It’s been a great start to the season for many and not great for some. That’s what makes football the most exciting sport on the planet. It’s not an exact science and nowhere is this more evident that in the English Premier League. Anyone can beat anyone. The form book often goes out of the window, especially during the busy Christmas period. So who are the 2017 Premier League winners and losers?
2017 Premier League Winners and Losers
1. Pep Guardiola – Winner
When Pep first arrived on these shores in 2016 he was lauded as one of the game’s greats. Why wouldn’t he be? Having introduced ‘tiki-taka’ football to Barcelona (winning 14 major trophies along the way, including two Champions League and three La Liga titles) and glory to Bayern Munich (seven major trophies), he was met with much eagerness by Manchester City fans and by scepticism by the nation’s media.
Guardiola struggled in his first season. Journalists were constantly on his back as he found the Premier League to be a completely different beast to La Liga or Bundesliga. It started out well, but with a bad run of form and tension from journalists who said he wasn’t up to the job, his side finished third, 15 points behind champions Chelsea.
This year is completely different. Manchester City are the most exhilarating team in the league, if not the world. Guardiola has changed the tactics of the team, introducing star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne to a deeper role, allowing him to control the play. The manager has also added the right players to fit his system, which means that they haven’t lost a single game in the league this year and are 15 points clear at the top already.
2. Dele Alli – Loser
Alli has been named the PFA Young Player of the Year for the last two seasons. Hailed as one of the brightest young talents in England, he has been excellent at Tottenham Hotspur and at international level. However, this season has been different.
Alli has struggled in recent games, tending to drift in and out of the play. What is more worrying is his immaturity. Whilst aggression is a key component of the sport, the ability to control it is just as important. Alli has struggled to do this. When things aren’t going his way, he’ll fly into reckless and dangerous challenges. He’ll dive. He’ll whinge. He was even banned earlier this year for making an obscene gesture which was caught on camera.
Alli has a raw talent that many don’t have. But he will have to harness it in the correct way to help his team. If he doesn’t, his lack of control could not only hurt his club, but also his country.
3. Mo Salah – Winner
The diminutive Egyptian winger has torn the league apart with his electric pace and skill, wreaking havoc against defensive units. Salah has scored 15 goals in 21 Premier League appearances, an awesome return for a winger.
He’s of course no stranger to the Premier League, having recently played for Chelsea. However, he wasn’t given a real opportunity to showcase his talents and was was quickly moved on.
Liverpool have a genuine match winner on their hands in Salah. Teams have to defend deep to combat his pace in turn allowing other players the space to operate. Salah has started this season with a bang and shows no intention of slowing down.
4. Harry Kane – Winner
What more can be said about Kane? He’s scored a record-breaking 39 Premier League goals in 2017. He’s scored two hat tricks in his last two games. When he is in form, he is the best striker in the world.
Kane will look to continue his great form throughout 2018. His club, Tottenham Hotspur, are even looking to break their own wage structure to keep the local boy at the club. Without doubt, giants such as Barcelona and Real Madrid will look to tempt him away and it will be down to Spurs to keep hold of him.
5. Joe Hart – Loser
The West Ham United goalkeeper has had a year to forget. Having been told by Guardiola to look for a new club, Hart went to Torino on loan. An unspectacular season in Italy was followed by a loan move to West Ham.
However, his performances at the Hammers have led to him being dropped as first choice keeper. Coupled with awful performances at Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018 on the horizon, it’s very unlikely that he’ll play for England again.
6. Swansea City – Loser
The Swans have had a disastrous start to the campaign, sitting rock bottom of the table. Managerial woes have contributed to the poor performances as well as a lack of direction in the transfer market.
The Swans have recently appointed a new manager in Carlos Carvalhal who will be looking to turn around their season. Perhaps most worrying is the lack of goals scored by the team, having only hit the target 11 times.