Premier League 2017-18 wrap-up: A season defined by City’s domination

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 14: Manchester City Manager Josep Guardiola on stage during the Manchester City Trophy Parade in Manchester city centre on May 14, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 14: Manchester City Manager Josep Guardiola on stage during the Manchester City Trophy Parade in Manchester city centre on May 14, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images) /

The Premier League finished its season, following a 38-game campaign that will be remembered for Manchester City’s domination.

City’s title-winning campaign is one for the ages

With their win over Southampton in the final game, City became the first team in Premier League history to reach 100 points. Having wrapped up the title by December, City continued to dominate the opposition, carving their place in history as one of the best teams to ever win the competition.

The number of records accumulated by this City team in the process of winning the title is astonishing: most goals scored, most wins and the largest margin of points over the second place team. The race to the top was dominated in an emphatic manner throughout and it validated Pep Guardiola as one of the greatest managers in the game.

What made the title win more remarkable is that the manner in which City dominated their opposition was decidedly un-English. City prized possession more than any other Premier League-winning side and silenced all the previously skeptical pundits. Despite being called “Fraudiola” by some critics following a lackluster first season, Guardiola stuck to his guns as far as playing style and tactics and ended up creating a record-setting side that not only thoroughly dominated opponents but did so playing some of the most attractive soccer the Premier League has ever known.

The debate about the best Premier League-winning team in history may be a futile exercise. However, considering the number of records broken by this team and perhaps most importantly the manner in which City won this title, their argument might just be more powerful that any of the other contenders.

A season low on suspense

With City’s domination, there was a distinct lack of suspense as far as the rest of the competition at the top of the table went. The Champions League places were adjudicated relatively early on. Despite a late push from Chelsea it was fairly clear since the midway point of the competition that City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool were going to be the top four.  Beyond the usual weight of the rivalry games and local derbies, the big games lost some of their usual luster since the actual results didn’t have the usual impact on the race title or the standings.

Arsene Wenger (finally) bows out

The final curtain call came for legendary Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after a 22-year reign in north London. Although Wenger’s best moments came during the first decade of his tenure, his legacy and his mark on the Premier League will long outlive him.

Wenger opened the door to new ideas and influences in English soccer, and opened the eyes of fans across the world that the highest level of the Premier League can exhibit flair and skill alongside its traditional hard-man style of strength and speed.

Wenger was an innovator and the success of other foreign managers like Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte and even Jose Mourinho can be traced back to the time Wenger proved that continental soccer and its influences can bring success in England.

Perhaps the Frenchman had out-stayed his welcome, as his Arsenal side and, to a certain extent, his vision of the game became dated. After falling out of the top four last year and finishing sixth this year, it was evident that Wenger would never be the man to return Arsenal to glory.

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The emergence of Mohamed Salah

We’d be remiss if we didn’t include the emergence of Mohamed Salah as one of the significant events of the past season. The speedy Egyptian’s return to the Premier League saw him ascend to the Golden Boot, showing such exquisite finishing ability along the way to generate talk of him being on the podium of the world’s best players.

Salah thrived in the Liverpool system, part of the deadly attacking trident that included Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino that took down the mighty Manchester City in the Champions League and are hoping to bring the top European club competition trophy back to England after six years.