The 2016-17 season has seen Chelsea claim the Premier League title and Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho fail to live up to preseason expectations at Manchester City and Manchester United respectively. Tottenham have once again gone close to the title, but who have been the outstanding players and manager of the campaign?
David De Gea
It has not been a vintage season for goalkeepers, but the Manchester United No. 1 has arguably been the most consistent and the one most likely to produce a crucial save when it matters.
A model of consistency at the back for Chelsea and a player who has been crucial to the club’s success this season. Conte’s back three has worked so well because of Azpilicueta’s form.
His return to Chelsea from Paris Saint-Germain last August prompted many raised eyebrows, but Luiz has been outstanding at the heart of Conte’s back three and confounded the sceptics with his contribution to the club’s title success.
The Chelsea defender has grown into the role of being the club’s experienced head at the back and helped phase out John Terry. Cahill has also made the transition from a back four to a three under Antonio Conte.
The Manchester United player has been the best right-back / right wing-back in the Premier League. His physical gifts, combined with a better understanding of the role, have made him indispensable to Jose Mourinho.
Became the first player to win back-to-back titles with different clubs since Eric Cantona and also landed both Footballer of the Year awards. An exceptional defensive midfielder, who has been crucial for Chelsea.
The Kenyan midfielder has done for Tottenham what Kante has done for Chelsea, dominating the space in front of the back four and providing a formidable shield as well as the ability to create going forward.
A revelation on Chelsea’s left this season having initially disappointed in the Premier League with Bolton and Sunderland. His height, pace and strength have given great balance and he has also weighed in with crucial goals.
The Manchester City playmaker continues to be one of the most consistent creative forces in the Premier League, but rarely gets the credit he deserves. But for his contribution, Pep Guardiola’s first season in England would have been much worse.
After producing the worst form of his career last season, Hazard has bounced back and rediscovered his match-winning ability for Chelsea. Second only to Kante in terms of importance to the club’s title win.
Arsene Wenger faces a battle to keep the Chilean forward at the Emirates this summer but doing so is a must because, without Sanchez’s goals and inspiration this season, Arsenal would have endured a disastrous campaign.
Manager: Antonio Conte
Honourable mentions to Sean Dyche (Burnley), Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) and Tony Pulis (West Brom) for confounding the odds, with Sam Allardyce (Crystal Palace), Paul Clement (Swansea) and Marco Silva) all impressing after being parachuted into relegation battles, but Conte has to be No. 1 for winning the Premier League in his first season. He may also win the FA Cup.
Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_