Premier League Reappraisal

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Courtesy of jpellgen via Flickr

Chelsea – 1st 

Bethany Crow –  3rd , George Hamlyn – 1st, Chris Bickley – 2nd, Tom Pearson – 2nd

What Bethany said: “Undoubtedly, they’ll make the title challenge all the more exciting in a keen bid to make the bitter memories of last season fade away.”

Well done George and well done Chelsea. Conte has rejuvenated the side and the inspired addition of N’Golo Kante was surely one of the biggest factors in their win. Unfortunately, they didn’t exactly make the title challenge exciting, running away with it to finish seven points clear.

Tottenham Hotspur – 2nd

BC – 5th, GH – 4th , CB – 6th, TP – 6th

What Tom said: “I just think the rest of the teams above will be determined to outperform them. Having said that, I’d like to see them challenge for the title again this year, even if it means I’m wrong here!”

We all bottled this one massively, suggesting that Spurs would struggle to mount a title challenge. How wrong we all were. Overall, Spurs had an outstanding season, finishing in a very comfortable 2nd place.

Manchester City – 3rd 

BC – 1st, GH – 2nd, CB – 1st, TP – 1st

What George said: “This season could be too soon for Guardiola to work his magic fully, but expect Man City to become the best side on the planet in the next few years.”

And too soon this season was. City got embroiled in a fairly exciting battle to secure Champions League football, but according to our predictions that should have been far from the case. Pep has already begun a mass exodus of City stalwarts, including Zabaleta to make way for the new talent that is needed to make them ‘the best side on the planet’

Liverpool – 4th

BC – 4th, GH – 7th, CB – 4th, TP – 5th

What Chris said: “If Sturridge, Firmino and Coutinho stay fit, there’s no reason why they can’t replicate 2013/14’s scintillating striking force.”

Famous last words from Chris Bickley. Sturridge’s season was once again plagued by injury, and combined the three only scored 27 goals, fewer than overall top scorer for the competition, Harry Kane. Overall though, Klopp will be pleased to see a return to Champions League football in his first full season in charge.

Arsenal – 5th

BC – 6th, GH – 6th, CB – 5th, TP – 4th

What George said: “The fact that Jamie Vardy rejected them sums up the state of Arsenal at the minute.”

Oh dear. Whilst Arsenal may have surprised half of us by finishing higher than expected, this was a pretty last minute turn around owing to United’s misfortunes as much as anything. Losing their top four position (blah blah FA CUP)

Manchester United – 6th

BC – 2nd, GH – 3rd, CB – 3rd, TP – 3rd

What Tom said: “This is the year that United become the team to fear again.”

Pretty dismal work from all of us here. 6th place is by no means good enough for Mourinho, but success in the Europa League and League Cup is still an achievement. Zlatan’s injury in April is undoubtedly what caused the gap between United and Arsenal, though they still never came close to the expectations we had for them.

Everton – 7th

BC – 11th, GH – 9th, CB – 7th, TP – 9th

What Chris said: “Lukaku, Barkley and Deulofeu are capable of wreaking havoc on defences, and the astute Koeman will manipulate this.”

Everton had a very impressive season really. Yet somehow managed to go relatively unnoticed, despite finishing on a respectable 61 points; not quite hitting the title challenges of those above them, nor getting pulled in to battle with the teams below them, as they finished a full 15 points ahead of Southampton. Lukaku was their standout, scoring 25 goals.

Southampton – 8th

BC – 10th, GH – 12th, CB – 9th, TP – 10th

What Bethany said: “They will feel the loss of Pelle, Wanyama and Mane more and struggle to make the same impact they have done in the past few seasons.”

Whilst Southampton may have finished 8th and outperformed all of our predictions, this is arguably due the mediocrity surrounding the mid table this year. The huge gulf of 15 points between the Saints and closest rivals shows how Southampton did feel the loss of key players, and their manager. A good enough performance, but none of the Southampton surprises we have come to know and love of recent seasons.

Bournemouth – 9th

BC – 16th, GH – 11th, CB – 13th, TP – 15th

What Tom said: “With the big money going onto Ibe, I don’t expect many more coming in to force them further up the table.”

None of us predicted a top half finish for Bournemouth so a round of applause must go to them for this achievement. Their goal scoring form must be commended too, having netted a fair amount more than their closest rivals. I very much hope they continue to surprise us next season too.

West Bromwich Albion – 10th

BC – 15th , GH – 19th , CB – 18th, TP – 17th

What Bethany said: “They’ll avoid relegation relatively comfortably, but definitely in the lower half of the table.”

West Brom are certainly the biggest surprise so far, with only one of us envisioning no relegation battle for them. Not only a very comfortable mid-table finish for them, but a creep in to the top half of the table. I just hope that Pulis sticks around despite the team’s new ownership.

West Ham United – 11th 

BC – 7th, GH – 5th, CB – 10th, TP – 7th

What George said: “I, and more importantly Slaven Bilic, expect a serious top four push.”

Like West Brom, West Ham have also offered a surprise this season, but for all the wrong reasons. Failing to acclimatize to the New London stadium, West Ham conceded 4 goals at home on many occasions, even conceding 5 to Watford. At one point, relegation looked a possibility, but Bilic did well to steady the ship and recover to earn a mildly respectable finish. I just wonder how patient the owners will be with him.

Leicester City – 12th

BC – 9th, GH – 8th, CB – 8th, TP – 11th

What Chris said: “They won’t do it again. The workhorse Kante has left to idle on the bench at Chelsea. The Foxes have Champions League football to contend with. Sorry, but it’s true.”

Chris was wrong with his prediction about PFA player of the year Kante’s Chelsea status, but we all realistically predicted that lightening wouldn’t strike twice. A whole article could be dedicated to the most controversial decision of the season, Leicester’s sacking of Claudio Ranieri. You can argue the rights and wrongs of the decision all day, but that fact is Shakespeare kept up a side which looked certain for the drop and took them to the champions league quarter finals. I hope he gets the job permanently.

Stoke City – 13th

BC – 8th, GH – 10th, CB – 12th, TP – 8th

What Bethany said: “I see them building on the solid performances of last seasons with their now settled Barca 2nds.”

Another steady season for the premier league’s most beige side. A worse finish than last season, but with only 4 points separating 8th – 13th, stoke could easily have achieved another top half finish. Rumors over Mark Hughes future have emerged, but quite frankly that’s ridiculous as what more can stoke expect. I did expect more from Berahino and Bony however.

Crystal Palace – 14th

BC – 12th, GH – 16th, CB – 16th, TP – 12th

What Chris said: “Pardew’s time is up; we all witnessed the downfall the Eagles suffered in in 2016. The gaffer won’t be at team by the end of the season, so expect a scrap for safety, which the London club will achieve courtesy of their squad”

Congratulations for correctly predicting Pardew’s departure Chris. Palace continued there decline down the league and would have dropped if it wasn’t for the appointment of the tried and trusty Big Sam. Sam resurrected his reputation by galvanizing the squad, leading them to victories against Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool en route to keeping the eagles in the top flight before hanging up his boots and retiring. What a man, you will be missed.

Swansea – 15th

BC – 20th, GH – 18th, CB – 14th, TP – 16th

What Bethany said: “It feels like only yesterday they were riding high with Garry Monk. The mass exodus of players they are currently experiencing will make it impossible for them to bounce back. They will be the Villa of 2015-16. ”

3 managers in one season, one of which only lasted about 90 days. After two left field appointments of Guidolin and Bradley, Swansea made a typical Swansea appointment in Paul Clement, who showed his potential and kept the swans up, thanked largely by the late season form of Sigurdsson, Llorente and the youngster Mawson. The Swans need to start keeping hold of their best players or else the inevitable will soon happen.

Burnley – 16th

BC – 17th, GH – 17th, CB – 19th, TP – 18th

What Tom said: “I can see their defence making a great second career as a sieve.”

Tom couldn’t have been more wrong, as Burnley’s survival was largely down to the strength of their defence, in particular Michael Keane, who will surely not be playing in the Burnley claret next season. A massive congratulations must go to Sean Dyche, who managed to achieve the near impossible and kept a side with a strike force of Sam Vokes and Ashley Barnes in the premier league. A classic case of second season syndrome anyone?

Watford – 17th

BC – 18th, GH – 16th, CB – 17th, TP – 13th

What Tom said: “there are too many teams that have the quality to finish above them. In the league, Watford won’t be able to classify this season as a success, but another cup run is more probable.”

A dismal season at vicarage road, and the only reason they didn’t go down was because of how bad the other three were. Mazzari failed to win over the fans and the players, partly due to his lack of English, and becomes another manager to bite the Watford dust. With Marco Silva in charge for next season, surely things can only get better?

Hull City – 18th

BC – 19th, GH – 20th, CB – 20th, TP – 20th

What Chris said: “the Tigers have an almost vertical hill to climb”

Despite the impressive Marco Silva giving survival a real shot, it was simply too much of an ask, and Hull fought to the end but couldn’t survive. With questions over the ownership of the club, loan players returning to parent clubs and some players who won’t want to play in the championship, the future looks bleak for the tigers.

Middlesbrough – 19th

BC – 13th, GH – 14th, CB – 11th, TP – 14th

What Tom said: “a strong back line in front of one of three experienced keepers, a range of midfielders who can cover the entire pitch and strikers who can find the back of the net with ease on their good days”

Well, these strikers obviously didn’t have any of their good days, as Boro returned to the championship as the premier leagues lowest scorers. Despite seeming to possess a range of attacking players, Boro refused to attack, and as a result Karanka lost his job and they went down. Should Garry Monk take over, optimism will return.

Sunderland – 20th

BC – 17th, GH – 13th, CB – 15th, TP – 19th

What George Said: “Sunderland appear to have finally got it right with the appointment of Moyes”

How wrong we all were, apart from Tom, who, along with David Moyes himself, correctly predicted that Sunderland would go down. Where do you even begin to discuss what went wrong? Not enough quality, no desire, not enough players and with a dejected Moyes in charge, there was only going to be one outcome. A monumental task awaits the new manager, as Defoe-less Sunderland are in free fall.