The Premier League 2021/2022 is over - the champions and the top scorers

The Premier League played its last round on Sunday and there was a lot of drama both in terms of the fight for the league title and the fight for the title as top scorer of the league, or the Golden Boot winner of Premier League 2021/2022 if you like.

The battle for the league title

Manchester City was in the driver's seat before the final round as they both had a goal difference advantage as well as having one point more than Liverpool. In other words, it would be enough for City if they just beat Aston Villa at home, who really had nothing to play for. They also had an extra lifeline in that they could even lose as long as Liverpool did not win. Liverpool took on Wolverhampton at home, a team that also had nothing to play for.

Even though it looked good for Manchester City it became highly dramatic almost all the way to the end. When the half time blew Aston Villa had shocked by having a lead with 1-0, but also Wolves had surprised Liverpool by taking the lead already in the 3rd minute but had lost their lead to 1-1 when Sadio Mané equalized in the 24th minute. So, despite the disadvantage for City, they still had the advantage in other words.

And it would be even more dramatic. Former Liverpool player Philippe Coutinho scored 2-0 for Villa in the 69th minute and suddenly the road to gold looked very long for City. Liverpool still only had 1-1 in their match but it felt rather like not if but when Liverpool would score a 2-1 goal.

Ilkay Gündogan, Manchester City
However, six tiny minutes would change everything. In the 68th minute, the German Ilkay Gündogan came on the pitch from the bench and six minutes later he had scored a 1-2 goal. Just two minutes later Rodri scored a 2-2 goal, and just another three minutes after that Gündogan had put his second ball into the net, and suddenly City was in 3-2 lead. And just like that the excitement was completely gone and of course it did not help that Liverpool finally scored a couple of goals and won with 3-1. Manchester City surely are worthy champions, despite a slump towards the end of the season that almost cost them the gold. Congratulations Manchester City!

The battle for the last Champions League place

Chelsea had already secured 3rd place in the league before the final round, which also meant that they had secured a Champions League spot. However, it was still an open race for the fourth and final UCL place and it was between Tottenham and Arsenal. Tottenham had a two-point lead though.

However, what could have been exciting became completely undramatic. Tottenham played Norwich away, who were last in the league and had already relegated a long time ago, and they had no problem to easily dismiss Norwich. Dejan Kulusevski scored 1-0 in the 16th minute and Harry Kane added a 2-0 goal in the 32nd. In the second half, they easily ran away from Norwich to a final 5-0 win after another Kulusevski goal, but also two goals from Son Heung-Min which we will return to later in this article.

Arsenal played at home against Everton, an Everton that had already logged out of from the 2021/2022 season after securing the EPL contract on Thursday, and thus seemed uninterested in actually playing football. 5-1 was the final result in Arsenal's favour but the win did not help much, Arsenal finished in fifth place and thus have to settle for playing in the Europa League next season.

The battle to stay in the Premier League

Norwich and Watford were relegated to the EFL Championship a long time ago. The third and final relegation spot was still to be decided though, and the battle was between Leeds and Burnley. Burnley had a small advantage with a clearly better goal difference so a victory for them against Newcastle at home would suffice. Leeds played their last game away against Brentford.

However, the advantage did not help Burnley. Callum Wilson scored a 1-0 goal for the visitors in the 20th minute on penalty, and when he scored 2-0 for Newcastle in the 60th minute and at this point it started to look really bad for Burnley. This especially since Leeds had taken the lead against Brentford in the 56th minute.

However, the tension was not completely over. Burnley scored a 1-2 goal in the 69th minute through Maxwel Cornet and in the 78th minute Sergi Canós equalized for Brentford against Leeds, and suddenly Burnley was just one goal away from keeping their EPL spot for next season. However, time ran out for Burnley without being able to to score that additional goal and at the end Jack Harrison also scored 2-1 for Leeds in the fourth overtime minute. Burnley was sent down to EPL Championship and Leeds managed to survive in the end.

The battle for the top scorer title in the final round

Before the final round the battle to become the top scorer was primarily between two players: Mohamed Salah who who was in the lead with his 22 goals scored, and Son Heung-Min right behind him with 21 goals. That Salah would be at the very top at this point of the season was hardly a surprise, but even though Son Heung-Min is a fantastic, even slightly underrated player, he is not known as a brutal goal machine that aspires for the top scorer title season after season. However, he had his best season the season before when he scored 17 goals so you could say he had an upward scoring trend.

When Tottenham met an already sawn-off Norwich who had also conceded most goals in the league, the coming match were of course a great opportunity for Son Heung-Min to score some goals. Although Liverpool had tougher opposition in the form of Wolverhampton, it was a Liverpool that was on the hunt for the league title and that they would score some goals seemed obvious. The problem was though that Salah had to start the match on the bench.

Tottenham played in highest gear against Norwich, and they had a 2-0 lead already at half time and they also put a third goal into the net a early in the second half, but none of the goals came from Son Heung-Min. In the 70th minute, however, he scored a goal that took him up alongside Salah in the top scorer list. Five minutes later the second goal also came, which at that point meant that he was in the solo lead, and he looked to be heading towards the top scorer title.

Salah were at this moment on the pitch after being substituted onto the pitch after 58 minutes. Given that the match was still a draw and Liverpool desperately chased a winning goal that could give them the Premier League title, it was almost expected that Salah would score a goal and in the 84th minute he did. Liverpool's 2-1 goal meant that Salah was now up alongside Son Heung-Min again.

Neither Son nor Salah scored any more goals though, which meant that we got two Premier League golden boot winners the season 2021/2022. This was Salah's third time to win the title in the EPL and Son's first. It is noteworthy that for the third year in a row, 23 goals were enough to win the top scorer title.

Erling Braut Haaland, here in Borussia Dortmund

Who will win the top scorer the season of 2022/2023?

Next season's battle for the top scorer title is already a hot question. The reason for this is of course Manchester City's signing of Norwegian Erling Braut Haaland from Borussia Dortmund. Haaland is a proven fierce goal scorer when he stays away from injuries, and he will be playing in the team that usually scores lots of goals. The last time City had a Golden Boot winner was in the 2014/2015 season when Sergio Agüero scored 26 goals. The reason they rarely have someone in the top is that they often have a fairly large spread of goal scorers. It will be seen if Haaland can be the dedicated goal scorer in City and he must be kept as a favourite for the title already now.

The main contenders then? One of the candidates is of course Mohamed Salah once again. There are rumours of interest from both PSG and Barca, but if he stays, he will be one of the main challengers.

Then of course we have the Tottenham duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min. Above all, Son Heung-Min seems to have benefited from the arrival of the January signings of Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus, which seems to have really sharpened the offensive in the London team. Tottenham as a team also had a very promising end of the season and it feels like Conte is really starting to get the team in shape again.

The last challenger that must be mentioned is of course Cristiano Ronaldo. In order for him to be able to challenge, he must of course first stay at Manchester United, and in addition, the new coach Erik ten Hag must succeed. Despite all the big signings from Manchester United in recent years, no coach seems to be able to get the team in order. Whether Erik ten Hag is the right main to do it remains to be seen, but if he succeeds and Ronaldo stays in Manchester, and has the inspiration of course, he can still win yet another scorer title in his career for sure.
Juan Solamanecer is a freelance writer who writes football articles with great empathy. He writes about topics, clubs and players that interest him and that he finds may interest others. With his base in San Sebastian, he follows the city's pride Real Sociedad extra closely.