A to Z of 2017

A – ARSENAL

Own worst enemies. Every time Arsene Wenger looks vulnerable, they go and win the FA Cup, he stays and the whole frustrating cycle starts again.

B – BURNLEY

Their £27million (RM174million) wage bill is one tenth of the Manchester clubs and they get one hundredth of the hype.

C – CONTE, Antonio.

It wasn't a miracle title but for a rookie boss with no English 3 months earlier and a club in Mourinho-inspired disarray, it wasn't far off. But Chelsea don't seem to appreciate him.

D – DE GEA, David;

ii. DE BRUYNE, Kevin

Continued understated world class on opposite sides of Manchester.

E – EDERSON

The keeper Claudio Bravo was supposed to be – and one of the best passers in the game. Many of City's mesmerising attacks start with him. Brave and good at the day job too.

ii. EVERTON

Finally had big money and big ideas but needed Big Sam to save them.

F – FEDERER, Roger

Defies gravity, the laws of physics and now the aging process.

ii. FEEDER CLUB

Southampton will have supplied no less than six players to Liverpool since 2014 when Virgil van Dijk joins. The others are Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren and Sadio Mane.

G – GUARDIOLA, Pep

City are not his best team but may be his best achievement. And it's not all down to oil money – he's getting solidity out of Otamendi and goals out of Sterling.

ii. GARCIA, Sergio

'You can't win the Masters if you can't putt,' they say – but Sergio did.

H – HAMILTON, Lewis

Any driver who makes Ferrari think about prancing out of F1 must be good.

I – ITALY

Paid ultimate price for not picking their best player (Lorenzo Insigne) and will miss their first World Cup in 60 years.

ii. ICELAND

Proved Euro 2016 was not a fluke by reaching World Cup finals. Just a reminder: has a pop. of 300,000.

J – JOSE Mourinho

Third season syndrome in the second year?

ii. JOSHUA, Anthony.

Finally a worthy heavyweight boxing champion who beat Wladimir Klitchsko in a thriller and persuaded the Ukrainian to retire.

K – KANE, Harry

No one is saying 'one season wonder' any more.

L – LIONS, British & Irish

Gave the All Blacks a supreme test in titanic drawn series.

M – MESSI, Lionel.

Can't do it for his country? More like a one-man team.

N – NADAL, Rafa

Like Federer, was written off but came back to be World No.1 again.

ii. NEYMAR

Great talent but even greater greed: his RM1 billion transfer from Barca and breaking up of the magical MSN provoked widespread disgust.

O – OZIL, Mesut

Once undisputed leader of the 'Can't be ar*ed' brigade, now he's putting the wantaway likes of Sanchez and Van Dijk to shame.

P – PSG

The ultimate Jean-come-lateleys and chief beneficiaries of a political dispute in the Gulf.

Q – QATAR

Continue to exploit immigrant workers preparing for 2022 World Cup; now making a mockery of Financial Fair Play with Neymar transfer.

R – RONALDO, Cristiano.

Fifth Ballon d'Or but finally showing signs of age.

ii. ROONEY, Wayne.

Goal of the season and can still do 75 mins. But needs wife to stay home.

iii. RUSSIA

Banned from Winter Olympics for state-sponsored drug abuse; only escaped similar from World Cup because they're hosting it.

S – SALAH, Mo

The Flying Pharoah is leading scorer, favourite for Footballer of the Year and a reminder that Klopp can spot a player. Signing of the season.

ii. SILVA, David

A joy to watch and one of the great EPL players. He and KDB are Pep's brains on the field.

iii. STAVELEY, Amanda.

Unlikely saviour of Newcastle? The glamorous, blonde British businesswoman trusted by the sheikhs is closing in on Mike Ashley.

T – TOTTENHAM

Still maddeningly Spursy.

U – USA

Failed to reach World Cup finals but champions when it comes to bringing FIFA crooks to justice. More to come, we hope.

ii. UNSUNG HEROES

SON, Heung Min; DYCHE, Sean; HUGHTON, Chris – among many who don't get the headlines.

V – VAN DIJK, Virgil.

Biggest on-off-on transfer and world record for a defender as Klopp finally gets his man. Last piece of the jigsaw for Liverpool?

W – WOODS, Tiger

Did just enough and in the nick of time to suggest he could be a force again. The world of golf hopes so.

X - Ex-managers' carousel.

Led by Sam Allardyce, David Moyes, Alan Pardew, Tony Pulis seem to hop on and hop off at different clubs when there's a vacancy.

Y – YOUTH

Wasted on England? Their teams swept the board at U-17, U-19 and U-20 levels but precious few will even get a chance in the Premier League.

Z – ZLATAN Ibrahimovic

'Lions don't recover like humans', he said after coming back early. Trouble is, he's looking more human with every game.