Premier League 23/24 season winners: Foden, Palmer, Emery, Arsenal, Klopp and Dyche all brilliant

Matt Stead
Chelsea player Cole Palmer, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard
Your Premier League 23/24 season winners are here

Pep Guardiola made history and Phil Foden was key. Arsenal should take hope from pushing them. Unai Emery, Jurgen Klopp and Sean Dyche did brilliant work.

Vincent Kompany, Sheffield United and Erik ten Hag are among the 23/24 Premier League season losers.


Pep Guardiola
Even with potential asterisks pending, it is funny to think that this is the man the Premier League was supposed to bend to its whim, who would be found out on these shores, whose hegemony in Spain and Germany could not possibly be replicated in England.

Guardiola would be the first to admit it has not all been straightforward – and Manchester City’s performance in the courtroom will help determine whether it has even been wholly legal – but whether or not rules were bent rather than broken, this is dominance on a scale never to be repeated.

Even if this period in the club’s history might come to be defined by slightly different numbers, Guardiola adding to the previously unthinkable domestic Treble and continental version with four consecutive English top-flight championships is astonishing.

In the entire history of the game, only Sir Alex Ferguson has ever won more league crowns in this country. As Jurgen Klopp said: “‌If you put any other manager in that club, they don’t win the league four times in a row.” And his greatest rival, so knackered from trying to keep up that he feels compelled to quit, should know.

👉 Watching Man City is like watching maths and that’s just soulless and boring


Phil Foden
This summer marks the last of those six years Foden agreed to sit on the Manchester City bench for back in December 2018. A 27-goal season – here’s to an FA Cup final hat-trick to round things off nicely – in which he truly embraced the burden of his excellence and ranked second for minutes played for the champions was some way to commemorate it.

Foden’s quality has long since been obvious, but to prove at least as decisive as Kevin de Bruyne and Erling Haaland in those moments when Manchester City needed that game-changing individual genius is remarkable.

Those two players have so often been the primary reason for the fallacy of there being no jeopardy in these title races; they alone can make difficult games look easy. Foden can legitimately count himself among them and Rodri as indispensable cogs furthering the illusion that this machine simply wins without trying.

He is 23 and only Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Denis Irwin and Roy Keane have ever won more Premier League titles. That’s your player of the season right there.


Unai Emery
Not enough is made of how Emery has transformed his Premier League reputation. The insularity of these shores meant his stunning achievements on the continent were destined to be ignored until and unless he proved himself capable in England, where his prior failure at the elite level automatically ruled him out of a certain calibre of job; he would need to crash the party rather than wait for another invite.

Even then, Emery turned down the easy option of rehabilitating that image at Newcastle, instead taking Aston Villa from relegation contenders to Champions League qualifiers in 18 months.

It is an astounding accomplishment which feels somewhat overlooked purely because Villa spent so long in the top four this season that it became normalised; people simply got used to their overachievement. Yet their consistency in breaking the glass ceiling and replacing the floor beneath them has been more impressive than if a late surge had secured the spot.

Villa had been there before and faltered at the last. But while Martin O’Neill memorably sacrificed Europe to focus on the Premier League and saw his team’s hopes immediately unravel on both fronts thereafter, the ‘no excuses’ culture Emery has established has already delivered a European semi-final and Champions League place with the promise of more to come.


Cole Palmer
The records, number and statistics are readily available but none do justice to the single most impressive individual campaign of 2023/24. Palmer stepped out of a trophy-guaranteeing shadow and at the age of 21 in his first full season as a professional became not just the leader of a stupidly expensive assortment of players, but often quite literally its only positive aspect.

The output and emergence has been similar to that of Foden, but without anything close to the support act or backing track. Palmer bet on himself and was Chelsea’s one-man band for so much of this season. Chelsea conjured something constructive and useful out of what once seemed unsalvageable and their talisman alone provided the platform which made it possible.

Mauricio Pochettino will surely be given time to continue this project – though that’s not what Rio Ferdinand is hearing – but whoever leads the Blues over the next few years, the blueprint must focus on making the most of Palmer’s talents and temperament.


Before this season, of the last 10 Premier League runners-up dating back to 2012/13, as many had finished sixth the following campaign (three) as became champions. Four sides changed manager within the subsequent seven months.

It will be mocked because a) it is Arsenal and b) social media is the dirt worst, but this is scalable, quantifiable, year-upon-year progress without much recent precedent, and with no suggestion a ceiling of either performances or results has been reached yet.

Arsenal have accrued more points every season under Mikel Arteta, whose critics will likely ignore how their ‘consecutive eighth-placed finishes’ ammunition has been turned into irrelevant blanks fired at a team who bear no shame in finishing runners-up successive times to the most dominant champion England has ever seen. The Gunners had to prove that last season’s title charge being unexpected did not make it unrepeatable, that last season’s cataclysmic title slip did not define them, and that last summer’s transfer gambles being questioned did not make them wrong. They excelled on both fronts.

Poring over a fixture list covered in green with a couple of yellow and red marks, nit-picking the points lost by Arsenal and those won by Manchester City, and focusing on the minutiae of games in December because of how phenomenally they responded thereafter tells the true story, one of a team who could not realistically have done more this season; they simply came up against a slightly better, slightly luckier side who will know how far they were pushed. The exciting thing for the fans is that Arteta and Arsenal have already shown how they can channel that into the next one.

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Oliver Glasner
Having taken charge of his first game on February 24, Glasner was responsible for more than half of Crystal Palace’s wins (seven of 13) and goals (29 of 57). There was thankfully precious little Be Careful What You Wish For or ‘he doesn’t know the Premier League’ talk at the time of his appointment, but the tantalising thing is that it doesn’t feel like the Premier League even knows a fraction of what Glasner can do yet.

Without a pre-season, coming into a club not beyond relegation fears and who merely expanded their crippling reliance on one star player to accommodate two whose brilliance they could not bear to be without, Glasner turned Palace into a wonderfully coached team of assets who will inevitably be courted over the summer at great expense. And as Bayern Munich have shown, he can already count himself among them.


Bournemouth and Gary O’Neil
Sometimes caps just need to be doffed in quiet respect. “This has been a difficult decision, but it has been made with great consideration to best position ourselves ahead of the coming season,” Bournemouth owner Bill Foley said last June.

Gary will go on to have a long career as a head coach or manager, but we feel that, at this moment in time, a change is in the best interests of this football club. I would like to place on record my thanks to Gary and wish him all the best for the future.

Later citing a desire to “change the style of football we wanted to play” and become more of an “attacking” team, Foley can be pleased enough with the results.

Bournemouth finished nine points and three places better than last season; O’Neil proved his worth over a solid campaign with Wolves, who nevertheless scored fewer goals than the Cherries.

Swapping O’Neil for Andoni Iraola seemed like a brutal but justifiable decision at the time and has only been proven as such since. All parties have benefited.


Jurgen Klopp
When Klopp signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with Liverpool in December 2019, he underlined the responsibility he felt to ensure the club was “still in a very good place” when he did eventually leave.

It felt like a distant prospect at that point. Liverpool were then eight points clear, European champions strolling to their first English title in three decades. A four-year reign was coaching immortality in comparison to the usual coaching lifespan, but Klopp had gone far longer at his previous two clubs and an emotional split was not even on the horizon.

But the clues were there. Klopp had been speaking of depleted “energy” levels for some time. The new deal in April 2022 which committed him to Liverpool until 2026 was signed on the crest of a Quadruple-chasing wave which crashed dramatically the following season and altered the landscape irrevocably. The need to “refresh things in moments” which he spoke of four and a half years ago was bound to take a toll, especially when it ramped into overdrive last summer.

And that is the key, because critics will scoff at the Grand Farewell Tour which promised Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup glory before increasingly ludicrous implosions in each rendered only another League Cup. Yet precious little was truly expected of Liverpool this season. The midfield madness in the transfer window made them look amateurish at times and the sprint finish to last campaign only partially masked glaring inconsistencies and vulnerabilities.

This is far from a vintage Liverpool side, but it is laughably better than the one he inherited, the foundations are sound for his successor to build upon and the future is bright with the necessary structure in place. And most important of all, Klopp has his Saturday lunchtimes back.

👉 Klopp bows out of Premier League with another mentality monsters title to his name
👉 Liverpool are the Goldilocks club – Jurgen Klopp has brought exactly the right amount of success

Sean Dyche
One man alone could be so perfectly attuned to Premier League survival as to finish on 40 points after having eight deducted. Dyche has won more games than Roberto De Zerbi and Everton would be behind Brighton on goal difference alone on merit of their results.

The ease with which Everton stayed up despite those obstacles is testament to Dyche, whose methods are never universally popular nor always optimal. The fourth-best defensive record in the Premier League, with every other bottom-half side conceding at least 10 more goals, is difficult to argue against in the circumstances, especially after spending essentially nothing on the squad. And the way he has brought through Jarrad Branthwaite, who might single-handedly pull Everton from at least this specific financial mess, has gone under the radar.

There remain questions Dyche will have to answer when it comes to anything longer term at Everton, but that is the case with every facet of this club; his presence at least offers a semblance of sustainability, familiarity and security, and removing that would risk the house of cards collapsing.


Had the season been flipped, with the 10-game unbeaten run and absurdly stringent philosophical commitment coming at the end, and five defeats in seven with a chastening hit of reality in the beginning, the framing of Ange Postecoglou’s debut Premier League campaign would be rather different.

Spurs scored more goals, conceded fewer, won more games, lost fewer and finished higher – qualifying for Europe – than last season, all after they embarked on another slightly demeaning 72-day manager search and sold the greatest player in their history in the summer. Imagine what could have been with Davinson Sanchez back there.

All the context and the bits in between cannot be ignored but the hope is that those particularly difficult steps in defeat to Fulham, Newcastle and Chelsea, as well as Postecoglou laughably misjudging the room with the Arsenal and Manchester City title stuff, can simply be growing pains in a blossoming relationship.

As low as the lows were, the highs should not be discounted. The last time they finished fifth was in Pochettino’s first season with two fewer points, and that turned out fairly well.


Sold by far their best striker after the season started to generate some mild relegation panic when it seemed as though Willian and Marco Silva might have joined Aleksandar Mitrovic in Saudi. Then they just scored the exact same amount of goals as last campaign anyway, including more five-goal wins than Manchester City. Just a historically brilliant mid-table season.


West Ham
Sold by far their best player, didn’t sign anyone for absolutely ages and conceded a stupid amount of goals but still finished in the top half so yeah.


The intention is not to patronise, but Luton might genuinely have exceeded expectations more than any other club this season considering just how negative the general summer forecast was. The suggestion was that Derby 2007/08 would finally be relieved of their banterous duties but Luton matched their 11 points in a disastrous 2024 alone, not taking into account the intermittent brilliance which came in the months beforehand.

Luton welcomed an unimaginable opportunity, invested the money wisely, made some everlasting memories and set themselves up for the future. They were the boring lottery winners we secretly envy and another winning ticket no longer feels in any way unfeasible for a manager and players who could easily return to this level, if not the team itself.

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! Who were your biggest winners of the 23/24 Premier League season? Join the debate here.