I have done two Premier League blogs on the teams this season:-
Firstly at the start of the season and secondly at the half way point – links below:-
Now the season is over (bar the abandoned Manchester United v Bournemouth match as I post this) I have given my thoughts on their seasons with a grading for each team.
Arsenal – C
They ended the season second, but lets be honest this was their best opportunity they have had in a long time to win the Premier League hence the grade. They topped the league table at the start of this year but have failed to push on. The thoughts will be about ‘what ifs’. Arsene Wenger has one more year left on his current contract, it may well be his last unless a title is secured.
Aston Villa – U
A shambles season – relegated with the third worst points total in Premier League history. No leadership in the boardroom has led to no plan of action on the pitch, shocking performances and no fight or heart. The fans have been cheated this season and better has to come in 2016-17 where they will play in the Championship. Good riddance to Randy Lerner is the call and only then will the fans feel like things are going to improve.
Bournemouth – B
A superb season for Bournemouth in which they actually secured their place in the Premier League next season quite comfortably. They have stepped off a little since safety was assured but you can take nothing away from their fantastic season especially as they have had long-term injuries to key players such as Callum Wilson and Tyrone Mings Back to back wins at Chelsea and then at home to Manchester United were the highlights and both came when they were desperate for points. Eddie Howe is a manager going places, the Cherries will want to keep hold of him so as their club can progress even further.
Chelsea – F
If you had said at the start of the season, Jose Mourinho would not make it to Christmas and Chelsea will officially be the worst ever Premier League defending champions ever – only 50 points you would have been laughed out of town. Guus Hiddink steadied the ship slightly but it has been an awful campaign, new manager Antonio Conte has a lot of work to do.
Crystal Palace – C/D (depends on FA Cup Final result)
A strange season for Crystal Palace, an outstanding start and at the halfway point of the season they were 5th. But a horrible run of no league wins that lasted until 9th April put them in relegation trouble. During this period they progressed through in the FA Cup which took some pressure off the manager. They have the final this coming Saturday a win there and I am sure that poor run will be forgotten.
Everton – E
A poor season finally culminated in the sacking of manager Roberto Martinez after their penultimate match, a shocking performance against Sunderland, which was preceded by a listless effort against champions, Leicester. 23 points out of 57 was the their worst home record in history which is just not good enough for a club trying to compete with the big boys. Whoever comes in will be supported by new investor, Farhad Moshiri – so the future could be bright but has to better than what they have served up this season.
Leiceister – A+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
CHAMPIONS OF THE PREMIER LEAGUE 2015/16 – an amazing performance, a historical performance, all hail one of the most remarkable sporting achievements ever. Claudio Ranieri – King of Leicester simple as.
Liverpool – B/C (depends on Europa League Final result)
Brendan Rodgers was sacked early season, the main reason to secure Jurgen Klopp. He has instilled his football philosophy into his players very quickly the only thing missing was consistency, they could be devastating and hapless in equal measure. An 8th place finish is acceptable seeing that they have a Europa League final to look forward to, which if they won would mean entry into next seasons Champions League, that will be seen as more than progress.
Manchester City – C
A brilliant start five wins out of five, 11 goals, none conceded and everyone thought the title race would be over by Christmas, how naïve. The subsequent 33 games they only managed games 55 points less than 2 points a game and nowhere near a championship winning rate. All in all it has been a disappointing season despite winning a trophy in the League Cup and getting to the semi-finals of the Champions League. Securing 4th place was huge on the last day of the season (barring a 19 goal Manchester United win) and now with Pep Guardiola taking over for next season improvements will be needed.
Manchester United – E
A badly run club simple as, now run as a commercial operation, with football seen as an after thought by Executive Vice Chairman, Ed Woodward, especially by not making one of the most obvious managerial change decisions in the history of football. They got their just desserts by not qualifying for the Champions League unless a 19 goal win is forthcoming in their abandoned fixture against Bournemouth. An FA Cup final is on the horizon which is always good to win but more is expected at Old Trafford. Enjoy the Europa next season.
Newcastle United – F
A poor managerial appointment compounded by the length of time it took them to make an obvious change. Rafa Benitez nearly managed to save them but did not have enough time, made worse by their bitter rivals Sunderland putting the final nail in their coffin. To be fair to Mike Ashley he did throw money at it in the January transfer window but maybe a managerial change was needed too. The task is now to keep the incumbent Spaniard as in the short time he has been there he has impressed the hierarchy, but does he fancy it in the Championship, we will find out soon.
Norwich City – E
Norwich’s lack of a goalscorer and penchant for making simple mistakes in defence has cost them a place in the Premier League. The 0-3 loss to relegation rivals Sunderland in April was a classic example, they had plenty of chances which they could not take and then gifted their opponents goals. Its a ‘what might have been’ situation for Alex Neil and his players.
Southampton – B
As we stand, Ronald Koeman’s men stand 5th in the Premier League an outstanding run (only Leicester have more points than them in 2016) after a shaking period earlier in the season. Even if they drop down to 6th place dependent on the result of the outstanding Manchester United v Bournemouth game, Europa League qualification has been secured. Koeman is in demand and has said he will stay at Southampton, if they match his ambitions, as he wants to build something special at the south coast club. A promising time ahead for the Saints.
Stoke City – C
A decent season for Stoke and a 9th place finish is an extremely decent return. They have had a poor end to the season, at one point they conceded 4 goals in three consecutive matches. Mark Hughes was being touted as a potential replacement for Louis Van Gaal before the downturn and despite an adequate return work will need to be done to make sure they can keep consistent throughout the season.
Sunderland – B
Big Sam has done it again, he has never been relegated and that record has been kept up. He came into Sunderland in October and made sure he instilled grit and determination allayed with a cutting edge i.e. Jermaine Defoe. The 0-3 win at Norwich was crucial and the team built on this and by the time they overwhelmed Everton 3-0 they more than deserved their survival. Relegating bitter rivals Newcastle at the same time was just a bonus.
Swansea City – C
After a bad run, Garry Monk was sacked and Alan Curtis took charge and brought an improvement. In January Italian, Francesco Guidolin, came in and brought a further improvement, a 1-2 win at Arsenal being the highlight. It has not been a great season for the Welsh side but they have secured top flight safety so swings and roundabouts it is, especially as a 12th place finish is more than adequate when you look where they were earlier in the season.
Tottenham Hotspur – A
Mauricio Pochettino’s methods are working to the max and whisper it quietly they might even challenge for the Premier League for the next few seasons, especially as the Argentine has now signed on for five more years. I feel their recent collapse especially the 5-1 last day defeat at Newcastle will help them as Poch will not accept that and will be even more invested in making sure Spurs sustain the title challenge right until the bitter end of the season. Securing of an automatic place in the Champions League group stage means this has been a very successful season for an up and coming side.
Watford – B
If not for Leicester, Watford would have had a lot more plaudits earlier in the season. They were never in the bottom three, made an FA Cup semi-final but seemingly that was not enough for manager Quique Sanchez Flores to keep his job, though to be fair to their owners they changed the manager who got them promoted. They did have a disappointing second half of the season but surely survival in any way possible was their target. The Spaniard will never be forgotten by the Hertfordshire club and received a rousing send off in their final league game from the fans. He can leave with his head held high.
West Bromwich Albion – D
Manager, Tony Pulis has done what he does – kept his team up any which way he can. The football has not been great at times, disgruntled fans have voiced their concerns forcefully at times, but Pulis will counter this by stating they are still in the Premier League. Chairman and owner,Jeremy Peace, will be the man to decide the direction of the team, but its job done for this season.
West Ham United – B
Their final season at Boleyn Ground / Upton Park under new manager Slaven Bilic has been a success. A 7th place finish has been secured, but the Croatian manager will be disappointed as key decisions have gone against them at times. However the future looks bright with their move to the Olympic Stadium from the start of the next season. Their final match was a 2-1 defeat at Stoke, but the 3-2 win over Manchester United in their last home game will be a lasting memory. Onwards and upwards to a 60,000 all seater stadium which they are hoping will take them to the next level.
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