There can be no denying Manchester City were the deserved winners of the 2017/18 Premier League title. Not only did they win the league, they did it in style, playing some fantastic football and ending the season on 100 points.
Pep Guardiola’s team finished with 106 goals to their name, 19 points ahead of 2nd placed Manchester United and with 22 more points than Liverpool, who have been praised this season for their excellent attacking play. Not only that, Manchester City conceded fewer goals than any other team in the Premier League, finishing with a plus 79 goal difference.
Therefore, it is little wonder many fans of football, including the contributors of this recent article on the Betway blog, have lauded the 2017/18 Manchester City team as being up there with the best we have seen since the league was formed in 1992.
Statistically speaking, the newly crowned Premier League champions certainly seem to be the best ever to play in the league. They won more points, scored more goals, had the best goal difference, won by the greatest margin and picked up the most wins of any title winning team to date.
Yes, this was a manager and group of players put together at huge cost but throwing money at a team does not guarantee success and the way Manchester City have played this season has been superb.
However, they have lost games, including a defeat at Anfield against Liverpool and at home to local rivals Manchester United. This is perhaps their one main failing of the season and why the Arsenal team of 2003/04 is regarded by many as being the best to every play in the Premier League.
That was the only time since the turn of the 19th century a team has gone the whole season without tasting defeat. The defence must take huge credit as this is where many long undefeated runs are based but Arsenal were an incredible attacking force, with Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp forging a great partnership up-front. Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg also had major roles to play from wide midfield and Sol Campbell was the key man at the back.
To go a full Premier League season unbeaten, along with other commitments in the domestic cups and Europe, is a phenomenal achievement and one we may not see again for a very long time.
When assessing Manchester City’s point haul for this season, one cannot help but look back at the Chelsea squad of 2004/05. This was Jose Mourinho’s first season in charge at Stamford Bridge and the defensive quality of the team was astounding as they went on to set the record for the highest points total of 95 prior to the 100 achieved by Manchester City this season.
Claude Makelele was the fulcrum of this team and allowed the forwards to break with freedom while providing cover to the defence when necessary. Chelsea conceded only 15 goals in winning the title that season, keeping 25 clean sheets in the process. For those who enjoy the defensive side of the game, this Chelsea team was a masterclass.
When discussing the 5 best squads to every play in the Premier League, it is impossible to ignore Manchester United. The Red Devils tasted great success under Sir Alex Ferguson and two squads in particular come to mind, starting with the 2007/08 team.
This is a team who had a bit of everything, a top goalkeeper in Edwin van der Sar, the central defensive partnership of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic plus Paul Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez further forward.
Ferguson came into his own with his tactical brilliance throughout the season and while Manchester United only finished 2 points clear of Chelsea, they went on to lift the Champions League.
Finally, we come to the 1998/99 Manchester United squad who swept all before them at home and abroad. They finished above Arsenal to win the Premier League title on the final day of the season, coming from a goal behind to defeat Tottenham 2-1 on the final day of the campaign. A 2-1 win over Newcastle United in the FA Cup followed before the dramatic injury time victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.
It was the first time in history an English team had completed the treble and with the level of competition so high in the Premier League and Champions League now, we may never see the likes of it again.
Chelsea fans may feel they have another squad who should be included in the list and Leicester City produced the biggest upset we have seen in years to win the title in 2016/16. However, the 5 squads mentioned above must be considered the best ever to play in the Premier League.