2021 in the Premier League has delivered many unforgettable moments, from individual performances and goals to brilliant team displays.

Here we pick out the most memorable from an exceptional year.

2021 best team

Manchester City strode to victory in last season’s Premier League, winning an incredible 20 of their 24 fixtures after the turn of the year. It was a run that included dominant wins over Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool as Pep Guardiola’s team of all-stars stamped their class on the division, ultimately finishing 12 points clear of second placed Manchester United.

Their brilliant streak of 12 straight wins in January and February was inspired to a large degree by the form of midfielder İlkay Gündoğan, who scored nine times in that period.

So far this season City have continued in fine form, winning 14 of their 18 matches in the league to date, scoring 44 goals and conceding only nine. They top the league at Christmas and it will take a brilliant run from one of their closest pursuers, Liverpool or Chelsea, to dethrone them in the New Year.

2021 best player

There can be little doubt that Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is currently one of the best, if not the best, player on the planet. He finished seventh in the recent Ballon d’Or vote, but he is a player that is consistently underrated despite his amazing stats.

Salah scored nine of his 22 goals last season after the turn of the year, a return that by his high standards he would probably have been disappointed by, as he narrowly lost out on the Golden Boot to Harry Kane.

It is this season though that Salah seems to have taken his form to a new level, notching 15 goals in the league – 30 percent of Liverpool’s goals – and providing nine assists too.

He is currently seventh on the list of Liverpool’s all-time top scorers and is closing in on Reds legends Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard. While 2021 was a sensational year for the Egyptian it’s not hard to believe that 2022 could be even better.

Best XI of 2021

GK – Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)

DF – Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

DF – Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea)

DF – Rúben Dias (Man City)

DF – João Cancelo (Man City)

MF – Declan Rice (West Ham)

MF – Rodri (Man City)

MF – Bernardo Silva (Man City)

ST – Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

ST – Michail Antonio (West Ham)

ST – Raphinha (Leeds)

2021 best goal

There can be few better examples of exquisite technique than Erik Lamela’s rabona goal against Arsenal in March this year.

The ball was laid off to the Argentine by Lucas Moura in the Arsenal box, but as the ball rolled towards him from the right, instead of striking it with his right foot, Lamela brought his left leg forward, crossing his legs as he hit a perfect rabona. The shot arrowed through the legs of helpless defender Thomas Partey to nestle in the corner of the Gunner’s net.

The reaction of Spurs left-back Sergio Regulion – the nearest player to Lamela at the time – said it all, as he raised both hands to his head. This was a miraculous goal of the highest technical skill, and it received the accolade it deserved when it was voted as the 2020/21 Premier League goal of the season.

2021 best moment

The return of a 36-year-old to the Premier League is not often cause for much excitement, but when that player is Cristiano Ronaldo then things are a little different.

Ronaldo’s homecoming to Manchester United created a new air of confidence around Old Trafford and while fans of other teams may have lamented the Portuguese international’s return, few could argue that the return of one of the greatest players ever to the Premier League didn’t give the competition something extra.

Perhaps the best moment of the whole episode was Ronaldo’s United debut in September, where he scored twice against Newcastle to silence those who thought he was incapable of still showing his best in the world football’s most competitive league. As he has done so often in his career, Ronaldo emphatically proved the doubters wrong.

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