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2016-17 English Premier League: Report Cards-PART 1

  • 2016-17 English Premier League: Report Cards-PART 1

    WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - MARCH 18: Craig Dawson of West Bromwich Albion celebrates scoring his sides third goal with his West Bromwich Albion team mates during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal at The Hawthorns on March 18, 2017 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

  • 2016-17 English Premier League: Report Cards-PART 1

    BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: Steve Cook of AFC Bournemouth (3) celebrates with team mates as Nathan Ake of AFC Bournemouth scores their fourth goal during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool at Vitality Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

  • 2016-17 English Premier League: Report Cards-PART 1

    SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MAY 21: Southampton team in a group huddle prior to the Premier League match between Southampton and Stoke City at St Mary's Stadium on May 21, 2017 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

  • 2016-17 English Premier League: Report Cards-PART 1

    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: Romelu Lukaku (R) of Everton celebrates scoring his team's second goal with his team mate Ross Barkley (L) during the Emirates FA Cup sixth round match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on March 12, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

  • 2016-17 English Premier League: Report Cards-PART 1

    Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba celebrates with the trophy after his team won the UEFA Europa League final football match Ajax Amsterdam v Manchester United on May 24, 2017 at the Friends Arena in Solna outside Stockholm. / AFP PHOTO / Soren Andersson (Photo credit should read SOREN ANDERSSON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2016-17 English Premier League: Report Cards-PART 1

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 21: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal in action during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Everton at Emirates Stadium on May 21, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

  • 2016-17 English Premier League: Report Cards-PART 1

    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 21: Adam Lallana of Liverpool celebrates scoring his sides third goal with his Liverpool team mates during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Middlesbrough at Anfield on May 21, 2017 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

  • 2016-17 English Premier League: Report Cards-PART 1

    WATFORD, ENGLAND - MAY 21: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola gives instructions during the Premier League match between Watford and Manchester City at Vicarage Road on May 21, 2017 in Watford, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

  • 2016-17 English Premier League: Report Cards-PART 1

    HULL, ENGLAND - MAY 21: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur poses with Premier League Golden Boot award fter the Premier League match between Hull City and Tottenham Hotspur at KC Stadium on May 21, 2017 in Hull, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

  • 2016-17 English Premier League: Report Cards-PART 1

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 21: John Terry of Chelsea and Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea lift the Premier Leauge Trophy after the Premier League match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on May 21, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

1st Place- Chelsea

After a dreadful title defence in 2015-16 where they finished 10th, Italian manager Antonio Conte was installed at the helm and led the Blues back to the summit of English football. The shrewd transfer business of luring N'Golo Kante away from reigning champions Leicester proved to be pivotal with the diminutive Frenchman taking out the PFA Players' Player of the Year. The goal-scoring and creative exploits of Eden Hazard and Diego Costa were crucial while the system of three defenders and two wing-backs were employed to great effect by Conte.

 Highlight: Taking out the 2016-17 title after a 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion in May.

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 Lowlight: Difficult to point out a negative spot in Chelsea's season, but the 3-0 defeat away to Arsenal in September was a slight concern to Chelsea's title credentials.

A+

2nd place- Tottenham

The Spurs improved by one position on their previous campaign and were the top goal-scoring team of the season, scoring one more than the eventual winners with 86. The attacking quartet of Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Harry Kane and the much-improved Son Heung-Min were highly influential, combining for 69 of those goals and 35 assists.

Highlight: Assuring there was no St Totteringham's Day in 2017 after Arsenal 2-0 to finish above them on the league table.

Lowlight: The 1-0 loss to West Ham was gut-wrenching for Spurs fans to take and it ultimately ended their title tilt prematurely.

A+

3rd place- Manchester City

The arrival of Pep Guardiola threatened to thrust City back into title contention however they ended up 15 points adrift of the Champions at season's end. Maximum points from the first six games was highly promising but a string of frustrating draws at home to Everton, Middlesbrough and Southampton between October and November effectively derailed their campaign. Further losses to Chelsea and Leicester in late 2016 compounded their misery but an undefeated run of 8 games at the end of the season (6 wins, 2 draws) led them to a top three finish.

Highlight: Their 5-0 rout of Watford on the final day ended their season on a positive note while sending Pablo Zabaleta out with a win.

Lowlight: Everton condemned City to their worst defeat under Guardiola with a 4-0 result in January against a line-up containing the likes of Yaya Toure, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero.

B-

4th place- Liverpool

The most optimistic of Reds fans were hoping for a title challenge from the start of the season however they quickly became content with securing a Champions League spot under Jurgen Klopp in his first full season in charge. New additions Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum added extra speed and flair in attack while Joel Matip provided stability in defence and the bold move of sending James Milner to left-back ultimately paid off. Liverpool continued to knock over their rivals in 2016-17, failing to lose a top 7 team in the Premier League all season, however their inconsistency against bottom-half teams cost them dearly.

Highlight: The aggregate score of their final two league games of the season (4-0 away to West Ham and 3-0 home to Middlesbrough) while knowing Arsenal were breathing down their neck in pursuit of 4th spot.

Lowlight: A string of five consecutive games without a win to start off 2017 which all but ended Liverpool's title challenge.

B+

5th place- Arsenal

The Gunners have finally failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years after a poor season by the North London club’s standards. Although their form may have improved over the back end of the season, including a late charge for top 4 and an FA Cup trophy, the toxic atmosphere appeared to be at its lowest point, as fans continued to debate over the leadership of Arsene Wenger and owner Stan Kroenke. With Arsene Wenger signing a new two-year deal, it’s hard to see who will stay and who will go in the players department.

Highlight: The FA Cup victory would be the overall season highlight however in the league, it would be the 3-0 home victory over Chelsea in September. After starting the season poorly against Liverpool, the Gunners embarked on a 14-game undefeated streak (10 wins, 4 draws), knocking over Chelsea on the way.

Lowlight: A 3-0 defeat away to Crystal Palace summed up Arsenal’s stuttering campaign in April.

C+

6th place- Manchester United

Their season was mercilessly mocked as it appeared as though the Red Devils were glued to 6th spot for most of the season while they played out one of the most uninteresting undefeated streaks in Premier League history. Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are still yet to justify their huge price tags but there were some promising signs. Zlatan Ibrahimovic made an immense contribution before his season-ending injury; they had the second-best defence, conceding just three less than Spurs; they qualified for the Champions League via success in the Europa League.

Highlight: United stalled Chelsea’s run for the title, defeating the Blues 2-0 at Old Trafford in mid-April

Lowlight: Six months prior, Chelsea easily disposed of Manchester United as they smashed four unanswered goals past Jose Mourinho’s side.

C+

7th place-Everton

Who knows where Everton would be if it weren’t for the goals of Romelu Lukaku. The tall Belgian striker was close to taking out the golden boot as Lukaku, with 25 goals, scored 40% of Everton’s goals this campaign which ultimately helped Everton stay in touch with Europa League qualification and secure 7th place and improve on 2015-16 by four positions. With aging veterans Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Ashley Williams, Gareth Barry along with Ross Barkley and Lukaku possibly on the way out, Ronald Koeman has important transfer work for next season.

Highlight: Everton were only beaten twice at Goodison Park in 2016-17 (by Liverpool and Chelsea) and were able to disrupt the title challenges of Arsenal (2-1) and Manchester City (4-0).

Lowlight: While their biggest loss of the season was a 5-0 defeat away to Chelsea, Toffees supporters would mostly be frustrated with succumbing to Liverpool on both occasions (0-1 at home and 3-1 away).

B-

8th place-Southampton

8th best in the comp and 8th best in defence is partly because of the work of in-demand centre-back Virgil Van Dijk, however Claude Puel struggled to follow up the work of Ronald Koeman as the Saints struggled in the goals department. A successful 2015-16 season resulted in sixth spot and Europa League but this season, Southampton finished 15 points behind 7th position and could only muster 41 goals, 18 less than they did last season.

Highlight: Southampton didn’t produce any shock victories however one of their more impressive wins was a 3-0 result against West Ham at the Olympic Stadium in September.

Lowlight: Southampton’s home form was underwhelming to say the least, dropping crucial competition points to Watford, Sunderland, West Brom, Bournemouth, Hull and Stoke over the course of the season.

C+

9th place- Bournemouth

The Cherries had a breakout season in 2016-17. After just surviving in their maiden Premier League campaign, Bournemouth made an impressive rise to the top half of the table as Eddie Howe’s team flew under the radar. They were the 7th highest goal-scorers in the competition, with one more than Manchester United, with Joshua King contributing heavily with 16 goals.

Highlight: The Cherries frustrated a number of teams throughout the season but it was Liverpool who learnt that the hard way. Bournemouth came from 3-1 down to win 4-3 at home with an added time winner in December before another late goal stole points from the Reds when Josh King equalised for a 2-2 draw.

Lowlight: Bournemouth struggled on the road, only picking up 15 points from their travels, losing to relegation-battlers Sunderland and Hull away from home in particular.

B-

10th place- West Bromwich Albion

The Baggies only picked up two more points than their 2015-16 campaign yet they managed to jump four places on the competition ladder. Nacer Chadli was the club’s highest-profile signing of the season and the Belgian popped up with just 5 goals and 5 assists while striker Salomon Rondon bagged eight goals. However the most impressive player was midfielder Matt Phillips who created 8 goals and scored 4 himself.

Highlight: Tony Pulis’ team upset Arsenal fans in March when they beat the Gunners 3-1 at the Hawthorns.

Lowlight: The Arsenal victory was the last highlight of the season for West Brom as they failed to win in any of their remaining nine matches, including three straight 1-0 defeats at home.

C-

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