While Harry Kane was promoted into the big league of footballers, two coaches were treading water in the 2017 Premier League winners and losers
The exponential growth of this striker seems to never end. He managed 56 goals in 52 games, beating Lionel Messi as top scorer in the calendar year, beating Alan Shearer as best ever scorer in a single calendar year in the Premier League (39 to 36). If 2014 was his first proper season, 2015 his breakthrough year and 2016 the confirmation, 2017 is the rise to stardom. All deserved for a very hard working and exquisitely complete player.
Looking back at 2017 like… ⚽?
Great to break the record for @premierleague goals in a calendar year but couldn't do it without my teammates! ? #COYS #THFC #PremierLeague pic.twitter.com/YOEcQcbGcs
— Harry Kane (@HKane) December 27, 2017
After all the criticism of the last campaign – a lot of spending, disappointing results – comes the amazing first half of this season. Nothing has been won yet, that’s for sure, but this is the best ever gap at the top of the league at this point in the Premier League. City have outplayed everyone, and Guardiola has moulded together a team of expensive players into a unique orchestra of performers, who play together in a wonderful exhibition week in, week out.
The start to the 2017/2018 season has not been the best, but considering the aliens that are Manchester City, Antonio Conte should still be satisfied: Chelsea are fighting for a top four finish and are through to the next round of the Champions League. As well as having lifted the Premier League trophy not so long ago, in May 2017, bringing the trophy back to Stamford Bridge in the Italian manager’s first season at the club.
A special message from Antonio Conte in his post-match press conference this afternoon! ?? pic.twitter.com/VIhEhLVCFi
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 26, 2017
Yes, victories in the Europa League and League Cup are important and prestigious, but with the money spent in the two transfer windows most people expected more from Jose Mourinho’s men. And it’s not just the manager’s fault: the likes of Romelu Lukaku and other expensive signings have lacked the consistency a top club needs to be a real title challenger. Mourinho has made his mistakes, but the whole club needed growth. The Europa League was a starting point, but will never be enough for United.
Jose: "At 2-0, it makes things more difficult at half-time. I need my players to believe in themselves and in me. But I'm very happy with their character." #MUFC pic.twitter.com/ieG3CNUDfi
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 26, 2017
Liverpool play wonderful attacking football, have brought in exciting players who are fun to watch every week, but realistically speaking, in terms of results, what has changed since the German manager took over from Brendan Rodgers? Surely more was expected by now, after the money spent and with Klopp’s CV at Borussia Dortmund. The ups and downs have been far too many to be justified, and Liverpool will need to find consistency if they are to get out of their limbo and properly challenge for the title.
His work at Tottenham remains remarkable, and will stay there for years to come. The generation that are the heart of the current England squad are a product of his management. But what has happened in the past two seasons? Where’s the growth? The calendar year started with the early exit in the Europa League, continued with the impossibility of challenging Chelsea for the title, after losing it 12 months earlier to Leicester City, and finishes with a good spot in the table and topping the group in the Champions League. Positives and negatives, but one thing was asked to Pochettino by now: consistency. It is still lacking.
Mourinho has won two major trophies in 18 months at @ManUtd. That is two more than Klopp at Liverpool and Pochettino at Tottenham.
Read @hirstclass's defence of Jose #MUFC https://t.co/JE9WnDePDM pic.twitter.com/Hyc5vsq1aI
— Times Sport (@TimesSport) December 27, 2017adsense