Let’s get this party started!!! It’s the Premier League Season Awards once again and this time it’s for all the marbles! There will be some sad faces out there and the hankeys will be out as the winners and not so winners are announced for the 2016-17 Premier League season!!!
Previous Winners- Liverpool & Chelsea
This could easily have been Spurs who had another fantastic season and managed to improve on their impressive 15-16, however it’s really hard not giving this to Chelsea. Simply put, going from 10th to 1st and winning the league in a fairly comfortable fashion is quite the feat. It should be noted that this same Chelsea team won the league two seasons ago and for reasons unbeknown to most fell apart last year and had no European football to worry about, so the achievement does look better than it probably actually was. Regardless of that you have to marvel at how Chelsea after being closer to relegation than a title challenge only one year previous went on and broke records the next.
Previous Winners- Costa & Costa
I don’t think there is one obvious winner for the best player of the season, there were a number of players who were outstanding this year without quite separating themselves from the pack. Having said that, Harry Kane was the man who did so more than anyone else. 29 goals in 29 starts, involved directly in 36 goals in a season which was interrupted with some injuries. Kane has scored 20+ goals in his first three seasons in the Premier League and if not for injuries he almost certainly would have joined the select group of players to have scored 30+ in a single season. Kane doesn’t really look like a footballer, he doesn’t even play like a footballer but fuck me the boy is one hell of a footballer.
Previous Winners- Klopp & Conte
I had written Antonio Conte’s name out before I started to write this and was going to talk about how Mauricio Pochettino was unlucky to not be picking this award up, but when I started to write about what he has achieved this season and at Spurs generally I had to change my mind. Conte turning Chelsea around from last seasons woes is impressive, however I’m not sure it is really quite as impressive as what Pochettino has done with his time at Spurs. Every single season which Pochettino has been in charge he has improved Spurs by quite a margin. Back to back seasons they have now challenged for the league before ultimately just falling short, this is Spurs who traditionally are the picture of inconsistency. Spurs are the most exciting team in the league to watch, a team built on young predominantly British talent and if he continues on his current path they could go one step further.
Previous Winners- Heaton & Pickford
Keeping ten clean sheets for a team like Burnley is absolutely huge, it’s the difference between staying in the league and relegation. Heaton has made the most saves, had the most shots against and there’s an incredibly good argument to be made that if Burnley didn’t have him between the sticks they would be spending next season in the Championship.
Previous Winners- Van Dijk & Azpilicueta
Azpilicueta is a bit of a utility player, a guy who can play all along the backline, what makes him so special is how much he excels at every single position. I would say that Azpi was Chelsea’s outstanding player this season, he was consistent from the start of the season till the end, not missing a single minute of game time. Azpi is often the starter of many attacks, important when the players who are directly in front of him are fairly limited, he is so often the last line of defence and is a huge influence and motivator in the team, he does everything and can do it in many positions, hell of a player.
Previous Winners- Walcott & Lallana
There could have been many midfielders who could have taken this award, however I stumped for Alli because he shone a little bit above those others. Alli’s 18 goals and 7 assists helped propel Spurs to 2nd in the league and for a second season he was absolutely outstanding in doing so. He had a slow start to the year, however he grew as the season went on, the sign of a quality player. It’s crazy to think that Alli is still only 21 yet he is already one of the league’s best midfielders.
Previous Winners- Costa & Costa
The best player was a striker so the best striker award winner also happens to be the best player award winner!
Previous Winners- Allen & Ibrahimovic
£12 million is not a lot of money in today’s football, it’s even less when you’re buying from a team in the Premier League, yet that’s exactly how much Spurs paid for Victor Wanyama. This time last season it would be unthinkable to say that Eric Dier wouldn’t be good enough to start in the Spurs midfield, after what was a very good season, yet that is exactly what ended up happening. Big Vic slotted into the centre of the Spurs midfield with absolutely no worries, looking like he’d been in there for years. A tenacious tackling machine who puts himself around with no problem whatsoever, a physical presence which is unmatched by most in the league, yet he is more than a mere destroyer, he sets the tone for a whole team and next to Dembele he makes half of the most fearsome duo in the Premier League. Look at some of the other players who went for more than £12 million and then look at Wanyama and it’s easy to see what an incredible bargain he was.
Best Young Player
Previous Winners- Sterling & Alli
Unsurprisingly Alli is also the Best Young Player award winner.
Previous Winners- Big Sam & Guardiola
If you had asked me prior to the season starting what a successful season for Leicester would have been, I would have said staying in the Premier League and getting through the group stages of the Champions League and at the end of the season they finished comfortably mid table and made it to the quarter finals (a fabulous achievement), yet in the midst of that they also did something which I’m not sure many would have seen coming, they sacked Claudio Ranieri.
Leicester aren’t a big team, at the very best they’re a top end Championship to low end Premier League team, yet last season a dotery Italian chap took them to the lofty heights of the Premier League title. That same man who took a team who were more likely to get relegated than finish top half to a league title was then sacked before the end of the next season… It makes absolutely no sense.
The way Leicester finished the season makes it look like sacking Ranieri was indeed the correct decision and to be fair he had them in a position where they legitimately looked like they could be relegated a year after having won the league, but this is a guy who did the impossible, a guy who took a team who should be nowhere near the league to the holy land and they sacked him.
I think it is fair to say that Ranieri’s achievement at Leicester will unlikely be replicated at Leicester or at the very least won’t be replicated in the near future. Man City were more likely to win the Championship than the Premier League ten years ago, yet with some guys shit tons of money it all changed and I guess that could always happen to Leicester as well, however chances are it won’t. Chances are that the 15-16 Premier League season will be the remember when for Leicester fans everywhere and Ranieri was the figurehead of that success and they didn’t even let him see the rest of his title defending season out.
In my opinion Ranieri should have left last summer after having won the league and tried to get the Italian job, simply because he was never going to replicate what he did last season and why not go out on a high to a dream job when his stock couldn’t have been any higher. Instead we have been reminded once again what a cruel world football is for managers as the man behind the greatest achievement in Leicester’s history was thrown to the curb like a man who had offered absolutely nothing.
There are two ways to look at Leicester’s form after Ranieri, you can look at it from the perspective of Ranieri wasn’t really that great a manager (which has always been my opinion) and that it was actually Craig Shakespeare who made the team what they were last season, that Ranieri just happened to walk into a great situation and give silly press conferences and this season he got too big for his boots, and yeah…maybe that is true and the club were right to sack him, however that doesn’t take away from the fact that the manager doesn’t go out on the pitch, that the manager isn’t the one who looks like he doesn’t give a shit, like he wants to be anywhere but playing for the club, that was the players.
If I was a Leicester fan I would be furious at the quite noticeable difference in every single players performance before and after Ranieri’s sacking, it was shocking. They went from a team who would struggle against a poor under 12s team to looking like a solid upper mid table Premier League side. Maybe Ranieri wasn’t as good as everyone made him out to be, maybe the players were fed up with his ways, but to show such a lack of interest or caring in playing for the club, for me that is purely inexcusable. The players were essentially willing to sabotage the club and risk relegation and the fans…well most of the fans were too busy jumping on the bandwagon to even notice.
The whole situation has soured the fairytale story that was Leicester winning the Premier League. It would be a bit like watching Toy Story, seeing the happy ending of the toys getting back to Andy, only for the post credit scenes to show you that Andy got cancer, died and his mum donated his toys to the weird boy who used to live across the road.
Ranieri Gets the Sack
Pull the champers out cause it’s time for the after party! The winners will be heading to the VIP section and those who were unlucky enough to be on the outside looking in will be heading over to Jamie Vardy’s for a good old fashioned knees up stabbing in the back party. Better not forget to take a bottle…
So leave that comment giving praise to the handsome writer who most definitely isn’t doing this in his pants because it is fucking hot outside and inside…just everywhere really… Share those thoughts!!!