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Experts including CHRIS SUTTON & MICAH RICHARDS look back on the 2020-21 season

  /  autty

With the Premier League season all wrapped up, Sportsmail have reflected on the 2020-2021 campaign and answer some of the most pressing questions of the year.

Chris Sutton and Micah Richards are among those who have taken a look back at the season and shared their thoughts.

From who they would like to be stuck on a desert island with, to whether VAR should be scrapped, Sportsmail have touched on it all.

CHRIS SUTTON

Favourite goal of the game?

It doesn’t get better than Erik Lamela’s rabona in the north London derby. What technique and improvisation. Leicester’s FA Cup final win, in front of their overjoyed fans at Wembley, was my favourite game, easy.

Your Premier League XI

(4-3-3) Ederson (Man City); Justin (Leicester), Dias, Stones (both Man City), Shaw (Man Utd); De Bruyne (Man City), Rice (West Ham), Fernandes (Man Utd); Foden (Man City), Kane (Spurs), Bamford (Leeds).

Scrap VAR, keep it or tweak it?

Scrap it. I’d rather see football back the way it was. Right now, this technology is ruining it. I’m sick of seeing lines being drawn after goals are scored. Aren’t you?

Which club do you want to see in an Amazon documentary?

Oh to be a fly on the wall at Newcastle. Guaranteed fireworks — and guaranteed that Mike Ashley drinks out of one of those giant Sports Direct mugs when in the boardroom.

Who would you most like to spend the summer on a desert island with?

I’ll say Jose Mourinho. The Negative One has got to be the only guy in the game who I look positive alongside! I would have named my pal Micah Richards, but then that might take a Lord of the Flies turn.

Best breakthrough this season...and a shooting star for next?

I’ve enjoyed watching the emergence of Bukayo Saka at Arsenal the most. And Joe Willock as a shooting star. Let’s see if he can do what he’s done at Newcastle on loan when back at Arsenal.

Hero or villain?

Marcus Rashford is the hero. Decent on the pitch, inspirational off it. In stark contrast to people’s champion Rashford, the villains were those fat cats who tried to set up a European Super League behind our backs.

Funniest moment?

Jamie Vardy celebrating scoring against Sheffield United by smashing a corner flag to smithereens — then looking surprised when he was shown a yellow card afterwards.

One wish for the 2021-2022 season?

That our dementia campaign’s wishes are fulfilled — let’s get a limit on heading the ball in training and temporary concussion substitutes introduced.

Finally, predict how England will do at the Euros?

I can see England getting to the semi-final at Wembley … but the final might be beyond them, sadly. I hope they prove me wrong!

IAN LADYMAN

Favourite goal of the game?

Bobby Decordova-Reid for Fulham v Liverpool in front of fans in December. First time in an eternity I’d heard a goal greeted like that, though it didn’t last. Liverpool losing 7-2 at Villa was astonishing.

Your Premier League XI

(4-1-2-3): Ederson; Walker (Man City), Fofana (Leicester), Dias, Shaw; Rice; Mount (Chelsea), Tielemans (Leicester); Foden, Kane, Salah (Liverpool).

Scrap VAR, keep it or tweak it?

Keep VAR. Change the rules. It’s not the system that’s the problem. It’s the laws of the game.

Which club do you want to see in an Amazon documentary?

We should draw a line under this now. The genre peaked the moment footage was released of Jose Mourinho telling his Spurs players on Christmas Day that his dog had died! Thanks, Amazon. No, really. Thank you.

Who would you most like to spend the summer on a desert island with?

Naby Keita. By the end of eight weeks of isolation, he may be able to tell me what exactly it is that he does.

Best breakthrough this season...and a shooting star for next?

Wesley Fofana at Leicester 20 but plays like a veteran. Makes central defending, a hard position, look easy. Wolves striker Fabio Silva, 18, may develop (he must for £35m).

Hero or villain?

Hero: whoever invented Tupperware. A home-made batch of pasta eaten in a freezing, empty stadium was all that saved my sanity. Villain: television. Having every game on was too much.

Funniest moment?

Interviewing Graham Potter on Zoom, I realised I’d locked family out of the house in the Manchester rain. Carrying the laptop back up the stairs, I fell over. The Brighton manager, to his credit, saw the funny side.

One wish for the 2021-2022 season?

Fans. Just fans.

Finally, predict how England will do at the Euros?

Quarter-final defeat on penalties. And that would be just fine. The next World Cup should be the main target for Gareth Southgate.

IAN HERBERT

Favourite goal of the game?

Alisson’s header for Liverpool at West Brom. Beautiful, memorable, emotional, unforgettable. Favourite game: Leeds v Man City. Marcelo v Pep. Master v apprentice. Wild, free, breathless, unfathomable.

Your Premier League XI

(4-2-1-2-1): Pope (Burnley); Cancelo (Man City), Evans (Leicester), Dias, Godfrey (Everton); Phillips (Leeds), Soucek (West Ham); De Bruyne; Grealish (Aston Villa), Foden; Kane.

Scrap VAR, keep it or tweak it?

Scrap it. We love this sport because of its pace and unpredictability, its ebbs, flow and capacity to provoke extremes of joy and despair. All that has gone. VAR’s killing the game.

Which club do you want to see in an Amazon documentary?

Leeds United. To include training sessions and fly-on-the wall scenes inside Marcelo Bielsa’s Wetherby cottage and his battered blue saloon car. English subtitles obligatory.

Who would you most like to spend the summer on a desert island with?

Erik Lamela. Six weeks should be enough to perfect a rabona like Erik’s. We could talk Maradona, Pochettino, Eva Peron and the birthday we share.

Best breakthrough this season...and a shooting star for next?

Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe. Energetic every time I’ve seen him and a chink of light for Arsenal. Looking forward to seeing Aston Villa’s Louie Barry.

Hero or villain?

Hero? David Moyes at West Ham, manager of the year for me and symbol of hope for those who keep hammering on the door. Villain? Daniel Levy. £60 a ticket for returning Spurs fans, no manager. Car crash.

Funniest moment?

Conor Coady’s interview on MNF after finding Wolves’ Max Kilman had been awarded MoM at Elland Road, not him. Cold night in Leeds, that one, but watching it on laptop made it better.

One wish for the 2021-2022 season?

That someone will mount a meaningful fightback against Manchester City. They will be looking for four titles in five years. It’s becoming predictable and Bundesliga-esque.

Finally, predict how England will do at the Euros?

Finalists. Excellent young, attacking side. The hurdles are round of 16 (potentially v France) and the worry is the defence, especially John Stones. But with freedom and home advantage there’s hope.

DOMINIC KING

Favourite goal of the game?

Alisson’s header for Liverpool at West Brom gets the goal accolade. What an extraordinary moment. Leeds 1 Leicester 4 was a thoroughly enjoyable spectacle.

Your Premier League XI

(4-3-3): Martinez (Aston Villa); Ayling (Leeds), Evans, Dunk (Brighton), Godfrey; Grealish, Rice, Raphinha (Leeds); Ings (Southampton), Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Bamford.

Scrap VAR, keep it or tweak it?

Strap VAR to a rocket and fire it — along with its microscopic lines and never-ending freeze frames — into outer space so it never returns. I detest it.

Which club do you want to see in an Amazon documentary?

Not a club, but I would have loved to have seen each and every Premier League chairmen’s meeting screened. Fireworks, plotting, rivalries, arguments … it would have had the potential to be TV gold.

Who would you most like to spend the summer on a desert island with?

What a coincidence. Jennifer Aniston asked if I wanted to spend June and July with her on St Kitts. Her offer, though, clashes with the Euros. She’s disappointed but understands England take priority.

Best breakthrough this season...and a shooting star for next?

It’s been tremendous to see Mason Mount fulfil the potential that was so obvious when he played at lower levels. Keep an eye on Curtis Jones from Liverpool over next 12 months. Has something about him.

Hero or villain?

Mike Riley is the villain for the mess that VAR has made of this sport.

Funniest moment?

A colleague attended a game in London between two top-flight teams convinced he was watching a Premier League fixture. This connoisseur of football had to be told he was actually covering an FA Cup tie.

One wish for the 2021-2022 season?

Full stadiums and no restrictions. Those games I attended this season that had a crowd were like night and day. We need life around us again.

Finally, predict how England will do at the Euros?

Honourable surge to the semi-finals but I can’t see past France winning.

SAMI MOKBEL

Favourite goal of the game?

Erik Lamela’s rabona in the north London derby was incredible. Favourite game was the Carabao Cup final between Manchester City and Tottenham. My first of season with fans. Actual people.

Your Premier League XI

(4-3-2-1): Schmeichel (Leicester); Wan-Bissaka (Man Utd), Dias, Evans, Robertson (Liverpool); Rice, De Bruyne, Tielemans; Fernandes, Salah; Kane.

Scrap VAR, keep it or tweak it?

Tweak it. It will be good — just not at the moment.

Which club do you want to see in an Amazon documentary?

Leeds. Anything with Marcelo Bielsa in should be compulsory viewing.

Who would you most like to spend the summer on a desert island with?

Anyone after 18 months of lockdown. But if I had to choose … Jack Grealish seems like a great laugh.

Best breakthrough this season...and a shooting star for next?

Emile Smith Rowe because he’s from Croydon and people from Croydon are great. Shooting star: Mipo Odubeko at West Ham. Bags of talent and pace.

Hero or villain?

Hero: Jesse Lingard. The comeback story of the season. Villain: anyone who said the words ‘European Super League’ and thought it was a good idea.

Funniest moment?

When Rob Holding screamed: ‘He’s built like a brick s***house, how’s he going down like that?’ after conceding a soft free-kick to Wolves forward Adama Traore. Holding had a point, to be fair.

One wish for the 2021-2022 season?

No more lockdowns. #wevehadenoughnow

Finally, predict how England will do at the Euros?

Win. Win. Win. Semi-final.

CRAIG HOPE

Favourite goal of the game?

Alisson at West Brom. I nearly dropped a newborn as I instinctively celebrated a goal for a team with which I have no affinity. Aston Villa 7 Liverpool 2 was as bizarre as it was brilliant. Unforgettable.

Your Premier League XI

(4-3-3): Schmeichel; Cancelo, Dias, Evans, Tierney (Arsenal); De Bruyne, Foden, Mount; Salah, Kane, Bamford.

Scrap VAR, keep it or tweak it?

Tweak it. Strip it back and let the referee and assistants make more on-field decisions. Save VAR for the obvious errors (as was the original intention).

Which club do you want to see in an Amazon documentary?

Newcastle, if only for the training-ground altercations they claim ‘happen every week’.

Who would you most like to spend the summer on a desert island with?

Steve Bruce.

Best breakthrough this season...and a shooting star for next?

It has felt like a breakthrough season for Kieran Tierney. I now realise what all the fuss was about in Scotland. Watch out for Elliot Anderson at Newcastle, a midfielder, 18, in the mould of Ross Barkley.

Hero or villain?

Hero: Phil Foden. A joy to watch. Villain: Jose Mourinho. Painful to watch.

Funniest moment?

Callum Wilson screaming at Allan Saint-Maximin to pass to him — before AND after his team-mate had scored a wonder solo goal at Burnley.

One wish for the 2021-2022 season?

The loss of home advantage has devalued away victories this season. I want to see the return of crowds make away wins feel special again.

Finally, predict how England will do at the Euros?

Semi-final.

ADRIAN KAJUMBA

Favourite goal of the game?

Manuel Lanzini’s wonder strike for West Ham at Spurs, a 94th-minute equaliser in a 3-3 draw. Perfect combination of timing, technique and precision. Best game too, the Hammers were three down after 82 minutes.

Your Premier League XI

(3-1-4-2): Darlow (Newcastle); Alex-Arnold (L’pool), Rudiger (Chelsea), Justin; Gundogan (Man C); Son (Spurs), Willock (Ars/New), Rodriguez (Everton), Lingard (W Ham); Greenwood (Man U), Iheanacho (Leicester).

Scrap VAR, keep it or tweak it?

Tweak it. It’s done some good, with correct decisions overlooked because ‘that’s the point of it’. Offside lines still controversial. Another issue is consistency over when to use pitch-side monitors.

Which club do you want to see in an Amazon documentary?

There is a lot of faith behind the scenes in what’s going on at Arsenal — would be good to see why as results are not backing that up. Big club, big characters and should be no shortage of storylines.

Who would you most like to spend the summer on a desert island with?

Can’t have one without the other so I’m going to cheat and pick Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho. Key players for Leicester on the pitch, comedy duo off it. Impossible for spirits to be anything other than high.

Best breakthrough this season...and a shooting star for next?

OK, so he’s 27 but this has been a brilliant breakthrough season at PL level for Patrick Bamford. Next season? Man City’s Belgian midfielder Romeo Lavia, 17. World-class potential, so I’m told.

Hero or villain?

Hero is a joint award for all those who spoke up to bring down ridiculous European Super League. Villain is Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela and his club. Found guilty of racially abusing Rangers’ Glen Kamara.

Funniest moment?

James Milner’s reaction to being subbed at West Ham. Clearly upset with Jurgen Klopp when replaced by Curtis Jones, who instantly set up Mo Salah to make it 1-0. Milner laughed it off with boss.

One wish for the 2021-2022 season?

The collapse of the ESL showed what football can do when it unites. Let’s see more of the same to tackle racism in the game.

Finally, predict how England will do at the Euros?

Quarter-finals at best. If they win Group D can see them going out at last-16 stage with Group F runners-up to face next. Worst case, that could be either Portugal, France or Germany.

MATT BARLOW

Favourite goal of the game?

Seb Haller’s overhead kick equaliser for West Ham against Crystal Palace. Nice farewell before he left for Ajax. Chelsea 2 West Brom 5 had all the PL’s fast, frenetic and unpredictable beauty.

Your Premier League XI

(4-4-2): Schmeichel; Coufal, Evans, Godfrey, Cresswell (West Ham); Raphinha, Rice, Tielemans, Grealish; Bamford, Lingard.

Scrap VAR, keep it or tweak it?

Scrap it. Can we scrap it? Please say we can. Technical defects can be tweaked until the end of time but spirit and spontaneity are lost in this depressing quest to cleanse all random factors from the game

Which club do you want to see in an Amazon documentary?

I’ve got one for the past season. Hidden cameras, large glass of white, Big Sam, what could possibly have gone wrong at West Bromwich Amazon?

Who would you most like to spend the summer on a desert island with?

Sean Dyche: Eating worms, smoking dried husks of coconut shells, building shelters and rafts, bantering about lookie-likies, exploring his expensive watch in hope of sending some distress signal to Ian Woan.

Best breakthrough this season...and a shooting star for next?

Scott Parker’s blazer, the draft excluder. Just kidding! Ben Godfrey of Everton. Next season Villa’s Carney Chukwuemeka, 17, looks exciting.

Hero or villain?

Hero: Brendan Rodgers and all at Leicester for winning the FA Cup and bruising a few egos. Villain: Evil Super Leaguers, especially Daniel Levy tapping taxpayers rather than billionaire Joe Lewis to get through crisis.

Funniest moment?

It’s not been a barrel of laughs but Joe Hart’s ‘job done’ social media faux pas after Spurs’ Euro thrashing in Zagreb beats Matt Ritchie’s ‘off-the-face’ own goal against Fulham. Job done.

One wish for the 2021-2022 season?

That we don’t instantly forget the lessons of this season. The joy of English football lies in its rich history of many clubs, tied inextricably to communities. Not just six money-making brands at the top.

Finally, predict how England will do at the Euros?

Fail to beat Scotland, scrape through group with Kane limping. Crash on penalties after Boris scales Wembley arch in Foden shirt!

MICAH RICHARDS

Favourite goal of the game?

The only possible answer for goal is Alisson’s header at West Brom. A goalkeeper in the last minute? Come on! As for game, I’m going Man Utd 6 Leeds 2 — Bielsa sticking to his principles regardless of the score.

Your Premier League XI

I can’t be inventive when I’m concentrating on quality! (4-4-2): Schmeichel; Walker, Stones, Dias, Shaw; Fernandes, Gundogan, Tielemans, Grealish; Kane, Salah.

Scrap VAR, keep it or tweak it?

Tweak it. There will still be moments when it is needed to provide clarity. I’m even happy for decisions to take longer if we get the right outcome. It feels like it’s being rushed and that is leading to mistakes.

Which club do you want to see in an Amazon documentary?

Arsenal — simply to see what kind of a mess it is behind the scenes.

Who would you most like to spend the summer on a desert island with?

Forget the football. Jessica Alba. She’s a fantastic actress and as I’m someone who likes movies, it would be good to discuss some films with her.

Best breakthrough this season...and a shooting star for next?

Mason Mount has made the best breakthrough and I am delighted. I am now a firm believer in him. Next year’s shooting star will be Dele Alli — the comeback is on for this all-action midfielder.

Hero or villain?

My hero is Jurgen Klopp as he has had to deal with so many issues but still managed to get a revival from Liverpool. The villains are the men who made the nonsense decisions in Stockley Park.

Funniest moment?

The day Roy Keane and Jamie Redknapp went head-to-head over Tottenham! I simply sat back and chuckled. The time delay of Jamie being at White Hart Lane and Roy in the studio made it even more awkward!

One wish for the 2021-2022 season?

Full stadiums! Please let there be full stadiums! Even with up to 10,000 in this past week it has made the venues we know so well bounce. Let this be the start of us getting back to normal.

Finally, predict how England will do at the Euros?

I’m hoping we get to the semi-finals and I’m excited about our attacking potential. Any injuries in defence, though, I’m worried we’ll be vulnerable.