Premier League 2016/17 Review | 4th June 2017
Callum Wilson takes a look back at this season’s Premier League and picks out the early value in next season’s renewal.
Looking Back…Looking Forward | 4th June 2017
It’s that time of year again. The culmination of the Premier League, 38 games over and done with and we subjectively decipher the success or abject failure of our club’s season.
For some, we celebrate the success of consistent performances and a revolution under managerial ship – ala Antonio Conte and his breakthrough year at Chelsea.
For others, we look back at what could have been. In stark comparison, David Moyes and the plummet of Sunderland can only be perceived in one way – a complete shambles.
This is the comprehensive 188BET season in review, featuring our breakdown of how the Premier League title race panned out, and a look towards next year’s betting for the 2017/18 season.
How do you think your team fared this campaign? Who is your tip for next season’s champions? Let us know in the comments and be sure have your say on our various social media channels: @188BET.
Chelsea crowned Champions under charismatic Conte
4th of April 2016. The day pragmatic Italian manager Antonio Conte took over the reins of modern-day perennial title challengers Chelsea, after a rather disastrous campaign last time around.
A breath of fresh air was blown into Stamford Bridge, ensuring a team collective spirit was once again regained at Cobham training ground.
It started with transfer business. It doesn’t take a genius to work out a common theme for both Leicester City and Chelsea in their respective league success – a midfield dynamo by the name of N’Golo Kante.
Joining the club in July, the Frenchman would change Chelsea’s fortunes by providing that much-needed bite in midfield and was rewarded by the bulging individual trophy cabinet come the end of the season. PFA Player of the year, Kante picked up easily the most prestigious individual award a player can receive.
However, the 26-year- old is anything but individual. The way Kante makes Chelsea tick is reminiscent of a certain Claude Makélélé in his prime, in his willingness to break up play and get the ball into the feet of those who can provide the attacking excellence.
Conte’s strive to create a balanced, no-frills Chelsea worked wonders, with Diego Costa and Eden Hazard more than stepping up to the plate. It’s elsewhere, however, that seems to go unrecognised.
Playing every minute of the Premier League winner’s campaign, Cesar Azpilicueta was instrumental in the solid foundations built at Chelsea this year.
Elsewhere in defence, the re-signing of David Luiz was mocked and laughed at originally. However, it was the man colloquially known as ‘Dave’ on the training ground that was chuckling at the culmination of the season, with a far more mature, sensible style of commanding centre back that shone throughout the campaign.
Pochettino’s Tottenham push, but to no avail
Tottenham Hotspur really are getting somewhere. The only team to get within touching distance of this campaign’s winners and another improvement from last year’s finishing position can only be positive for Spurs fans.
You can look at Harry Kane’s third successive season scoring 20+ Premier League goals. You can look at Dele Alli’s climb to prominence as one of the most exciting young English players being produced. You can also look at a steady, sure fast defensive unit – the best in the league in fact.
But instead of individual acclimation, Spurs must be looked at on a whole. An ethos that runs through the team, from the wage-structure to a willingness to muck in as a collective has led to a thoroughly strong campaign at the club’s last ever season at White Hart Lane.
Topping both Manchester sides, Liverpool and Arsenal, Spurs were the closest it came to challenging for the title, but alas proved not quite up to the gauntlet put down by Conte’s men.
There isn’t really another challenger to discuss, with Pep’s City 15 points off the pace, and Liverpool the next closest at 17.
Manchester to challenge?
There are a plethora of variables to consider when trying to choose next year’s potential winners. We know how the teams fared last campaign, but due to the nature of modern football – all of that can be essentially disregarded due to the constant movement of players and the financial pulling power of the Premier League.
For example, we’ve only just entered June of this year’s transfer window, and Manchester City have already flexed their financial muscles bringing in a raft of expensive talent in all areas of the pitch.
Bernardo Silva flourished for Monaco last season and could prove a snip at £43m. Strong links to Southampton defensive stalwart Virgil van Dijk could also pose the answer to the problem facing City’s defence.
Leading the race for next year’s betting, City are available now at 15/8, comfortably 188BET’s market leaders to pick up the spoils in the 17/18 campaign.
On the other side of the Manchester divide, Mourinho will be relatively content picking up the Europa League and League Cup, but you just know his intentions really lie with making United a Premier League force once again.
Back in the Champions League, the thought of who Mourinho can attract is quite mesmerising, considering who they were able to bring into the club (Pogba, Ibrahimović etc) without the lure of playing in football’s biggest club competition.
Linked to an array of superstar players, most notably Antoine Griezmann, United are expected to challenge next year and are level with current champions Chelsea in the betting at 7/2.
Despite finishing second this year, Tottenham look excellent value at 15/2 and ranked as the fourth most likely destination for the 17/18 title.
Transfer business has been inconsistent, to say the least, for Daniel Levy over the previous season with more of a focus on promoting from within the ranks of the squad. With Alli essentially still in his infancy, it will be interesting to see if he can progress on the whopping 18 goals and seven assists.
To sum up, the pre-season odds indicate the title will go to City, United, Chelsea or Spurs, with Arsenal and Liverpool currently sitting at 10/1 and 11/1 respectively.
Question marks remain over the transfer dealings at various clubs, and who will be brought in to help spearhead each teams’ campaign will certainly shape the success or failure of next year’s campaign.
But with Far East money, bottomless pockets and arguably the most influential manager in modern-day football, Manchester City certainly must be looked at as favourites as Pep settles in for his second year at the club.