As we move into 2017 we take a look back at 2016 and some of the standout performers.
Top 5 players of 2016
- Eden Hazard – Chelsea’s skillful midfield maestro who turns defence into attack at the blink of an eye. One of the top midfielders in Europe. Hazard has scored 13 league goals in 2016 averaging a goal every 2.2 games in the league. He has had a pass accuracy of 86% in 2016 and created on average 1.9 chances per game.
- N’golo Kante – The rock of Leicester’s midfield last season allowing Vardy and Mahrez to do the damage up top, now sorely missed by the Foxes which is Chelsea’s gain. He averaged 7.5 defensive actions per game in 2016 with an 85% pass completion. He has only had 1 attributed defensive error in 2016.
- Alexis Sanchez – The most influential player to currently wear an Arsenal jersey, where would they be without him? Whilst he’s had problems with injuries in 2016, he has still managed 19 goals in the league and averaged a goal every 1.79 games. And he’s not just a goal scorer he also created for others. He’s created 84 chances in the league in 2016 averaging 2.5 chances created per game. He’s currently one of the best players in the Premier League.
- Mesut Ozil – Along with Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil is the other player in the Arsenal squad that makes the team tick. When on his game he is unplayable; clever, quick thinking and technically fantastic he can turn a game on its head. Over the course of 2016 he contributed 8 league goals and 6 assists. But the glut of chances he creates is amazing. Ozil created 110 chances in league games throughout 2016. This means on average he creates 3.2 chances per game. With this kind of service, imagine if Arsenal had a striker like Thierry Henry still at the club.
- Sergio Aguero – Aguero has been fantastic since coming to England, a real world class star. One thing you can guarantee with Aguero is goals, he lives and breathes them. Aguero has scored 26 goals in 29 league games in 2016 with a quite amazing average of a goal every 1.12 games. He finishes 2016 with 82% pass accuracy and has even chipped in with 31 chances created. Aguero is one of a few players in the league who could get in any team in the world.
Team of 2016 – Leicester City
It could only be one team, Champions Leicester City. Most thought Leicester would falter at the back end of last season and buckle under the pressure but to their credit, they continued their great form to take the League title, an absolutely amazing feat. They only lost 1 game the 2nd half of last season scoring 31 goals and conceding only 11. Whilst they have started this season very poorly, they still managed to navigate out of the group stage of the Champions League but for the simple fact they won the Premier League they had to be our team of 2016.
- Runner up: Chelsea – Chelsea have statistically been the best team of 2016, taking the most points of any PL team. They have been on an impeccable run over the last 13 games not dropping a single point in the league. They go into 2017 as favourites to take the league, and you’d have to be a brave person to bet against it.
Worst Team of 2016 – Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace started 2016 in shocking form, losing their first 5 league games. In fact they didn’t get their first league win in 2016 until 9th April, beating Norwich 1-0, and only had 2 league wins in the whole of the 2nd part of the league season. It means they only picked up 11 points from 18 games an absolutely abhorrent display. Palace finished the season in 15th place, saved by their early season good form. This form continued into this season winning only 4 games up to the end of the year. It means that Crystal Palace have won only 6 league games in the whole of 2016. For a 2016 view of the Premier league, Crystal Palace are bottom of the pile and by some margin and have the worse points per game in the entire football league.
Most improved Player – Diego Costa
There is no denying the talent of one Diego Costa. In his first season in the Premier League he terrorised defences, and scored 20 goals to help drive Chelsea to their first Premier League title in 5 years. He was rewarded for his form, with a place in the PFA team of the year. However, second season syndrome more than kicked in for Costa. For the majority of the season he looked like he wasn’t interested in being at the club. He was lacking form, lacking fitness, and the Costa who terrorised defences, was replaced by an angry teenager. His form slightly improved following the removal of Jose Mourinho as manager, but by the end of the season, many Chelsea fans would’ve probably happily seen the back of the forward.
But the summer brought about a new manager and with a new manager, came a new resurgence to Diego Costa. Back was the passion and fearless competitor who knew where the goal was. Costa to date, has already equalled the amount of goals he scored all of last season. He is once again linking up with Eden Hazard, and as well as scoring goals, he is creating them as well. If Chelsea are to go on and win the title, then Diego Costa will definitely play a big part of this.
Most promising player for 2017 – Jordan Pickford
Jordan Pickford is one of the success stories of David Moyes reign at Sunderland so far, and looks a very promising player. At only 22 years of age, he has established himself as the Sunderland number 1 and put in some top performances.
When compared to the other top goal keepers in the league he holds his own, even though the likes of Peter Cech, David De Gea and Thibaut Courtois play for top teams who won’t come under nowhere near the same amount of action as Jordan. He has made more saves this season than Peter Cech, David De Gea or Thibaut Courtois. He also makes 2.15 saves per game, 2nd only to Thibaut Courtois. Whilst his distribution accuracy needs to improve, at only 22 there is plenty of room for improvement, but he looks like a man who wouldn’t be out of place at a bigger club.
Goal of 2016 – Dele Alli Vs Crystal Palace Jan 23rd 2016
Game of 2016 – Norwich 4 Liverpool 5 23rd Jan 26
Premier League Team of 2016
- Ryan Bertrand
- Philippe Coutinho
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Overseas Player of the Year – Cristiano Ronaldo
In a career full of standout years, 2016 may stand out as being the best calendar year for Cristiano Ronaldo. For Real Madrid, Ronaldo won his third Champions League trophy, his second with Madrid, and second in 2 years. He also won the Club World Cup, scoring a hattrick in the process in the final. He won his 4th Ballon D’or, and scored 55 goals for club and country.
One of the points in the Ronaldo vs Messi debate has always been at the country level. To be a truly all-time great, these players need to lead their country to victory at a major tournament. In what would most likely be Ronaldo’s final opportunity at international glory, he lead Portugal to the European Championships of 2016. While he came off injured in the final, it was his coaching on the sidelines, and pushing his team mates forward that impressed so many. No wonder Ronaldo recently called this his best year, in his own words
“Collectively and individually, it was probably my best year so far, We won the Champions League with Real Madrid, we won a major title with Portugal’s national team for the first time, I won the Ballon d’Or, the Club World Cup. I cannot ask for more.
“The people who still doubt me, Real Madrid and the national team, they now have the proof. We won everything.
“So it has been an amazing year and I am very happy with it. I want to thank my team-mates from the national team and Real Madrid.”
Editors Note: As with all these awards there’s too many players to choose from so inevitably some players will get left out, so please share and comment below for your picks.
Happy New Year from all at Football Monologue!
By Michael Thatcher & Rich Lee @RichLee2202