5 clubs that have failed spectacularly in the 2016/17 season
Which clubs from Europe's top 5 leagues performed well below expectations?
If there’s one thing that conveys the fans’ unhappiness and disappointment with their team at the end of the season, it is empty seats at the stadium. The months of April and May are when supporters start losing hope and, once the club is out of the reckoning for major titles or qualification for the Champions League, it is a hammer blow to the club who then look to finish as high as possible with the games in hand.
The 2016/17 season saw a number of clubs that have failed to deliver; either in the league or in Europe – or both. We look at five teams who probably let down their fans the most this season.
1) Manchester City (Premier League)
In came the likes of John Stones (£47.5m) who became the second-most expensive defender ever, Leroy Sane (£37m), a crocked Ilkay Gundogan (£20m), Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo (£15.4m) and Nolito (£13.8m). Gabriel Jesus (£27m) also arrived in January to bolster their attacking options.
His predecessor Manuel Pellegrini had been deemed a failure for not winning enough with this squad and it was an acid test for Guardiola whose fledgeling managerial career had seen him take over two world class squads at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Instead, he ends the season without a trophy for the first time in his career.
The Catalan boss started well, winning their first six games on the trot and staying top of the league for the first 10 weeks of the season. Then their season started to crumble.
Bravo was not even a half-decent shot-stopper compared to Joe Hart who had been sent out on loan, Sergio Aguero struggled to get Guardiola’s seal of approval until Jesus suffered an injury while David Silva drifted in and out of games, never really asserting himself as he did in the seasons he won the league title.
Guardiola himself was shocked by the style of play in England. His style of high-pressing was easily negated. “The ball is more in the air than the grass,” he pointed out while building from the back with an ageing defence made them very vulnerable.
Two mid-season slumps saw them first fall out of the title race before exiting Europe on away goals to Monaco in a 6-6 aggregate scoreline – hardly a defensive masterclass while a struggling Arsenal knocked them out of the FA Cup. Considering the money spent on building this squad, just a top four finish is a colossal failure.