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Premier League awards: MVP, best goal, memorable moments, and more


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The final whistle has been blown, and Manchester City are once again champions of England, hoisting the trophy for a record fourth consecutive year. Below, theScore's editors look back on the 2023-24 season, breaking down the best - and worst - the Premier League had to offer during a thrilling campaign that went right down to the wire.

Player of the season

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Anthony Lopopolo: Martin Odegaard. Look past Odegaard's average eight-goal return and see the influential playmaker he is. The Norwegian receives passes in crucial areas, conducts Arsenal's high-energy press, and juices up their attack. He completed more progressive passes - those that move the ball at least 10 yards up the field - than everyone other than Rodri this season. And Odegaard's passes into the penalty area were by far the most in the league. Arsenal's game orbits around him.

Daniel Rouse: Rodri. Manchester City falter without a heartbeat. Rodri is on a 73-game unbeaten streak, with the midfielder missing each of his team's four defeats across all competitions this season (statisticians don't recognize the Champions League elimination to Real Madrid on penalties as a loss). Rodri is cool yet overbearing in arguably the most demanding role in Pep Guardiola's lineup. Simply put, City don't win the title without him.

Gordon Brunt: Phil Foden. The talent has always been undeniable. It was the mental aspect of Foden's game that frustrated Guardiola most. But something's obviously clicked for the 23-year-old this season. The ever-maturing midfielder's improved application of Guardiola's teachings has helped him blossom into the league's best player. Foden's 19 goals and eight assists were pivotal in Manchester City's record-breaking season.

Wildest moment

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Lopopolo: VAR audio. The outrage over Luis Diaz's disallowed goal early in the season against Tottenham Hotspur forced the Premier League to release audio of the referees' chaotic decision-making process. It was a rare peek behind the curtain of the VAR control room, where all close calls get a second look. The audio captures Darren Moore, the VAR on duty, swearing as he realizes he's communicated the wrong message to the on-pitch official, confirming offside when the images clearly showed Diaz was on. When play restarts, Moore panics, repeatedly saying, "I can't do anything."

Rouse: Sandwichgate. Sheffield United's Chris Wilder looks like a man who appreciates a good sandwich, but he surprisingly took exception to a referee's assistant having a bite while he complained about decisions after a January fixture. "Hopefully he enjoyed his sandwich while he was talking to a Premier League manager," he sniped. The FA fined Wilder £11,500 - that's a lot of dough.

Brunt: The Stamford Bridge collapse. A clash between the league's most dysfunctional teams produced one of the games of the season. Manchester United led heading into extra time before disaster struck in the form of Cole Palmer, whose stoppage-time equalizer might've been enough to satisfy Chelsea fans. But Palmer had other plans, scoring his hat-trick goal in the 101st minute to seal a famous 4-3 win.

Greatest goal

Lopopolo: Mac Allister's missile. The Argentine went his first 16 appearances for Liverpool without scoring. Then, bam. His perfectly timed half-volley against Fulham in December was a thing of beauty, a searing shot tucked into the top corner from around 30 yards out. The goal helped Liverpool beat Fulham 4-3 in one of the most entertaining matches of the season.

Rouse: Ipswich's team effort. This is cheating - but at least the Tractor Boys were en route to the Premier League when they concocted their Puskas Award contender in the Championship. Ipswich teased Coventry City with brave, slick passing throughout their lineup and included a trademark switch to left-back Leif Davis before Wes Burns finished the move with a stunning trivela.

Brunt: Garnacho gymnastics. Everton's first game back after an initial points deduction couldn't have started worse. An attempt by fans to rally around the home team was followed by deafening silence after Alejandro Garnacho's bicycle kick three minutes in. Despite the 19-year-old's momentum taking him away from goal, he still connected clean enough from the edge of the penalty box to score.

Biggest disappointment

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Lopopolo: Moises Caicedo. Chelsea had to stump up a British-record £115 million to beat Liverpool to the signing of Caicedo. So far, it hasn't paid off. The Ecuadorian still has time to come good - he's only 22 and a year into a eight-year contract - but hasn't offered much protection at the back or provided enough of the tough tackling that helped him make a name for himself at Brighton & Hove Albion. Perhaps his goal from the halfway line on the final day of the season will spark a turnaround.

Rouse: What happened to Evan Ferguson? The Irishman was quick, strong, and an excellent finisher last term, racking up six goals and two assists despite starting just 10 league games for Brighton. Ferguson offered just six goals and no assists in 36 appearances across all competitions before being sidelined at the start of April. The 19-year-old must improve to realize his huge potential.

Brunt: Burnley. Few could've foreseen the dumpster fire that was Burnley's 2023-24 Premier League campaign. A year after Vincent Kompany's side dominated the Championship to earn promotion, Burnley are going right back down after a woefully poor top-flight season. In the end, a squad comprised of players with little Premier League experience could only manage five wins in 38 games.

Best signing

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Lopopolo: Micky van de Ven. The Premier League's joint-23rd most expensive signing of the summer is its best. Van de Ven has shown incredible composure, speed, and responsibility in his first season at Tottenham, complementing center-back partner Cristian Romero, a bull in a china shop whose rough-housing defending often needs covering. The Dutchman clocked a top speed of 37.88 kmh during Spurs' win over Brentford in January, helping to protect Ange Postecoglou's high line in the early months of its adoption.

Rouse: Cole Palmer. Chelsea don't usually find good value in the transfer market, especially during the Todd Boehly era. However, last summer's late-window £40-million signing of Palmer from Manchester City was a coup. Mauricio Pochettino's side would not have finished sixth, and secured a return to European competition for next season, without Palmer's 22 goals, 11 assists, and knack of improving others around him.

Brunt: Declan Rice. Rice has been worth every penny of the £100 million Arsenal paid to sign him. His influence and presence in the middle of the park was central to Arsenal's strong challenge for the title, with the 24-year-old even strengthening his case to be considered one of the league's top players by adding a scoring element to his ... arsenal.

Worst signing

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Lopopolo: Mason Mount. The worst thing about Mount's move to Manchester United isn't that he's played so little. It's that he wasn't at all what they needed. United signed Mount from Chelsea in a deal worth up to a reported £60 million when there wasn't that much competition for his signature. His contract was also set to expire in a year. Why were they in such a rush to fill positions already occupied by Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes?

Rouse: Matt Turner. The American goalkeeper was a £10-million bust at Nottingham Forest and hasn't played a Premier League match since January. It hasn't been a great season for shot-stopper signings, with James Trafford struggling at Burnley, and Robert Sanchez and Andre Onana having dodgy moments. At least Arsenal's David Raya worked out in the end.

Brunt: Kalvin Phillips. The grass wasn't greener on the other side for Phillips. The notion that leaving Manchester City would help the midfielder rediscover his form was proven false almost immediately upon his arrival at West Ham. Phillips endured a miserable beginning to life in east London, further justifying Guardiola for overlooking him for much of his disappointing tenure in Manchester.

Breakout star

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Lopopolo: Cole Palmer. We've already covered Palmer's incredible numbers. Now let's talk about the intangibles. His languid style of play belies his sky-high football IQ, keen sense of surroundings, and ruthless finishing streak. Perhaps it has a disarming effect on defenders. But there's no mistaking Palmer has exploded onto the scene, emerging as a star for Chelsea after making just three Premier League starts for formative club Manchester City.

Rouse: Adam Wharton. It might be too late for Crystal Palace's January signing to earn a place in England's Euro 2024 squad, but he's destined to become a Three Lions regular. He's an ambitious midfielder, constantly trying to progress play with each raking or line-breaking pass. It's a delight to watch the 20-year-old work behind Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze.

Brunt: Kobbie Mainoo. The 19-year-old was far from a household name before the season started. But after his breakout campaign, few would bat an eye if the Manchester United academy graduate gets picked for England's Euro 2024 squad. After a season United fans will want to forget, they can at least take comfort in the likelihood of a bright future with Mainoo in the fold.

Most intriguing team going into transfer window

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Lopopolo: Manchester United. Even with Sir Jim Ratcliffe on board, nearly all directors in place, and a number of players set to depart, Manchester United are expected to have a tight budget. Financial Fair Play concerns are real. So for once, this club of excess, which has gambled with hundreds of millions of pounds in previous transfer windows, will have to be intentional about the players it chooses to pursue. It's probably better that way.

Rouse: Leicester City. The Foxes must sell before June 30 to comply with financial regulations. So the promoted club needs to replace some big-name departures - Jamie Vardy, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, and Wilfred Ndidi potentially among them - and requires at least one defender on top of that. Abdul Fatawu is set to join on a permanent basis after his impressive loan from Sporting CP.

Brunt: Tottenham Hotspur. Without the haze of a Harry Kane transfer saga hovering over him this summer, Ange Postecoglou has a chance to mold Spurs into his vision of a title-contending team. While he might struggle to get the funds needed to do a complete overhaul, Postecoglou has a chance to at least offload some of the dead weight that he inherited last year.

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