End of season report: Who were the Premier League’s star pupils?

Leicester titleSo that’s that then, another Premier League season (almost) done and dusted. As the players jet off for some well-earned, or in some cases just well-funded, fun in the sun, we dish out the end of term report cards, highlighting who’s top of the class and who’s staying behind for detention.  This week we focus on the top 10 Leicester City Star pupil:  take your pick of any of the fabulous foxes.  We’ll go for N’Golo Kante.  The diminutive Frenchman featured in all but one of Leicester’s league games, made more tackles and interceptions than any player in the division and in the process, earned a call up for France’s Euro 2016 squad. Caen let Kante leave for £5.6 million last summer.  They must be frantically scouring the paperwork in the hope they inserted a sell on clause Must do better:  Gokhan Inler. Expected to replace Esteban Cambiasso in the Foxes midfield, Inler managed just 3 league starts after arriving from Napoli.  Still only 31 and with 89 international caps to his name, the Swiss will surely be seeking a change of employer over the next few months Arsenal Star pupil: Mesut Ozil.  The German ended the season with 19 assists, one short of Thierry Henry’s Premier League record set in 2002-03 Must do better Theo Walcott.  Only 2 league goals in 2016 means no summer in France for Walcott.  A change of club might be the best way to revive an ailing career Tottenham Hotspur Star Pupil:  Harry Kane.  The first Englishman to win the Premier League’s golden boot since Kevin Phillips 16 years ago.  Not bad given the first of Kane’s 25 goals didn’t arrive until the end of September. Must do better: Nabil Bentaleb.  Injuries didn’t help the Algerian’s cause but the fact that he started just twice in the Premier League compared to 25 times last season must be a massive disappointment. Manchester City Star pupil:  Kevin De Bruyne.  His importance to City was highlighted during his injury layoff. Must do better:  Raheem Sterling.  A decent Euros would help expunge memories of a low key first season at City for the 21 year old.  He’ll be hoping Pep Guardiola shows more faith in him than Manuel Pellegrini did towards the end of the season Southampton Star pupil:  Fraser Forster.  Southampton were 13th in the table when Forster made his first appearance of the season in January following a serious knee injury.  He subsequently kept 6 consecutive clean sheets, helping the Saints qualify for the Europa League. Must do better: Victor Wanyama.  The Kenyan was sent off three times in the Premier League this season.  That sort of ill-discipline could cost him the move he seemingly craves. Manchester United Star pupil:  Anthony Martial.  Or Anthony who? As he was first known when he arrived from Monaco.  The 20 year old never looked back after scoring the winner against Liverpool on his United debut, eventually reaching double figures in his first season as a Premier League player Must do better:  Memphis Depay.  A polar opposite season to fellow big money buy Martial.  Depay started less than half of United’s league games, contributing a measly two goals after hitting 22 for PSV the season before. West Ham United Star pupil:  Dimitri Payet. At a shade over ten million quid, Payet rivals N’golo Kante for the title of bargain of the season.  Goals, assists, flicks and tricks: Payet has lit up the Premier League this season Must do better:  Alex Song.  Pivotal last season, peripheral this.  Injury and vision problems meant the midfielder only started 8 league games in his second season on loan. Liverpool Star pupil:  Roberto Firmino.  It took the Brazilian time to adapt to the Premier League.  He didn’t score his first goal until November and had to wait until Boxing Day for his first full 90 minutes but after the turn of the year Firmino found his feet, scoring 9 more times.  He could be a player of the year contender next term. Must do better: Christian Benteke.   More substitute appearances than starts for the £32.5 million pound striker.  An early exit looks likely Stoke City Star pupil:  Marko Arnautovic.  The fiery Austrian finished as the Potters leading scorer, his 11 league goals representing the first time he’s reached double figures in a single campaign since the 2008/09 season when he was at FC Twente. Must do better:  Charlie Adam.  Only 30 years of age but already it seems his best days are behind him.  Could find himself looking for a new club in the near future Chelsea Star pupil:  Cesc Fabregas.  Willian was Chelsea’s best player for the first half of the season but since Christmas, Fabregas has been the heartbeat of the team.  He seems a good candidate to replace John Terry as captain, whenever it is Terry eventually departs Must do better:  take your pick.  Thibaut Courtois decline from one season to another was perhaps the most pronounced.   Check in with us next week for Part 2 

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