held in October 2021.

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iceland, Sweden, and Switzerland have all been relegated to the B League.


Norwegian striker Erling Haaland scored six goals during the Nations League group stages, more than any other player.


Selected UNL results:

Belgium 2 - 0 England

Germany 3 - 1 Ukraine

Italy 2 - 0 Poland

Netherlands 3 - 1 Bosnia

Portugal 0 - 1 France

Sweden 2 - 1 Croatia

Switzerland 1 - 1 Spain


Belgium 4 - 2 Denmark

Bosnia 0 - 2 Italy

Croatia 2 - 3 Portugal

England 4 - 0 Iceland

France 4 - 2 Sweden

Poland 1 - 2 Netherlands

Spain 6 - 0 Germany


The football world has been in mourning following the passing of icon Diego Maradona last week.

Maradona captained his native Argentina to glory at the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, and also claimed the Golden Ball at the showpiece event. He would later go on to manage his national team at the 2010 World Cup.

'El Pibe de Oro' aka The Golden Boy was voted FIFA Player of the 20th Century, together with Pelé.



November saw home and away fixtures for all teams in the UEFA Champions League. 62 goals were scored on matchday 3, the second-highest amount in competition history.

The following matchday saw Barcelona, Chelsea, Juventus, Man City, Sevilla, and defending champions Bayern Munich all book their spots in the Round of 16.

Group B leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach slaughtered Shakhtar Donetsk 10-0 on aggregate.


Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland leads the scoring charts with six goals, one ahead of Álvaro Morata and Marcus Rashford.


Selected UCL results:

Atalanta 0 - 5 Liverpool

Brugge 0 - 3 Dortmund

Chelsea 3 - 0 Rennes

Ferencváros 1 - 4 Juventus

Man City 3 - 0 Olympiacos

RB Salzburg 2 - 6 Bayern

Real Madrid 3 - 2 Inter


Bayern 3 - 1 RB Salzburg

Dortmund 3 - 0 Brugge

Dynamo Kiev 0 - 4 Barcelona

Inter 0 - 2 Real Madrid

Lazio 3 - 1 Zenit

Liverpool 0 - 2 Atalanta

Man Utd 4 - 1 Başakşehir


December plays host to the remaining two rounds of Champions League group stage fixtures.

Barça and Juve meet once again, with the footballing world holding thumbs for a bout between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo; CR7 previously missed the reverse Group G fixture in Turin after contracting COVID-19.


It is still all to play for in the Group of Death as Man Utd & PSG go to battle at Old Trafford; Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Red Devils then travel to Germany for their concluding Group H clash with RB Leipzig.

Other key fixtures see Liverpool take on Ajax, whilst reigning champions Bayern Munich visit La Liga leaders Atlético Madrid.

With the cancellation of the 2020 Ballon d’Or, Polish striker Robert Lewandowski looks a certain frontrunner to claim the Best FIFA Men’s Player award after an astonishing year in which he has won five trophies with Bayern.

The 32-year-old has so far scored 42 goals in 40 games for club and country during the course of 2020.


Bayern head coach Hansi Flick will be seeking the title for Best FIFA Men’s Coach, following an enthralling first 12 months at the helm of the Bavarian outfit.

Other nominees include Jürgen Klopp, Zinedine Zidane, and Leeds Utd’s Marcelo Bielsa.


South Africa’s own Hlompho Kekana is in contention to win the Puskás Award. Mamelodi Sundowns skipper Kekana, 34, scored a stunning goal from long range against Cape Town City in August 2019.

Heung-min Son is also in the running, for his solo effort in Spurs’ home win over Burnley last season.

Winners will be announced on 17 December.


Erling Haaland was announced as this year's recipient of the Golden Boy award, an annual prize given to the best emerging prospect – aged 21 or under – playing his trade in a top-tier European league.

The sharpshooting Norwegian striker captured the prestigious accolade after closely edging Barça sensation Ansu Fati, 18, and Alphonso Davies, 20, of Bayern.


Since moving to Dortmund at the start of this year, 20-year-old Haaland has netted a stupendous 39 goals in 39 outings for club and national team.

Haaland has scored 16 goals in his opening 12 Champions League games, more than any other player in so few matches.


Premier League action in December features a North London derby as Spurs tackle Arsenal on Sunday 6th. The first Manchester derby of the season takes place the following Saturday at Old Trafford.

Other enticing affairs include Liverpool vs Spurs (Wed 16) and Arsenal vs Chelsea on Boxing Day.

Everton have massive home matches versus Chelsea, Arsenal and Man City.

Wolves meanwhile have huge fixtures at home against Chelsea and away to Liverpool & Man Utd.


In the English League Cup quarter-finals we anticipate another occurrence of master vs apprentice, as Guardiola and Man City face a trip to Arteta's Arsenal; elsewhere Everton welcome Man Utd, Stoke City entertain Spurs, and Brentford come up against Newcastle Utd.

Heung-min Son has 12 goal involvements in the PL this season


Diego Maradona passed away on 25 November, aged 60

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