The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Premier League 2017/18 – top six review

Jamie McEvoy assesses how the Premier League’s elite fared in the most recent season of English football’s top tier

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Despite champions Manchester City somewhat running away with the title, it has still been in thrilling year at the top of the table. Champions League places were still up for grabs going into the final week of the season and Harry Kane finally met his match in the race for the Golden Boot in the form of Mohamed Salah.

However, each club in the top six had their own highs and lows…

 

1st — Manchester City

No question about it — Manchester City were sublime.  Not only did they finish the season a staggering 19 points ahead of 2nd place, but they also amassed 100 points come the end of the campaign, a new record for English top flight football. Pep Guardiola has well and truly arrived on the Premier League scene and if the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sané and Ederson replicate their 17/18 form next season, it would surprise no one if the trophy remained at the Etihad.

Player of the season:   Kevin De Bruyne

Best Moment:   Gabriel Jesus scoring their final goal of the season, sealing the 100 point record.

Worst Moment:   Letting a two goal lead slip over arch-rivals Manchester United to lose 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium.

 

2nd — Manchester United

It was an odd season for José Mourinho’s side. It is their highest finish since 2013, when Alex Ferguson bowed out with a league triumph, yet criticism still surrounds the side over their European form and at times their style of play under ‘the special one’. However, an electrifying come back against City in April and outstanding season performances from Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba and David De Gea mark the season a successful one, re-establishing The Red Devils among the Premier League’s elite.

Player of the Season:   David de Gea

Best Moment:   Chris Smalling turning in Alexis Sánchez’s free kick at the Etihad to delay Manchester City lifting the trophy, clinching a 3-2 victory for Mourinho against nemesis Guardiola.

Worst Moment:   Conceding twice in four minutes to Sevilla’s Ben Yedder at Old Trafford, denying them a place in the last eight.

 

3rd — Tottenham Hotspur

Mauricio Pochettino’s side finished yet again another season plagued by ‘ifs’ and ‘nearlys’. At times Spurs look like they can beat anyone — just look at their Champions League group stage campaign where they finished unbeaten against Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. However, the ever-growing absence of trophies in recent years is becoming concerning for fans, and questions will be asked this summer if the transfer window is not used wisely. Retaining Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane is integral to any hopes of a title challenge next year.

Player of the Season:   Christian Eriksen

Best Moment:   Dele Alli’s rapid brace against Chelsea to seal a 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge.

Worst Moment:   Squandering two first leg away goals against Juventus to crash out at Wembley in the 2nd leg of the Champions League last 16.

 

4th — Liverpool

Two top four finishes in two seasons shows Liverpool are back where they want to be. The first half of the season saw all too familiar defensive frailties gnaw away at Jürgen Klopp’s side, but following the inevitable acquisition of Virgil van Dijk, and the emergence of Andy Robertson, their defensive record vastly improved. Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah has been formidable, rightfully claiming the Golden Boot and Player of the Season awards, and an exceptional European campaign saw The Reds fight their way to the Champions League final. A ruthless summer transfer window could see them mount their first title challenge since 2013/14.

Player of the Season:   Mohamed Salah

Best Moment:   Roberto Firmino capitalising on Nicolas Otamendi’s hesitance at the back to surge into the box and slot past Ederson, eliminating Manchester City from the Champions League.

Worst Moment:   Leroy Sané’s injury time stunner to mark a 5-0 demolition at the hands of Manchester City in September.

 

5th — Chelsea

It was a season of great disappointment, only slightly salvaged by their recent FA Cup final victory over Manchester United. After winning the title in the 2016/17 season, to finish 5th is a huge blow for both the team and the fans, and it would be no surprise if Conte leaves the club this summer, despite winning two major trophies in two seasons. Their form throughout April improved, and after beating Liverpool 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, it seemed they might have rekindled hope of a top four finish. However, a draw against Huddersfield and an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Newcastle saw the team placed back under the microscope. Eden Hazard and Willian were stand-out players for the side, but big money signings Alvaro Morata and Tiémoué Bakoyoko failed to justify their price tags.

Player of the Season:   Eden Hazard

Best Moment:   Hazard’s cool penalty against Manchester United to hand Conte’s side the FA Cup.

Worst Moment:   A humiliating 3-0 loss to Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge in January.

 

6th — Arsenal

Arsene Wenger’s final season at the club is sadly his worst. His side never showed any potential throughout the season, but their attack seemed to improve after the sale of Alexis Sánchez and the acquisitions of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Their form against the top five was abysmal, and under new manager Unai Emery this has to change.

Player of the Season:   Aaron Ramsey

Best Moment:   Thrashing Burnley 5-0 to give Wenger a poetic farewell to the home crowd. Goals from new signings Aubameyang and Lacazette were the cherry on top.

Worst Moment:   Take your pick. Missing out on the Europa League final denied Wenger of any hope of a valiant swansong, as did a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City in the League Cup final.