Wow. And just like that the season has ended. What we witnessed was the most dominant champions we’ve seen (not the best Prem team ever mind you) and the most manic and unbelievable relegation battle in history.
Souls were well and truly crushed (see the tears on display during Swansea City’s lap of honor after officially getting relegated). New icons were formed (see Mohamed Salah getting lauded carrying his Golden Boot trophy around the Anfield pitch with his young daughter kicking a football half her size around). Genuine relief was felt (see every team from tenth to sixteenth position who can finally breathe normally again knowing full well they have a summer to prepare for this all over again).
There was a storyline every week and now it is over. Another chapter in the history of the most unpredictable league in sports. On this blog I made predictions before we kicked off last August so let’s briefly revisit and see how GIYB fared.
Team to win it all: Manchester City. Everything has already been said. 100 points. Bucket heaps of goals. A comfortable stroll to the title. They could have lost SIX more games and still won it. Phenomenal. There have been Manchester United and Arsenal teams better than this one though.
Team to watch for neutrals: Everton. My word, I bungled this. Everton are my most disappointing side this term. They were awful. An absolutely joyless display of veritable mediocrity. They lacked ideas and looked afraid of scoring. Their Board is a joke (£50m for Gylfi Sigurdsson still hilarious, Sam Allardyce in after sacking Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce instantly getting the sack himself after the season ended, everything else). The Toffees finished in eighth and that’s only because every single team below them seemed to really want to be relegated. A shambles.
Players to dominate: Alexis Sánchez, Gabriel Jesus and Paul Pogba
Alexi switched teams midway through the season. A transfer that essentially defined his progress this year. He was middling at an underachieving and not bothered Arsenal. And then at Manchester United he was catching up to speed. The man has undoubted talent and we certainly saw glimpses of his class, but this will be a season to forget for him. Now that he’s familiar and settled at United, the real Alexi will be on display come the end of summer.
Jesus had injury woes but otherwise was as advertised. When fit he knows nothing else but to put the ball in the back of the net. He scored 17 times across all competitions this season, which is a total most strikers would snap at. He’s still so young at 21 and already a champion, look for him to only get better.
Pogba had a good year. The pressure on him to be a Ballon d’Or winning type player every match borders on the ridiculous. People don’t watch him play because if they did they would see that he’s impacting matches. He needs to be better because he has the ability to be. He needs to continue to be himself and not get bogged down by the subpar journalists omnipresent in Britain dreaming of his demise. The man is a star, but he needs to take that leap forward where he is dictating every game he plays in. I do believe Jose Mourinho has taken an unorthodox and somewhat unhelpful man management approach to Pogba, but he presumably just wants to motivate PP to be the world beater he is. This story won’t die either as Pogba will absolutely dominate everyone in Russia this summer prompting the cries of his supposed desire to go elsewhere where he can supposedly flourish.
Newest signing to shine the brightest: Álvaro Morata. Morata had a season to forget by his high quality standards. He started brilliantly but then couldn’t get out of a slump on a slumping Chelsea side. But listen, 17 goals in 47 appearances is a productive season to say the least. He just could have been better, and we expect better from the hottest striking property on the market last summer. Olivier Giroud was signed in January from Arsenal and eventually ended up taking Morata’s starting position. Not a great look for a player trying to lead a Spanish attack to World Cup glory. I understand Álvaro was/is dealing with some behind the scenes tragedy which certainly played its part, but I am sure even he is not making excuses. A top player who will likely look to Italy’s Serie A now to restart his once glimmering career.
Team with the kit we won’t get sick of: Southampton away. Still loving this top and it stayed true throughout the season. The jersey turned out to be better than the team as the Saints were rather pitiful this go round. They certainly deserved to get relegated but a last gasp victory over Swansea sent the Swans ruthlessly down (don’t worry southern Welsh folk, Cardiff City on their way back up to the Premier League!). Mark Hughes has been painted as some sort of savior, which is utterly baffling to me. He engineered Stoke City’s eventual disintegration into the Championship, subsequently got the sack mid season and then lost four of his first five matches in charge of Southampton. He only actually defeated Bournemouth and Swansea to barely keep the Saints up. Good job and all that, but those are horrific numbers. Nice kit though.
It was an unforgettable season. Many incredible moments. The goals. The comebacks. The headlines.
I had a blast documenting elements of it for the masses. To end, my 2017-2018 Premier League XI:
GK: David de Gea (Manchester United)
DEF: Antonio Valencia (Manchester United), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
MID: Leroy Sané (Manchester City), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
FWD: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)