May 23, 2017

FREE KICKS: Our end-of-season EPL awards

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

And with the sight of Chelsea captain John Terry hoisting the Premier League trophy for one last moment with the Blues, we wrap up another incredible, interesting season.

For a season that has run since last August, it feels like just yesterday were all giddy about the beginning of the new campaign. Manchester City came out firing, Chelsea was putting itself together and Joe Mourinho was talking the reins at Manchester United. Heck, we all assumed it would be another year in a Champions League place and sitting ahead of Spurs for Arsene Wenger and the Gunners. How foolish we were.

Heck, did you remember that Mike Phelan won manager of the month for August thanks to Hull City’s surprising start?

But it has all come to an end, with Chelsea wrapping up its fifth title in 13 years last week. And since nobody really cares about what happened in Gameweek 38 – except for those interested in the Golden Boot race – let’s take this time to hand out some awards.


Undisciplined: Jose Holebas, Watford – Racked up an astounding 14 yellow cards this season, helping his team top the charts with 83 cautions and five red cards.

Best signing: N’Golo Kante – How can you not pick him? He goes from winning the league with Leicester City to winning the league with Chelsea and also taking Player of the Year honours. That’s a pretty great two-year run.

Best scorer: Harry Kane, Tottenham – Kane’s May outburst clinched this title for him, and some fantasy titles for many others.

See you later: David Moyes – The news that the former Manchester United manager has left Sunderland after getting relegated is no surprise. Now, will anybody want to touch the man once called “The Chosen One” after watching the Black Cats sink to the second dtier?

Staying up: Jermain Defoe, Sunderland – He’s too good to not find another club in the Premier League next season. Teammate Jordan Pickford, Hull’s Andrew Robertson, and Middlesbrough’s Alvaro Negredo and Victor Valdez shouldn’t have problems finding work in the top flight, either.

Top manager: Eddie Howe, Bournemouth – While we surely give a ton of credit to Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino for guiding their teams to stunning season atop the table, Howe did so much with less to get the Cherries into the top half of the table. His salary budget was a lot closer to Hull’s than the teams above him.

Trend of the season: Playing a back three. After Chelsea brought it into vogue and stormed to the top of the table, most teams in the Premier League eventually experimented with a back three – to varying levels of success.

Disappointing: Leicester City – How could you not be saddened to see how the Foxes’ season play out. The defending champions eventually turned it around, but it was already far too late after the sacking of Claudio Ranieri. Can they get back into the top six next season, with European play to distract them?

And finally, our team of the season:


Forwards: Harry Kane, Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku.

Midfielders: Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante, Dele Alli, Kevin De Bruyne.

Defenders: Marcos Alonso, Cesar Azpilicueta, Jan Vertonghen.

Goalkeeper: Tom Heaton.

On the bench: David De Gea, Laurent Koscielny, David Luiz, Kyle Walker, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Christian Eriksen, Sergio Aguero.

Reserves: Gareth MacAuley, Sadio Mane, Josh King, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Diego Costa.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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