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Looking back at Premier League 2016-17

1)

     Conte is the new master tactician in the Premier League

This season was expected to be a three-way fight between Mourinho, Guardiola and Klopp in the Premier League. Antonio Conte had impressed in the Euro’16 with the mediocre Italian side; however, there were still some qualms about his ability to manage in the intensity of English football. And for a while, it did look like Conte was going to face the sack sooner rather than later, especially after being hammered by rivals Arsenal 3-0. However, the Italian brought his tactical knowledge and changed the Chelsea setup from a traditional 4-2-3-1 to his favoured 3-4-3.  With the switch in the system, the team galvanized and never looked back. The likes of Moses, Alonso and David Luiz, who had been written off by many, were the prominent figures in Conte’s line up. The Italian did not resort to buying star players in order to turn things around. Rather, he did so through his own tactical knowledge. Freeing Hazard of his defensive duties remains one of the best decision of this season. It would be fair to say, Conte has surprised many with his meticulous management of the Chelsea side, which looked out of sorts after just five games at the beginning of the season and truly deserves the Manager of the Year award. 

 

2)

     Money does not guarantee success

While the Manchester clubs did remarkable business in the transfer market, breaking transfer records and buying some of Europe’s top talents; both of the clubs struggled in the Premier League. Pep Guardiola can be excused for his first season in English football; however, there is no denying that the blue part of Manchester were guilty of being too inconsistent throughout the campaign. Jose Mourinho may have won the League Cup and could potentially win the Europa League as well. Although, it doesn’t mask their failings in the Premier League. Despite spending millions, the Red Devils had their worst season in terms of games won, winning just 18 games out of a possible 38 in the Premier League. The Manchester clubs have no shortage of wealth. They will not be reluctant in investing this summer as well. However, if there is one thing that they must’ve learnt this season is that spending smartly is more important than just spending for the sake of it.

 

3)

     There is no escaping the relegation

After flirting with relegation for many years, the Black Cats finally faced the drop this season. The club have been in turmoil for quite some time now, and it was only a matter of time before the inevitable happened. Last season it was Big Sam, who precluded the drop; however, this season, there was no escaping it. Unfortunately for David Moyes, it was he who was the man in charge while the fall happened. The Scott has had a horrendous last few years, never truly getting over the sack he faced at Manchester United. And this season, he hit a new low in his career. He did manage to assemble a group of experienced players this season; nevertheless, those players were clearly past their peak. The fans came week in week out to watch their beloved Sunderland get hammered. This should serve as a lesson for Swansea, who had been flirting with the drop themselves and nearly escaped the drop this season.

 

4)

     Premier League remains far behind Europe’s elite

It turned out to be another disappointing season for the English clubs in Europe’s premier club competition. Tottenham Hotspurs exited the competition in the group stage. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City were knocked out by the energetic Monaco. Leicester City did manage to reach the quarterfinals but were ultimately knocked out by Atletico. It just goes to show how far behind the English clubs are at the moment. Despite Premier League’s excitement and intensity, the clubs have failed to make an impression in the Champions League. There will be huge expectations on Chelsea in the Champions League next season. But for now, the clubs do have some catching up to do in the Champions League.

 

5)

     Mid-table sides are happy to reach the 40-point mark

Staying the Premier League does guarantee a huge amount of money with the TV rights, but it doesn’t mean that the ambition should end there. Such has been the manner; how the mid-table sides have been behaving in the Premier League in the last few years. Tony Pulis’ West Brom epitomised this attitude this season. West Brom reached the magical 40-point mark way back in February and had a decent chance of making a push for the Europa League sides. Nevertheless, West Brom took their foot off the gas and lost 9 of their remaining 12 games. It is about time that the mid-table teams started pushing for European places and challenge the top clubs.

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