Premier League Season Review: 2016-17 Part One

Premier League Season Review: 2016-17 Part One

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…

AFC Bournemouth

League position: 9th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Josh King

In just their second season in the Premier League, Bournemouth not only stayed up comfortably – they broke into the top 10. That’s certainly a successful achievement for Eddie Howe and his side as it was their highest ever league finish in English football. Obviously, the 4-3 win against Liverpool in December will be memorable as their highlight of the season but they did have some tough times in 2017. Bournemouth had to wait until March for their first victory of the calendar year and after a bright start, they could have had a better end to the season.

Overall though, Bournemouth continued to excel under Howe and they can look forward to the 2017-18 season in the hope of achieving yet another top 10 finish. With Josh King firing on all front this season (15 PL goals,) the Cherries have some key players who are capable of taking them to the next level but they are still finding their feet in the top flight.

Arsenal

League position: 5th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Alexis Sanchez
Trophies: 1

It’s not been a good season for the Gunners but their FA Cup victory provided a bitter-sweet ending to the 2016-17 campaign. Arsene Wenger’s future is still in doubt despite huge numbers of their fan base campaigning for his resignation. It was the first time in Wenger’s Arsenal career that his side were unable to finish in the top four and it means they won’t be playing Champions League football next season – a massive disappointment for a club of their size.

The FA Cup trophy was a great achievement though – especially considering they had to beat title winners Chelsea in the final. However, with Wenger’s future set to create divisions among fans and players and key stars like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil yet to make a decision on whether they will stay at Arsenal next season, it’s set to be a time of turmoil. Absence of Champions League football could prove costly in the transfer window too so it’s not looking good for the Gunners going forward…

Burnley

League position: 16th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Tom Heaton

Overall, it was a pleasing season for Burnley. During their last stint in the Premier League, they learnt the hard way how difficult it was to avoid relegation. However, some big performances at Turf Moor helped them out this time around and they were able to secure safety under Sean Dyche. There were some stand-out performers for Burnley in 2016-17 and it’s crucial they keep hold of them. Sam Vokes was crucial in front of goal, netting 10 goals for the Clarets while Michael Keane provided protection in defence. Tom Heaton was arguably the pick of the bunch though and Burnley face a tough summer trying to keep hold of their biggest players.

Chelsea

League position: 1st
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: N’Golo Kante
Trophies: 1

The Blues were without a doubt the strongest squad in the Premier League this season. They were deservedly named champions following an impressive campaign under Antonio Conte in his debut season in England. It was a memorable season for John Terry too as he called time on his Chelsea career but defeat in the FA Cup final was a huge disappointment as they missed out on the double.

Next season, Conte will look to go one step further by mounting a successful challenge in the Champions League as well as hoping to retain their Premier League title. With money flowing from all sides, Chelsea will be the club to compete with in the transfer window too so it will take some doing for their rivals to knock them off their perch next season.

Crystal Palace

League position: 14th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Christian Benteke

It was an up and down season for Palace but in the end they achieved their aim of securing safety in the Premier League. Alan Pardew’s reign was a disappointing one and when Sam Allardyce took over in December it didn’t immediately look much better. However, Palace put in some big performances in 2017 and were able to turn things around. Christian Benteke’s contribution was vital too and his 15 goals will need to be mirrored again next season if Palace hope to stay up for another year.

A few shrewd signings in the summer could give the squad a big boost and under Allardyce, Palace have a manager who knows what it takes to battle it out at the bottom of the table.

Everton

League position: 7th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Romelu Lukaku
Trophies: 0

Everton haven’t seemed to have improved much for several years now and it was another uninspired campaign for the Blues. In Ronald Koeman, Everton have one of the smartest managers in the Premier League but the Dutchman is yet to bring out the best of a seemingly patchy squad. The Merseysiders relied on Romelu Lukaku greatly yet again and the striker’s 25 goals were only bettered by Harry Kane who stole the show in the final weeks of the season to seal the Golden Boot award.

However, Lukaku wasn’t provided the support Blues’ fans hoped for when Farhad Moshiri took ownership in the summer and was willing to splash the cash. £30 million was spent on Yannick Bolasie but an unfortunate knee injury ended his season prematurely. Everton fans will hope to see Koeman add further quality this summer and with star youngsters Tom Davies and Mason Holgate breaking through, there are things to look forward to for the Blues. It’s time Everton started competing for trophies though as it’s clear fans are starting to feel restless.

Hull City

League position: 18th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Eldin Jakupovic

It was always going to be tough for Hull City to stay up and they weren’t able to do so as their relegation to the Championship was confirmed in 2016-17. A torrid pre-season campaign left them manager-less going into the Premier League campaign but Mike Phelan fought his way to a permanent deal. The boss was sacked just three months later though as Hull’s performances became uninspired and they found themselves at the bottom of the table. Marco Silva’s arrival initially sparked conflict as he sold key players Robert Snodgrass and Jake Livermore in an attempt to re-build the squad.

It looked like it might have paid off at one point but in the end, Hull simply had too much to do in too little time. The season ended in disappointment with relegation and a humiliating 7-1 defeat to Tottenham but Hull now need to re-group and focus their attentions on what will be another hugely challenging 2017-18 season. Silva has already joined Watford as manager so Hull’s off-season has not started so well either…

Leicester City

League position: 12th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Kasper Schmeichel
Trophies: 0

Following the highs of winning the Premier League title last season, it was never going to be as exciting for Leicester in 2016-17. Not many could have foreseen just how fast their fall from grace would be though and Claudio Raneiri’s sacking was arguably the most controversial decision of the Premier League season. Despite guiding Leicester most of the way to a Champions League quarter-final, Raneiri was replaced by Craig Shakespeare and he oversaw an improvement during the second-half of the season.

In the end, Leicester finished mid-table and achieved what most would have probably predicted so it was a successful season. They produced some credible performance during their first season in the Champions League too but the fairy tale story has certainly come to an end now as Leicester are back to reality – facing another challenging league campaign in 2017-18, where safety is their ultimate aim.

Liverpool

League position: 4th
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Sadio Mane
Trophies: 0

It was a season of two halves for Liverpool as they were considered genuine title challengers at Christmas before points were dropped in the new year. However, Jurgen Klopp’s first full season in charge can be deemed a successful one, despite some disappointing performances in 2017. The Reds were unable to challenge for any trophies, despite making it to the semi-final of the EFL Cup, but they secured Champions League football and that was their ultimate aim ahead of the 2016-17 campaign.

Summer signings Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum and Joel Matip all made big impacts on the starting XI and with European football back on the cards, fans are understandably excited to see who Klopp can attract in the transfer window. Next season, Liverpool simply must start winning trophies.

Manchester City

League position: 3rd
EPLIndex’s Player of the Year: Kevin De Bruyne
Trophies: 0

City were deemed one of the favourites to win the Premier League when Pep Guardiola made his move to England in the summer. However, it was a tough campaign for the Catalan boss and City will certainly be looking for a smoother season next year.

By the end of the season, City were starting to take shape and with Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus in the side, they have one of the most exciting attacks for the future. Guardiola is just beginning to put his stamp on the squad and after another summer of building, City should be even stronger next season. The Premier League title will be their ultimate aim and anything short of silverware will be a disappointment in 2017-18.

*Part Two to follow shortly*