Sport Soccer

Monday 16 September 2019

Whose stock rose and fell during the Premier League season

Mohamed Salah was season’s star man in breaking the 40-goal barrier for Liverpool.

Mohamed Salah broke the 40-goal barrier in his first season at Liverpool
Mohamed Salah broke the 40-goal barrier in his first season at Liverpool

By Phil Blanche, Press Association Sport

What a season it has been in the Premier League – highs and lows for players and managers alike.

Here, we pick out five individuals who were on the rise in the 2017-18 season and five who were on the way down compared to the previous campaign.

On the up

Mohamed Salah

Joined Liverpool from Roma for £34million last summer – but the Egyptian has proved a bargain. The former Chelsea forward became the first Liverpool player to score over 40 goals for 34 years and was named the Footballer of the Year after inspiring Jurgen Klopp’s side to the Champions League final.

Raheem Sterling

Everton v Manchester City – Premier League – Goodison Park

Take your pick from the number of Manchester City players who shone under Pep Guardiola’s expert tuition – Kevin de Bruyne, Leroy Sane and Kyle Walker to name but three. But Sterling’s improved end product – 18 league goals and 11 assists ahead of the final game – marked him out as someone who made significant strides.

Sean Dyche

The gravel-voiced Dyche had worked wonders just to keep new boys Burnley in the top flight 12 months earlier. But life got even better at Turf Moor as Dyche masterminded a seventh-placed finish on one of the division’s lowest budgets. Burnley’s next stop is Europe – for the first time in 51 years.

Roy Hodgson

Crystal Palace v Brighton and Hove Albion – Premier League – Selhurst Park

Hodgson answered Crystal Palace’s SOS just four games in after Frank de Boer’s unhappy short-lived reign at Selhurst Park. No goals and no points after seven games was no problem for Hodgson as the 70-year-old steered Palace to safety and repaired a reputation damaged by England’s embarrassment at Euro 2016.

Brighton rocks

The jury was out on whether newly-promoted Brighton had the quality to survive their first Premier League campaign. But boss Chris Hughton played a blinder as he put a solid centre-back base in place – Lewis Dunk leading the most blocks list and partner Shane Duffy top of the clearances and headed clearances categories.

On the slide

Paul Pogba

Overtaken as the world’s most expense player in the summer of 2017 by Neymar, Pogba’s stock at Manchester United fell. There was injury, loss of form and a reported fall-out with United boss Jose Mourinho. It was even claimed he was offered to Manchester City in January – a story to which Pogba replied with a ‘Say what?’ tweet.

David Luiz

Norwich City v Chelsea – FA Cup – Third Round – Carrow Road

The Chelsea defender was another player who lost the faith of his manager. Antonio Conte dropped the Brazilian ahead of Manchester United’s visit in November following a training ground row between the pair. Luiz was also said to be troubled by injuries and he was rarely seen thereafter with his last appearance coming at the start of February.

West Ham board

West Ham United Crowd Trouble

The only thing bubbling at West Ham for most of the season was supporter discontent. It turned into anarchy during a 3-0 home defeat to Burnley in March when fans held the game up by invading the pitch and gathered angrily in front of the directors’ box. Joint owners David Sullivan and David Gold and vice-chairman Karren Brady were all in the firing line.

Petr Cech

Arsenal v Southampton – Premier League – Emirates Stadium

Arsenal’s decline under Arsene Wenger and the end of the Frenchman’s 22-year reign was summed up by the waning powers of Cech. At his Chelsea peak, Cech was indisputably the number one goalkeeper in the Premier League and probably the world. But time waits for no man and a series of costly clangers had Gunners’ fans calling for a new goalkeeper.

Saido Berahino

Stoke paid West Brom £12million for Berahino in January 2017, but the wait goes on for the former England Under-21 striker to repay that investment with a single goal. In February, Berahino reached the landmark of two years without scoring, and two months later he was banished to the under-23s by manager Paul Lambert for poor discipline. Stoke were duly relegated.

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