Photo: N’Golo Kante was again at the heart of everything good about Chelsea especially in a defensive sense this season. (Getty Images)
The curtains have come down on yet another exciting and scintillating season in the Barclays Premier League, with Chelsea securing their fifth title in the Premier League era. Antonio Conte’s men were the most consistent team week after week picking up valuable points while playing some good stuff at times. Not overly expansive and eye-catching, the Blues were simply the most disciplined team throughout the duration of the season which is what was expected of any Conte team.
Tottenham Hotspurs once again fell short after making a fight of the title chase, showing their inexperience and the lack of a big personality that can steady the ship when things are in the balance. Jurgen Klopp has led Liverpool to a top-four-finish and back amongst Europe’s elites, while Pep Guardiola discovered that he won’t have his own way in England despite securing a place in the top three.
After 20 consecutive seasons finishing in the top four, the Gunners of Arsenal find themselves in a whole new domain after finishing in fifth. Spoiled with Champions League football under Arsene Wenger, the Gunners have to settle for a Europa League place and must now brace for Thursday night football.
England’s most successful club and perhaps the most powerful in the world in a commercial sense, Manchester United, continues to struggle after the Ferguson era. The Red Devils have finished outside the top three every season since the departure of the legendary Scot however they have hopes of playing in the Champions League next season if they can win the Europa League.
With that said, Yardie Sports highlights the team of the 2016/17 season, comprised of the players who were simply outstanding from August to May as they looked to stamp their class.
In goal there is perhaps none equal in England to Manchester United’s David De Gea who once again played a huge role in Jose Mourinho’s team. The Spaniard is now considered one of the best, if not the best in the world, going shoulder-to-shoulder with Manuel Neuer of Bayern Munich.
The defensive unit was spearheaded by Chelsea’s David Luiz and Toby Alderweireld of Tottenham. Luiz returned to the club after a spell in France and it was like he never left. The big-hair Brazilian worked well in a back three set-up and his ability on the ball made him a dream for Conte. Alderweireld was the most consistent at the back for the Lily Whites showing great positional sense and has got an eye of sensing danger very early. His teammate Kyle Walker just edged out Man United’s Antonio Valancia at right back, as the English man offered more balance and he is very good on both sides of the ball. Marcos Alonso took the Premiership by storm this season being extremely solid at the back while scoring six goals and provided three assists from the left wing back position.
Two seasons in England and two titles to his name, N’Golo Kante was again at the heart of everything good about Chelsea especially in a defensive sense. The Frenchman’s stamina and ability to close down the opposition was brilliant and he capped off the season by being voted the PFA Player of the Year. He is joined in the middle of the park by countryman Paul Pogba who has made more passes in the league than any other midfielder. The former Juventus star has completed the most passes in the opposition half, while his dynamism and athleticism places him above all others even though Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen of Tottenham could easily be slotted into the team.
In wide areas, Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard of champions Chelsea made life awkward for defenders all season. With 24 goals and 10 assists, the Chilean is one of Europe’s most potent attackers. The Belgian star was not as productive with 16 goals and just 5 assists to his name. Hazard was however the Blues main threat in attack, running at defenders and causing all sorts of problems.
The team is completed by the leagues two leading strikers, Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku. With a 25 goal haul playing for an Everton team, it perhaps shows just how far the 24-year-old Belgian has come. His pace, power and movement wreaked havoc all season and now it seems the Toffees will struggle to hold onto their prized asset. Having retained his Golden Boot from last season, English striker Harry Kane joined the elites of Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie as the others to do so. The Tottenham striker finished with 29 goals over the season despite missing almost three months of action. There’s no telling how much he could have gotten if he was healthy all season, however the evidence is there that the 23-year-old is the real deal.