2017/18: A Season defined by Brilliance and Blunders in equal measure
Another final day and another season in the books.
A weird one in many ways. Walking somewhere in the no-mans-land in between insignificant and iconic. The non-existent title race and no final-day drama means in many ways, 2017/18 won’t be a season remembered by moments.
It will instead be remembered by some lads being boss, namely Manchester City, Mohamed Salah, Burnley and Darren Moore. And unlike X Factor, that is in a particular order.
From the bottom up, there’s not much debating that the right 3 went down. Crystal Palace did the decent thing last week and relegated Stoke City, with their squad proceeding to rinse each other in the last 7 days.
Charlie Adam on 5Live: "We discussed (recruitment) weeks ago because we felt things weren't right and we could sense it. Lack of discipline from certain players has been embarrassing. I think some players have been getting away with murder for a long time" #SCFC #TBPTV pic.twitter.com/8ufof2ZkrQ
— The Bear Pit TV (@TheBearPitTV) May 7, 2018
West Bromwich Albion literally robbed as many taxis under Alan Pardew as they got match wins, establishing the former Crystal Palace and Charlton boss firmly as the league’s new-number-one figure of fun. You know it’s bad when you’re the figurehead of all our advertising and imaging. To become the running joke of the league in a season where Roy Hodgson was involved takes some doing as well. The 70-year-old Croydon native somehow convinced a Premier League club to give him a job, before picking up some strong points to cruise to safety. Now everyone likes him again. What a shame.
The United Kingdom are currently bottom with zero points but I reckon if we get Roy Hodgson in now then we could get a comfortable midtable finish. pic.twitter.com/eV7RJ2C053
— Jonny Sharples (@JonnyGabriel) May 12, 2018
In the last week, we’ve all done that thing that football fans do. We’ve looked at Huddersfield staying up and gone “Isn’t that brilliant, they have so few resources, well done Wagner”. It’s all nice and friendly until they actually become good and get notions about themselves though. Just ask Bournemouth. They’ll be public enemy number one by October.
Brighton and Huddersfield stayed up as those around them did everything in their power to go down themselves. Watford sacked possibly the best manager outside the top 7 in Marco Silva, Everton signed a bunch of lads no one had heard of before for massive money, Swansea appointed a lad who had just been sacked from a mid-table Championship club, West Ham got David Moyes in, Everton went for Sam Allardyce, Craig Shakespeare lost a game so Leicester got rid, Everton decided to sell or not to play any of the lads they had signed and West Brom’s Head of HR forgot how to do his job.
Burnley proved to be the best of the rest. However, at this stage, I think we can just include Arsenal in that “rest” category. It all turned out a bit nasty for the Gunners. 4 wins away from home all season sounds like a joke, but that’s a genuine statistic.
Antonio Conte ditched the suit for a matching trackie, and appeared a broken man from February onwards. Maybe the suits have been in the wash every weekend, having to attend countless funerals during the week. Because my word he doesn’t look half-depressed in these press conferences. There’s something inherently wrong about an Italian manager opting to dress up like your Grandad going for a Saturday-morning power walk instead of a suit. Nice compensation package waiting for him sooner rather than later though.
? Stay tuned for Antonio Conte's thoughts as we look ahead to our final home game of the season… #CHEHUD pic.twitter.com/gDhsEV7Wvk
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 8, 2018
City are rightfully the story of the season. Similiar to Arsenal’s 4 away wins, 100 points sounds like a joke. It was good to see them all go mad for Jesus’ winner on Sunday, as if they weren’t 19 points clear of second place. I’ve always thought it must be hard to enjoy for some City fans, this success that whether you like it not, they’ve bought. Some of them must cringe at it all. But they all seem to have got more on board with it this season than the wins in 2012 and 2014. How could they not?
Not just has it been ridiculously good football, but those lads in blue, as spoilt and as image-conscious as they probably all are, they genuinely seem to give a shit, and understand what it’s all about. Unlike Arsenal, and even Chelsea players to a lesser extent.
There’s no point trying to describe Mohamed Salah’s season anymore. His actions both on and off the pitch have been beyond description. The Egyptian fittingly ended it by beating the record for most goals in a 38 game season on Sunday. What a man, never mind a player. Find me a professional as good as he is in their own field of work, who can remain as humble and as grateful for it all.
It’s been a pleasure to chat guff about the league for the last few months. Now time for pastures new with European finals and World Cups to look forward to.
Already excited to see how Eddie Howe’s first season in charge at the Emirates goes.
All the best.