Winners and Losers: Looking Back at Who Succeeded and Who Flopped in 2017

Well 2017 is over and that means that we have to have an obligatory look back at the year and reminisce on what was good and what really...really wasn't.

There have been some astonishing feats achieved in football this year as well as a few things not many people wanted to happen at all. 

But whatever side of the argument you're on with those points, you can't disagree: it's been one hell of a year.

So here's a look at some of the biggest winners, as well as the unfortunate losers of 2017...

1. Pep Guardiola: WINNER

Granted this is more to do with the latter half of the year for the Manchester City boss, but still you can do nothing but marvel at the things he's achieved (and achieving) at the Etihad.

18 consecutive league wins. 11 consecutive away wins. 28 consecutive games unbeaten in all competitions. Manchester City scored four or more goals in TEN Premier League games in 2017. There doesn't really need to be any embellishment around those feats, they speak for themselves.

Guardiola is certainly showing that he can be one of the greatest minds the Premier League has ever seen. If he doesn't win the Premier League in May, something would've had to go catastrophically wrong.

2. Sunderland: LOSERS

Premier League side in January. Second from bottom of the Championship in December. It really could not have gone much worse for Sunderland

Sunderland had been in the Premier League for nearly ten years, but a series of poor transfer decisions, poor managerial appointments and a general poor performance on the pitch has led the side to slide down the ladder of English league football and face the unnervingly real prospect of back-to-back relegation.

This has definitely been a period fans will do everything they can to forget, but that could be a very hard thing to do.

3. Burnley: WINNERS

Almost the complete opposite of Stoke City, Burnley just dodged Premier League relegation for the first time in the club's history, which set in motion a real period of belief for Burnley and their fans.

Sean Dyche resisted the temptation of bigger clubs to stay and work with Burnley, who he has managed for six years now.

Despite not winning in their last five matches, Burnley currently sit in seventh place, above former champions Leicester City and only three points behind Tottenham. 

What a time to be a Burnley fan.

4. Mark Hughes: LOSER

Stoke are in big trouble. After finishing an average 13th place in the 2016/17 season, they've started even worse, dropping to 16th and have only won twice in their last eleven matches.

They have the worst goal difference in the league thanks to four different occasions in which they conceded more than four goals. 

And it looks like Mark Hughes' head will roll because of it all. Mark Hughes is not a bad manager, he's had some very successful spells in the past, but he's getting something very wrong as Stoke City manager and will likely not see out the rest of January, which is a bit of a shame.

5. Mohamed Salah: WINNER

This man is starting to make the potential loss of Phillipe Coutinho seem all the less painful for Liverpool fans. 

It takes some doing to score 17 goals in one half of a season, already two better than his tally last season with Roma. It may be manager Jurgen Klopp, it may be his relationship with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

Whatever it is, it's turned him into one of the players of the year.

6. AC Milan: LOSERS

In 2011, AC Milan were seventh on the list of richest clubs in the world. They then hit a deep decline until hopes were lifted early in 2017 of new owner.

A transfer window with new owners saw Milan splash the cash, spending over £30m on a single player for the first time since they bought Pippo Inzaghi in 2002. Arrivals such as Leonardo Bonucci and Hakan Çalhanoğlu were seen as the start of a new revival in the red half of the San Siro.

But Li Yonghong's influence has done very little to change their dwindling situation, with even the return of club legend Gennaro Gattuso at the helm, it doesn't seem to have kicked them back to their best days.

Bitter rivals Inter are third in the Serie A. Milan are 11th and that says it all.

7. Italy National Team: Losers

Pretty much everyone in the world felt sorry for the Italians. 

It really hits hard to miss out on a World Cup for the first time in over half a century, especially when a certain legendary goalkeeper was hoping to end his career with a bang.

Back in September, the president of the Italian Football Association had said that not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup would be 'an apocalypse.'

It seems the four horsemen had their way...

8. Harry Kane: WINNER

Probably the ultimate winner of 2017.

When someone outscores Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in a calendar year, you can't really say anything but good things about them.

Some have described Kane as the next generation Alan Shearer and considering he broke Shearer's record recently, they are not wrong.

Tottenham fans will thank their lucky stars they still have this boy on the books, because if he keeps playing like he is, he may not be there for much longer.

An absolute shoo-in for PFA Player of the Year.