How do you rate Arsenal’s season compared to the rest of the Premier League?

Each team’s Premier League rating for 2021/22 season… by Dan Smith

I wanted to wait till after the Champions League Final to grade every team’s season.

Put your scores in the comments.

Remember everyone’s opinions should be respected, there is zero right or wrong.

Scale – A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, E, F

Arsenal B-
To be a big club, you act like a big club. I can’t rank 5th place higher than a B minus.
You assume Spurs and Man U won’t be as bad in the next campaign, meaning we might not get a better chance of returning to the Champions League.

Arsenal have decent youngsters which is why the relationship between the team and Gooners has improved. Yet when the pressure was on too many went missing, too many fixtures where we were guilty of not showing up.

With the youngest squad in the division (a direct choice), we need more leadership to get over the line. The problem is I have been questioning our mentality for years.

Aston Villa – D+
Felt like Dean Smith was harshly sacked the first moment they hit bad form. Especially harsh considering they were now without Jack Grealish. The likes of Buendia didn’t come close to replacing that creativity, while Danny Ings hasn’t replicated his goal scoring powers from Southampton.

Gerrard improved Villa, removing them from a relegation scrap and his stardust was able to attract the likes of Digne and Coutinho.

Yet lack of wins in the run in went under the radar.

Brentford – A
The fact that Brentford comfortably stayed up, never looking like being in a relegation scrap and it’s gone under the radar, is strangely a compliment. They have been so good we have almost taken them for granted.

The cherry on the cake was Christian Eriksen playing for the first time since his heart problems. With comparisons to Klopp, Thomas Frank is flavour of the month

Brighton – B+
Most weeks in my predictions I wrote how Brighton play well but don’t have that cutting edge. Too often they play well without getting the result their efforts have deserved. That’s why they have gone through periods where they don’t win.

While you could argue Graham Potter has a responsibility to fix that problem, he deserves credit for always sticking by his ethos, never panicking when things are not going right and insisting the game be played the right way.

Burnley – E
Why not give the lowest score possible for a team relegated? Because the truth is every year in the top division was a bonus for a club their size.

A Lot of that had to do with the ability of Sean Dyche but this time something wasn’t right, just the one win in 20 attempts meaning they were always playing catch up.

We need to hear from Dyche to get his version of events because there must be a reason why they sack a manager with such a presence at Turf Moor, without a replacement lined up.

Mike Jackson made a good attempt at things in his eight games, drawing 2 and winning 3. The irony is, Sean Dyche would be the perfect man to take them out of the Championship.

Chelsea – C+
I predicted would be title contenders but got the Man United version of Lukaku not the Inter Milan one.
Given off field problems, did did well to cement third and get to two Cup Finals, both lost on penalties. That shows there is a decent spirit in the dressing room, and you still feel you can beat anyone on their day. Government sanctions are now losing players who otherwise may have extended their contracts.

Crystal Palace – B+
The fact they comfortably finished mid-table plays down what a job Vieira has done. Think back to the summer the Eagles released a number of players, and Roy Hodgson left after 4 years, meaning a complete change in philosophy.

What could have been a difficult transitional year saw the team praised for their playing style and several youngsters rewarded with international recognition.

Most impressive is how our ex-captain quickly got a dressing room to believe in his ethos. Every player knows their own job.
Vieira could be Arsenal’s next boss.

Everton – F
You wouldn’t think it based on their final home game of the season but a club their size, with the amount of investment, etc, shouldn’t be finishing 16th in the table.

Given what he won as a player, Frank Lampard will deep down be embarrassed that the Toffees celebrated in that manner. It will also be the moment he realised what a huge club he manages. The pitch invasion was Evertonians taking a big sigh of relief.

Players let them down most of the campaign and they realised they needed to be the 12th man to make sure a disaster didn’t happen.

Liverpool – A-
The top 2 have set such a standard that it’s taken for granted. Forget their quality for a moment, the mentality it takes for both to essentially play every few days in must win situations, not even being able to draw, is impressive.

Since a 2-2 draw at Chelsea on the 2nd of January, Liverpool have drawn twice and won every other game in the Prem. They dropped 4 points since Jan yet only finished 2nd.

Margin between success and failure was so fine on final day of Prem and in CL, but equally luck went their way on penalties in Carabao and FA Cup Finals.

Leeds – E
Destiny was not in their hands on the final day of the season – so very close to a disaster.

The consensus is Leeds struggled in their recruitment leaving a small squad after a couple of serious injuries.
Bielsa always played a style ‘you play, we play’, not making it a priority to fix his defence.

The decision to sack him was a huge gamble given his reputation with fans and the squad. Even more of a gamble was the choice of his successor. It’s not like Leeds brought in a defensive and organised coach. They chose Jesse Marsh who has his own beliefs in how to play.

Ideally you don’t want a squad who have been taught a unique style of play for years, to halfway through a season to suddenly have to learn a whole new ethos.

At least the American now has a whole new preseason to teach his beliefs

Leicester – D
Possibly a victim of their own success?

Rodgers continued to enhance his reputation of not being able to address a slide when things go wrong. The Foxes became well known for their inability to defend set pieces yet couldn’t find a solution.

Vardy has been injury prone, Tielemans lost his form, and only the form of Maddison made the season look better than it was.

Maybe a need to freshen things up?

Man City – A
As discussed, it takes an incredible mentality to do what Man City keep doing. Every week, because of Liverpool, they had to play in must-win conditions when they got a rare draw it felt like the end of the world.

Made harder because you sense outside of Manchester, most wanted them to fall flat on their faces? I agree with Pep Guardiola that the media favours Liverpool over the champions. Look how both respective defeats to Real Madrid were reported. Or when City won a far better double then Liverpool last year, they were mocked for losing the CL Final. Look how Klopp’s failures are covered.

The first side to win the Prem without a recognised striker. Pep continues to change the game in this country.

Man United – F
How does a team finish 2nd, add Ronaldo, Varane and Sancho, then end up relying on West Ham losing on the last day just to qualify for the Europa League?

On and off the pitch there is a lack of direction and a plan. Managers played Ronaldo then wanted to know why a pressing style wasn’t working. Yet whatever a coach’s shortcomings it doesn’t excuse players not giving 100 percent.

That’s the biggest criticism of them all, that players were not giving their maximum, especially in the run-in once it became clear they were not going to make the top 4.

Newcastle – B-
You could grade the season into two parts.

An ugly start saw protests against Steve Bruce and the Toon failing to win their first 11 games. If you offered them 11th at that point they would have bitten your hands off.

Yes they became the richest club in the UK and yes that allowed them to spend in January. Yet, outside of Trippier and Guimaraes, it would be unfair on Eddie Howe to say they brought their way out of trouble. Obsessed with attention to detail, he’s improved many average players and lifted the mood on Tyneside.

Something tells me that the Toon won’t be worrying about relegation scraps anymore . It will be fascinating to watch their recruitment this summer.

Norwich – E
E is for their efforts on the pitch. They could get F for their approach off it.

You can rarely question their players’ efforts; it’s simply a case of Championship talent being asked to play at a higher division.

Dean Smith briefly improved things but even then, you sensed he was an appointment made with promotion next season in mind. Essentially the Canaries business model is being a yo yo club.

Saints – D
Ended the season in terrible form meaning Hasenhuttl could be under pressure if they don’t start the next one well? Yet many said the same last year.

On closer reflection, he’s a manager that demands such high intensity from a small squad that they tire in the second half of campaigns. Of course it’s his job to find a solution, but taking a young squad away from any relegation worries means he has met his criteria.

Spurs – B+
Gooners keep referring to ‘if only’ considering our first three games of the season, but Spurs might wonder what if Daniel Levy had been able to convince Conte to take the job when he first asked him last summer.

The Italian changed his mind but only after his new club had lost 5 out of their first 7 games. Conte did what he has done everywhere he has gone. He switched to a back 3, demanded investment (at the same time we were slashing our wage bill) and improved players individually.

In the short term Conte will improve Tottenham but long term will fall out with owners once he doesn’t get his own way.

Watford – F
Get the ranking for off the pitch as much as on it, going through three managers in one season. This harshly included the man who had promoted them.

Ranieri and Hodgson were experienced enough to know they were joining knowing that in the worst case they would get a decent pay off.

All three coaches had different ethos which meant a lack of direction. Hodgson parked the bus but once the Hornets conceded they fell apart.

Lack of effort in the run in was unforgivable

West Ham – B
Would have finished higher but made the correct choice in the run in to prioritise a rare chance at winning a European Trophy.

Getting to the last 4 of the Europa League impacted Prem form due to the Hammers having a small squad, but are in steady hands with David Moyes.

Bowen and Rice have had an outstanding season

Wolves – B-
Maybe, like Leicester, a victim of their own success.

There are worse places to be than 10th and that was only due to a poor run of form, most of the time they were fighting for a European spot. Not bad for Lage’s first season.

Don’t score enough goals yet don’t concede many either. Not the most entertaining to watch.

How would you grade Arsenal’s season?

Be Kind In The Comments

Dan Smith

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  1. If we had finished 4th I would have said B+ and for me, 5th would normally have been a B but the way we capitulated in the final few games, I agree it’s B-.

  2. Dan
    If we talking about from the first 3 games then I got to say A+ as expectations we rock bottom
    3 games to go and I would say A
    At the end I have to say C-
    This is because it was within our on destiny and we blew it
    STILL BITTERLY DISAPPOINTED we finished 5th and even more disappointed we finished below the spuds
    On the bright side
    We are top of the league for the new season. May it long continue

  3. I don’t think Kroenke will give another ex-Gunner a managerial job, unless Henry or Vieira makes a fantastic achievement next season

    I bet he’s just waiting until Guardiola, Klopp, Tuchel, Flick or Nagelsmann become available. If he really needs to replace Arteta in December, I predict he’d settle with Potter temporarily

    1. I sincerely hope that Kroenke is actually thinking like that. Any of those managers would be far better than this clueless apprentice we have

            1. Also Klopp winning the PL manager award doesn’t make sense to me.Pep and City won the league so should have won it.if you’re not giving it to Pep then it should go to a manager whom did a great job with a smaller team like keeping his team up or reached the European places.

        1. Gai Klop too.
          Arteta’s inexperience actually showed in the way we capitulated at the end of the seaon. No top manager would lose top4 when we are 4 points clear and 3 games to go.
          But Kroenke ain’t thinking that way hence Arteta won’t be given new contracts untill season ends.

      1. Huge salary, less pressure, jet-set lifestyle in London and big transfer budget

        Arsenal managerial job is also currently more challenging than the ones at Man City and Liverpool, since we haven’t won a major trophy for almost two decades. So if someone manages to do it, it’ll be a fantastic achievement

      2. Why this negativity?
        Klopp went to Liverpool at a time, when:
        1) They were usually finishing lower than us
        2) They had’nt been champions for xx years longer than us
        3) They were spending much less than us on players, and they have not gone above us in that respect

        Is it because, we have negative fans, he would stay away???

        1. No it’s because he would have a choice of clubs to go to and would want to go to a club who challenge for titles and compete in the CL

          1. DS, methinks you don’t know Klopp very well then, as he appears to desire the chase just as much as the ultimate result…of course, he’s not going to a team with no “real” hope for competing for things, but I think he would see in us what he saw in Pool, a team with a storied history, who can’t seem to get over the hump…there’s no doubt in my mind we fit the profile, maybe even more so now than when we should have originally pursued him, as the shadow of the Wenger era has faded considerably…fingers-crossed that someday, somehow this world-class manager lands at the Emirates and we finally return to some level of prominence

            1. We have zero ambition
              You think Klopp would accept a January giving away your best player and slashing the wage bill

              1. No DS, but I think, as we saw with Wenger, when our absentee landlord believes he has someone of a particular ilk at the helm, he will allow them to dictate the organizational narrative…I’m of the belief that Klopp has the kind of personality that he could have swayed Kroenke any way he wished, like McVay with the Rams…personally, I believe he alone was the only logical Wenger replacement, as he would never be consumed or deterred by the whole managerial shadow gig…of course, I would have gladly welcomed Pep to the Emirates, but the financials realities of such a hiring would have never worked under our present ownership

              2. Your usual false myth accusing Arsenal for not spending and thus not being ambitious. Very sad.
                Arsenal was the highest spender last season, and that is a plain fact, and if that is what would be decisive for Klopp, or any other manager, then we are in fact not only spending more than Liverpool were, when Klopp joined, and we were back then as well.
                So nothing to support your negativity.

            2. Fully agree.
              I remember when Klopp signed for Liverpool he said this is the best job/challenge in the world.
              Because Liverpool had a huge history and potential and were underperforming.
              Very similar to Arsenal now.
              I don’t see him joining Arsenal though, he’s not going to stay at the top forever, he’s got a few years left on his contract at Pool and he’ll probably want to have a go at the German national team I’d imagine.

      3. Good question, Daniel. Certainly a greater chance of ruining a reputation than enhancing one for either of these two.

  4. Agree with your ratings Dan, sounds very fair to me.
    Great assessment of the EPL teams.

  5. In the summer no one gave Arsenal a bolters chance of top 4 so logically I predicted 5th or 6th place. Arsenal delivered clear 5th place so logically I must award a high rating. I have gone for an A-. Spurs only just beat us even though they only played 6 Conference league games, sacked their manager and bought two players in the Jan window. We beat 6th placed Man U by a massive 11 points. We gained 8 more points than last season and 13 more points than 2020. Cutting the squad to the bare bones though was a risk which proved crucial with the late slew of injuries and thus losing 5 of 7 late on showed inexperience. Arsenal’s only fault was to over achieve + raise expectations too high too soon. Overall then Arteta and Arsenal are ahead of schedule half way through the process. So I believe an A- is the right rating.

  6. Well, what I know is that we made progress in the table.
    Numbers don’t lie.

    Now, unto the future. What is the way forward.
    If there is one moral lesson I learned this season, it will be the importance a quality squad depth gives to a team.

    Only if Josh Kroenke can sponsor this transfer window with 200m pounds to buy quality players for us to make further progress.

    Oh, how I crave for us to buy Yves Bissouma to partner Partey in central midfield. I am overtly surprised by how underrated Bissouma is by the majority of the football world.

    I believe Thomas Partey would not get injured easily if he has an able partner in midfield. It will help reduce the workload on him.
    Come on, Bissouma can dribble, tackle, he is strong, fast, can shoot, and he is technical.
    Any team that buys him from Brighton would be getting a diamond in midfield.

    If I were Edu and Arteta. I would draw up this transfer list and put it up to Josh Kroenke to finance the moves.

    ST – Nunez – 75m
    CM – Bissouma – 45m
    LW – Gnabry – 35m
    LB – Hickey – 25m

    The striker role would be the most trick one because Darwin Núñez would be very difficult to get without offering him a massive salary of 200,000 pounds weekly.

    So my other options that is quite realistic would be getting Gabriel Jesus for 40m.

    ST – Jesus – 40m
    CM – Bissouma – 45m
    LW – Gnabry – 35m
    LB – Hickey – 25m

    TOTAL – 145m



    Gnabry. Odegaard. Saka.

    Bissouma. Partey.

    Hickey. Gabriel. Saliba. Tomiyasu.


    1. If we signed gnabry (which we won’t, I just like to dream), I’ve no doubt he’d be coming here to play centre forward. I think that’s part of his frustration

  7. Generally good rankings – well done.
    But the assesment, we will not get a batter chance of getting into the CL is something just thrwon in there.
    We won 69 points this year. In the 2 previous seasons, that would have meant 3-4′ th spot. So maybe this year was in fact more difficult to get a CL spot?

  8. I would give a C because of the capitulation that Arsenal have experienced at several stages of the season.
    If we sign Jesus and perhaps Gnabry we will certainly be on the path to improving on this season – especially when you see the stats on Lacazette’s performance this season.
    XG of 6.84 but in reality he only managed just two goals from open play out of 46 shots he fired at the opposition – how he can ever be classed as a goal scorer is beyond me…

  9. Would say b minus … at the start of season was expecting 6th place largely because I thought man utd and Spurs looked alot better than us … by begining of this year I thought 4th was readily doable as both these teams disappointed and it was clear the hammers wouldn’t last the distance … we blew it in the last 10 games in some small part due to injuries but in large part due to arteta including his inexperience but mainly because the kind of football he is nurturing lacks the control aggression and ambition of a top team .. giving him an extension before securing CL was a sign of UN ambitious owners now it’s a question of whether we bring in 3 top quality players to push on .. without that we will be back hoping for 6th place and other teams faltering …

  10. I will not play DANS rather pointless game and thus I WILL NOT AWARD ONE OF HIS SILLY GRADES TO OUR SEASON. A true thinker cannot sum up a season by giving a grade This Is not a school exam.

    I thought our season a good one overall but with a disappointing finish. I remain optimistic about our future under MA despite the handicap of having an absent, uncaring, non clued up and non football liking owner.

    Kroenkes continued ownership is our TRUE and ongoing problem , plus the childish and ludicrous demands of so many of our fans. MA is, IMO, our bright spot and the best chance we have for continuing to make progress.

    As for grading the season, I leave that to those who wish to play such pointless games.

  11. It was very average in my opinion.
    I just gave Arteta a bit of leeway because he cleared out the deadwood.
    But he has to do much much better next season. Can be this inconsistent next season or I will get on the Arteta out band..

  12. I would give a B because of the late ‘collapse’. If we had ended in 5th with more consistency I would probably have rated the season a B+/A-

  13. Im not bothered about anyone else but from where we were a few weeks ago and for what we had to do to get 4th its a D.

  14. I’m not unhappy, given that being back in Europe is progress, and that even the management would have accepted that at the start of the season. That was, however when we thought Man Utd. would probably get top 4. Unfortunately, too many injuries after poor performances against Palace and Brighton cost us. The crucial game was against Newcastle, which I knew we would lose. I places a sizeable bet on Spurs when we were favourites for 4th spot, and i’m still spending the money!

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