The 2017-18 Premier League season is over.
Manchester City are the runaway title-winners. Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Liverpool finish top four and thus qualify for (the group stage of) the Champions League. Chelsea, Arsenal, and Burnley qualify for the Europa League (the first two for the groups, the latter for the qualifying round).
Swansea City, Stoke City, and West Brom are relegated — that’s teams with 7, 10, and 7, consecutive years, respectively, of Premier League competition going down. They will be replaced by Wolverhampton Wanderers (back after a 6-year absence), Cardiff City (back for their second ever Premier League season after a one-and-done in 2013-14), and the winner of the playoff containing some familiar names (Aston Villa, Fulham, Derby County, Middlesbrough). Last year’s promoted teams (Newcastle, Brighton, Huddersfield) all survived, which is a rarity.
For Chelsea, the 5th place finish is the second time in three seasons (and third in seven) that we’ve finished outside the top four. While that’s nothing to sneeze at in terms of the grand history, it does not meet the standard minimum expectations of the decade and a half of Abramovich ownership. For that reason alone, Antonio Conte is likely to be sacked in the next week or so. Perhaps if he had completed his two seasons in reverse order, he would have lived to see a third. Football is strange and biased towards recency in those kinds of extreme terms.
City did make everyone else look very bad though, and in the end, have set several new Premier League records, including new marks for points, wins, goals, and goal difference, all of which had been held by Chelsea.
- Manchester City: 100 (2017-18)
- Chelsea: 95 (2004-05)
- Chelsea: 93 (2016-17)
- Manchester City: 32 (2017-18)
- Chelsea: 30 (2016-17)
- Chelsea: 29 (2004-05, 2005-06)
City also set a new record with 16 away wins and 50 away points in the season, beating Chelsea’s mark of 15 and 48 from 2004-05, as well a new record with 18 consecutive wins in a single season, beating Chelsea’s mark 13 set last year (and Arsenal’s mark 14 set over the course of two seasons).
- Manchester City: 106 (2017-18)
- Chelsea: 103 (2009-10)
- Manchester City: 102 (2013-14)
City also beat Chelsea’s record +71 goal difference from that first Ancelotti season by a whopping 8 goals to finish at +79.
Chelsea do retain a few Premier League records of note, including most home wins (18 in 2005-06, held jointly with Manchester United 2010-11 and Manchester City 2011-12) and most home goals scored (68 in 2009-10); most consecutive home games unbeaten (86, from March 2004 to October 2008) and fewest goals conceded in a season (15 in 2004-05, including Petr Čech’s record 24 clean sheets). We’re particularly proud of the defensive and Fortress Stamford Bridge marks.
Congrats to Manchester City. It’s up to the rest of the league to catch up now.
“Okay, we are 25 points in front so it’s difficult to say [Klopp] was difficult [to play against] in the end – but he was because they beat us. Next season will be the same, like (Manchester) United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham.”
-Pep Guardiola; source: F365
The 2017-18 Premier League season is over. The 2018-19 Premier League season starts in 90 days. That sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. It’s time to get to work, as Antonio Conte would say.