It went down to the last day of the season, but both Manchester City and Liverpool qualified for Champions League football next season. The two sides, along with Arsenal were in a doomsday scenario going in to the English Premier League’s final weekend. And despite some nervy moments at Anfield, both teams punched their tickets to qualify for Champions League play.
Liverpool’s win prevented Arsenal from qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years. The Gunners had experienced a renaissance at the end of the Premier League season, only to fall short of the top four. In reality, Arsenal had put themselves in a bad situation, and only the team’s improved play over the last six games gave them a shot to qualify for Champions League football. In addition, they needed their rivals to slip up as the season’s end neared.
Reds Hold Nerve, Pummel Middlesbrough
Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho had another magical afternoon for the Reds. The Brazilian completed 86% of his passes with 93 of 108 being accurate. His 51st minute goal sealed the team’s top four finish and Arsenal’s fate in next season’s Europa League.
Coutinho’s 10 point fantasy haul capped off a season in which the Brazilian started out hot and heavy, only to be curtailed by injury and poor fantasy form. In January 2017, Coutinho signed a new Liverpool contract until 2022. The playmaking midfielder, who failed to crack the team at Inter Milan between 2010 and 2012, remains a vital ingredient to Jurgen Klopp’s recipe for success.
Key Philippe Coutinho Stats:
- 13 goals in 31 games (his most in a Premier League season)
- 3 goals from free-kicks
- 7 assists
- 45.26 passes per match
- 2 yellow cards
Manchester City Send of Mazzarri in 5 Goal Goodbye
It wasn’t difficult for Manchester City to qualify for Champions League football as the Blues thrashed a helpless Watford 5-0. It was what City fans had been waiting to see all season from Pep Guardiola, and unfortunately only got to see the side perform when there was little to play for.
One again, Guardiola played Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus; and the pairing was quite potent. The pair tallied three goals and two assists combining for 27 fantasy points. Add in the attacking support the two received from Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane, and the quartet scored 42 fantasy points against Watford.
De Bruyne finished the FPL season as Manchester City’s top fantasy performer. The Belgian tallied 199 points as he led the Premier League with 18 assists. He had seven double-digit fantasy gameweeks, but struggled with consistency in FPL – much like his teammates. If Guardiola can get consistent play out of his attackers next season, Manchester City players will be even more valuable to fantasy managers. The squad may also fulfil the high expectations of their fans, too.
Key Kevin De Bruyne Stats:
- 6 goals in 36 matches
- 18 assists
- 50.06 passes per match
- 30 through balls
- 4 yellow cards
- 1,802 passes
The close season will tell fans plenty about the season both teams will have in 2017-18. Both need new recruits, yet both Manchester City and Liverpool have the foundation for success in place. Can one of these two sides challenge Chelsea for Premier League dominance? And can Manchester City or Liverpool push for the Champions League trophy? They can sure qualify for Champions League football, but they must strive for more next term.