WE HAVE come to the end of another brilliant Premier League season.
There was a proper title race, woeful disappointment for some, refereeing controversy aplenty and bucket loads of drama.
Our SunSport reporters give their verdicts on the last nine months of pulsating action – from the brilliant to the bizarre to the bonkers…
Best game: Manchester City 2 Liverpool 1. The tempo was insane and the atmosphere ridiculously good. The John Stones goal-line clearance a perfect indicator of the wafer-thin margin by which City bettered Liverpool.
Best goal: Vinny Kompany vs Leicester. For wow factor and for significance, the Belgian’s bolt from the blue was the goal of the season.
Hero: Raheem Sterling. Both on and off the pitch he’s been inspirational and a fully-deserving Footballer of the Year.
Biggest letdown: Fulham. More than £100million spent and relegated with barely a whimper. A shambles.
Funniest moment: Fulham’s Aboubakar Kamara refusing to allow penalty taker Aleksandar Mitrovic to take a penalty, then missing it, then scrapping with him in a yoga session.
Best game: Manchester City 6 Chelsea 0. The only blemish was celebrity ref and all-round funny guy Mike Dean playing peek-a-book with the ball when Sergio Aguero went to claim it after scoring a hat-trick.
Best goal: Andros Townsend vs Manchester City. A corkscrew during Crystal Palace’s outrageous 3-2 win at the Etihad, the only league game City didn't win at home this season.
Hero: Raheem Sterling. Matured on the field and his commitment to social equality off it is something anyone with a brain admires.
Biggest letdown: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. After such a remarkable start he has turned into an unmitigated disaster.
Funniest moment: The BBC commentary of the feral Goodison Park cat running rings around the players during Everton’s game with Wolves.
Best game: Manchester City 2 Liverpool 1. City ending Liverpool’s 20-game unbeaten run in a match of real drama. We knew this was the title decider.
Best goal: Vincent Kompany vs Leicester. This thumping strike against the Foxes will go down as one of the iconic goals of City’s success-laden spell.
Hero: Mauricio Pochettino. To tolerate Daniel Levy, not sign a player for 18 months and keep a team in the top four – and get them into the Champions League final – is amazing.
Biggest let-down: Manchester United. Fell further behind Manchester City and Liverpool and £505,000-a-week Alexis Sanchez was a total disgrace.
Funniest moment: Ashley Barnes of Burnley twice kissing Cardiff’s Joe Bennett on the bridge of his nose – and getting booked.
Best game: Manchester City 2 Liverpool 1. A stunning game of the highest quality that proved decisive in the title race. A win for Liverpool would have put then ten points clear but goals from Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane cut the gap to four. It was played out to an incredible atmosphere.
Best goal: Vincent Kompany vs Leicester. Manchester City’s own Captain Fantastic hit an absolute screamer from 28 yards to decide this penultimate game of the season. He has now scored two of the most crucial goals in City’s history having headed home in the derby three games from the end of the 2011/12 title win.
Hero: Raheem Sterling. A credit on and off the pitch for Manchester City. Bravely spoke out about racist abuse suffered by players. On the pitch proved he is a real star in City’s incredible team. An absolute role model.
Biggest letdown: Manchester United’s last 14 games. Having had a superb start under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United’s run-in to the end of the season was woeful and worrying.
Funniest moment: On the final day with neither the ball nor another player near him Chris Smalling took a step back and fell over. It seemed to sum up the day at Old Trafford.
Best game: Manchester City 6 Chelsea 0. In a season of stand-out performances from the finest team the Premier League has ever seen, this was the best of the lot against opponents who were supposed to be one of their title rivals.
Best goal: Eden Hazard vs West Ham. Anyone can score a 30-yard screamer with a great contact and a bit of luck, but it takes a special talent to dribble past six players before calmly passing the ball into the net as Hazard did.
Hero: Mauricio Pochettino. For holding it all together at Tottenham despite so many obstacles being placed in his way and proving that the Premier League is not all about money.
Biggest letdown: Alexis Sanchez. I really thought he was going to explode this season but in a dressing room full of Old Trafford flops the Chilean stands out by a country mile. What a waste of money.
Funniest moment: All those pundits demanding that Manchester United appoint Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a permanent basis in March and then accusing the club of needlessly jumping the gun two weeks later.
Best game: West Ham 4 Huddersfield 3. Brilliant see-saw action and best of all my son got a ticket for £3! Less than 45p per goal.
Best goal: Eden Hazard vs West Ham. A night to savour one of the most naturally-talented players and chilled-out individuals in football at his best. Also to realise how he will be missed.
Hero: Sean Dyche. Does what he says on the tin, in a voice like rusty metal. Kept Burnley up and is captivating to listen to. An intelligent man who doesn’t need to show off about being clever.
Biggest letdown: Fulham. Failed to get up and stay up. A charming club in a charmless industry. Come back soon.
Funniest moment: Maurizio Sarri halting a TV broadcast at Christmas time to ask if I’d enjoyed a recent week off.
Best game: Everton 2 Tottenham 6. Not as easy to choose as you might think because despite the hype the Premier League churns out an awful lot of rubbish. I’d go for Spurs' thumping win at Goodison Park in December.
Best goal: Vincent Kompany vs Leicester. Sorry Andros, but in terms of context and the title race it has to be another cracker at the Etihad – Kompany’s bolt from the blue past Kasper Schmeichel.
Hero: Neil Warnock. Whether it is bad refereeing decisions or Brexit, the Cardiff boss never ducks a question and always says what he thinks. A rarity these days. And deserves to be commended for the way he handled the aftermath of the Emiliano Sala tragedy. The Premier League will be a poorer place without both next term.
Biggest letdown: Jose Mourinho. The season the Special One went from heart-throb to pain in the a***.
Funniest moment: Man City fans’ version of Spandau Ballet’s Gold: “Who needs Gold, Gold? We’ve got two Silvas you know…” Genius deserving of an Ivor Novello. (PS. The Man Utd fans’ one about Liverpool losing the Champions League Final in Kiev is just as good).
Best game: Wolves 4 Leicester City 3. Kasper Schmeichel produced the save of the season to deny Ruben Neves, Diogo Jota nabbed a hat-trick and Nuno Espirito Santo saw red for staging a one-man pitch invasion after Jota’s stoppage-time winner settled this brilliantly-bonkers seven-goal thriller.
Best goal: Eden Hazard vs West Ham. His slalom run through the Hammers defence and finish edges out Son Heung-min’s similarly mazy run and goal against Chelsea. But the ‘goal of the season’ was Vincent Kompany’s title-saving strike against Leicester City, while Andros Townsend’s thunderbolt against Manchester City was certainly the most spectacular.
Hero: Every one of the 40-plus Leicester City staff members who formed the most poignant huddle the Premier League has ever witnessed – a mere seven days after the tragic helicopter crash which claimed the life of their beloved owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others.
Biggest letdown: Arsenal allowing model pro Aaron Ramsey’s contract to run down rather than reaping the rewards as the 28-year-old enters the peak years of his career – allowing Juventus to win the race to snap up the biggest and best freebie of the summer.
Funniest moment: Tempted to say: ‘see above.’ However Ashley Barnes proving he’s a lover, not a fighter, by planting a kiss on Joe Bennett’s beak just as the Cardiff player looked ready for a tear-up, made me laugh.
Best game: Manchester City 2 Liverpool 1. City answered questions about their title-defence credentials in a match that had everything, including John Stones’ clearance that effectively won the title.
Best goal: Mo Salah vs Chelsea. It was the perfect response after getting abuse by fans days before. A moment of class.
Hero: Raheem Sterling. Has led the way on and off the pitch, world-class performances and bravery to speak out about racism.
Biggest letdown: Fulham. Were awful despite £100million worth of talent coming through the doors at Craven Cottage.
Funniest moment: Neil Warnock looking straight down the camera just edges it from him staring down the officials after the Chelsea defeat.
Best game: Manchester City 2 Liverpool 1. Has to be one of the most tense and highest quality matches in Premier League history. The difference between the two sides was minimal in an encounter you simply could not take your eyes off.
Best goal: Andros Townsend vs Manchester City. Townsend has a wonder goal or two in his locker – but this was something else. That it resulted in the shock result of the season too only added to its brilliance.
Hero: Vincent Kompany. His leadership saw City through tricky fixtures against rivals Manchester United and Burnley last month – but of course THAT thunderbolt against Leicester is what fans will rightly remember most.
Biggest letdown: Fulham. I was tipping the Cottagers to be everyone’s second-favourite side before a ball was kicked – but what transpired was a campaign of rushed mismanagement, with a £100million trolley dash in the summer and three managerial appointments ending in relegation.
Funniest moment: Jurgen Klopp’s excuses – some of those he's produced on the rare occasions his side have come up short have been amusing. The wind, the snow and, inexplicably, Manchester United’s injuries during that pivotal 0-0 draw at Old Trafford all brought a belly laugh.
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