Grade each team’s season with one the following.
Hard not to just focus on how the season ended.
Once Gooners get to the summer they can get some perspective.
Arsenal are back in the Champions League after a 6-year exit thanks to individuals improving, recruiting talent with knowledge of winning, a clear identity (which hasn’t always been the case under our manager) and an ability to now go away from home and if needed fight for the points.
Naturally though as professional sportsmen, having topped the League for the majority of the season there will be disappointment and a sense of ‘what if’?
What if we hung on a few more minutes at Anfield?
What if Saka scores that penalty at London Stadium?
What if Ramsdale doesn’t pass the ball straight to Alvarez?
The truth is the timing of some of our mistakes wasn’t a coincidence. The reality is the pressure of a title race was mentally too big a step for one of the youngest squads in the division.
Arteta, himself living this experience for the first time, now needs to show he has the ability to not let individuals dwell on this in preseason and use the adversity to inspire them.
It could be worth bringing in natural leaders with experience so our heartbreak in April/May doesn’t impact next season.
There’s been so many managerial changes that a lot of clubs could get two marks based on who they had in charge.
After 11 games, Steven Gerrard was sacked with only 9 points and out of relegation only based on goal difference.
Unai Emery had to produce some of the best form in the country for Villa to qualify for Europe for the first time in 13 years.
Emery’s key changes were choosing Buendia over Coutinio instead of trying to fit both into the same team as Gerrard did.
Gerrard had stripped Mings of the captaincy, a defender the new regime brought back into the fold.
While selling Danny Ings gave Ollie Watkins his mojo back.
With the striker playing every week in his natural position he scored 11 in 12 games.
Look at the happiness the UEFA Conference gave to West Ham.
No reason why that can’t be Villa next season, especially considering Emery’s record in Europe.
The truth Is Brighton’s style of football and recruitment/scouting departments are areas of the club that have been impressive for years.
Yet they get the extra mark for dealing with a staff overturn that could have led lesser clubs towards a relegation fight.
It’s only based on how well De Zerbi has settled in and Chelsea’s failures, that more is not made of the fact that the Seagulls lost the majority of their coaching team to Stamford Bridge.
That’s before you consider Bissouma, Cucurella and Trossard were sold in the last two windows.
Every time the club just shrug their shoulders and adapt.
They know they are not big enough to stand in the way of their best talent leaving, but are also bold enough to not be pushed around, only selling if their asking price is met.
Have become many fans favourite second team, are in Europe for the first time in their history and were unlucky not to be in an FA Cup Final.
One day it will go pop.
You can’t keep finding gems like Ferguson, Enrico and Mitoma but enjoy it while it lasts.
Many (including myself) assumed Brentford might suffer ‘second season syndrome’.
That’s never been on the cards. The truth is they have been so consistently brilliant since promotion that we now just take them for granted, whereas in reality, every year in the topflight is an achievement for the Bees.
Only team to win at the Etihad, got a draw at the Emirates, won at the Lane, put 4 past Man United. Combination of free-flowing football but can go direct when needed. With their throw ins and corners, one of best in the country at set pieces.
Went on a 13-game unbeaten run in the Prem either side of Christmas. At that point were serious contenders for Europe but understandably small squad struggled with run in.
Only two players have scored more goals in the League then Ivan Toney, a striker who won’t now be available till January after being found guilty of breaching gambling rules.
It shows the goodwill the club have that they had no bad PR for arranging the players punishment to start in preseason.
You would worry this would impact the team next campaign if their manager didn’t have the personality of Thomas Frank.
After heavy defeats at the Etihad and Anfield, Scott Parker (not for the first time) publicly put pressure on his employers to invest in the transfer window, warning that he still had a Championship squad who were not prepared for this level.
Whether a manager should be keeping those thoughts private is a debate (he was sacked for making them) but they had merit. Since promotion the Cherries had been waiting to sell the club, meaning Maxim Demnin felt there would be no self-benefit in spending any more money.
Having done the same at Fulham, this enhanced Scott Parker’s reputation of finding a way out of a job so he didn’t have to risk his image.
Gary O’Neil took over as caretaker and did a good job of going back to basics, making Bournemouth hard to break down. This was needs-must but not the style of football they are used to on the South Coast.
Bill Foley completed his takeover in January clearly with relegation as part of his business model.
The billionaire wanted to stay up, but was prepared to finish in the bottom three as a worst-case scenario.
This was based on them only in the final days of the winter window attempting to sign players. In comparison, fellow newly promoted side Forest had brought in approx. 20 new faces at this point.
Only reason I haven’t graded them higher is some of their issues were self-inflicted by knowingly playing half a season without improving the side who finished 2nd in the Championship.
If they had been better organised off the pitch, they probably would have secured survival sooner?
Mr Foley will feel like he can properly put his own imprint on the club this summer. It remains to be seen if that includes Gary O’Neil
There are so many things gone wrong at the Bridge I almost don’t want to include, as I don’t want to be in danger of offering their players any excuses.
Yes, there have been bad decisions, clearly there has been a power play off the pitch, they never should have signed Aubameyang and it’s crazy that in training they have to use two training pitches and ask players to change in other rooms because their squad is too big.
They still have experience internationals who should have done a lot better and shown more pride in the shirt.
Less than two years after lifting the Champions League, Thomas Tuchel was sacked after 10 points from 6 League outings, 5 points away from top.
The German would go on to lift the Bundesliga while the Blues wouldn’t reach the 40-point mark till May!!!!
If this were a computer managing game, you would have turned it off due to it being too unrealistic.
It’s believed that Todd Bohley generally wanted to give Graham Potter plenty of time, copying the Arsenal model of allowing a young coach to impose his ethos over a long period.
Potter certainly got longer then Abramovich would have given an employee with a record of 7 wins in 22 Prem fixtures.
Talks of Potter being undermined by his boss in training, in the dressing room and not being involved in recruitment, meant that the 48-year-old wouldn’t have had the control he had at previous clubs and will probably argue the job was falsely advertised.
Frank Lampard should have at least got the fans behind the team, but the squad couldn’t even respond towards a club legend.
What should have been a chance for Lampard to put himself back in the shop window, instead probably cost him any chance of working in this division again?
After a 12-match winless run some felt Palace panicked in March by not keeping faith with Vieira and copying their rivals by making a change. The argument being that Vieira had winnable fixtures on the horizon, many clubs still below him in the table, and no signs he had lost the dressing room (all losses were by a small margin).
Steve Parish has since admitted he still thinks our ex-captain will succeed as a manager, but at the time the Eagles needed more experience.
Roy Hodgson did so much more than just stabilise the club, to the point he can probably stay on long term if he wants.
At the age of 75, Roy decided to try a fresh brand of attacking football not associated with his career.
He led to Palace playing some of the best football in the country and got the best out of Eze.
Roy has earnt the right to prolong his second stay. Him doing that pretty much ensures survival, but at the same time halts building the club around a long-term manager, which was their owners desire.
The majority of Evertonians were correct to boo the few who ran onto the pitch on the final day of the season.
Yes, the majority inside Goodison were relieved to avoid relegation but this is not what they deem success, especially considering the money invested and promises made.
Neil Maupay has scored once since his 11-million-pound move meaning the Toffees were again relying on Calvert Lewin to stay fit, something they knew can’t be relied on.
5 of Everton’s 8 wins came under Sean Dyche (four 1-0 scorelines) suggesting Everton’s recruitment in February was what separated them from the three below them.
Dyche was able to get the best out of the professionals he had, build an organised defence and rely on the odd set piece to win a game.
Dyche himself deserves a higher mark than the following …….
The season where Marco Silva and Mitrovic proved they could consistently perform at this level.
The biggest compliment you can give Fulham is they were so good by the second half the season we almost took what they were doing for granted, forgetting this was a team tipped for relegation, with their own manager warning they were not prepared for the start of the campaign, having lost several key senior players.
Palhinha was one of the signings of the seasons, while realising Willian could still perform at this level was inspired.
A small squad couldn’t sustain a European push but the fact they were even in the conversation makes this one of the best performances from a newly promoted teams in years.
Just when they were about to threaten something special in the FA cup, players and staff lost their heads at Old Trafford.
Mitrovic’s 8 game ban the only stain on a memorable year.
Just when it looked like they were going to be guilty of being on the beach, found another level.
Like the other two clubs who got relegated, Leeds took too long to make a managerial change and when they did have zero long term plan.
In truth they have gone backwards since sacking Bielsa who, while conceding goals, had trained players to play in a unique fashion. Jesse Marsh got a full preseason to implement his ethos, but it felt like his principles never caught on. When the board realised that, everyone blamed each other with the head of recruitment sacked.
Javi Garcia was only given 12 games and as he pointed out had the club out of the bottom three when he was let go. His employers simply panicked when so many goals were conceded in April that their goal difference was wiped out. In a complete 360 from the philosophy taught to the dressing room for years they brought in Sam Allardyce for 4 matches! You couldn’t have more opposite footballing perspectives then Marsh and Big Sam.
Despite apparently Klopp and Pep ‘having nothing on me ‘Big Sam managed one point.
Not bad for half a million pounds
Ended the season well but left it too late to qualify for the Champions League.
Given they were two games away from the Quadruple 12 months ago, to not even make the top 4 has to be considered failure and it again shows their love in from the media that more hasn’t been made of their 5th place finish.
It shows the standards that Man City have set that they can carry on performing in must-win conditions every 3 days while Liverpool physically and emotionally looked exhausted.
In a warning to us, there was mentally a hangover from the previous year, with Jurgen Klopp unable to find the energy from an ageing midfield which made his attacking full backs not as effective.
This was the season where you no longer make excuses for Trent Arnold’s incompetence as a defender, which led to the tactical switch of him moving into midfield when in possession.
With their attack (Nunez and Gakpo will improve and if Jota stays fit) can still on their day beat anyone
The big question is does Klopp have the energy to oversee the rebuild?
His interviews are no longer charming, and borderline on passive aggressive.
A classic example of a team who took their bad form from the previous season into the current one.
As has been a case his whole career, Brendan Rodgers was unable to correct a slide, in particular their habit of conceding goals from set pieces.
It was rare for a team to enter a new season so obviously weaker from the year before. Wesley Fofana and Kasper Schmeichel were criminally not replaced sufficiently, with the keeper’s leadership in particular missed. Forcing Tielemans to run down his contract backfired.
It feels ages ago now, but James Maddison’s form was so good in the winter that there was public backing for the midfielder to go to the World Cup. This only intensified the 26-year old’s arrogance.
Leicester’s biggest mistake though was their lack of aggression in changing managers.
Whereas an Everton hired Sean Dyche in February, Rodgers lasted at the King Power till April with zero action plan in place when they made the change.
They eventually recruited Dean Smith who had been sacked by Norwich in December!
If Smith was the answer, wasn’t it worth sticking with Rodgers?
Let’s be fair here Gooners, when Mikel Arteta inherited a squad that had finished 5th, and then took us to 8th, 5th was celebrated by a section of our fan base as ‘progress’. Our own chief executive called it success.
So, by that logic, Ten Hag taking a club from 6th back into the Champions League (and with a trophy) has to equally be seen as a job well done?
I don’t know why some of my peers are suddenly putting their nose up to domestic cups.
If I had the choice, I rather have the memories of going to Wembley and watching my team lift silverware?
The Dutchman has proven he’s got the personality to manage a club the size of Man United, making big decisions such as ripping up Ronaldo’s contract and freezing out Harry Maguire. Don’t assume every manager would have had the gumption to make those calls.
I can’t grade them higher simply because there’s been too many heavy defeats, too many occasions where when things are going wrong, they crumble. At the Etihad, Anfield, Brentford, Sevilla, etc
That suggests dressing room still got a few individuals not mentally strong enough to be at Theatre of Dreams
Normally I wouldn’t give any team an A + or 10 out of 10 because no one can be perfect, everyone has room to improve.
Yet Man City have done what only one English club has done before, the Treble, doing it playing beautiful football.
There will always be an asterisk against their name considering their wealth. That will only intensify as they battle corruption charges.
Yet none of that is Pep Guardiola’s fault and his influence on English Football should now be discussed.
It’s like every year the Spaniard sets himself up a fresh challenge, last season winning the title without a recognised striker, this year winning three trophies without a natural left back.
Stones timing when to step into midfield will become the fashionable tactic that others try to copy.
Haaland making City worse will go down as one of the most pathetic comments in the history of the sport.
No coincidence that Newcastle become one of the richest clubs in the world and suddenly are back in the Champions League. It would be unfair on Eddie Howe though to put down their third-place finish purely down to money. The Toon haven’t had a scatter gun approach with their recruitment, most signings have had value such as Trippier who’s delivery has been word class.
Howe though has also made the talent he inherited better. Almiron was one of the players of the season when football broke up for the World Cup, Joe Linton transitioned into a DM and the competition from Isaac got the best out of Wilson.
Their success was mostly built on an organised defence, with the handbrake only coming off in the run in.
Lose a mark for their performance in the Carabao Cup Final, an occasion they let pass them by
This grade might seem harsh because in terms of his body of work, Steve Cooper took a team from bottom of the Championship to surviving in the Prem.
Yet this judgement is based on this season, and it’s worth considering they spent over 173 million and yet finished below fellow newly-promoted sides who didn’t have their resources.
There are of course disadvantages to having too many new faces adjusting to a new culture all at once. Eventually Cooper settled on a first choice eleven and should now bring stability to the team having stayed up thanks to home form.
His employers had the nerve to jump onto live TV and boast about being one of the few owners not to panic and sack his manager. He thought about it a couple of times and only fans backlash changed his mind.
With 0 goals and assists in 17 league games it’s a disgrace that Jesse Leningrad will get a big bonus for his years stay at the City Ground.
Levy should be grateful for Chelsea being so bad that it’s kind of taken the heat off Spurs.
It’s very rare that you’re so bad that your own manager mocks not just his dressing room, but the entire culture and history of the club.
Conte’s first full season at the Lane had some calling them dark horses in the title race, but after illness, surgery and the death of close friends, many felt the Italian’s words after the Southampton game was an intentional attempt to get sacked so he could return to his homeland, especially once it became clear he wouldn’t be extending his contract this summer.
It’s a reflection on how the 53-year-old does business that in his rant he took zero responsibility for feeble exits from the FA Cup and Champions League.
With their top 4 destiny still in their own hands, it’s inexcusable that Daniel Levey couldn’t find anyone to take the job full time, only this week hiring someone.
Caretaker Stellini was let go after Spurs conceded 6 at Newcastle, forcing the away fans to be refunded while Ryan Mason couldn’t alter the slide which saw the club fail to qualify for Europe for the first time in over a decade.
That sentence alone must mean that even the most hardcore supporter can’t now begrudge Harry Kane a move away. He’s still managed 30 goals this campaign!
In their first full season as Prem owners, Sports Republic learnt the hard way.
They invested over 100 million and had an action plan, intentionally making the Saints the youngest squad in the division. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s poor results had carried over from the previous season, but he had proven his ability to be able to arrest the slide. Saints instead trusted Nathan Jones who refused to play some of the new signings, and who within his first couple of press conferences was clearly out of his depth. It’s hard to remember a young coach harming his reputation by talking so much nonsense. A win at Stamford Bridge was enough for Ruben Selles to get the job till the summer.
Strangely the Saints held Arsenal twice, drew with Liverpool, Spurs, got a point at Old Trafford and knocked Man City out of the cup yet lacked fight against those around them. Knowing they had to win against Fulham to postpone relegation a little longer, their lack of desire was startling.
Outside of the odd Ward-Prowse free kick (close to Beckham’s Prem record) there was nothing to cheer about on the South Coast. Prowse will be back in the topflight next season. I’m not sure many of his teammates will be.
One of the hardest teams to grade because domestically West Ham were terrible at times, only just managing 40 points, and some fans translating David Sullivan’s refusal to sack David Moyes as a lack of ambition.
Even when Moyes got the wins needed to steer clear of the relation battle, some Hammers were not impressed with his style of football.
Yet Moyes ended up winning the Irons first trophy in 43 years by lifting the UEFA Conference League, a moment that will live forever. As the Scot said, if the trophy was good enough to drive Jose Mourinho to tears it was good enough for him.
After the lows he’s faced in his career it’s hard to begrudge the 60-year-old his first ever medal.
If he’s smart, he would leave on a high as the only way forward now is backwards.
If I was purely grading Julen Lopetegui I would rate him higher. When he joined during the World Cup the club were bottom of the table with an incredible stat, a striker hadn’t scored for them in the League for over a year.
With the majority of his players not going to Qatar, the Spaniard has most of November and December to work on his ethos.
Wolves became only the 4th team in Prem history to stay up having been bottom of the table on Xmas Day. Still not good to watch and Lopetegui will want reassurances that the club can afford investment in the squad.
Put your grade in the comments, respect each other’s opinions.