by Victor Opone
Wow! Finally, we get to see the end of what has largely been an intriguing football season in the English Premier League! What a season it has been!
On one hand, it’s been a largely forgettable season for fans of certain clubs (Swansea, Stoke City, West Brom). On the other, it’s been ten months of truly unforgettable Premier League moments for some other clubs.
It was a season that featured non-stop movements in the managerial circle (more on that on this platform at a later time), quite the handful of talking points, broken records and so much more. Let’s just kick-start this vehicle already!
As I travel back in time and take a look at my unforgettable moments from the past 10 months, it shall be a month-by-month journey with some additions from other leagues – and the UCL too.
The whole transfer window noise and fanfare pushed into this month. Notable movements included Romelu Lukau’s move to Manchester United from Everton for an initial 75million pounds (rising to 90 million according to British media reports).
There was also Alvaro Morata’s reported 58million pounds move from Real Madrid to Chelsea after a really tiring drawn out process. The noise and comparisons following these two moves wouldn’t die down until some months into the season.
It was month of huge signings as names joined the league. Alexandre Lacazette joined Arsenal for a club record fee. Tiemoue Bakayoko moved to Chelsea from AS Monaco. Manchester City added Ederson (a record fee for goalkeeper) and Kyle Walker to their ranks.
There was also Salah’s 34 million pounds move from Roma to Liverpool – a figure which now seems ridiculously low – and, most surprising of all, the surprise signing of Nemanja Matic’s by Manchester United from Chelsea.
Arsenal’s 4-3 Friday night thriller against Leicester. Manchester United’s 4-goal resounding victories, Mhkitaryan’s 5 assists in 3 games, Morata’s 2 goals and 2 assists in just 3 appearances and Pogba’s lighting up of the month.
At this point, the Premier League looked like it was going to be a Manchester affair at the top of the table. Laughs. Well, it still remains both teams in the Top two at the end but that gulf between them was really not imagined at this time.
Of course, there was Aguero breaking City’s goal-scoring record [if only we had known this was a sign to watch out for!] Everton playing some geriatric football with Rooney and gang before Oumar Niasse broke out to give us a short thriller that started with two goals.
Tottenham finally won a game inside the Wembley Stadium. Watford under Marco Silva were still blazing with Doucoure and Richarlison. City ended the month with a Kevin DeBruyne left-footed blazer at the Stamford Bridge. For me, it was West Brom’s Gareth Barry breaking the record for most top flight appearances against Arsenal with his 633rd spread across 4 clubs (can you name them?), beating Ryan Giggs’ previous 632 appearances for Manchester United.
Of course, the October 1 Catalan referendum shook the world. 23rd of October was all London as the FIFA Best awards took place with Giroud winning the Puskas award for his scorpion kick against Crystal Palace in January.
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) October 24, 2017
No Premier League player or Englishman in the FIFPro World XI. Francis Kone rightly won the Fair Play award whilst Buffon was named the safest hands in world football. Cristiano Ronaldo won the Men’s Best player while Lieke Mertens of Barcelona Ladies and Holland won for the females.
Real Madrid’s Zidane, following his back to back UCL triumphs in his first two seasons of management lifted the award for Men’s Coach of the year while Holland’s Sarina Wiegman won in the women’s category.
November kicked off with a Chelsea victory over Manchester United after the latter’s 0-0 draw at Anfield against Liverpool and a surprise defeat in the hands of Huddersfield Town (the beginning of unenviable record for Jose Mourinho’s men).
The swagger was becoming nonexistent! #MindTheGap. It was already increasing. November 5 and Man City was already 8 points clear.
MatchDay 16 and Man City had already equalled the record for the most consecutive wins in the Premier League era, previously held by Arsenal from 2002. They did it against Manchester United, at the Old Trafford. Man City would go on to garner 46 points from those first 16 games.
15 wins for the season in the bag! Mahrez started to shine after Craig Shakespeare was replaced by Claude Puel but it was DeGea’s heroics for Manchester United in that 3-1 victory at the Emirates against Arsenal that sent wave upon wave of emotions through football lovers all over.
Well, Cristiano Ronaldo won his 5th Balon d’Or award equaling Messi’s record haul! #WengerOut was still in fullblown mode.
Just pick one. Coutinho’s surprise move to Barcelona from Liverpool. Those Morata misses in the Arsenal-Chelsea triple treat for the month. Sanchez’s surprise move from Arsenal to Manchester City……. Oops! My bad!
We all figured that was his destination till he decided to go exhale on a cold night at the Theatre of Dreams, Old Trafford. The memes that followed. Oh! There was Olivier Giroud, Puskas Award winner. Scorer of headed goals! Replacer of Michy Batshuayi!
Yeah, he left the red of North London to blue it up with Morata in West London. Deadline day was sure fun. Why not? Chelsea signed another injured player. Make that two. Ross Barkley and Emerson Palmieras from Roma.
Of course, Ronaldo finally got in the goals after a meager two league goals from August to December.
Brighton spanking Swansea 4-1 (a win that would aid their confidence and help their survival) is one of the unforgettable moments from this month. Steve Mounie was in hot goal-scoring form to enhance Huddersfield Town’s chances of survival. Burnley held City to a draw.
But it was the return to UCL action that made everyone crazy. Fixtures between Juventus and Tottenham (a hope-raising 2-2 draw in the first leg meant nothing at the end with Juve winning 2-1 at Wembley in the second leg).
There was Real Madrid’s win over PSG and Chelsea earning a 3-0 second leg knockout in the hands of Barcelona despite a 1-1 result in the first leg. For me, I would like to appreciate everyone who still have vivid memories of that mental Watford 4-1 victory over Chelsea (why did Hazard make them angry?), or the other Bournemouth victory against Chelsea.
Liverpool played out a goalless draw in the second leg. Man City got beaten by Basel in the second leg fixture. Both were still keeping hopes of having all five English teams still in the UCL.
Well, that was until Tottenham, Chelsea and then Manchester United succumbed to blowing defeats in the second leg of the round of 16. Boys separated from the men!
April 3. Sevilla, who had previously knocked Man Utd out, scored three goals in the match against Bayern on home soil – goals that were enough to knock them out of the UCL football season
But elsewhere that night, a certain demigod was getting a standing ovation from opposition fans after an incredible display (made juicier with that acrobatic goal). Buffon could not do anything other than praise his tormentor in chief. The records he made that night.
The next night had Barcelona win 4-1 against Roma, a win that would set the ground rolling for the theme of the month. Liverpool, though, had the second biggest of results over the quarterfinal stage, defeating league rivals Man City first in a 3-0 thriller then a 2-1 victory at the Etihad after Manchester United had kickstarted the #Comeback series with a 3-2 victory over Manchester City. Manchester City were hugely expected to win at least two of those three matches, one of which was to confirm their title win- Mourinho had other plans, it could only happen on his own terms!
April will best be remembered for comebacks! Roma ensured this! A resounding 3-0 second leg victory set them up for a semifinal date with Liverpool. Juventus almost created something similar till that last minute brain-burst! Buffon and Mehdi Benatia still have sleepless nights!
Of course, similar scenes were replayed between Roma and Liverpool but Roma couldn’t complete the script! Real Madrid also ensured the hardwork of Kimmich and the vow of James Rodriguez, who was seeking revenge, was all in vain.
Let’s not forget that on April 15 Manchester City confirmed themselves as Premier League Champions. Barcelona followed suit soon after in the LaLiga. There was that VAR drama in the Bundesliga. There was the loss of Ray Wilkins to illness too.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) May 13, 2018
Well, Arsene Wenger left it late! Thank you! Thank you! You can now burn all those #WengerOut banners now.
All three promoted teams confirmed survival, a rare feat. Burnley confirmed their Europa League qualification. West Brom’s run under Darren Moore continued, albeit not enough to keep them up. Stoke City finally getting relegated.
IT'S OFFICIAL! pic.twitter.com/fxUdElH3NP
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) May 5, 2018
Then there was the shock news of Sir Alex Ferguson’s sudden illness, the little refereeing drama in the El Clasico despite its reduced importance and PSG won an incredible domestic treble during the French football season.
There’s still the UCL final to watch out for though.
What else? Did I miss out on any other key moment from this football season? Feel free to update the list by adding yours to the comments section below.
Author: For The Goal
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