October 20, 2018, 11:04

Story of the 2017/18 Premier League season

Story of the 2017/18 Premier League season

Another memorable Premier League season has come to an end. Recall the highs and lows in our month-by-month review.

AUGUST

Manchester United were the early team to beat as the 2017/18 season got underway, winning their opening three games against West Ham, Swansea and Leicester – netting ten goals in the process and conceding none.

August awards Player of the month Sadio Mane (Liverpool) Manager of the month David Wagner (Huddersfield) Goal of the month Charlie Daniels (BOURNEMOUTH v Man City)

Newly promoted Huddersfield were also a surprise early-season package, winning their opening two matches and drawing the other. It saw them sitting in the lofty heights of third by the end of the month, ahead of eventual champions Manchester City on goal difference.

There were three sides who failed to win any of their opening three games – Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and West Ham – although all eventually escaped the drop.

Match of the month – Chelsea 2-3 Burnley

Relive the highlights of Burnley's 3-2 win against Chelsea on the opening day of the season

Chelsea’s defence of their Premier League title got off to a terrible, but thoroughly entertaining start as they lost 3-2 to Burnley at Stamford Bridge.

Gary Cahill was sent off in the 14th minute before Burnley raced into a 3-0 first-half lead, but Chelsea scored twice in the second period to give themselves hope of a draw. However, Cesc Fabregas was also dismissed in the 81st minute as the Blues ended the game with nine men.

Professor X-cited

After Huddersfield’s good start to the season, famous fan Patrick Stewart was in high spirits.

SEPTEMBER

Just 11 days into September – and 77 days after he was appointed – we saw the first Premier League managerial casualty of the season as Frank de Boer was sacked by Crystal Palace with the club rock bottom of the table with no points and no goals scored. Enter former England boss Roy Hodgson the next day.

September awards Player of the month Harry Kane (Tottenham) Manager of the month Pep Guardiola (Man City) Goal of the month Antonio Valencia (MAN UTD v Everton)

September was when Pep Guardiola’s Man City hit their stride. They won three of their four games by five goals or more – including a 5-0 demolition of Liverpool – and did not concede in any, going above Manchester United on goal difference – where they have stayed ever since.

Jose Mourinho’s men continued to match their local rivals, and although they started the month off with a 2-2 draw with Stoke – their first goals conceded – they won their next three games by a 9-0 aggregate score as the two Manchester clubs opened up a five-point gap between themselves and Tottenham in third.

Match of the month – Man City 5-0 Liverpool

Relive the highlights of Man City's 5-0 win against Liverpool

Just a week after a big 4-0 win against Arsenal themselves, Liverpool crumbled under the pressure from a Man City side at their pacy, passing best.

Sergio Aguero had already scored before Sadio Mane was sent off in the 37th minute, with Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane adding two goals apiece to send Man City top of the Premier League.

Quote of the month

OCTOBER

Manchester City continued to dominate, kicking the month off with 7-2 win against Stoke City before further victories against Burnley and West Brom. It opened up a five-point gap over Manchester United, who draw, lost and won their three October games.

October awards Player of the month Leroy Sane (Man City) Manager of the month Pep Guardiola (Man City) Goal of the month Sofiane Boufal (SOUTHAMPTON v West Brom)

Everton continued to slide down the Premier League table with no victories in October (D1, L3), seeing Ronald Koeman sacked by the club on October 23 with the club in 18th place with eight points. Leicester also dismissed Craig Shakespeare on October 17 having won just one game.

They won their next two games under Michael Appleton then Claude Puel, who beat Everton 2-0 in his first match in charge and saw David Unsworth lose his maiden game as caretaker manager.

Match of the month – Huddersfield 2-1 Man Utd

Relive the highlights of Huddersfield's 2-1 win against Man Utd

A victory that will live in the memory of Huddersfield fans for years to come, the Terriers registered a 2-1 win against the might of Manchester United, who suffered their first defeat of the Premier League season.

Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre put the hosts ahead before Marcus Rashford pulled a goal back for Jose Mourinho’s side, but they could not find an equaliser against an inspired Huddersfield side. It left United five points behind Man City while David Wagner’s side moved into the top half.

Quote of the month

NOVEMBER

Slaven Bilic was sacked by West Ham with the club in the bottom three after three defeats in four games at the London Stadium – a 4-1 loss at home to Liverpool proved the final straw. Tony Pulis also left West Brom having become a victim of his own football philosophy at The Hawthorns, leaving the Baggies sitting a place above the relegation zone.

November awards Player of the month Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) Manager of the month Pep Guardiola (Manchester City) Goal of the month Wayne Rooney (EVERTON v West Ham)

The month ended with Everton finally appointing Sam Allardyce as Ronald Koeman’s successor while Pep Guardiola won the manager of the month award for the third time in a row while stretching Man City’s winning run to a club-record 12 straight league victories.

That run left City eight points clear of their neighbours United in second, aided by their rivals losing 1-0 at Chelsea, while Tottenham lost further ground courtesy of a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal as well as a disappointing 1-1 draw against managerless West Brom at Wembley.

Match of the month Everton 3-2 Watford

Relive the highlights of Everton's 3-2 win against Watford

Three days after being dumped out of the Europa League, Everton came from two goals down to beat Watford 3-2 in a breathtaking encounter at Goodison Park.

Richarlison and Christian Kabasele gave the Hornets a commanding lead early in the second half, but goals from Oumar Niasse, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Leighton Baines’ spot-kick in stoppage-time ensured an incredible fightback.

There might have been further drama as Tom Cleverley had the opportunity to convert a penalty for the visitors in the 11th minute of injury time – but the former Everton midfielder fired wide as the hosts held on for a crucial victory.

Quote of the month

DECEMBER

Attention soon turned to the first Manchester derby of the season. The pressure was on Man Utd to breathe life into their flailing title challenge at Old Trafford, but goals in either half from David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi saw Man City open up an ominous 11-point gap just 16 games into the season.

December awards Player of the month Harry Kane (Tottenham) Manager of the month Pep Guardiola (Man City) Goal of the month Jermain Defoe (C Palace v BOURNEMOUTH)

Pep Guardiola’s side would go on to beat Swansea, Tottenham, Bournemouth and Newcastle before the end of the year to extend their formidable record to 18 straight wins – a new Premier League record. United, meanwhile, continued to lose ground, drawing to Leicester, Burnley and Southampton over the festive period.

It was not a very happy Christmas for Paul Clement, who was sacked by Swansea on December 20 with the club sitting bottom of the table, and Carlos Carvalahl appointed eight days later after his own sacking from Sheffield Wednesday on Christmas Eve. He won his first game 2-1 against Watford to move Swansea off the bottom of the table.

Match of the Month – Arsenal 1-3 Man Utd

Relive the highlights of Man Utd's 3-1 win against Arsenal

The final month of 2017 kicked off with one of the games and performances of the season, as the impenetrable David de Gea inspired Manchester United to a 3-1 victory at Arsenal.

The Gunners, who had won their previous 12 home league games, registered a staggering 33 attempts on goal, 16 of which were on target.

But 14 saves from the United goalkeeper – the joint-highest in the Premier League since Opta began collecting such data in 2003/04 – kept Arsenal at bay, allowing Antonio Valencia’s early opener and Jesse Lingard’s double to seal an unlikely United victory.

Quote of the month

JANUARY

Man City went into the New Year still unbeaten (just), and got back to winning ways against Watford at the Etihad, before a seven-goal thriller at Anfield. More on that later, but they came out of January in fine shape, starting the month 14 points clear, and ending it 15 clear.

January awards Player of the month Sergio Aguero (Man City) Manager of the month Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Goal of the month Willian (Brighton v CHELSEA)

There was another classic at the Emirates as Arsenal drew 2-2 with Chelsea, a result which helped neither side as they began to realise their high hopes for the season were dwindling, while Manchester United plodded along with three wins, before a woeful show at Wembley against Spurs on Deadline Day.

There was plenty happening off the pitch, too. Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan swapped clubs, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrived at Arsenal too, Philippe Coutinho left Liverpool for Barcelona, and the Reds finally signed Virgil van Dijk.

Stoke and Watford panicked as Mark Hughes was replaced by Paul Lambert at the bet365 Stadium while Javi Gracia took over from Marco Silva after the Hornets failed to win a single game in January.

Match of the month – Liverpool 4-3 Man City

In a bizarre encounter, three Liverpool goals in 10 second-half minutes ended Man City’s unbeaten run as Mo Salah and friends ran riot on Pep Guardiola’s defence.

Relive the highlights of Liverpool's 4-3 win against Man City

Man City even came away from the game with some of the plaudits after a late fight-back brought them to within a whisker of a point in a blistering encounter between two of the most entertaining sides in the top flight. Jurgen Klopp said we’d be talking about this game in 20 years. He may be right.

The piano man

We’re not sure either…

“I actually think United fans deserve better. They are a rich man’s Stoke at the moment. Yes, they’re doing well, they’re in second, but there’s a lack of ambition in their playing style.”

Ollie Holt on Sunday Supplement after Man Utd’s narrow’s 1-0 win over Burnley.

FEBRUARY

Henrikh Mkhitaryan introduced himself to Arsenal fans in style with the Armenian’s balletic feet helping provide three assists on his home debut as Everton were crushed 5-1 at the Emirates. Alexis Sanchez also marked his first appearance at Old Trafford with a goal in United’s 2-0 win over Huddersfield, but it wasn’t a sign of things to come with the Chilean only netting twice since.

February awards Player of the month Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) Manager of the month Chris Hughton (Brighton) Goal of the month Victor Wanyama (Liverpool v TOTTENHAM)

A week after salvaging a dramatic point at Liverpool, Tottenham took their revenge over Arsenal at Wembley following their North London derby defeat earlier in the season, with a Harry Kane strike sealing a 1-0 win.

Swansea continued their resurgence under Carvalhal by taking four points from a trip to Leicester and a home encounter with Burnley, meaning only Spurs (15) had won more Premier League points than the Swans (14) since the Portuguese took charge.

Brighton also experienced a fine month as Chris Hughton’s side took seven points from their three games, but the signs looked ominous for West Brom following three straight defeats, including two at home to relegation rivals Southampton and Huddersfield.

Match of the month – Liverpool 2-2 Tottenham

Relive the highlights of Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Tottenham

Harry Kane scored an injury-time penalty after missing an earlier one for Tottenham to salvage a draw in an extraordinary clash with Liverpool. The Reds were leading 1-0 with 12 minutes left after Salah’s opener but Victor Wanyama thumped Spurs level before Kane won a penalty on 85 minutes.

However, the England international spurned the opportunity and Salah sensationally put Liverpool in front in injury time with an exquisite solo effort.

That looked the end of the drama but Spurs won a second penalty with their final attack when the linesman overruled referee Jon Moss for a Virgil van Dijk challenge on Erik Lamela. Kane didn’t miss for a second time.

Quote of the month

MARCH

The top four looked to be taking shape in March, with Man City, Man Utd and Tottenham winning all of their games in the month – the latter opening up an eight-point gap over Chelsea in fifth. The Blues only played two games in March, losing to City before beating Crystal Palace.

March awards Player of the month Mo Salah (Liverpool) Manger of the month Sean Dyche (Burnley) Goal of the month Jamie Vardy (West Brom 1-4 LEICESTER)

But the month belonged to Liverpool’s Mo Salah, who put in a superb performance during the Reds’ 5-0 thrashing of Watford to take his goal tally to 36 goals in all competitions – a record for a Liverpool player in their debut season.

There were more managerial departures, with Southampton parting ways with Mauricio Pellegrino on March 12 after a run of one Premier League win in 17 games and the Saints a point outside the relegation places. Mark Hughes took over two days later, but lost his first league game in charge against West Ham.

Match of the month – Liverpool 5-0 Watford

Relive the highlights of Liverpool's 5-0 win against Watford

Salah shined during the Anfield encounter as the Egyptian scored four goals – the fourth Liverpool player to do so in a single Premier League game – and assisted Roberto Firmino’s fifth, breaking numerous records in the process.

He netted twice in the first half before setting up his team-mate just after the break and adding his final two goals late in the game, becoming the first player to score from each of his four shots in the Premier League since Andrey Arshavin in April 2009.

Farewell, Zlatan

It was a typically low-key goodbye from Zlatan Ibrahimovic after he left Man Utd for LA Galaxy…

APRIL

April was a busy month as Manchester City were finally crowned as Premier League champions on April 15 after United lost 1-0 to West Brom, just a week after Mourinho’s side had pulled off a stunning comeback in the Manchester derby. In doing so, City matched United’s record of winning the title with five games to spare, achieved by the 2000/01 squad.

Tottenham also ended a 28-year hoodoo as they beat Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League – something they had not managed since February 1990 – to further boost their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

April awards Player of the month Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) Manager of the month Darren Moore (West Brom) Goal of the month Christen Eriksen (Chelsea 1-3 TOTTENHAM)

Off the field, Arsene Wenger announced he would be leaving Arsenal at the end of the season after 22 years in charge. He has taken charge of more Premier League games than any other manager in the competition (828) and won the title three times.

West Brom sacked a second manager of the season when Alan Pardew was dismissed on April 2 having won just one Premier League game during his tenure. Darren Moore took over as interim coach and had an instant impact, going unbeaten for the remainder of the month with two draws and two wins to give the Baggies a glimmer of hope of survival.

Match of the month – Man City 2-3 Man Utd

Relive the highlights of Man Utd's 3-2 win against Man City

One of the most entertaining Manchester derbies in recent memory, Man City could have clinched the title against their local rivals with a victory – but Man Utd came to spoil the party.

Guardiola’s side cruised into a 2-0 lead at half time with goals from Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan, but two goals from Paul Pogba in the first ten minutes of the second half sparked a comeback that was rounded off by Chris Smalling in the 69th minute.

But while United were able to enjoy the day, there were still 13 points between themselves and Man City at the top after the victory.

Merci Arsene

MAY

The race for the top four heated up as the Premier League entered its final month. After their loss to Tottenham in April, Chelsea went on a six-game unbeaten run to keep the pressure on Spurs and Liverpool, although Mauricio Pochettino’s side secured their Champions League place with a 1-0 win against Newcastle ahead of the final day.

May awards Player of the month TBC Manager of the month TBC Goal of the month TBC

Man City lifted the Premier League trophy in their penultimate home game of the season, while Yaya Toure was also given a fitting send-off after announcing he would be leaving the club. Arsenal also sent Wenger off in style with a 5-0 win against Burnley in his final home game, although their struggles on the road in 2018 continued.

Despite a sterling effort, Darren Moore’s West Brom were relegated alongside Stoke while a four-game unbeaten run for Southampton saw them drag themselves out of the relegation places and condemn Swansea to the drop, who lost their last five games of the season.

Match of the month – Arsenal 5-0 Burnley

Relive the highlights of Arsenal's 5-0 win against Burnley

Wenger made it 415 home Premier League wins as Arsenal manager with a thrashing of Burnley – who had pushed them close all season – and was certainly a fitting tribute to the outgoing Frenchman.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice, with other goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolasinac and Alex Iwobi sealing a final three points for the manager at the Emirates, who was given a farewell ceremony following the game to a full house of fans.

One star review

Southampton had a tongue-in-cheek review for the Swansea Marriott hotel after their booking was cancelled 24 hours before their crunch relegation game with the Swans.

Sourse: skysports.com

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