It may have been record-breaking in more ways than one and Manchester City are deserved champions but this was not campaign that will be filed under ‘memorable’. It was more Homer Simpson than Jessica Simpson.
There was no title race; there was no final day drama as the relegation places had already been filled by the frankly dreadful trio of West Brom, Stoke and Swansea.
The only thing riding on Sunday was Chelsea’s faint hope that Liverpool would lose at home to Brighton and they would beat Newcastle.
Those at Anfield had an inkling it was going their way when chants of ‘Rafa Rafael, Rafa Rafael, Rafa Rafael, Rafael Benitez’ rung out in honour of the former Kop boss whose Toon side had scored against Antonio Conte’s Blues.
And 180 seconds after Dwight Gayle’s 23rd-minute opener at St James’, under blue skies in Liverpool a good day was turning into a great day as Mo Salah pounced for the hosts.
The Reds ended up cruising to a 4-0 victory, while Chelsea meekly lost 3-0 so fourth was in the bag for Jurgen Klopp’s side who can head into this month’s Champions League final on a high, in fine form, with no injuries.
So onto the awards . . . drum roll please!
Team of the Year: Has to be champions City who romped to the title with a record 100 points – a record 19 points ahead of second with a record goal difference of +79 and a record 106 goals. Pep Guardiola’s side had the most wins in a Prem season (32) and had the most consecutive wins (18). It seems the rest of the league couldn’t handle City, even if they came with instructions.
Best XI: (3-4-3) De Gea; Walker, Kompany, Van Dijk, Sane, De Bruyne, Firmino, D Silva; Salah, Kane, Aguero. Subs: Ederson, Vertonghen, Robertson, Alonso, Eriksen, Hazard, Lukaku.
Goal: If scorpion kicks were de rigueur last season then thunderb**tards are this season’s thing. From Victor Wanyama almost busting the Anfield net to Charlie Daniels showing Ederson every team can at times be brilliant in this league there were some sublime screamers. Salah scored a Messi-like goal he had no right to net against Spurs, Jamie Vardy executed a brilliant over-the-shoulder volley to stun West Brom and Wayne Rooney slammed one in from 60-yards against West Ham. But Sofiane Boufal gets the nod with his slaloming solo run and shot from deep inside his own half for Saints versus WBA. A dribble that left fans dribbling.
Assist: Kevin De Bruyne won the Playmaker Award, creating 16 goals for his team-mates. The Belgian is like glitter, he gets everywhere.
Pass: That man again who any other season other than the one where the league’s goal record was broken would have won Player of the Season. From a sky-high ball KDB nonchalantly flicked the ball with the outside of his boot while spinning away from being man-marked by Tottenham’s Eric Dier. It was a thing of beauty. Unfortunately Raheem Sterling missed the chance. Not for the first – or last – time.
Miss: Sterling against West Ham. At least the City forward had the good grace to look as bemused as everyone else when he scooped high and wide from two yards. Sometime the England ace is excellent as his 18 goals testify, but other times he couldn’t finish an Ikea meatball platter.
Fortress: Teams unbeaten at home in the top four tiers of English football: 1. Liverpool. End of list. Not one of the other 91 sides managed this.
Kings of the road: Arsenal. Only joking! They might have grabbed their first away win of 2018 on the final day at Huddersfield but champions City broke the record for most away wins (16). They toyed with opponents on their own turf in the manner of Road Runner with poor Wile E Coyote.
Best diver: The theory that only foreigners dive has more holes in it than Danniella Westbrook’s septum. Together Sterling, Ashley Young and Dele Alli have busted that myth with a season of sensational swan-dives. But the award goes to strapping 6ft 2in Spurs star Alli who goes down easier than a cold beer on a summer’s day.
Best signing: You don’t earn a chant calling you an Egyptian King without impressing so Golden Boot winner Salah gets my pick.
Worst signings: Ajax’s Europa League finalist skipper Davy Klassaan rocked up at Everton in a spending spree Goodison had never seen the like of before. Along with prodigal son Wayne Rooney returning and £45m being splashed out on star signing Gylfi Sigurdsson it prompted pundit Richard Keys to tweet ‘Loving Everton’s business this summer. Here’s an early call – they finish above Liverpool this season.’ Oh how the Kop fans have love re-tweeting that one!
Best GK: Golden Glove winner with 18 clean sheets – David De Gea. If Real Madrid once again fail to come calling for a mega upgrade on Keylor Navas then something is very wrong in the Spanish club’s scouting department.
Best defender: Vincent Kompany. City look a better team with their skipper at the back – as does every other centre-back at the club who partners him. He oozes class. Elegance is not being noticed, it’s about being remembered. And the big Belgian will be remembered in Manchester for generations.
Best midfielder: KDB obviously. So good he makes people cry – mainly United and Chelsea fans.
Best forward: Salah’s 32 goals was a record in a 38-game season – setting him apart from Alan Shearer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez who had previously held the record with 31. Also they were all DEFINITELY his goals unlike some hey Harry . . .
Best breakout season: Not many outside Merseyside had heard or taken much notice of Trent Alexander-Arnold when the season started. By the end the 19-year-old was a Reds regular, had made more Champions League appearances (11) than Everton have in their entire history (3) and is already a European cup finalist. To top it all off the gangly Liverpool-born left-back is also heading to Russia after his date with Real Madrid in Kiev.
Biggest disappointment: Manchester United failing miserably to challenge for the title despite spending £180million in the summer. A reminder that five games into the season both clubs had an identical record P5 W4 D1 F16 A2 Pts 13 – by the end 19 points and a superior goal difference of +39 separated them. And one style of play that brought joy to a nation and one that made watching paint dry preferable.
Sexiest player: In the interest of equality while women are still being objectified it’s only fair we rate men on looks alone. Step forward (actually lay back) Olivier Giroud – he’s French so speaks the language of love, his new blue Chelsea kit brings out his eyes and he’s hotter than the hinges of Hades gates.
AND finally Gareth Southgate named his 23-man squad with the only real surprise being uncapped 19-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold called up and the fact Danny Welbeck is still somehow the fourth-best striker in the land!
Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley).
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Man City), Phil Jones (Man United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham), John Stones (Man City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Kyle Walker (Man City), Ashley Young (Man United).
Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Man United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea).
Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Man United), Raheem Sterling (Man City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal).
Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley).