This season we’ve received more than 800,000 Premier League pictures from staff, agency and freelance photographers. Here are some of the most emotive, arresting and creative images which capture the narrative of another memorable top-flight campaign.
The Premier League season began in explosive style on 13 August as Brentford, celebrating their return to the top flight after a 74-year absence, beat Arsenal 2-0. But the standout result of the opening weekend was Tottenham’s victory over champions Manchester City two days later, courtesy of Son Heung-min’s goal, as Spurs made a beeline for the top of the table. Elsewhere, City’s £100m man Jack Grealish bundled home his first goal for the club and Michail Antonio celebrated with, err, himself as he lead West Ham’s early-season charge.
Twelve years since his last performance for the Red Devils, Cristiano Ronaldo inevitably scored on his return to Manchester United as they swept aside Newcastle. Elsewhere, Tottenham suffered a crushing month with 3-0 defeats to Crystal Palace and Chelsea as well as a 3-1 reverse in the north London derby at Arsenal; Everton’s promising home form under Rafael Benítez continued with wins over Norwich and Burnley; and a 95th-minute equaliser by Neal Maupay for Brighton against bitter rivals Palace led to ugly scenes in the tunnel. The world of football also paid tribute to Jimmy Greaves, the former Tottenham, Chelsea, West Ham and England striker, who died aged 81.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah was the star of October, winning both player of the month and goal of the month. The Egyptian produced a mesmeric strike during a 5-0 drubbing of Watford – he waltzed between three defenders, Cruyff-turned another and then swept his shot into the far corner. Salah then scored a 12-minute hat-trick against Manchester United, which weakened Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s hold on the manager’s job. Salah also netted against Manchester City at Anfield, in a game which ended 2-2 following Kevin De Bruyne’s deflected 81st-minute strike. Elsewhere, the footballing landscape shifted dramatically as struggling Newcastle suddenly became enormously rich after being controversially taken over by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund – much to the delight of most Magpies fans.
Steven Gerrard took over at Aston Villa following Dean Smith’s departure in the wake of five straight defeats. Ollie Watkins and Tyrone Mings scored in the final six minutes as they dispatched Brighton to hand Gerrard victory in his first match in charge. Elsewhere, Antonio Conte took over from Nuno Espírito Santo at Spurs, but his first Premier League game at the helm was a 0-0 draw at Everton. The biggest result of the month came when West Ham dented Liverpool’s title aspirations – and moved above them in the table – with a 3-2 win at the London Stadium.
Manchester City hit the afterburners in December, scoring 22 goals and opening up an eight-point gap at the top of the table courtesy of 10 straight wins. Their 7-0 drubbing of Leeds was the high point, but a rollercoaster 6-3 win over Leicester was more memorable as Leicester clawed their way back from 4-0 down to 4-3. Two days later, Brendan Rodgers’ side would defeat Liverpool 1-0 through Ademola Lookman’s goal. Elsewhere, West Ham beat Chelsea as David Moyes, dubbed “the Moyesiah”, continued to make progress with the Hammers, while Manchester United began life under interim manager Ralf Rangnick.
Goals in the 95th and 97th minute from Steven Bergwijnearned Tottenham a miraculous win over Leicester at the King Power Stadium and triggered pandemonium in the stands. Elsewhere, Everton’s patience with Rafael Benítez ran out following defeat to Norwich, Newcastle signed Kieran Trippier from Atlético Madrid as they looked to buy their way out of the relegation zone, andwhen Brentford met Wolves their match was bizarrely interrupted as a drone flew overhead.
February was marked by two heartwarming moments. Christian Eriksen returned to professional football for the first time since his cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark at Euro 2020. The midfielder came on as a 52nd-minute substitute for Brentford against Newcastle. On that same day, Ukrainians Oleksandr Zinchenko and Vitalii Mykolenko shared an emotional embrace before the match between Manchester City and Everton following Russia’s invasion of their homeland. Fans and players around the Premier League showed support for their country.
A lone ‘Just Stop Oil’ protestor interrupted the match between Everton and Newcastle by cable-tying himself to a goalpost – leading to the absurd footage of an overzealous steward using giant bolt cutters to free him. There was another amusing moment at Brentford v Norwich when Brandon Williams lashed out at an opponent, only to realise it was Christian Eriksen. Instead of berating him, Williams smiled and gave him a cuddle. And who could forget the grief West Ham’s Kurt Zouma received after footage emerged of him kicking a cat? Elsewhere, Liverpool closed the gap on leaders Manchester City to a single point, having been 12 points behind on New Year’s Day, courtesy of scintillating performances from Luis Díaz, while Sean Dyche’s Burnley ended the month four points adrift of safety, and Roman Abramovich signalled his intention to sell Chelsea following sanctions imposed by the UK government over the war in Ukraine.
Title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool went into their second clash of the season knowing that victory for either side would give them a critical points advantage with just seven games remaining. As it happened, they shared another 2-2 draw, with City in electric form in the first half. Much to public consternation, Burnley dumped Sean Dyche – and then they began to win. Elsewhere, Everton dropped into the relegation zone and Brighton, another team whose form had fallen off a cliff, halted a run of six consecutive league defeats, while Norwich’s long anticipated relegation from the top flight was confirmed by defeat at Villa.
As the Premier League season reached its climax, Everton and Leeds scrambled to safety at the expense of Burnley, while Tottenham leapfrogged Arsenal to claim fourth spot. But the biggest drama was shared between the top two sides, Manchester City and Liverpool, as they both looked destined to choke. The title rivals entered the final day separated by just a point, with City knowing that a win over visitors Aston Villa would seal the crown. In scarcely believable scenes, City fell two goals behind to Villa, while Liverpool struggled to overturn a dogged Wolves side at Anfield. Then, in the space of six inspired minutes, Guardiola’s side roared to a 3-2 victory to clinch their fourth title in five years.
This article was amended on 26 May 2022 to replace one of the photographs featured in the “April” section with a different image taken at the Norwich v Aston Villa match.