With 2017 nearly over, and 2018 fast approaching, we take a look at how each of our Greater Manchester clubs got on this year.
It’s extremely tough to find any flaws with Manchester City. 2017 has been another good year for the blues, with Pep Guardiola’s managerial expertise beginning to pay off. City started the year in the worst possible way though, falling to a heavy 4-0 defeat at the hands of Everton. From then on though they lost just one more game until the end of the 16/17 Premier League season, and even that was to the champions Chelsea. Despite their good form and attacking style of play, City’s main low point was definitely crashing out of the Champions League to French side AS Monaco. City won the first leg 5-3 and looked to be cruising through, but a 3-1 defeat in Monaco ended Pep’s European hopes. This season though, City have been flawless. Guardiola’s side have had fans and pundits alike heaping the praise on City. The blues end the year with an incredible 15 Premier League game unbeaten run intact, as well as still being in the Champions League and League Cup. The future looks bright for the blue side of Manchester.
It’s a joy to watch City at the moment. In the past few years, we’ve played some really fantastic football but we always struggled with consistency. We used to deliver in the big games, but then we’d let it slip in the ‘smaller’ games, if you can call them that. This season that isn’t the case. To see us pull games back late on in the game fills me with confidence, because that wasn’t something we did very often before. We really do fight till the end! It’s of course great to beat so many club and league records as well, hopefully we can continue the winning streak, and with Pep I’m sure we will.
Best moment- Ending 2017 Top of the table and unbeaten in the Premier League.
Worst Moment- Being knocked out of the Champions League by Monaco
2017 will go down as the year that Manchester United won two major trophies, returned to the UEFA Champions League, but remained in their noisy neighbour’s shadows. Away from the league, United enjoyed a lot of success. Back in February, United defeated Southampton 3-2 at Wembley to lift the EFL Cup. It was the perfect start to the year for the Reds, with Jose Mourinho lifting his first trophy since his departure from Chelsea. More silverware soon followed when United won the Europa League final against Ajax in Sweden. Despite their cup success, United failed to light up the Premier League, finishing outside of the top 4 last season, but qualifying for the Champions league through their Europa League success. They end the year in second place, but a huge 11 points behind rivals Manchester City and no sign of closing the gap following their derby day defeat.
2017 has been a year of ups and downs for United. With two cup successes in his first season, Jose Mourinho did an impressive job for us. The Europa League victory was the best part of the year for me, as we hadn’t been in the Champions League for a few years and that enabled us to get back where we belong! We’ve done well this season maintaining 2nd place for the majority of the season, but I just think City are too good. The derby win was fairly soul destroying and I’m still not over it. Let’s hope we beat them at the Etihad next year, there’s still a long way to go…
Best moment- Winning the Europa League in Sweden
Worst Moment- Losing the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford
— Salford Now (@SalfordNow) December 15, 2017
As an Oldham fans myself this is extremely tough to be unbiased, but I will give it a go. 2017 has played out in typical Oldham Athletic fashion. In January, Latics appointed manager John Sheridan for the third time to come in and rescue the club from relegation, and he did so in spectacular fashion. Sheridan led Oldham away from relegation to League One safety and restored a sense of pride around Boundary Park. Oldham began the 2017/2018 season with fans feeling positive. Soon did that change. The blues got off to an awful start and found themselves bottom of the League One table, way adrift of safety. John Sheridan would depart the club soon after, with assistant manager Richie Wellens taking temporary charge of a sinking ship. Wellens though came in and hit the ground running, winning his first five games in charge and steering the club out of the relegation zone. His side have also recorded derby day wins over Bury, Rochdale and Blackburn, giving the fans a new found sense of positivity. Oldham end the year in 16th place, just 9 points off the play offs.
Oldham Athletic 2017 season looked very bleak with the Latics sitting in the relegation zone under Stephen Robinson. With measures getting drastically out of hand John Sheridan returned for the 3rd time to save the club from relegation and keep Oldham in league one for another season.
2017/18 season looked very positive with Sheridan at the helm with fans very optimistic of a top 6 finish! But in a classic Oldham fashion the club started the season terrible with Latics sitting in bottom four again. After a humiliating 5-1 loss away at Rotherham, Sheridan was sacked for the 3rd time! As a temporary measure Ritchie Wellens was brought in as caretaker manager but after 5wins out 5, Wellens then took the job on a permanent basis helping Latics climb the table. The future currently looks bright with Wellens and hopefully 2018 will be a fantastic year under Ritchie.
Best moment- Survival last season
Worst Moment- The sacking of John Sheridan
My review- 2017 has been somewhat of a nothing year for the Dale. They began 2017 in relatively good form, and pushing for the League One Play-offs but ultimately fell just short of glory. Summer was a tough one for Rochdale, with a number of their top players leaving the club for the Championship, including Jamie Allen and Nathaniel Mendez-Liang. Manager Keith Hill struggled to replace his key men and has seen his side struggle to find form this season. Dale have picked up good wins over Peterborough and Bristol Rovers but have failed to make the form last. They end the year in a worrying 19th place, but remain in both the FA Cup and the Checkatrade Trophy.
2017 was a case of what might have been for Rochdale as we pushed for play-offs, but back to back draws against Oldham and Bradford in the final two games of the season put an end to that as we finished ninth, four points outside the play offs. Despite missing out on play-offs, finishing 9th is a huge achievement for Rochdale on our tight budget and a finish we were hoping to build upon. In the 2017/18 season, we seem to have taken a backwards step as we’ve lingered in and around the relegation zone and failed to get any sort of form going. Losing the goals of Nathaniel Mendez-Laing hasn’t helped and the lack of ability to defend set pieces is costing us games. Our away form must improve as well as we’ve only managed 3 away League wins through all of 2017. On the positive side though, we are still in both cup competitions and with the right recruitment in January I believe we can push on up the table in 2018.
Best moment- Finishing 9th in League One
Worst Moment- Losing 3-1 to rivals Oldham Athletic
2017 should have been a year of celebration for Bury. The club invested so heavily in the first team squad, with the aim of reaching the Championship, instead they end the year rock bottom of League One. Bury’s form faltered near the end of the 16/17 season, having been comfortable in mid table, but ended just outside of the relegation zone. It was in the summer where Bury did most of their work. The club went all out in search of promotion from League One, making a number of marquee signings, including former Everton striker Jermaine Beckford and Chesterfield playmaker Jay O’Shea. But a season that should have been an all-time high for Bury, soon turned very sour. The club got off to the worst possible start, not winning in the first nine game of the season. Since then, Bury’s form has gone from bad to worse, leading to the departure of manager Lee Clark and ending the year in bottom spot.
2017 has been another year of tumult, poor form and change at Bury. Club legend and new manager Chris Lucketti now has the task of fitting together the many, many talented jigsaw pieces left to him by Lee Clark. Optimism has been renewed… for the time being.
Best moment- The summer transfer window
Worst Moment- Ending the year bottom of League One