As the Premier League season draws to a climatic end today, the title race will naturally overtake everything as we are finally put out of our misery and see either Manchester City and Liverpool lift the league trophy.
Misery might be putting it too strongly, but it certainly will be a relief when we, at last, find out if either side ‘bottle it’ on the final day of the season.
Not only has it been one of the tightest-fought title races in several years but has also been drawn out over several months. Fans of both teams (and fans of other top six teams) have been waiting for months, tuning in week-in-week-out in the hope of a slip-up to no avail.
Outside of the title race there have been some star players, stand-out moments and surprise additions to the Premier League story.
The Premier League spending power has been at the forefront of this season. The ‘prestige’ of the league is evidently no longer the biggest allure to it. There have been some strong signings from teams outside of the top-six further adding to the competitiveness of the league.
The signing of the year though has to go to Felipe Anderson for West Ham. Snapped up from Lazio for £27 milion, the midfielder has been pivotal to West Ham’s season.
Although they did have a tough start to the season, once he settled in the league, he has been the stand-out player for Manuel Pellegrini.
Honourable Mentions - Joao Moutinho (Wolves), Raul Jimenez (Wolves), James Maddison (Leicester)
It’s been a tough few years for Manchester fans. They’ve seen signing, after signing, come through the door, all labelled as the final ingredient to fixing a disjointed team.
First it was David Moyes, who couldn’t nail down a signing and settled with Fellaini. Then came Louis Van Gaal who went for flamboyant wingers like Angel Di Maria, who didn’t suit his style. In came Jose Mourinho to fix it all.
Six years and £800 million down the line they still, somehow, have five starters from Sir Alex Ferguson’s time in charge.
If any player sums up the wasteful nature of Man United’s spending it is Fred. Coming in for 50 million he struggled to break into the first team and when he managed that, he has look average at best.
Not physical enough to be a big presence and lacks the passing range to control the pace of the game. Still, Mourinho wasn’t given the money to buy a centre-back, right?
Best manager (Outside of Pep and Klopp, obviously)
There are a couple of names that are worth considering when it comes to manager of the season.
It’s not only the players that are drawn to the ‘prestige’ of the league after all. The Premier League has no shortage of world class managers.
The stand-out winner though is Nuno-Esperito Santo. Yes, the Wolves boss has been aided by a substantial transfer budget and a super-agent at his whim. However, to take a newly-promoted side to a race for Europe without sacrificing the style of play is exceptional.
Wolves have been brave against the top teams in the league and dominant in many of the games.
Honourable mentions: Rafa Benitez, Mauricio Pellegrino, Neil Warnock (no, really)
Virgil Van Dijk. If you watched football this year, I shouldn’t need to explain why.
If you haven’t, some context. Liverpool before Virgil Van Dijk - Goals conceded 42 (2016/17), 38 (2017/18). Goals conceded with Van Dijk - 22.
He has been more important to the title race than any of the Liverpool front three.
An integral part to that Wolves side was one of our own and an easy choice for the best newcomer; Matt Doherty.
He has been brilliant all year for the club and very unlucky not to make it into the PFA Team of the Year.
He rightfully earned his call-up to the Irish set-up (despite wearing gloves), was rewarded with a new contract by Wolves and has had more appearances on MOTD than Jermaine Jenas this season. A fantastic year for the Dubliner.