What has happened to the Premier League? Explaining a wild start to the 2020/21 season

It’s not as if it doesn’t matter, but it is as if it’s… different.

All of this is further skewed by more standard trends like more open football tactics and the use of VAR, with the circumstances further amplifying them, too.

There’s then the “psychological contagion” of one or two wild results in the first place. In the same way one successful scorpion kick goal led to a lot of players trying them, they are now willing to try more on the pitch. A spirit of abandon takes hold. 

It was certainly difficult not to feel this was the case at Villa Park, where the Villa players would have been aware of the adventure and release that Tottenham Hotspur showed at Old Trafford. They went for it, because everyone else is.

Even Jose Mourinho, after all, was willing to just let go. It was the spirit of the day, and maybe the time.

This may all have a greater effect. If the natural inclination is to expect all this to level out, it’s possible the circumstances will just be too distorted for that to happen.

The ingredients may well be there for a season with as many unlikely outcomes as 2015-16. A few usual “rules” or realities may be temporarily upended.

If the top managers can’t apply their usual approaches to the same degree, they may not be as effective as usual.

There will be opportunity for upwardly mobile sides in a content state and good form, like Everton.

Going against recent football history, too, it is possible that any team that learns to shore up could suddenly have a significant advantage. Might that suit Mourinho at Spurs?

None of this feels normal right now, and it could yet lead to even more abnormal results.

It’s possible the wild swings have only started.

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