Belfast Telegraph

Premier League club-by-club assessment

Chelsea secured their fifth Premier League title, while Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hull dropped out of the top flight.

Here, Press Association Sport reporters assess how the 20 teams performed this term.

ARSENAL

This season has been Arsene Wenger's worst since he took charge of the Gunners in 1996. Missing out on the top four for the first time under the Frenchman means Arsenal will have to juggle domestic football with the Europa League. A horror run of form over spring cost them dearly - although Alexis Sanchez enjoyed a great campaign.

BOURNEMOUTH

Bournemouth and their promising manager Eddie Howe impressed in overcoming Chelsea recalling Nathan Ake, injuries, and a worrying run of results at the start of 2017 to secure a mid-table finish while playing some fine football. Their biggest challenge if they continue to improve could be managing expectations.

BURNLEY

It was mission accomplished for Burnley on their top-flight return. The Clarets were the only one of last year's three promoted clubs to avoid relegation having totted up double figures in home wins. Defender Michael Keane enhanced his reputation by breaking into the England team while manager Sean Dyche's band of admirers has also grown following survival.

CHELSEA

Chelsea were rejuvenated under Antonio Conte, who won the title in his first season as head coach. The Blues finished 10th last term as Leicester succeeded them as champions. But N'Golo Kante, Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and others thrived in a fifth Premier League win as their rivals failed to mount a sustained challenge.

CRYSTAL PALACE

Palace will just be relieved to be playing Premier League football next season. After Alan Pardew was sacked with relegation looking increasingly likely, the latest episode of Sam Allardyce's eventful career led to him coming in and gradually leading them to safety with a fixture to spare. Wilfried Zaha's impressive progress was a significant positive in an otherwise disappointing campaign.

EVERTON

An encouraging first season for Everton under Ronald Koeman, in which their home form was particularly impressive. After this seventh-placed finish, it will be interesting to see how Europa League commitments affect the Toffees as they try to keep moving forward next term. The possibility of losing top scorer Romelu Lukaku this summer looks a considerable worry.

HULL

The Tigers' latest top-flight adventure was doomed before it began. Failure to invest in new players led to the resignation of Steve Bruce in the summer, and successor Mike Phelan, who had 13 fit senior players on the opening day, was sacked in January. His replacement Marco Silva gave them hope, but back-to-back defeats against Sunderland and Crystal Palace in May proved decisive.

LEICESTER

The defending champions' rollercoaster ride continued with the sacking of Claudio Ranieri, a battle against relegation and a Champions League quarter-final defeat against Atletico Madrid. The Foxes looked a shadow of the side that won the title last term. Interim boss Craig Shakespeare guided them to mid-table safety following Ranieri's exit, and looks likely to remain at the helm.

LIVERPOOL

Liverpool's top-four finish secured Champions League football for only the second time in the last eight seasons and ensured the campaign finished on a successful note. Although an unexpected title challenge faded away around the turn of the year because of indifferent results against lower-half teams, there were more positives than negatives.

MANCHESTER CITY

Pep Guardiola's arrival promised more than City delivered. Scrapping to make the top four, exiting the Champions League at the last-16 stage and failing to win silverware made for an underwhelming campaign. Good attacking play was undermined by defensive, especially goalkeeping, frailties and a lack of a cutting edge, Sergio Aguero excepted.

MANCHESTER UNITED

Promise has been outweighed by frustration during Jose Mourinho's first league campaign in the Old Trafford hotseat. Despite going on a 25-match unbeaten run, too many were draws and United stumbled home sixth. Their only hope of Champions League football is a make-or-break Europa League final as they look to add to their EFL Cup and Community Shield successes.

MIDDLESBROUGH

A win and two draws in their first three games got promoted Middlesbrough off to an encouraging start, but it proved to be a spectacularly false dawn. Head coach Aitor Karanka left amid a run of 16 games without a win between December and April and they were relegated with two fixtures to spare.

SOUTHAMPTON

Saints reached the EFL Cup final, beat Inter Milan in the Europa League and ended a fourth successive top-flight campaign in the top half for the first time in their history, yet there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction. Some fans - and players - have not been won over by manager Claude Puel, who could well be replaced after just one season at St Mary's. A season of 'what if?'.

STOKE

The Potters did not record their first league win until October, but then swiftly lifted themselves out of the relegation zone and never really looked in danger of returning to it. But struggles in attack were a frequent problem - neither Wilfried Bony nor Saido Berahino made much of an impact - and Mark Hughes' men ended up finishing outside the top half for the first time in four years.

SUNDERLAND

After spending four seasons playing with fire, Sunderland's fingers were finally burnt. Manager David Moyes' admission just two games in that the debt-ridden club was in a relegation fight proved depressingly accurate as they hurtled out of the division with barely a whimper after a 10-year stay.

SWANSEA

A season of turmoil began with an unwelcome takeover deal and saw three different managers at the helm. The combined efforts of Francesco Guidolin and Bob Bradley left Swansea bottom at the halfway stage, but Paul Clement masterminded an impressive recovery as Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente shone.

TOTTENHAM

After last season's surprise title challenge, Mauricio Pochettino led his young and talented squad to even greater heights this term, securing a second-place finish - the club's highest since 1963. A barren run last autumn, however, cost Spurs dear in the title race as significant progress once again failed to translate into major trophies.

WATFORD

On the face of it, Watford enjoyed a solid campaign until another late-season slump once 40 points were secured. Yet something was not quite right. Departing boss Walter Mazzarri can point to a crippling injury list, but memorable wins over Manchester United and Arsenal were in stark contrast to lacklustre displays against mediocre sides.

WEST BROM

Albion have overachieved given their small squad and the issue of Saido Berahino, who had served a drugs ban before being sold to Stoke in January. They tailed off after reaching 40 points but that could play into boss Tony Pulis' hands when he talks to the owners ahead of next season given he will be able to show the deficiencies which need fixing.

WEST HAM

A tough season played to a backdrop of crowd unrest at the former Olympic Stadium. Slaven Bilic's summer signings were disappointing, to say the least, with Italy striker Simone Zaza the biggest flop. Dimitri Payet's sulk and subsequent departure did not help, but, amidst all this, relegation was never really an issue.

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