2016/17 Premier League Title Race Review

Leicester City began the 2016/17 Premier League season as defending champions.  The previous campaign was something magical and it was always going to be tough for the Foxes to repeat their incredible success under Claudio Ranieri.

Despite failing to come anywhere near the top of the Premier League this season, Leicester City still provided plenty of entertainment for the neutral.  They hovered close to the relegation zone, sacked the manager who inspired a miracle last season and reached the quarter-final of the Champions League.

So, although Leicester did not put up a strong defence of their title, they created many headlines and will be happy to have finished the season in mid-table.  Priced at 200/1 with Ladbrokes to win the Premier League next season, it may be some time before we see Leicester City back at the summit of English football.

Ladbrokes Premier League Winner Season 2017/2018
Ladbrokes Odds: Premier League Winner Season 2017/2018

Both Manchester City and Manchester United were expected to challenge for the Premier League title this season but failed to deliver.

Pep Guardiola, despite a good start to the season, could not impose his style of play on the Premier League.  Having allowed Joe Hart to leave the club on loan, Claudio Bravo struggled as his replacement but the signing of Gabriel Jesus looks like a great piece of business.

A good run of results towards the end of the season ensured Manchester City finished in third place in the Premier League.  However, they never mounted a serious challenge for the title and were eliminated in the Champions League Round of 16, which is disappointing.  There is much work to do for Guardiola ahead of next season yet Ladbrokes have them as 9/4 favourites to win the title.

Ladbrokes Odds: Premier League Winner Season 2017/2018
Ladbrokes Odds: Premier League Winner Season 2017/2018

Manchester United also struggled under their new manager, Jose Mourinho.  Results at Old Trafford were poor and although the club did not lose many games throughout the season, it was the home draws which proved frustrating.

In the matches against the other teams competing for a top four place, Mourinho seemed happy to defend and pick up a point, which led to plenty of criticism from fans and pundits alike.  Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were signed to push Manchester United towards the title but they ended the season down in sixth place.

Their entire campaign hinges on the Europa League final.  However, Ladbrokes have them at 10/3 to win the Premier League next season, with only Manchester City and Chelsea considered better options.

Arsenal were another team who were expected to mount a challenge for the Premier League title but failed.

Having found themselves in second place at the end of January, a heavy defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League seemed to derail their season and they dropped down the Premier League table, eventually finishing in fifth place.

Fans were left calling for the head of Arsene Wenger and tough contract talks with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez were getting the headlines. It’s the first time in the history of the Premier League Arsenal have finished outside the top four and Wenger will be hoping to bring back some cheer to the club in the FA Cup final.

It remains to be seen if Wenger will be at the Emirates Stadium next season and this is represented in their odds of 12/1 with William Hill to win the league next season.

William Hill Outright: Premier League Season 2017/2018
William Hill Outright: Premier League Season 2017/2018

Liverpool fans will be happy to have seen their club finish fourth and claim a Champions League play-off place next season.  This was Jurgen Klopp’s first full season in charge, one which had many ups and downs.

The first two fixtures of the season sum up Liverpool’s season nicely, as they defeated Arsenal 4-3 only to then lose 2-0 to Burnley.  Defeats to Swansea City, Hull City and Crystal Palace ended any hopes of a title push but having won their final two games of the season comfortably, the crucial top four place was delivered.

If Liverpool are to challenge at home and in Europe next season, they need to make some good additions in the summer transfer window.  Whether they can attract the quality of players required is another matter and the 10/1 with Ladbrokes for them to win the Premier League next season seems about right.

While the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal were under-performing, Tottenham Hotspur produced another fantastic season.

Their final points total would have been enough to win the Premier League last season and they continue to develop under Mauricio Pochettino.  Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld were superb and Tottenham may be forced to fend off substantial bids for these players in the summer.

If Pochettino can keep his first choice XI together and strengthen the squad with a couple of good signings, they will challenge again next season.  The only question mark will be how they cope with playing at Wembley.  With this factor in mind, the 7/1 for Tottenham to win the 2017/18 Premier League is a little short.

While Guardiola and Mourinho were attracting the main headlines, the appointment of Antonio Conte at Chelsea proved to be the best signing of the summer.

Although Chelsea struggled in the first couple of weeks of the season, the Italian switched to a 3-4-3 formation, something which totally transformed their campaign.  Players who struggled the season before, produced stunning displays.

Eden Hazard looked like the great player he is and Victor Moses was brilliant in the right wingback position.  Diego Costa was back to his best up-front and N’Golo Kante delivered another masterclass in midfield.

From September onwards, Chelsea did not drop points in consecutive games all season and their desire, intensity and consistency proved too much for everyone else in the Premier League.  Chelsea and Conte deserved to finish top of the league and lift the Premier League trophy.

Priced at 7/2 with PaddyPower, the bookies clearly believe the Blues have what it takes to keep the title at Stamford Bridge next season.  The addition of the Champions League will test them and some additions must be made to the squad, if they are to challenge on both fronts.

However, Chelsea fans can enjoy the summer as Premier League champion and look forward to defending their title next season.

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