For all the sustained excellence of the top two as they fight for the title, this will hardly be remembered as a season in which Premier League standards have risen.
Never mind that a team might well finish second after accruing 97 points, beyond the power struggle between Liverpool and Manchester City the real pattern of the division is one of gathering incompetence.
Nowhere is that more in evidence than in the increasingly maladroit chase for Champions League qualification. The race for fourth has transmogrified into the after-you-Claude-excuse-me as the four teams involved have sought new ways to fall over their own feet with the finish line coming into view. Here were Manchester United and Chelsea with the opportunity to land a knockout blow on each other’s chin spending 90 minutes flapping around like a pair of playground princesses. When heavyweight slugging was needed, we had featherweight application.
The truth is we are seeing the growing La Liga-fication of the Premier League, with Liverpool and Manchester City in the Real Madrid and Barcelona roles, miles ahead of a chasing pack. And it was writ large across the Old Trafford turf where the battle of the rest featured no more than three players who might find their way into either Liverpool or City’s squad. And, try as they might, N’Golo Kante, Marcus Rashford and even Eden Hazard were struggling to rise above the nervy jitters permeating the stadium.