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
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?
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