Every Premier League team graded – Do Arsenal deserve an F?

At Xmas we did our half term report on the 20 Premiership sides. I wanted to wait till the European Finals were finished to grade each club’s domestic campaigns for 2020-2021.

Feel free to use whatever criteria you wish.

I will be judging the whole 9 months, not since Xmas just because it makes an Ugly painting prettier. I also don’t believe in pointless stats like, if set piece goals didn’t count or if all games ended after 75 mins, etc ….


Sheffield United – F

If It was simply a case of second season syndrome I would be more forgiving in my grade, especially considering they were in League One a few years ago.

Since Chris Wilder left though, their President has given the indication that things were going on behind the scenes that instead of challenging adversity simply added to it.

At one point they were rivalling Derby for lowest points tally ever.


West Brom – E

As usual West Brom’s strategy was that if relegation were to happen, they would be fine financially. It means that Bilic decided to stick to the ethos that brought him to the dance…. attack.

His employers did what most owners do when they get promoted, panic. So they brought in Big Sam who had never been relegated before. Renowned for his ability to quickly organise a defence, you could tell in his first few press conferences, Big Sam had taken a look at his squad on the training pitch and decided that he couldn’t improve them.

They played better attacking football but only when they were cut adrift, so had no choice but to be on the offensive.


Fulham – E

There was a quick turnaround between the play off final and new season. Given the lack of investment, Parker’s reputation was enhanced for even getting his squad competitive.

Then though, as soon as they got into a position to move out of the bottom three, they choked every time.


Burnley – B

Is there a club in the top flight who owe their success to one manager more than Sean Dyche?

The Clarets didn’t get their first win till November yet never panicked when other clubs would have.

I think Palace would be a perfect step up for him because Steve Parrish would equally give him time and space to stamp his ethos around the club. The moment Dyche leaves Turf Moor, they will go down.


Saints -E

Story of a season of two halves. Southampton were challenging for Europe at Xmas with Ralph Hasenhuttl praised for his brave high pressing style. That tactic meant his players were tired as they couldn’t maintain their tempo. Their end of season form will be used against him if he doesn’t start the next campaign well.


Brighton – D

Grade is not reflected on position in the table but how Brighton are approaching the top flight.

The Seagulls at least try to play an entertaining brand of football, which is why they brought in Graham Potter. He’s equally at a club who gives him the time to improve as a coach.

The amount of times I wrote that if only Brighton could take their chances (or keep Welbeck fit). Surely a natural finisher in the next part of the puzzle?

So if you’re a Brighton fan you see Prem football and are entertained most weeks. You can’t ask for much more?


Palace – D

No club is in a period of transition more this summer than the Eagles. They are looking for a new manager while approx. a dozen players are out of contract.

Roy Hodgson had a unique system where everyone knew their roles. He relied on an experienced back 4 and midfield to defend, then had pace on the counter attack.

A new boss means a fresh identity.


Wolves – D

They simply didn’t kick on from previous years.

Many feel that so many games in the last campaign caught up to a small squad with zero pre-season, hence a couple of long-term injuries.

I just felt it had gone stale at Wolves, making it a smart time for Nuno Santo to leave. They were no longer great to watch and players not adjusting well to switching from a back 3, the project just needs freshening up.


Newcastle -D

The Toon Army won’t like me writing this, but their grievance is with Mike Ashley not Steve Bruce. The Manager gets paid to meet the criteria set by his employer and that’s what Bruce has done.

His job specification was to be better than three other clubs. He’s finished 12th, 17 points clear of 17th. Blame the man who sets the criteria, not the man who follows it.


Aston Villa- C

A great summer saw them buy Martinez who’s gone on to be one of the keepers of the year.

A great start to the season saw them reach December challenging for Europe, with Jack Grealish one of the most entertaining talents in the division.

Villa went off the boil in the middle with it not being a coincidence that that was when Grealish got injured. When he returned, they beat Spurs and Chelsea?


Everton – D

For most of the season they would have been a higher score, but in the end 10th place is not enough for a team who at one stage had aspirations to challenge the top 4.

It’s strange to think that a team who won at the Emirates, Anfield, The Lane, drew at Old Trafford, beat Chelsea, etc, but also lost at Goodison to Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield United, Fulham, Burnley, etc.

So the problem is not the quality but the mentality of your players.


Leeds – C

As expected Bielsa didn’t change his ethos for the top flight meaning Leeds were part of high scoring /entertaining games. Some fans credited him for sticking by his principles, others felt he had a duty to adapt and improve Leeds defensively.

Lots of his players were unproven at this level and surpassed expectations, such as Luke Ayling and Bamford.


Arsenal – F

For the second year running our worst League position in decades. Even our own manager admits Arsenal not being in Europe for the first time in 25 years is ‘unthinkable’.

The lowest point was our players not being motivated for a European Semi Final where they had a chance to save their season. In truth too many games where our players simply didn’t show up.

As usual the Gunners started to play well when the pressure was off.


Spurs – E

Jose’s first full season went the way many had predicted. Started the season well with Kane dropping deeper and providing lots of assists for Son.

The Spuds were rightly praised for being top of the Prem in December. As usual though once a moment of adversity hit, Jose made it worse, hence being sacked the week before a Cup Final, indicating he must have done something wrong behind the scenes.

Just about qualified for Europe but how does Daniel Levy convince Kane he can meet his ambitions in North London when they have reached a point of having to win on the final day just to qualify for the UEFA Conference?


West Ham – B

I still find it a coincidence that in a season without their unforgiving fans West Ham finish in the top 6. If fans had been in attendance, they would have grumbled about not playing the ‘West Ham way’.

It gave David Moyes the freedom to build a squad and organise them in his image, like he did at Everton. Declan Rice, Soucek and Creswell all had fantastic seasons.

In truth the Londoners bottled it in the run-in, till the last 15 mins at West Brom.

They had some ‘what if’ moments in terms of qualifying for the Champions League but Europa is still an achievement.

If Moyes is smart, he would leave now.


Leicester – B

For the second year running Leicester bottled Champions League qualification having been in the top 4 for most of the season. Rogers inability to adjust that slide is the reason I don’t want him at Arsenal.

The FA Cup Final was one of the few occasions in the run in that they didn’t choke. That day at Wembley will live forever. It makes those players immortal, a moment they can tell their grandchildren about.

Saying that it shouldn’t have been one or the other, the Foxes could have had, or should have had, both.

You close out a 1-0 win at home to a 10-man Southampton, then you’re in the top 4.


Chelsea – A

I still maintain Lampard was unlucky as he hadn’t lost the dressing room and it’s not like the top 4 was impossible.

Would Chelsea have become Champions of Europe with Frank though? Most likely not.

That will yet again justify Roman Abramovich’s nature in being happy to sack managers.

Compare that to what our owner does when things are bad – slash the wage bill.

If the Blues can sign a world class striker, they are not far away from being title contenders.

It’s crazy that they have won the Champions League without a player in double figures in terms of goal scoring.


Liverpool -D

Think Liverpool Fans are getting a bit carried away celebrating finishing in the top 4 (didn’t we have a manager who got hammered for that?)

Put it this way If City finished third would you see Pep smiling calling it a great ‘ achievement’.

While I understand injuries to their centre backs meant a title defence was unlikely, it shouldn’t be an excuse for losing at home to Burnley, Fulham, Brighton, etc.


Man United – C

2nd shows improvements but doubts remain if Ole is man to take United to that next level. Serious damage was done to his reputation in terms of how he lost the Europa League.

He gets paid a lot of money to react to situations, yet in extra time when it was clear his players were tiring, he makes zero subs ‘til the 105th minute, then the rest purely for pens.

I also felt over Xmas when the team was playing well that the chance was there to take that next step.

0-0 draws home and away to Chelsea, at Arsenal and at Anfield could have been turned into 3 points with a little ambition.


Man City – A

Of all his titles he’s won I don’t think any were won more based on Pep’s managerial abilities more than this one.

The Spaniard realised his side without a David Silva could not play the style they used to so built this Championship on his defence.

Many thought he didn’t have the ability to adapt a side defensively, especially since how he had coped since Kompany left. A 21 winning game sequence between December and Feb won the Prem for City.

A marker against their season will obviously be their first ever Champions League Final where not for the first time in Europe, Pep was accused of over-complicating his tactics.


Feel free to put your grades in the Comments


Be Kind In The Comments


  1. West Ham would be my team of the season and moyes as manager of the season ,completed played us off the park in that lucky 3-3 draw ,can’t see them repeating this. Next season though .

  2. Dan, I think Liverpool, who had an injury plagued season, yet still finished third, deserve at least a B.
    A D mark IMO, shows your anti Liverpool bias. Sorry but that is truly what I think!
    That being said, all ratings are entirely subjective, UNLESS a proper “common to all ratings system” is used where all fans use the same meaning for any particular mark.

    1. Nah Jon
      If Man City went from Champions – battling for top 4 on final Day , I dont think many would say that’s good , hence why I couldn’t give them a C

      1. DAN care to comment on the far more important point I made about all rankings being entirely subjective, UNLESS a “common to all definition” is given of what marks A to F means? I am disappointed that you chose not to answer THAT point, You still can, if you care to do!

        Without a level playing field it is just an ego trip and means little . Rather like your weekly Prem predictions, where contestants start over vastly different time spans, thus rendering those final fan finishing positions as meaningless.

        Not a criticism per se but an important observation. I accept that fans who enter, do so by choice and they have that right.

        But to suppose the predictions and esp finishing positions are then fair and meaningful is clearly not true. I cannot believe I am alone on JA in thinking like this.

        Others may simple decide that fairness is not worth bothering about. But to me, fairness is a vital life principle, so I make that important point.

        I’d still appreciate your answer too DAN!

        1. too deep
          its not an ego trip , it’s my opinion which I never claimed to be correct
          As for the predictions – Everyone had the same warning of what I was doing. If people only found out about it later in the season hows that my fault
          Eg , starting from next season , we will start at start of prem season but if a player wants to join up in October that’s cool
          I will remind you , no one is paying for this
          It’s something that I am doing in my free time that out of own money buy a prize for . DKit has given me permission to instead give money to charity
          So , not an ego trip – just me doing something nice
          You look at things way too deeply

          1. I did not say it was your fault. I said it lacked credibility, as it is not a level playing field.

            I disagree that anyone CAN look too deeply at things. Many fans just react and write unthought through posts and don’t look into anything in even a shallow way, let alone deeply.

            You seem very defensive and unnecessarily so, esp to someone like me who constantly praises your articles, even though not 100% of the time. But well over 90%.

          2. but you chose not to play Jon?
            Your questioning credibility of a game your not even playing ?

        2. Of course I CHOOSE NOT TO PLAY, DAN!
          This site, as far as I am concerned – though I SPEAK ENTIRELY AND ONLY ABOUT MYSELF, NOT FOR ANY OTHER FAN – is about our club , not about we fans!

          And anyway our predictions are only 10% about our club anyway. My comment was simply about lack of a fair playing field making this comp. meaningless and I maintain that view!

    2. I agree wholeheartedly with you Jon…in fact the only thing we really learned this season is that you’re an incurable fanboy, thus your continued insistence in writing comments like these “Liverpool Fans are getting a bit carried away celebrating finishing in the top 4 (didn’t we have a manager who got hammered for that?)” context just doesn’t seem to matter if it stands in the way of your continued and misguided defence of our formerly FIRED manager

          1. Let me help you lol
            You start off talking to Jon but then in same sentence speak to me but It looks like your speaking to Jon . You need a pronoun

          2. nice try once again…anyone who read this knew full-well whom I was speaking to

          3. TRVL I realised you had moved on, of course, but Dan is still correct that a pronoun would have made it clearer to some others. Some are not so proficient in Engish as others and to those fans it might appear confusing.

          4. Yeah sorry , when I was doing my degree ,tutor would always remind me , ‘ Pronouns Dan’

          5. Cheers Jon…I didn’t really care if anyone besides yourself and the article’s author knew who I was referring to, but I can see why you might be displeased if others mistakenly thought I was implying that you were a “fanboy”…I should know better as both a former professor and professional tutor

  3. I think Leicester and W Ham are A’s definitely. They are punching above their weight.

    1. Leicester are not punching above their weight, they’ve bedn consistently good for years.

  4. Only if we see the whole season

    But if we check our last 24 games, we’re the second best team in England after Man City. So we shouldn’t break the good momentum

    1. You mean the games after we had already thrown the whole season away? The games where we played under no pressure to keep pace with the top as we were so far off of them?

      If you can’t see a problem with being second best in the EPL for 24 games (63% of the whole season) and still ending 8th then I don’t know how to make you understand how terrible we’ve been.

      1. It indicates that we have fixed some issues and the players begin to grasp Arteta’s system. Hiring a new manager will only make us start from zero again and give the senior players another clean slate

        1. I distinctly remember you saying a very similar thing after we won the FA Cup. I also remember you saying you’ll judge Arteta at the end of this season on the WHOLE season, not just the part that suits you. We ended 8th, whatever you say or think does not change that.

          I remember MAs clean slate,that every player had at the end of last season. He immediately started ousting players after this.

          Why should senior players need clean slates,they are the senior players for a reason!! And this is yet another clean slate they are getting? How many do they get?

          Im sure MA will eventually come right but at the moment he looks to be nothing more than a cheque book manager. Coaches actually are supposed to coach a team to be better. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, sure he’ll get a little better in the next 5 seasons.

          1. I believe most of us promised to judge Arteta after his first full season, which showed just a little progress. Unfortunately, his first full season was ruined by the players’ short tempers and red cards, so we couldn’t see the full effect of his plan

            About clean slate, I meant hiring a new manager now will only give the senior players another chance. Some of them have played for three managers at Arsenal and I don’t think they could regain their confidence by playing under the fourth manager

  5. As you graded all premier league teams based on all football playe i think is abit harsh on some clubs there, even us.

    Yes i know we lost in the UEL semi’s and before Xmas we were just utter garbage but we had one of the best defences in the league (3rd) and some of the best form in the league since December.

    Liverpool and Manure deserve better grades imo

    If you’re going to grade clubs in this manner there needs to be a level playing ground in which to do so, you cant grade Brighton as a D and give Arsenal an F, come on mate we played nearly twice as many matches in all comps than they did.
    Grade based on the league only as you said DOMESTIC CAMPAIGN

    1. we always do this every season though. “weve scored the most goals”, “our defense had the most interceptions” “were the third best in the league” “best team since this specific date!”…. then the next season starts and we get off to a bad start 90% of the time and have to comfort ourselves with stats that mean close to nothing while every other “rival” is out getting better and getting trophies. It’s not good enoguh and I dont care about any of these stats because we ended the season without a single trophy. An F is fair because we’ve slipped further, aren’t playing good football, and are not even close to achieving the bare minimum that Arsenal are supposed to be achieving.

  6. The EPL table doesn’t lie and Cup runs are important, particularly if you can win a trophy. Apart from reaching the Europa League semi final, Arsenal did not compete on any front, given their League position and insipid cup form.

  7. “Pep’s managerial abilities more than this one.”
    I wonder what are his managerial ability especially when he has spent 870 Millions on players since joining City, yet to deliver CL

      1. I think what he means is that at Barca Pep literally had the best squad on the planet. Bayern he also had one of the best squads in the global game. Man City was a bit more of a project that resulted in over 800mil being spent.

        I think what Kedar may be eluding to is that Peps probably an exceptionally good manager for huge personalities in the dressing room but maybe a bit shorter than people realize on coaching ability itself.

        1. Basically my point is, Pép does not have self confidence or guts to manage club ravaged with problems…
          I don’t think he would have taken City if City was not owned by Shaikh….
          By joining City, he already new that he can buy any player which he want so In This scenario I don’t think it is difficult to win trophies because you don’t have any challenges…
          Will you have a confidence on Pép if he manage club like Arsenal where there are problems from top to bottom?? No because we don’t know whether Pép can do that or not..
          Do you have confidence whether he can do anything better than Brendon Rodgers in Leicester?? No because again we don’t whether Pép can manage with limited budget… One don’t need ability to win trophies if he is backed with so much of money…
          He can simply buy players at his will with trial and error formula…
          He bought Benjamin Mindy for 58 Millions who is pretty average left back and very error prone, but who cares put him on bench buy someone else
          He has spend 200 Millions just on CBs
          So for my personal opinion he is one most overrated manager

          1. I agree Kedar pep gets called a genius, the best manager of all time which is just a bit over the top.. he has all the riches in the world to build a team in his exact image.. he won the main prize at Barca but David Moyes could have done that with that team… Went to another famously dominant, rich club in Bayern, couldn’t deliver the champions league there, went to City because he knew he would be given a kings ransom and has failed in delivering what the owners crave.. he’s been there what 5 years now ? Thomas Tuchel 4 months in the job and wins the Champions league beating Peps City 3 times along the way. There’s no doubt he’s a quality manager but a genius, the best ever… I don’t think so.

  8. I think an F is pretty harsh. Low score for sure but I’d say that’s the frustration talking.

    Great article from a fan who clearly watches a lot of football 🙂

  9. The big story of the season, as far as I’m concerned, is Chelsea’s rapid transformation from a
    mid-table team to European champions with just one brilliant and “ruthless” decision – ditching rookie manager, Lampard, for the experienced Tuchel. And this was achieved without a single change to the squad.
    Are we paying attention?

    1. I hope everyone that makes excuses for MA reads your comment. Always saying our players are bad when we actually have quite a few decent players.

      These delusional fans needs to understand that a good coach makes a huge difference. Players too but a good coach is so important.

      1. Well said MTB. Just like a one trick pony, we will blame the players again, create more deadwood (pay them to leave)…in affect throwing good money after bad…all to avoid the root cause of the problem.

    2. Massive difference in the quality of both squads though, and many other underlying issues, and on the experience front, did we not have that with Emery? Look how that turned out!

  10. A ‘F’ is what Arsenal deserved.. If you gave us a higher grade, it means you are viewing the team from how pathetic we are and not from where we ought to be because we should be doing much better and aiming higher than the state we are. We’ve sucked all season, without any real intent, fight nor ambition..

  11. I agree with your ratings Dan. However if we were judging ratings for all competitions I would give Chelsea an A+. Tuchel has done an amazing job since January but the irony is that if he doesn’t win the EPL next season he will probably get the sack. Whereas if MA gets us to 6th place he will probably get a contract extension. We need a reset of ambition at our club!!

    1. Well said….too many Arsenal fans are equally fans of mediocrity.

      They seem to forget that we should be striving for top 4 minimum. No one is expecting an immediate EPL trophy lift but we should be seeing improvement, which we are not.

    2. That is what I have been advocating for ages, our board and fans a like have just become so mid table minded. What else to expect from a club where part of fans actually celebrate 1-0 losses to big clubs. Then we are given this bullshxt of an excuse that we are not Chelsea and have class, when fans say that it always remind me of the grapes are soar saying. Football is a sports and you get tophy for winning not showing class also Arsenal as a club can not use that excuse beacuse we have showed our class during pendamic and also the China Ozil issue.

  12. The lowered expectations started with ownership and the rot trickled down.

    Wenger started with the 4th place and CL qualification like a trophy, then preceded on to predictable rd of 16 ousting.

    Emery came and expectations were top 4 or else; title runs dead, no ambition from owner.

    Now Arteta; 2 8th place finishes, now no European football and not only is ownership on board, but fans are making excuses why it is acceptable.

    Add to that they predict a brighter future with Arteta in spite of a regressive year and his lack of man management skills.

    Yet somehow giving him money will get us back to competing for top 4? Based on what?

    18 months and what is his style of play? What is his choice 11? What talent has Arteta identified and improved?

    A rebuild needs an experienced manager who has built a team and achieved goals like top 4 finish, not blind faith in a manager who has not built a single thing nor finished higher than either of his predecessors.

    Think about that; Arteta twice now finished worse than both his fired predecessors, yet he will get us back? No, that’s wishful thinking not reality.

    Can’t wait for the new list of excuses come October / November

    1. 👍 Durand, not only style of play, preferred formation, best 11, tactics and improvements to players by the manager, but what are the targets for the Club and performance criteria set by the Board on which the manager is to be judged?

  13. A C for leeds is silly … never a relegation threat probably the consistently most entertaining team in the league almost all their players punching above their weight … a b+ at last … a C for man utd also a bit unfair had written the norwegian school teacher off in november … cant say i expected them to be runners up and as el finalists they deserve a B … as someone who wants arteta out would still say a D for us … at least matched everton who crumbled in the end … still believe it will be a mistake to keep arteta and if we were serious club would be on the phone to zidane or similar now … sadly we are not … everything hangs on clear out and whether the fresh talent we bring in pays off …

  14. Sue, I know you were rooting for Man City to win the ECL, so was I, but after watching the match it I had to admire the way they dealt with them, a carbon copy of what they did to both the Madrids. Tuchel has them perfectly set up for the more technical teams in the UCL. Credit where it’s due though a bit grudgingly. There’s always next year!

    1. Completely agree, Andrew, Tuchel certainly did a job on them (again!).
      Europe continues to elude City – remind you of anyone else?! ☹

  15. m8 klopp literally admitted he wouldnt be goin to the champions league and here they r. a few losses to small teams, shouldnt give them a D.

  16. Kenny Dougall 🇦🇺 Australian International midfielder 2 goals for Blackpool against Lincoln City in League One Playoff Final!
    Arsenal sign him up, he can shoot, can score goals from midfield and his names not Joe Willock! 😁

  17. The gradings are a lot of nonsense but only Arteta and gotanidea would argue that the season was a success.. in the end does it really matter if you get an E or an F.

  18. ozzieg, can you believe that a great club like Celtic could be close to signing our very own Ange Postacogulu as their new manager. What the??? If I were a serious Celtic fan I would be fuming and giving up my season tickets. I know he’s had some success in A and J Leagues but his stint as Australia’s manager was almost a disaster. I also remember him coaching Australia’s junior team in a World Cup. The football he encouraged was gutless and uninspiring. Perhaps the people at Celtic believe they’ve unearthed their own Arsene Wegner at Yokohama.

    1. Joe. S, my memories of Ange are different, as I saw his play as quite positive and attacking. Is it age catching up? His club coaching record throughout the world is quite successful and when coaching Australia he did well winning the AFC Asian Cup in 2015 and getting Australia to qualify for the World Cup. I was disappointed when he resigned rather than take the team forward, given what he achieved with what he had to work with. The “golden generation” had all gone by then
      Glasgow Celtic will be tough, given he is Greek Orthodox 😊. The British pundits and media will underrate Jim and give him a hard time, because he is Australian and comes from outside “the cligue.” At least he will have Rogic for support.
      I wish him all the best and hopefully he can let the results do the talking.

  19. I think arsenal deserves like a C- or D+ cuz i think we finisged way better than i thought we would in december.The standards dropped?maybe but … ☺

    Also liverpool,man utd gets a B.

    And the ballon d or goes to KANTE 💯

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