Premier League grades part 2

Written by David Robinson

Another Premier League season is finished and while the league may not be the most unpredictable, this particular season has provided its fair amount of shocks. With a Premier League status never been more important financially, there has been a lot to fight for with the ultimate aim of of meeting or exceeding expectations. With these expectations in mind, I give my verdict on each teams performance in all competitions.

Newcastle United – 18th –  C- 

Disaster for the Toon who have been relegated again mainly related to lessons which have not been learnt by Mike Ashley. They tried to take a safe way out buying players with potential which back fired big time. With more of a focus on the pitch, under McLaren, there wasn’t enough intensity in the side or in fact talent. This was always going to be a bad recipe however with a poor standard in the league, a proven goalscorer would probably have kept Newcastle safe, Charlie Austin anyone?

Norwich City – 19th – B-

I’ve given a relatively high grade for a side that’s been relegated. This is because Norwich were always in the mix to survive but when you don’t have anyone to score and have lapses in defence then this was always the likely outcome. Pretty much the same core that got promoted, Norwich didn’t have enough in both boxes and this has ultimately cost them despite some good performances.

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                                                                           credit Mike Beales

Southampton – 6th –  A-

The saints have gone under the radar all season and have yet again impressed. I’m sure they will be disappointed to exit the FA Cup early however Koeman has got them playing well. They pipped West Ham to 6th in the end which is highly commendable. Southampton are often hard to break down which has been the main point of success over the last few seasons and they keep finding talent to win them games despite selling a lot of their star players.

Stoke City – 9th – B-

Stoke suffered a very poor start to the league which was a surprise following the addition of Xherdan Shaqiri amongst others however when Stoke were good, they were very good and this inconsistency is maybe to be expected. With the £18 million signing of Imbula made in January, there must be a heap of optimism around the Britannia. An unfortunate defeat in the Capital One Cup semi-final was at least a good sign however you feel Stoke can give that little bit more with the squad their building however a decent season for the Potters.

 

Sunderland – 17th – B-                                                                                        credit dom fellowes15940803219_3e50d28df1_z (1)

Very difficult to grade. Ultimately survival was once again the aim for Sunderland which has been achieved but the way they go about it year after year is quite a strange circumstance. The Black Cats struggled for the large parts and Jermain Defoe has certainly rescued the Mackems with some clinical finishes. You’d probably have to say Sunderland had a poor side before additions were made in January so it probably has to go down as a decent season in the end but surely they can’t take the same discomfort again next season.

Swansea City – 12th – B-

Plenty of ups and downs for Swansea this season with the club very much flirting with relegation at times. I was shocked for this to be the case as they play some great football and I thought their squad shouldn’t be in that position. I do believe they have lost cutting edge though in the last season or two. While Gomis had a terrific spell earlier in the season, he isn’t what is required to take the Swans to where they will want them to be. Investment in a striker and winger could prove to make all the difference but they managed to end the season very well so credit to the Welsh club.

Tottenham Hotspurs – 3rd – A

Spurs have been fantastic this season and they say the table doesn’t lie but it certainly does here. The London club have grown under Pochettino enormously but missed out on the title which then jeopardised their chances in the other competitions. The high energy system which they deployed caused problems all season and with the likes of Alli, Eriksen and Kane in the side they had plenty of goals. Champions league football is some sort of reward for their efforts but there will be that element of disappointment that they haven’t got anything to show for their brilliance this year.

Watford – 13th – A-

A superb season for a newly promoted club, the Hornets were safe comfortably and had a trip to Wembley for an FA Cup semi-final. In the league, the Golden Boys were well organised and kept plenty of clean sheets which was vital while earlier in the season Ighalo and Deeney were able to score the all important goals. A sluggish end to the season shouldn’t take away what a season it had been although there might be one or two regrets about not kicking on further.

West Bromwich Albion – 14th – B+

In my opinion, 14th represents a good season for West Brom as I believe they have one of the poorest squads in the league. Pulis does guarantee survival and they managed that comfortably however there will always be the demand for more attractive football after a certain point. The signing of Rondon hasn’t been what the Baggies would have fully wanted but they still managed to score enough goals despite Berahino not playing. Of course their resolute structure and defence has enabled West Brom to pick up points consistently throughout the season.

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credit John Seb Barber

West Ham United – 7th – B+

The Hammers will be very pleased with what they’ve seen this year producing some top displays and cracking football at times. They still had inconsistencies beating a lot of the ‘top clubs’ but then losing the odd game to the teams predicted to be relegated. They will probably end up disappointed with their finishing position with a top 4 finish a real possibility at times, which shows how well they’ve done. A defeat in the FA Cup Quarter Finals will also leave Bilic slightly frustrated that the Hammers couldn’t go on to Wembley but overall good progress made and plenty of reasons to look forward to next season at the Olympic Stadium.

What do you make of your teams grade? Let us know in the comments below!

featured image by Mike Beales