Shearer Says: “Nobody can argue that Chelsea have been the most outstanding team”
Premier League legend and Coral Ambassador Alan Shearer reviews the 2016/17 season and provides his best XI
For me the best ‘keepers in the Premier League this season have been Hugo Lloris and David de Gea. It is Lloris who edges it though, as he has been excellent along with his back four for Spurs and that is one of the reasons they have finished so high. Spurs have conceded fewer goals than any other side in the league this season so a lot of credit has to go the French ‘keeper.
At the back, Tony Alderweireld has been the best defender in the league and has been magnificent throughout the campaign. I also feel Gary Cahill has done a similar job with Chelsea, while also chipping in with some crucial goals. A lot of credit has to go to Cesar Azpilicueta. He’s played every minute of the season so far and during those games he’s been at least an 8 out of 10 so to perform consistently well like he has done, is very impressive. I’d also add Danny Rose to my back four as he’s had a great campaign for Spurs.
There is no doubt about who has been the best defensive midfielder this season. N’Golo Kante wins that prize hand down. He was voted the PFA Player of the Year and has probably improved from last season which has helped Chelsea to the title.
The two standout offensive midfielders have been Eden Hazard and Dele Alli. Hazard has been back to his very best just as he was two or three season ago. He had a quiet campaign last year but he has responded well. Alli has done exactly the same for Spurs, while Kevin de Bruyne for me would complete my midfield.
Kane has missed a couple of months of the season through injury and after last week’s four goals and a hat-trick at the weekend, he’s ending the campaign with the Golden Boot which is incredible. I also think Sanchez has been one of the few bright sparks for Arsenal this season. The one player who is unlucky not to make my team is Lukaku. He’s not played for one of the top six clubs, so you have to give him a lot of credit. I am sure there will be a lot of clubs chasing his services this summer.
Antonio Conte has rightfully received a lot of plaudits for the way he has led Chelsea to the title. He has got all the big decisions correct and they have ended up winning it comfortably. I do think we also have to mention Eddie Howe at Bournemouth and Sean Dyche at Burnley. They have done a great job to keep their sides in the league never-mind anything else. Maybe if they weren’t English they’d actually get a lot more credit for what they have achieved.
In terms of disappointments, I’d have to say Paul Pogba, purely down to the transfer fee which was paid for him. When you splash out a world transfer record of over £80 million like United did, you have to expect performances which make a difference most weeks. I know he is young and the fee shouldn’t make a difference, but I just feel we have not seen his true potential yet. Maybe United will get a lot more from him next season, where he could be joined at the club by a number of leading stars.
The two best referees this season have been Martin Atkinson and Michael Oliver. It is no coincidence that they have refereed a lot of the big games. In the main they have done very well. I’ve said a number of times, I would not be afraid to search wider for the best referees from around Europe. We have some of the finest players and managers so why not attract the best officials.
Overall, nobody can argue that Chelsea have been the most outstanding team. Spurs have definitely improved, but I am sure they will be disappointed at falling short. Manchester City have had a disappointing season because of the hype around Pep Guardiola. He said it himself, if he was at a Bayern Munich or Barcelona he might have been fired. A lot will depend on the Europa League final before we can judge Manchester United’s season. If they win that game then they will have won two trophies and qualified into the Champions League, which is a real success. The same can be said about Liverpool, they’ve secured a Champions League place, having been out of the competition for a number of years now.
It is going to be fascinating to see this summer how much the other clubs spend to try and challenge Chelsea next season. I expect the champions to add a couple of big hitters themselves as you have to do that when you win the league. It’s already something to look forward to and we haven’t even completed this season yet.
I’d give this season a marking of 8/10.