Chelsea Win Their Fifth Premier League Crown
Chelsea won the 2016-17 Premier League title, which was their fifth PL crown and sixth top-tier English championship. Leicester City – who shocked the footballing world by winning the title the season before – finished in a lowly 12th, while Arsenal missed out on the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 1997. It was a fine comeback by the Blues, who had been really poor the campaign prior and a real sign of things to come for Arsenal.
At the other end of the table, Burnley, Middlesbrough and Hull City were the three promoted clubs from the 2015-16 EFL Championship, with Sean Dyche’s Clarets being the only ones to survive. This season was also the start of a rebrand for the Premier League, who changed its logo and dropped any sponsorship from its name (having been known as the Barclays premier League previously).
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Conte Makes an Instant Impact in London
Former Juventus playing legend Antonio Conte arrived at Stamford Bridge shortly after taking Italy to the quarter-finals of UEFA Euro 2016. The Italian had previously managed the likes of Atalanta and Juventus in his native country, and this was his first job overseas. Conte made an instant impact in west London, guiding the Blues to four wins from his first four games in charge. However, a 3-0 defeat at Arsenal in September proved to be the turning point for Conte and Chelsea, as a change in system saw the Blues go on to win their next 13 Premier League games.
Chelsea’s 13-game winning run set the standard for the season and sent them on their way to winning the Premier League title. The Londoners won 30 of their 38 league matches, drawing three and losing five of the other eight. A 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion on 12th May made sure of the title with two games to spare. Conte’s troops went on to finish seven points above runners-up Tottenham Hotspur. Their points tally of 93 was all the more impressive given they had managed just 50, finishing 10th, 12 months earlier.
Worst Ever Premier League Title Defence
Leicester pulled off a football miracle when they won the Premier League title as 5000/1 shots in the 2015-16 season. They were never expected to successfully defend their crown, but for a while at least the Foxes were in danger of becoming the first Premier League title winners to be relegated the following season. Claudio Ranieri was the hero of Leicester, but the Italian was sacked in February 2017 with the club just one point above the relegation zone with 13 matches to play. Many Leicester fans, and those within football, felt that was incredibly harsh but the genial and avuncular Italian took his dismissal well.
Craig Shakespeare took over and guided the Foxes to comfortable safety in the end. However, it was the worst ever Premier League title defence in history, with the Midlands club finishing in 12th spot with just 44 points to their name. Nevertheless, City did reach the last eight of the Champions League, giving their fans some truly memorable European nights before losing out to Spanish side Atletico Madrid.
Reds Return to Champions League
After three years away, Liverpool returned to the Champions League. Jurgen Klopp had his first full season in charge of the Reds and was slowly but surely starting to build something special at Anfield. Liverpool pipped Arsenal to fourth with a final day 3-0 home win over relegated Middlesbrough.
Klopp’s boys ended their campaign in strong style to make sure of fourth spot, losing only one of their last 12. After a 2-1 home loss to Crystal Palace in April, Liverpool took 10 points from the last 12 on offer. In the end, the Merseyside outfit accumulated 76 points, one clear of the Gunners.
Gunners Miss Out on Top Four
Arsenal were Champions League regulars for two decades, but Arsene Wenger’s men missed out on Europe’s elite club competition for the first time since 1997. They were enjoying plenty of success in the Emirates FA Cup, winning the trophy for a third time in four seasons, but missing out on the top four was unthinkable for the Gunners fans. Little did they know it would soon become the norm!
To their credit, Arsenal had a real go in the last few weeks of the season. After a 2-0 loss to fierce rivals Tottenham at White Hart Lane on 30th April, the Gunners went on to win their final five league games before winning the FA Cup. However, it was not enough as Liverpool beat them to fourth by a solitary point, leaving Arsenal with a place in the 2017-18 UEFA Europa League.
Prolific Kane Wins Golden Boot
Harry Kane won the Premier League Golden Boot this season, as he had 12 months earlier, finishing on an impressive 29 goals, four more than he had notched in 2015-16. Spurs finished runners-up to Chelsea, and Kane’s goals were vital for Mauricio Pochettino’s men, who qualified for the Champions League with ease. The England ace had an extraordinary end to his campaign, scoring a staggering seven goals in his last two games. It was also a breakthrough season for Spurs and England midfielder Dele Alli, who helped himself to 18 Premier League goals.
Kane’s seven goals at the death meant that Everton’s Romelu Lukaku had to settle for the silver medal. He had been fourth highest scorer with 18 a season earlier and the Belgium international’s 25 goals earned him a move to Old Trafford shortly after. Alexis Sanchez had a fine season at the Emirates Stadium with Arsenal, with the Chilean netting 24 goals – he also moved to Manchester United in 2018. Jermain Defoe rolled back the years, scoring 15 times for relegated Sunderland, an impressive tally given his side finished plum bottom of the table.
Relegations & European Qualifications
The battle for the fourth and final Champions League spot went to the wire, with Liverpool beating Arsenal to fourth by one point. As we mentioned, it was the first time that the Gunners had missed out on Champions League football since 1997. The fight for survival was less thrilling, as Watford and Burnley finished six points above the last relegated side. Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hull dropped into the Championship.
Which Teams Were Relegated?
Middlesbrough and Hull, who were promoted together the season before, both suffered an instant return to the second tier. Sunderland failed to pull off another great escape, as the Black Cats’ long stay in the Premier League came to an end.
Sunderland had a miserable campaign in the Premier League, going on to finish rock bottom of the division with just 24 points to their name. Along the way, David Moyes’ men managed to pick up a measly six Premier League wins, finishing a whopping 16 points off safety. The Wearside outfit had pulled off a number of great escapes in previous years, but their luck ran out at the end of this campaign with 26 defeats condemning them to relegation.
Middlesbrough’s stay in the top flight lasted just one year. Boro went on to finish in 19th place with 28 points to their name. They struggled with the rigours of the Premier League all season, picking up just five victories, which was the fewest in the division. They did not concede a huge number but their tally of 27 goals scored was the least in the division.
One side that did ship goals for fun was Hull, the Tigers conceding a league high 80 goals in their 38 matches. Hull had the worst preparation possible after Steve Bruce left the KCOM Stadium before a ball was kicked. Despite that, the Tigers kicked off their season with a 2-1 home win over Premier League champions Leicester. Marco Silva came in and certainly improved the side, but Hull’s relegation was confirmed after a humbling 4-0 defeat at Crystal Palace in their penultimate game. City ended the campaign with a heavy 7-1 home loss to Tottenham, which was the biggest margin of defeat of the Premier League season.
Which Teams Qualified For Europe?
Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool finished in the top four and took the four Champions League places. Jose Mourinho’s Man United became the fifth team to qualify for the Champions League after winning the Europa League, beating Ajax in the final in Stockholm.
Arsenal had to settle for the Europa League after finishing in fifth. Ronald Koeman had a successful first year with Everton. The Dutchman guided the Toffees to seventh, which proved to be enough for a Europa League spot. The Merseysiders won 17 times and racked up a respectable 61 points. After a season of surprises in 2015-16, when Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton all finished outside the top seven, normal service was very much resumed.