It has been another whirlwind season in the Premier League this year but which clubs have exceeded expectations and who has fallen short of their aims?
EPLIndex reviews how each club in the Premier League got on in 2016-17…
League position: 6th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Antonio Valencia
Trophies: 2 (+Charity Shield)
The success of Manchester United’s season ultimately came down to whether they would win the Europa League final – and they did. It meant they secured Champions League qualification on top of winning two trophies and that means Jose Mourinho’s first season in charge was a successful one. Question marks will still been made over how United were unable to finish in the top four despite spending large sums in the transfer window though.
Paul Pogba’s £89 million move was disappointing but Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Eric Bailly’s impact has certainly made an improvement. Now Mourinho has settled, United fans will expect their side to challenge for the league title next season and make the knock-out stages of the Champions League.
League position: 19th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Ben Gibson
After seven years of waiting for a return to the Premier League, it was short-lived for Boro fans. Middlesbrough were relegated with two games left of the season to play but ultimately, their lack of goals proved costly. They just didn’t win enough games and overall, it was a disappointing campaign.
Aitor Karanka helped build a strong defensive unit and Ben Gibson was certainly a stand-out performer. The defender was excellent for the first half of the season and his international call up was merited. Alvaro Negredo was Middlesbrough’s only outlet up front though and even his nine goals did little to change the fate of their future. Boro face a tough task of bouncing back up under caretaker manager Steve Agnew but fans will expect nothing less than promotion to the Premier League.
League position: 8th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Virgil Van Dijk
Southampton’s season was fairly successful. They had finished in the top seven for two years under Ronald Koeman so a top eight finish in Claude Puel’s first season is commendable. They also reached the EFL Cup final and came close to delivering their first major trophy in over 40 years.
Inconsistencies ruined what could have been a very pleasing league campaign, while a few poor performances and tight decisions could have led their Europa League and cup runs in different directions. Overall, Southampton achieved their expectations and can now look to go one step further in the cup competitions next season.
League position: 13th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Lee Grant
It wasn’t the best season for Stoke. After finishing in the top 10 for the last few seasons, it was certainly a disappointment to be in the bottom half. Their safety wasn’t secured as early as they would have liked either and there were problems at both ends for Stoke. Their usually solid defence was fairly leaky this season and they struggled to show ruthlessness in attack.
New signings Wilfried Bony and Saido Berahino were a huge disappointment, though Joe Allen added some quality in midfield. Stoke will need to add some recruits in the summer but they should have enough to avoid relegation next season.
League position: 20th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Jermaine Defoe
Sunderland had a disastrous season. They never looked capable of avoiding the drop and under David Moyes, there has been no improvement. Compared to other teams in the bottom half of the table, Sunderland have some big players with the likes of England internationals Jordan Pickford and Jermaine Defoe, but they are unlikely to stay with the club for 2017-18.
That said, they should be able to demand big money for their star players and if they spend wisely in the transfer window, Sunderland may be able to bounce back to the Premier League next season.
League position: 15th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Fernando Llorente
Swansea avoided relegation in the end and that ultimately meant they achieved their aim for the season. It wasn’t the smoothest of campaigns though, but there were some outstanding performers.
Fernando Llorente was in great form and his 15 goals certainly ensured Swansea avoided the drop. Without him, the Swans almost certainly would have faced relegation. Paul Clement also has a lot to be thanked for, after he took over from the struggling Bob Bradley. He added stability and consistency to the side, as well as bringing the best out of Swansea’s attacking stars. Gylfi Sigurdsson was the star of the show but Llorente’s importance was highlighted when he was ruled out through injury and Swansea struggled.
League position: 2nd
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Harry Kane
It was another ‘just missed out on everything’ season for Tottenham. They were superb in the Premier League but they didn’t compete strongly enough in cup competitions and ultimately finished the season without any silverware. It was a successful season under Mauricio Pochettino though and Tottenham are looking better each year. Without a doubt, Spurs are now Chelsea’s biggest rivals.
England stars Harry Kane and Dele Alli were phenomenal once again and Spurs’ defence proved why they are the best in the league. They will want to win the Premier League next season.
League position: 17th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Etienne Capoue
In the end, it was a successful season for Watford. They finished the campaign safe and avoided relegation for a third consecutive year. A disappointing run at the end of the campaign led to Walter Mazzarri’s sacking but with Marco Silva already confirmed as boss for next season, there’s lots to be excited about.
Star player Troy Deeney still had an impact with his goals but he was quieter than usual and it was Etienne Capoue who seemed to dominate the pitch for Watford. He was instrumental to their play when things were going well at the start of the season.
West Bromwich Albion
League position: 10th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Ben Foster
It was a very successful season for West Brom. It was only their second top 10 finish of the club’s history and the first time since 2012-13. Tony Pulis has been instrumental for the Baggies – bringing security and stability to their defence, as well as tactic shrewdness in order to pick up vital points.
West Brom didn’t end the campaign strongly though and they were knocked out of the cup competitions in the early stages which will have come as a disappointment to fans.
West Ham United
League position: 11th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Michail Antonio
West Ham’s season started off like a nightmare. After a strong 2015-16 campaign, there was lots of excitement surrounding their move to the London Stadium. However, a string of poor performances led to a fall-out between Dimitri Payet and the club, as West Ham sat in the relegation zone on Halloween.
Slaven Bilic has lots of work to do ahead of the new season but a strong end to the campaign ensured West Ham were closer to their expectations of finishing in the top 10.