Premier League Grades

 

It’s been one of the strangest seasons, and even up till the last minutes we still found ourselves surprised by the eventual outcomes. Some clubs can be very proud of what they’ve achieved, and others may be disappointed, but it’s been a very competitive season and for us fans, we’ve certainly not been underwhelmed with the entertainment.

20th – Aston Villa: U

For those who don’t do exams, a ‘U’ stands for ‘un-markable’. With regards to Villa, I can’t really say much to be honest. They lost big players in the summer and they haven’t responded to that. I think a year in the Championship may be what they need just to rebuild and try discover some form.

19th – Norwich: D

I feel sorry for Norwich because they’re a club with real spirit and a great attitude towards the challenges they face, but they’ve come short this season. I thought they’d have a bit more about them this season, but they never found the form needed to drag themselves out of the drop zone. I have no doubt they’ll be back again, and they’ve got a young manager in Alex Neil who will learn from this experience.

18th – Newcastle: D-

They’ve invested too much money in the squad for this finishing place to be acceptable, but they have the spirit and quality to get back up and Rafa Benitez has certainly got the place going again. A 5-1 win against Spurs will lift their hopes for next season, and I hope for Rafa and the Newcastle fans especially (always devoted and passionate) that they bounce back quickly from this disappointment.

17th – Sunderland: C-

Simply for surviving and showing character, Sunderland merit a reasonable grade as they’ve climbed out of the bottom three late on and beaten big teams on the way to ensuring saftey. Allardyce has done it again, and they can now finally build on from this – we hope.

16th – Bournemouth: A-

I’ll give Bournemouth an A- as it’s been a really encouraging start to Premier League life, having never really been involved in the relegation scrap, and they’ve done it on significantly less funds than other clubs around them. Eddie Howe will be very pleased, but more worryingly for Bournemouth – very in-demand.

15th – Crystal Palace: C-

Started brilliantly but lacked the motivation in the second half of the season to keep it up. With the league alone, considering some decent investment, they should have been harder to beat than they were at times. A good cup run would have been enjoyable for the fans, but generally the side has dropped from their high standards that we know their players are capable of producing.

14th – West Brom: B-

May be harsh, but they’re arguably the most boring club in the league, but they are effective. Pulis continues to grind out good results and maintain a solid place in the league. Can he take them further next year? A change of style may be needed for that.

13th – Watford: B

I actually think they deserve a B, as they’re the highest finishers out of all the promoted clubs and showed some great form up until the end of February. Why Quique Sanches Flores has lost his job I will never know, but he can leave with his head high as he’s done a very solid job for his first season in the Premier League.

12th – Swansea: C+

Poor by their standards, but a late surge and a brilliant turnaround by Guidolin has pulled them up the table and they’re comfortably a Premier League club. I hope they kick on and don’t rest on this though, but that does depend on how many players they manage to keep.

11th – Everton: D

I can’t help but feel so disappointed with Everton knowing the quality they have in their squad. They haven’t fulfilled their squads potential, but the future is bright for them, and in a season where Chelsea finished 10th and Liverpool finished 8th, maybe it’s not quite as terrible as it first seems.

10th – Chelsea: D

Not an E just because they showed some form towards the end of the season and they’ve made themselves more difficult to beat, and the youngsters they’re promoting are a really positive sign for them. This season will be put down as a one-off, and despite actually finding a lot of positives in this season for Chelsea, the fact that they’ve handed over their title in this manner makes them undoubtedly no better than a D.

9th – Stoke: B+

I think they’ve been very competitive and impressive where other bigger clubs have failed, and they’ve certainly changed to a more exciting brand of football without losing their place in the top 10, so they should be happy. Can they get more out of Shaqiri and Imbula next year though?

8th – Liverpool: B-

8th may seem low but it’s only 6 points off 4th, and for a lot of the last few games Klopp’s rotated the squad a lot. They’ve picked up some big results, impressive ones, and reached two finals this season. Their signings have found the form that was expected of them, and though they started slowly, I think things look bright for Liverpool, Klopp, and the youngsters breaking through.

7th – West Ham: A

They’ve made great signings and competed in every game. They’re an attractive team to watch, and it’s a great way to enter the Olympic Stadium. They can hopefully kick on and continue to build and grow as a club.

6th – Southampton: A+

Always under the radar, but always brilliant to watch. Koeman has done wonders with this team, and it’s so impressive considering the little investment in the side. It’ll be interesting to see if Koeman stays, because big clubs will be looking at him, but I believe he is a patient man who is enjoying his time at Southampton, and they can’t afford to lose him.

5th – Man Utd: C

They’ve spent a lot of money, so missing out on top 4 isn’t good enough. An FA Cup win is of course a great achievement and one that shouldn’t be downplayed, however I’m underwhelmed by what they’ve done in the league and how they’ve played this season. Some big positives for them though – the youngsters look impressive, and they still show a really competitive and combative attitude in big games, which shows they still play like a big club and care about their pride.

4th – Man City: C

Unacceptable not to have put up a better fight in the title race, but it did go down hill when the Guardiola news was announced. The money spent shouldn’t be scraping them a top 4 place, and they’ve had too many poor home performances to earn anymore than this grade. The future does look bright for City as well though, and this season can easily be forgotten. Let’s not forget they did win the Capital One Cup, and they reached the semi-final of the Champions League, better than every other English club.

3rd – Tottenham: A-

It’s shame they threw away second place the way they did, but this season has been a hugely exciting and impressive one for Spurs. Spurs fans would have taken 3rd place at the start of the season, and they’ve reached their goal. They were Leicester’s closest challengers and their young players really stepped up this season. However I must say, to lose momentum the way they have since the Chelsea game isn’t good enough, as finishing ahead of Arsenal really means a lot when it comes to the North London rivalry, and they should have shown more fight for their fans in that department. All in all though, a top top season for Spurs.

2nd – Arsenal: B-

They only scrape a B- as they have racked up some impressive results throughout the season, and showed the desire and togetherness to fight for 2nd when the season was arguably over for them. Regardless of those tiny positives, it’s been a real blow not winning the league this season. Have they improved? Yes and no. They’ve been the best of the ‘big clubs’ which is something to be fair, but they’ve been so poor when the run-in got tough and that’s unacceptable for Arsenal, especially with the resources they have; such as funds which were arguably under-used.

1st – Leicester City: Golden A*

Just absolutely fantastic. Pacey, energetic, powerful, strong, intelligent, and mature are the words that come to mind when I think of Leicester’s style and what they’e achieved. What a story and what a way to show other clubs, managers, owners and pundits how it’s done. Everyone wants investment here and investment there, but Leicester defied all the odds. 4-4-2 can win titles, counter attacking football is attractive, and the ones who have been written off can always come and rediscover they’re form. Well done Leicester City – what an achievement.

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