After 380 matches, a three-month coronavirus enforced hiatus, four Watford managers and one…….. Rebekah Vardy, the 2019/20 Premier League season finally drew to a close on Sunday.
Across an unprecedented 11-month long campaign, 15 top flight players played every minute of every game this season. That’s a full 3,420 minutes.
Just who are the 15 men who defied injury and fatigue to feature in every single minute of the 2019/20 Premier League campaign?
David de Gea
Despite Manchester United proudly possessing one of the best second choice goalkeepers in the world in Sergio Romero, he wasn’t used once in the Premier League all season as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer put his full faith in David de Gea.
However, the Spaniard’s season was littered with what have now become quite characteristic errors, and the man who was once considered the world’s best could find his starting berth well under threat by a man who was playing Championship football a little over 12 months ago. Will De Gea play every minute of the 2020/21 season or will he be dislodged by Dean Henderson?
Wolves’ outrageously long campaign could yet end with them playing either Champions League football, Europa League football or neither next season.
In a 12-month long season, Patricio missed just six games in all competitions. He didn’t miss a minute of Premier League action, and was joint third in the race for the golden glove, keeping 13 top flight clean sheets.
The universally popular 37-year-old played the full 3,420 top flight minutes this season – that’s an average of 855 minutes per Watford manager.
Despite the Hornets suffering relegation on the final day of the season and shipping 64 goals, Foster still managed to keep a respectable nine clean sheets, and was arguably Watford’s player of the season.
Dubravka continued on from where he left off last season, having already played every single minute of the 2018/19 season.
It was another hugely impressive season from the Newcastle number one, who scooped the Magpies’ Player of the Year award. His 11 clean sheets was the highest tally for a goalkeeper from sides in the bottom half of the table.
The Leicester goalkeeper also failed to miss a minute in the Premier League for a second successive season as Brendan Rodgers’ plucky Foxes agonisingly missed out on Champions League football on the final day of the season.
Schmeichel was as dependable as ever, keeping 13 clean sheets and saving his only costly error for the final minute of the season. The Foxes were already pretty much resigned to defeat against Manchester United, and it was nice of him to let Jesse Lingard score. What a good guy.
Despite a lapses of concentration, the misjudging of crosses and the fumbling of shots creeping into Pickford’s game, the Everton number one has remained first choice at Goodison, playing every single minute in all competitions for the Toffees during the 2019/20 campaign.
Remarkably, Pickford has now not missed a minute of Premier League football for three consecutive seasons. The 26-year-old kept nine top-flight clean sheets, and although his starting spot on Merseyside seems safe, he could find himself under threat for the England number one jersey next year.
The Burnley number one could have claimed the Golden Glove on the final day of the season had he managed to keep out Brighton, but had to settle for second in the standings behind Manchester City’s Ederson.
It was still a remarkable campaign for Pope, who was instrumental in the Clarets’ mightily impressive 10th place finish. He kept 15 clean sheets and forced himself into contention for the England number one spot.
Not bad for a guy who just nine years ago was playing in the eighth tier of English football.
It was a stellar first season in charge at Brighton for Graham Potter, as his side secured their Premier League status with a game to spare, and conceded the same number of goals as fourth place Chelsea.
Ryan kept nine clean sheets for the Seagulls, including in the penultimate game of the campaign against Newcastle to confirm his side’s survival.
In a Wolves team brimming with silky, exciting, Portuguese talent, it speaks volumes of Coady’s ability that the former Huddersfield man is considered one of their most valuable players.
The Wolves captain has remarkably not missed a minute of league action since 14 October 2017. He is just 16 games away from equaling goalkeeper Phil Parkes’s record of 127 consecutive league appearances that was set way back in September 1973.
The West Ham midfielder was named Hammer of the Year following an impressive campaign, adding the accolade to his Young Player of the Year awards from 2016/17 and 2017/18.
Still just 21, Rice was a figure of consistency for the Hammers. Not renowned for his scoring ability, the solitary goal he did grab this season was an absolute belter. The midfielder has been linked with a return to former club Chelsea this summer, as the Blues attempt to sure up their backline.
Burnley’s answer to Virgil van Dijk. The Clarets enjoyed a particularly strong end to the campaign, while Tarkowski turned in his best individual season to date.
His mean partnership with Ben Mee in front of Nick Pope was integral to Burnley’s success. The defender has already made two appearances for England – could we see 40% of the Three Lions backline made up of Burnley players come Euro 2021?
Virgil van Dijk
Liverpool’s answer to James Tarkowski. Van Dijk was one of the final pieces of the Jurgen Klopp jigsaw when he arrived at Anfield in 2018, and two and a half years on, he has more than proved his worth.
The defender was a crucial part of the Liverpool side that claimed their sixth European Cup triumph in 2019, before helping the Reds end their long wait for a Premier title during the 2019/20 season. In a team bursting with superstars, Van Dijk is one of the most integral parts to Liverpool’s success.
Sheffield United were one of the stories of the 2019/20 Premier League season, as Chris Wilder’s relegation-fancied side cobbled together an unlikely European challenge. They were a hardworking, infectious, unit of a team. And did you know that their centre backs overlapped?
Baldock was often the one being overlapped as opposed to doing the overlapping, with Chris Basham bombing past him down the right flank. In a team built around team spirit and hard work, the right-back typified Sheffield United’s graft in one big old shift of a season.
Time is money, so it was only right that the world’s most expensive defender played every minute in the Premier League this season.
Maguire enjoyed a solid first season at Old Trafford, helping to break the hearts of former club Leicester on the final day of the season to book Manchester United’s place in the Champions League at the expense of the Foxes following a hugely impressive midseason turnaround.
Southampton enjoyed a stunning second half of the campaign to finish a respectable 11th, having looked set for a season of struggle after they were thumped 9-0 at home to Leicester in October.
Ward-Prowse has been ever present for all of the campaign’s highs and lows, and the fact that he has played every single minute this season is all the more impressive given what an energetic, all action midfielder he is.