Tuesday, June 13, 2017

End of Season Ramble - 16/17

Right, now that the season’s completely done and dusted I think it’s about time I gave a little review on the last year of Premier League football. Now I want to warn people that I may end up rambling a bit here but there are a lot of clubs, managers and players I want to talk about. So let me begin by talking about this season’s Premier League Champions, Chelsea.

The Blue’s absolutely dominated this season, more or less winning the competition by November. I’d put this down to the two huge signings they made in the Summer; N’Golo Kante and Antonio Conte.

Now I’ve spoken a lot about my love of Kante. He plays arguably the most unglamourous role on a football pitch and still manages to get so many column inches devoted to him. He has the ability to go so far in football and I’m probably more excited than he is to see how he fairs in the Champions League next season.

As for the Chelsea boss well I have to give him a lot of credit, he’s taken a Chelsea side that looked disinterested and lethargic into a side that is ready for that jump back into European football. One thing I do like about the Italian is that he didn’t just twiddle his thumbs at the start of the season when results weren’t going his way. He mixed it up before settling on the 3-4-3 formation that has proven deadly for Chelsea this year…

...which is more than what Pep Guardiola did for City. City have struggled this season, admittedly they did finish third but with only one game remaining there was still a possibility that they would drop to fifth behind Liverpool and Arsenal.

I’m sure some Man City fans will be able to remember the very beginning of the season when The Sky Blues won their opening six games and Raheem Sterling was been spouted as “City’s answer to Messi”...an actual quote there. I said at the time it would all come crashing down and I’m so glad I was proven right. He’s nothing but an overpriced Shaun Wright-Phillips. Imagine a Matty Jarvis who can’t cross and you have Sterling. I’d rather have Glen Johnson at right wing than Raheem Sterling...not even joking.

Back to Pep though I think he’ll continue to struggle next season. His tactic isn’t best suited to this league and he seems so stubborn and refuses to make a change. Then again I might be wrong, he’ll probably go and spend £200 million in the Summer and get hailed as a managerial genius for doing so...oh look he’s already spent £33 million signing a goalkeeper to replace the goalkeeper he signed to replace one of the best goalkeepers in the world...world class management.

Speaking of poor managerial choices, David Moyes’ Sunderland have been relegated from the Premier League. Not much surprise as they have been flirting with that idea for a couple of season’s now. Actually they were less flirting with the idea...more fucking the idea, getting it pregnant, asking the idea to marry it before binning the idea off at the altar at the last minute...leaving the likes of Newcastle, Norwich and Aston Villa to raise the kid...Jesus Christ, that analogy got deep…

I’ve only brought up Moyes because I feel sorry for the bloke. Since leaving Everton he’s had shit hand after shit hand dealt to him. Alex Ferguson was a tough act to follow, Spain was a huge ask considering he struggles with English and Sunderland have needed a complete rehaul if Moyes was to have a prayer of keeping them up. I’m normally really respectful of other people’s footballing opinion but if anyone believes that Sunderland’s relegation was solely down to David Moyes then you are wrong.

The Scots former club don’t seem to be fairing much better. A seventh place finish for Everton is now probably considered the standard for the Toffee’s. But with the amount of attacking wealth in their team you wouldn’t be mad for thinking they’d push on this season and possibly challenge for a Champions League spot, failing that, a Europa League place.

For me they’ve seriously missed out. Romelu Lukaku has been turning many heads this season, scoring 25 goals and gaining 6 assists. Now that Everton are without Champions League football next season I think the Belgian will be out of the door.

Reports suggest that Chelsea are going to offer £70 million for Lukaku and for me Everton would be mad to turn it down. This could be the turning point for Everton, like when Spurs sold Bale. Re-investing this money correctly could transform them into a consistent top four side. Mark my words, there’s gonna be big things happening at Goodison Park over the next few years.

Next I’d like to talk about the club that are just over the road from Everton, Liverpool. Now I’ll always be the first to admit when I’m wrong, I said last season that Klopp is an overrated manager...How wrong could I have been. The German has managed to take Liverpool back into the Champions League in his first full season with the club.

His “rock and roll” style of play has impressed me this season. I watched their 4-0 demolition of West Ham and was blown away by the skill and ability on show from Coutinho, Lallana, Origi and Sturridge, all four who were integral parts of this top quality performance...admittedly West Ham did have a shocker on the day, more or less gifting the result to them with an nice pretty bow.

Now a lot has been made of Coutinho and Firmino and Mane this season but I want to talk about another man who I’ve raved about for years, Georgino Wijnaldum. Gigi has been on my “radar” for years now, ever since I conducted extensive research before signing him from Feyenoord on Fifa 08...back then, signing a player on Fifa was the only way I could see if a player was world class (admittedly I also thought Obafemi Martins and Chris Kirkland were world class because of this game too).

The Dutchman has quietly gone about his business this season. Playing in a deeper role than he’s used to, he’s still managed to score 6 goals this season. With rumours circulating that Coutinho will be off in the Summer I do hope that Klopp trusts Wijnaldum in that number 10 role as I believe the former Newcastle and PSV man could easily bag double figures if he’s given a little more freedom.

One player who has been in fine form this season is Josh King for Bournemouth. Now I’m gonna throw this out there, I love Bournemouth! A true underdog story. What Eddie Howe has done at this club is truly an amazing feat. To steer comfortably clear of relegation last season was impressive but to finish comfortably mid table in your second season is a huge task and King’s goals have played a huge factor.

The Norwegian international has bagged 16 goals in the league this season, also becoming the sixth Norwegian to score a Premier League hat trick (pub quiz: can you name the other five?). Now as much as I like King, I do think he’ll struggle to get this many next season but with talk of Jermain Defoe rejoining The Cherries, the weight might be taken off his shoulders. And who know’s, Bournemouth could actually end up with a 30 goal a season partnership…

Speaking of goalscorers, Harry Kane won this seasons golden boot, scoring in total 29 league goals...class...just sheer class. Spurs were unlucky to miss out on the league title for the second season in a row but the future continues to look bright for them.

They have a young and talented side, have scored the most goals this season, conceded the least this season and seem to have an intelligent manager who’s willing to mix it up when things aren’t going his way. As much as I don’t want to jinx it, I have to say that next year just might be their year.

Going back to Harry Kane though, I think the guy is one of the best strikers in Europe. I wrote a post on the Spurs number 10 quite recently so if you want my opinion on him then feel free to read that...but to save you five minutes I’ll just say he’s pretty good.

Now whilst things have gone well for Tottenham, it’s all gone tits up for Arsenal. For only the third time in my lifetime the Gunners have finished outside the top four and you’d think they’d just been relegated out of the football league...

It was inevitable that Arsenal would drop out of the top four eventually. The likes of Ozil and Sanchez have received a lot of criticism this season but for me it is Wenger who needs to take a long look at himself. To get the best out of your creative players you need quality behind them and the North London club just don’t have that anymore…

I’ve said this a million times before, Wenger should have signed Kante. He can complain all he wants that Kante only went to Chelsea because of the silly wages but at the end of the day Kante is only on £110,000 a week. When you consider Jack Wilshere is on £90,000 a week and isn’t fit to lace kante’s boots it kinda puts things into perspective…

I also think that Arsenal need another top class centre back and should look to sign Virgil Van Dijk (obviously without “tapping him up” first). The big Dutch bastard is world class. He can play in a back four on his own. He will be playing in Europe’s elite one day so Arsenal should tie him down now on a long term contract - WHATEVER THE COST!

Moving on I want to talk about a goalkeeper who I believe has been the best in the league this season...Tom Heaton. Admittedly there has been a lot of competition this season but this lad has been unreal. I’ve not seen much of Joe Hart this season but out of the remaining English goalkeepers, I’d say Heaton deserves to be England’s number 1 at the minute. People who don’t agree with me, just YouTube him and enjoy.

Quickly moving on from the high’s of Tom Heaton, I’d like to remind everyone of the lowest bottom feeder of this Premier League season, Dimitri Payet. An absolute prick. Capable of some outstanding things on his day but sadly his day will never come again in the Premier League. Have fun in the French League you fucking snake in the grass…

...speaking of snakes in the grass I’d like to bring up my last topic of this seasonal ramble, the Leicester City team. For me Ranieri was the whole reason won the league (him and Kante). For those players to give half the effort and then blame the manager is laughable.

I think every every neutral supporter wanted Leicester City to win the league last season. I think every neutral supporter wanted them to do well this season. But after those players got Ranieri the sack I think every neutral supporter wanted Leicester City to get relegated.

Apologies to and Foxes reading this, you guys don’t deserve relegation...but to those players who went behind the Italians back...you don’t deserve your Premier League medals…
Best of luck to Shakespeare next season with them.

Anyways that’s it, I think I wanted this post to be an official review of the season but it just ended up me chatting bollocks about things I liked or in some cases, didn’t like. Oh well. Roll on next season so I can watch Bournemouth get top four, Wijnaldum scoring 30 goals, Sheffield Wednesday get promoted and Billy Sharp to waste away on the bench...the fat pig.

~ Anyone who enjoyed this please follow me on Twitter @ThePenaltyKing1 or like me on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ThePenaltyKing1 ~

Cheers for reading.

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