When Claudio Ranieri and Leicester City beat the odds, and turned a “foolish dream” into reality by winning the 2015/2016 Premier League title, it was a season to remember.
The big names had fallen by the wayside and the Foxes took advantage of it. It was one of the most remarkable stories in the history of English football. And, curiously, we wondered how the following season was going to surpass the thrill and drama.
One year, 380 games and 1064 goals later, Chelsea were crowned English champions after what some called a roller-coaster ride for a certain Antonio Conte. Tottenham finished above the Gunners, who were ‘locked out’ of ‘Champions League heaven’ by Manchester City and Liverpool.
Once again, the Premier League did not disappoint.
Now, with the amazing season gone, we take a look back at a season that saw Harry Kane finish top scorer again, and discuss the 7 moments we won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
Scorpion kicks, super flicks and no-look goals
Out of the 1,064 goals scored during the campaign, there were good goals, but there were some amazing ones.
From Dimitri Payet’s special goal against Middlesbrough to Gaston Ramirez’s 70-yard run and cool finish against Bournemouth to Jordan Henderson’s 30-yard beauty that flew past Thibaut Courtois, the season was littered with amazing goals.
But some goals stood out the pile of goals and left us wondering.
You remember Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s acrobatic goal against Sunderland; the one that defied logic and sent the world into a frenzy? What about Olivier Giroud’s scorpion-kick goal against Crystal Palace during the festive period?
Then, there was Andy Carroll’s sensational strike against Crystal Palace and Emre Can’s outrageous bicycle-kick goal which he scored with his back to the goal. Phew. What a season!
Claudio Ranieri’s sack
After leading Leicester City to a maiden Premier League title the year before, one would have thought the current Best FIFA Men’s Coach was bullet proof and untouchable.
But, on the 23rd of February, Ranieri was given his marching orders with the club sitting just one point above the relegation zone.
It was a move that sent shock waves throughout the entire football world. It was largely unexpected. And it definitely ranks among the moments of this season that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
The shocking results
It is generally believed that anything can happen in football. “It’s not over until the ref blows the final whistle,” so the saying goes. And, in this just-concluded season, we were treated to some amazingly shocking results that left mouths worldwide ajar.
Chelsea’s 4-0 demolition of Manchester United ruined Jose Mourinho’s welcome back party. Davies, Lookman and the Everton gang scored four unreplied goals against Manchester City.
Crystal Palace beat Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool in the sane month! Tottenham scoring 13 goals in their last two games of the season was the icing on the cake; not forgetting their 1-0 loss to West Ham that ended their title hopes.
The names that created the unforgettable moments
This was the most lucrative Premier League season ever, not just because of the staggering amounts shared among the clubs, but because of the names that left social media agog with either their performances, statistics, or their frequent visit to the barber’s shop.
While it took names like Gabriel Jesus and Manolo Gabbiadini just one game to impress, it took Paul “£89m” Pogba several haircuts and some Twitter emoji’s to convince the Premier League that he wasn’t a fluke.
Harry Kane and Lukaku set the scorer’s chart on fire. Zlatan Ibrahimovic took us all on an A-Z ride in his world. And while Claudio Bravo was teaching all the true definition of a ‘sweeper keeper,’ Tom Heaton and Hugo Lloris reminded the world of what good goalkeeping looked like.
Arsenal finishing fifth
Arsenal spent quality time outside the top four that it eventually became a reality at the end of the season. It was sort of unimaginable that Arsene Wenger would miss out on a UEFA Champions League…until it happened on the final day.
For the first time, after qualifying for Europe’s elite competition for 20 years in a row, Arsenal failed to qualify this time, despite garnering more points than they did last season which saw them finish second.
The faces of Gunners faithfuls in the stands on that final day is something most football fans won’t be forgetting in a jiffy.
Manchester United’s conSIXtency and other amazing records
During the season, some stupendous records were set; records that created some incredible moments and some other incredulous moments.
On their way to finishing second in the Premier League this season, Tottenham set an amazing record: they remained unbeaten at home throughout the course of the campaign, with 17 wins and 2 draws.
With 30 wins in a single season, Chelsea set a new record, smashing the one held by Arsenal’s Invincibles.
Then, there was a certain Manchester United side whose conSIXtent performances in the league earned them a record 15 draws — the league’s highest — and, you guessed right, a sixth position finish.
We won’t be forgetting this awkward numbers anytime soon.
Chelsea: The Champions
Brutal, effective, coordinated are words that just begin to describe the kind of champions Chelsea were. Antonio Conte’s Italian spine spiced up with Eden Hazard’s flair and Kante’s Player of the Season performances combined to produce worthy champions.
Where it all started from is still being argued by many. Some think it started from Day one, when Conte set foot in the Chelsea training center. Others believe the 3-0 defeat by Arsenal woke the Blues out of their slumber and forced the Italian to play his famed “3-4-2-1/3-4-3” hand which most clubs found hard to break down.
Whichever party is correct, the obvious is this: Chelsea are champions and it didn’t take long to see the coronation ceremony coming.
The 2016/2017 season has come and gone. The memories left behind will surely linger for yet a while. Till the next season comes around, we will enjoy these memories while we wait for the next package of surprises.
What were your favourite moments of the 2016/2017 Premier League season? Let’s continue the discussion in the comments.