Chelsea lead 2016-17 season review: Best player, manager, goal, quote?
The 2016-17 Premier League season has come to an end. Chelsea are champions; Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hull City relegated. But who deserves praise for their performances and who does not.
Here, we round up some of the best and worst moments from the campaign.
Best player: N’Golo Kante
The French midfielder was the kingpin for Leicester City when they won the title last season and he was the same crucial figure for Chelsea this year. The flair of Eden Hazard pushed Chelsea over the line in the end, but Kante laid the foundations with his form throughout the campaign.
Best team: Chelsea
Winning the Premier League title is no easy feat, but Chelsea bounced back from last season’s miserable campaign to regain the title in emphatic form, having led the table since November. They may yet add the FA Cup, so they are, by some distance, the team of the season.
Best manager: Antonio Conte
He became only the fourth manager to win the Premier League in his first season in England and overcame stellar coaches such as Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp to do it. The Italian was bold when risking a 3-4-3 formation early in the season, but was rewarded with the title.
Best goal: Andy Carroll — West Ham v Crystal Palace
The former Liverpool and England forward has been beset by injuries in recent seasons, denying him the chance to fulfil his potential, but his spectacular scissor-kick against Palace at the London Stadium showcased his ability, with the perfectly-executed strike much more difficult than he made it look.
Worst signing: Claudio Bravo
Pep Guardiola was right to replace the error-prone Joe Hart as Manchester City goalkeeper last summer, but his decision to sign Claudio Bravo from Barcelona to take his place was a huge error, with the Chilean making costly mistakes on a regular basis and harming the club’s hope of success this season.
Best signing: Mamadou Sakho
The Liverpool defender had been exiled by Jurgen Klopp for disciplinary reasons before completing a loan move to Crystal Palace in January. Unfit and out-of-shape, the France international made just eight appearances for Sam Allardyce’s team, but his contribution was immense, with many supporters crediting him as the key factor in Palace’s successful battle for survival.
Flop of the season: Moussa Sissoko
Completed a £30m move from Newcastle to Tottenham in August, rejecting a move to Everton in the process, but the midfielder was a huge disappointment at White Hart Lane and is likely to be sold this summer after starting just eight league games.
Most under-rated player: Antonio Valencia
In yet another year of transition at Manchester United, one of the consistently positive performers was Antonio Valencia and the one-time winger is now emerging as one of the best right-backs in Europe under Jose Mourinho. Strong, direct and uncompromising, the Ecuadorian still continues to slip under the radar.
Surprise of the season: Burnley
There is always a surprise package in the Premier League, but nobody would have expected Burnley to survive at the top level after promotion. The Turf Moor outfit have become a yo-yo club, but Sean Dyche’s ability to make a success of the smallest budget in the top flight has been a refreshing development.
Best quote: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
“I’m an animal. I feel like a lion. I don’t want to be a lion, I am a lion.” — Zlatan Ibrahimovic in his usual, understated way, describing his two-goal match-winning performance in the EFL Cup final.
Funniest moment: Victor Anichebe’s tweet
“Can you tweet something like” — That moment when your text message to your PR team ends up going directly onto social media.
Best newcomer: Leroy Sane
He didn’t come cheap at £37m, but the Manchester City winger has shown signs of being a real star of the future since arriving at the Etihad from Schalke last summer. He can slalom like Ryan Giggs and has the pace and power if Gareth Bale, so keep your eyes on the 21-year-old German.
Best referee: Neil Swarbrick
The 51-year-old is not one of the most high-profile referees and he certainly does not have the celebrity status of some of his colleagues, but he is measured, allows games to flow and, with only one red card issued in the Premier League all season, does not throw cards around like confetti.