We take a summarised look at how the current iteration of the English Premier League panned out – one where Chelsea emerged victorious.
With the final gameweek over and the standings confirmed, the 25th Premier League season has now concluded. Chelsea have lifted their 5th Premier League trophy while Middlesbrough, Hull and Sunderland are condemned to football in the Championship next season.
This year wasn’t nearly as dramatic as 2015/16, with a clearly brilliant Chelsea side dominating the league from the start and wrapping up their title win with a game still to play. They managed 30 wins from 38 games, the first English club to do so. Chelsea are also strong favourites for a domestic double, with the Premier League champions facing Arsenal at Wembley in the FA cup final.
Leicester, the miraculous defending champions, never really got out of the blocks, with a timid mid-table finish to follow up last year’s thrilling campaign. After hovering dangerously close to the relegation spots, Leicester’s owners lost patience with Claudio Ranieri and the Tinkerman departed in February.
Leicester City finish 12th, the lowest position of any reigning champions in the Premier League era. 🔵 pic.twitter.com/eAaYPJrMhf
— Football__Tweet (@Football__Tweet) May 21, 2017
Although their Premier League run was disappointing, they still managed an incredible Champion’s League campaign, making it to the quarter finals before being dumped out by Atletico Madrid in a close pair of fixtures.
The other end of the table didn’t throw up many surprises either, with three of the favourites for relegation doing their duty and failing to thrill anyone. Hull were nailed on to go down from day one and despite a few good attempts, their lack of squad depth ensured their relegation.
Middlesbrough played some frankly boring football with plenty of goalless draws both at home and away, but the tactic wasn’t enough to keep them safe. Sunderland were finally consigned to the Championship after one close shave too many, rooted to the bottom of the table for large chunks of the season and severely lacking any quality apart from the evergreen Jermaine Defoe who will undoubtedly be playing his football elsewhere next season.
Other outstanding performances this year came of course from Chelsea players, with ex-Leicester man N’Golo Kante picking up a PFA player of the year award to go with his back-to-back Premier League winner’s medals. He has been sublime for the blues, especially in the second half of the season.
Diego Costa and Eden Hazard were back to their best again following a wobbly time under Mourinho, with Costa in particular attracting a lot of transfer attention from China. Elsewhere, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Harry Kane were the pick of the bunch, with Kane in particular capping another excellent season at Tottenham with 8 goals in 3 games in the last few fixtures at White Hart Lane.
Both the Manchester outfits need to make some wholesale squad changes in the transfer window if they hope to compete and it looks like rocky times are ahead for Arsenal, especially if Wenger isn’t at the helm next year. But, a lack of Champions League football could mean that there is a total focus on the league.
— Anything Liverpool (@Anything_LFC) May 25, 2017
Liverpool looked good with a fourth place finish this year, but if key player Philippe Coutinho is snapped up by Barcelona, they will also need to invest heavily to keep up with the pace.
Things will undoubtedly change over the summer, but at this early stage it might be worth betting on Chelsea to do it again. Conte seems to have found the magic formula that eluded Mourinho in his second stint, but they will undoubtedly have Tottenham & co breathing down their necks again.