The curtain falls on the English Premiership this Sunday. But before then, Chelsea had become the runaway champions. Three of the likely candidates for relegation have already been decided. But according to Fox Sport, there’s still a little bit of drama left with two Champions League spots are still up for grabs.
Below are the 11 matches that shaped the 2016/17 Premiership season”
· September 24th: Arsenal 3-0 Chelsea
Early in the season, new manager Antonio Conte was still easing into the Chelsea hot seat. Coming off a loss to Liverpool in their sixth match of the season, Conte stuck with former manager Jose Mourinho’s preferred formation, putting four at the back, and he promptly saw his team smacked in the mouth by Arsenal. That was the last straw for Conte, and he decided it was time to unveil the 3-4-2-1 formation that carried them to the title. The rest, as they say, is history.
· October 15th: Crystal Palace 0-1 West Ham
Manuel Lanzini’s 19th minute goal was the difference for the Hammers as they beat Crystal Palace after five matches without a win to open the season. Christian Benteke’s missed penalty for Palace didn’t just save three points for West Ham — it probably saved their season. Without the win, there’s almost no doubt West Ham manager Slaven Bilic would’ve been fired, and the Hammers possibly locked in an ugly relegation battle for the rest of the season.
· October 23rd: Chelsea 4-0 Man Utd
The Arsenal match marked the day Antonio Conte decided to change the way Chelsea lined up, but the Manchester United match truly cemented it. They ran roughshod over the Red Devils, absolutely destroying Jose Mourinho’s side and establishing the Blues as a real, legitimate contender for the title.
· November 26th: Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham
If it wasn’t confirmed against United, Chelsea put an emphatic stamp on their title credentials against Spurs. At the time, the Blues were within a point of their nearest rival, and hosted London neighbors Tottenham in what was their toughest challenge yet in the season. They passed the test with flying colors.
· December 3rd: Manchester City 1-3 Chelsea
Coming off the match against Spurs, Chelsea traveled to Manchester for yet another early test to see if they really had what it takes to be Premier League champs. They strolled into the Etihad, pulling off a 3-1 away win against Pep Guardiola’s squad, effectively ending the Citizens’ challenge and establishing themselves as the team to beat in the league. Before long, their winning the title was foregone conclusion.
· December 4th: Bournemouth 4-3 Liverpool
After Chelsea’s emphatic win over Manchester City, all Liverpool had to do was beat tiny Bournemouth to keep pace. Way easier said than done, especially in Liverpool’s case. They fell 4-3 in a wild match that fully showcased Jurgen Klopp’s team’s inability to handle the little guys. They never got within touching distance of Chelsea again.
· February 12th: Swansea 2-0 Leicester
Claudio Ranieri’s last Premier League match on the Leicester City bench, this one was a six-pointer for two relegation candidates. It was a vital three points for struggling Swansea, but it all but confirmed Ranieri’s demise. Sad!
· April 30th: Tottenham 2-0 Arsenal
St. Totteringham’s Day ended on April 30th, 2017. For the first time in decades, Tottenham were assured that they’d finish ahead of Arsenal in the league table. That’s kind of a big deal in North London, and it let Spurs coast into second place for the first time in more than 50 years.
· May 5th: West Ham 1-0 Tottenham
Coming off the high of their win over Arsenal, Spurs needed a win against West Ham to have even a prayer of pushing Chelsea to the end in the title race. Unfortunately, they fell short, with Manuel Lanzini’s goal the one to confirm the dream would fail.
· May 6th: Swansea 1-0 Everton
Fernando Llorente to the rescue! With Swansea staring relegation in the face, the Spanish striker’s single goal was good enough to take the Swans past Everton and ensure they’ll be in the Premier League for at least one more year.
May 21st: Arsenal/Liverpool/Manchester City’s last chance to qualify for Champions League
On the final day of the season, Arsenal (vs. Everton), Liverpool (vs. Middlesbrough) and Manchester City (at Watford) all have the opportunity to confirm a place in the top four. All three teams play at the same time, with City (in 3rd, on 75 points) best positioned to secure automatic qualification. It’s going to be a madhouse on Sunday.