Who were the 2017 champions?
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea are the reigning Premier League champions after winning the title in 2016/17, but who were the division’s outstanding side in the calendar year?
With 2017 now over, we look back at the last 12 months and rank the 23 teams who appeared in the top flight by the amount of points amassed in that time.
23. Sunderland (10 points)
After flirting with the drop for several seasons, Sunderland finally fell through the Premier League trapdoor last term. David Moyes’ men picked up just 10 points in 2017, with victories over Crystal Palace and Hull not enough to keep the Black Cats’ heads above water.
A 1-0 defeat by Bournemouth in late April sealed their fate, with Sunderland then going on to lose their final three games of the campaign.
22. Middlesbrough (10 points)
Middlesbrough were unable to extend their top-flight stay by more than a year following promotion from the Championship in 2015/16. Aitor Karanka’s charges were 16th in the standings when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s night, but they soon slipped into the bottom three after failing to win any of their first 16 matches in 2017.
Boro did triumph in April’s Tees-Wear derby against Sunderland once Steve Agnew had replaced Karanka at the helm, but their tally of 10 points in 19 games wasn’t sufficient to stay up.
21. Newcastle (19 points)
Newcastle sealed promotion back to the Premier League in April, but their return to the big time has been mixed. Rafael Benitez’s men rose as high as fourth place in the early weeks of 2017/18, with wins secured against West Ham, Swansea and Stoke, but a run of eight defeats in nine between late October and mid-December sent the Magpies hurtling down the table.
A 3-2 victory over West Ham brought that dismal stretch to an end, but Newcastle weren’t able to do quite enough to finish outside the 2017 bottom three.
20. Hull (21 points)
Having taken just 13 points from a possible 57 in the first half of the 2016/17 season, most onlookers expected Hull to sink back to the second tier without a trace. The appointment of Marco Silva gave them a fighting chance of survival, though, with the Tigers climbing out of the bottom three in April after winning five of their first 12 encounters in 2017.
Five losses in their last seven games proved fatal, however, with Silva ultimately unable to keep Hull above the dreaded dotted line. Still, a tally of 21 points was highly respectable given the mess the club found themselves in at the turn of the year.
19. Brighton (22 points)
Brighton were among the favourites for relegation back in the summer, but the seasiders’ supporters will now be quietly confident of securing another season of Premier League football.
That’s largely down to a positive first half of the campaign, which saw Chris Hughton’s side collect 21 points before the turn of the year, with West Brom, Newcastle, West Ham, Swansea and Watford all beaten by the Seagulls. Matching that haul in 2018 will almost certainly be enough to stave off the drop.
18. Huddersfield (24 points)
Huddersfield’s return to the top tier after a 45-year absence was suitably dramatic, David Wagner’s side requiring a penalty shoot-out to squeeze past Reading in the Championship play-off final in May.
They certainly haven’t looked out of their depth in the Premier League, with the Terriers winning six and drawing six of their top-flight games in 2017. A famous 2-1 defeat of Manchester United in October was undoubtedly the highlight of their season so far.
17. West Brom (35 points)
West Brom were eighth on New Year’s Day 2017, with a 2-1 win at Southampton 24 hours before leaving Baggies fans dreaming of Europe. The season ended with seven defeats in eight, though, and Tony Pulis’ side managed just four goals in that time.
West Brom got off to an excellent start in 2017/18, triumphing in back-to-back matches against Bournemouth and Burnley in August, but Pulis was sacked after 10 games without a victory. Alan Pardew has yet to inspire a turnaround – the West Midlanders still haven’t won since that Burnley success – leaving the Baggies with the worst points record of the 17 teams who have participated in the Premier League throughout 2017.
16. West Ham (41 points)
West Ham’s 2017 was more turbulent than most, with supporters still getting used to a new stadium and the team struggling for consistency on the pitch. The year began brightly with just two defeats in seven, but five consecutive losses thereafter left Slaven Bilic fearing the chop as the east Londoners slipped down the table.
The Hammers opted to stick with the former Croatia manager at the start of 2017/18, but his employment was terminated after only two wins in 11. With David Moyes now in charge, West Ham fans will hope the next 12 months are somewhat smoother.
15. Bournemouth (42 points)
Bournemouth secured their highest league finish of all time in 2016/17, when Eddie Howe’s side ended the season in ninth. A tough start to last year saw the Cherries fail to win any of their first eight Premier League assignments, but triumphs over West Ham, Swansea, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Burnley helped the south-coast side climb into the top half of the table.
Another relegation battle could be on the cards this time around, though, with Bournemouth taking 20 points pre-New Year’s Day.
14. Southampton (42 points)
Many felt Claude Puel was unfortunate to lose his job at Southampton after guiding the club to an eighth-place finish and the EFL Cup final in 2016/17, and Saints’ subsequent form under Mauricio Pellegrino suggests they may be right.
The ex-Alaves boss oversaw just four Premier League victories in the second half of 2017, which is two fewer than Puel managed between January and May. All in all, it wasn’t the best year for Southampton in terms of top-flight results.
13. Stoke (43 points)
Stoke seem to have struggled for much of the last 12 months, with a general malaise threatening to engulf the club at various points in 2017. Their points total early in the calendar year was actually pretty good, however, the Potters making a strong start to with early victories over Watford, Sunderland and Crystal Palace
Mark Hughes' men tailed off towards the end of the campaign to finish 13th, though, and the 2017/18 season has been tough up to now, with Hughes coming under pressure after five defeats in six games in November and December.
12. Watford (43 points)
Just as they find themselves in mid-table in the current Premier League standings, Watford are positioned halfway up the calendar year rankings after accruing 43 points in 2017.
The Hornets underwhelmed for much of 2016/17, eventually finishing 17th after concluding the campaign with six successive defeats. Marco Silva replaced Walter Mazzarri in the summer and hit the ground running at Vicarage Road, but a difficult December denied Watford a top-half placing in this list.
11. Crystal Palace (44 points)
Crystal Palace set a new record when they lost their first seven games of 2017/18 without scoring a goal, but a tally of 44 points in the calendar year places them ahead of 12 other sides.
Sam Allardyce was responsible for 25 of those, as memorable triumphs over Chelsea and Arsenal helped the Eagles to clamber out of danger. His replacement Frank de Boer was sacked after four pointless matches, but Roy Hodgson has since steadied the ship and led Palace out of the drop zone.
10. Swansea (45 points)
Swansea find themselves rooted to the foot of the table as 2018 begins, but anyone looking to write them off should cast their minds back to this time last year. Indeed, the Welsh outfit were in the exact same position 12 months ago, but Paul Clement engineered a turnaround and kept the Swans in the division by taking 29 points in the second half of the campaign.
Swansea supporters will hope Carlos Carvalhal can inspire a similar upturn in fortunes in 2018, even if the former Sheffield Wednesday boss has been handed an extremely difficult task.
9. Leicester (51 points)
It feels an awfully long time since Claudio Ranieri was in charge of Leicester, but the Foxes began 2017 under the Italian’s stewardship. The current Nantes head coach contributed just a single point to the club’s calendar year tally, however, with replacement Craig Shakespeare pulling Leicester clear of relegation trouble with seven wins in 13.
Shakespeare was himself sent packing in October, which preceded a run of five victories in eight games under Claude Puel. It was an eventful year for Leicester, but only two clubs outside the big six accumulated more points than the East Midlanders in 2017.
8. Burnley (51 points)
Burnley only won four games in the second portion of the 2016/17 campaign, with their points return before the New Year going a long way to keeping the club in the Premier League.
Sean Dyche’s side were widely tipped for another season of struggle in 2017/18, but they have instead been the division’s surprise package up to now. The Clarets started as they intended to go on with a shock 3-2 defeat of champions Chelsea on the opening day, before accruing a further 31 points in the four months since then.
7. Everton (61 points)
Everton didn’t move above or below seventh place in the table from Boxing Day onwards in 2016/17, with the Toffees taking 34 of a possible 57 points in the second half of the season.
The start of 2017/18 proved rather more dramatic, as just two wins in nine games cost Ronald Koeman his job. Caretaker manager David Unsworth then struggled to steady the ship, but Sam Allardyce succeeded in restoring the Merseysiders to a more even keel in the final month of the year.
6. Liverpool (74 points)
In terms of the Premier League’s big six, Liverpool finished 2017 with the worst record. Having been challenging at the top of the table in the first half of 2016/17, the Reds’ form dipped in the New Year as injuries piled up and the fixtures came thick and fast.
Jurgen Klopp’s charges only won one of their first seven games last year, but they recovered to finish in the Champions League qualification spots ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United. Forty-one pre-New Year points in 2017/18 wasn’t quite enough to carry Liverpool into the top four here, though.
5. Arsenal (76 points)
Arsenal finished fifth in 2016/17 and that’s exactly where they find themselves in this calendar year ranking. Arsene Wenger’s charges endured a difficult start to 2017, losing four of five top-flight outings between the end of January and the middle of March; the Gunners did bounce back to end the campaign with five straight victories, but they still missed out on a place in the top four.
Arsenal also find themselves outside the Champions League spots at the time of writing, with Wenger’s men collecting 38 points before the arrival of 2018.
4. Man United (77 points)
Manchester United may have missed out on the top four in 2016/17, but they scrape into it when points are calculated over the course of the calendar year.
Only rivals Manchester City and Chelsea could better their pre-New Year’s Day haul of 44 this term, although a poor end to last season – United won just one of their last six games – leaves them some way behind the division’s three highest points-collectors. The Red Devils didn’t lose any of their first 15 matches in 2017, but a propensity to draw rather than win meant they had to rely on Europa League glory to qualify for the Champions League.
3. Tottenham (87 points)
Spurs began the year with a bang, thrashing Watford 4-1 at Vicarage Road, before going on to accrue 47 more points in the remainder of the campaign to finish second behind champions in 2016/17.
The north Londoners were slower starters in 2017/18, but despite disappointing defeats by Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City, they did enough to keep hold of place in the top three in the calendar year table. It could have been even better for Mauricio Pochettino's men, who didn't play over New Year's weekend and were thus denied the chance to climb into second spot.
2. Chelsea (89 points)
Chelsea will certainly not be disheartened by their second-place finish in 2017, with Antonio Conte & Co. able to console themselves with the Premier League winner’s medals they were awarded last season.
The Blues began the year with a 2-0 defeat by Tottenham, a result which ended their 13-game winning run. It didn’t take long for Conte to shake that loss out of his players’ system, as Chelsea marched on to win their second championship in three seasons. It’s hard to see them adding another crown to the cabinet in 2017/18, but 45 points is a respectable tally heading into January.
1. Man City (98 points)
Manchester City are the calendar year champions after collecting 98 points from a possible 120. Pep Guardiola’s men have been almost perfect in 2017/18, winning all but two of their first 21 encounters to open up a healthy lead at the summit of the standings, but they were also very strong in the second half of last term.
Indeed, after suffering a 4-0 defeat by Everton in mid-January, the Citizens recovered to avoid defeat in all but one of their remaining 17 fixtures, scoring 39 goals and recording 10 victories in that time.
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