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End of season Premier League grades: Who failed? Who excelled?

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All week at ProSoccerTalk we are reviewing the dramatic 2015-16 Premier League season.

From dishing out awards to looking back at the highs and lows in the as 20 teams battled it out, we’ll have every angle covered.

MORE: All 2015-16 PL season reviews ]

For the full archive of our review content, just hit the link above. Now, we dish out the grades. Who finished top of the class? Who got a big fat F?

Now the 2015-16 Premier League season is done and dusted it is time to reflect on everything that happened and give each club an overall grade for their performances.


TEAM GRADE
source:  A+ Leicester City:  If I could give them a higher mark I would. Every single player performed to 100 percent of their potential, Ranieri managed the situation marvelously and they are worthy champs.
source:  A Southampton: Koeman delivered a record points tally and highest-ever points tally as Saints qualified for Europe. Only Leicester won more points than them in second half of the season. Sublime finish.
source:  A West Ham United: Slaven Billic’s side pushed for the top four all season long and a late season slip up saw them finish seventh. Still, a wonderful season to cap off the final year at Upton Park. Now, Payet & Co. head to the Olympic Stadium.
source:  A-
Tottenham: For so long it seemed like this young Spurs squad would pip Leicester to the title, then things unraveled. Still, a third place finish is something for the PL’s youngest squad to be proud of. Pochettino is building something special… even if they didn’t finish above Arsenal.
source:  B+
Bournemouth: If you would’ve offered the Cherries survival at start of the season they would’ve taken it. They’ve played with style and racked up big wins as well as staying up.
source:  B+
Arsenal: Second place finish may be a little flattering when all is said and done, but 20 straight years of finishing top four and 21 years of finishing ahead of Spurs sounds pretty darn good.
source:  B- Man City: Did the bare minimum in sealing a top four spot for next season. There will be a lot of changes under new manager Pep Guardiola this summer.
source:  B- Watford: After securing their first-ever back-to-back seasons in the PL you’d think everything would be rosy at Vicarage Road. Think again. Quique Sanchez Flores is out as manager. They struggled in the second half of season but did superbly up until December.
source:  B- Stoke City: Strangely Stoke will be very upset with a third-straight ninth place finish. For most of the campaign they were flirting with the top six but injuries cost them dear. Mark Hughes must add some key men this summer.
source:  C+ Swansea City: The season started brightly for the Swans but then Garry Monk got the sack and things were looking dodgy. Guidolin arrived to steer them to safety and 12th place. The Italian will look to build on this.
source:  C+ Liverpool: Things are starting to take shape but you still can’t get over the fact that two years ago this club almost won the title. They spent most of this season in midtable.
source:  C+ Crystal Palace: A season which promised so much has slightly under delivered. If they win the FA Cup it is a success, but PL form faded badly Alan Pardew.
source:  C- Sunderland: Once again it was a monumental struggle for the Black Cats but once again they stayed up with one game to spare. They look solid and reliable under Big Sam Allardyce. Now, can they get the recruitment right?
source:  C- Manchester United: After money they spent last summer finishing outside the top four is unthinkable. Yes, they had injuries but Van Gaal didn’t deliver the minimum of top four. Fresh impetus needed.
source:  D Everton: A season where they should have really challenged for the top six, given players at their disposal, turned into a farce. Martinez simply didn’t learn from his mistakes and paid the ultimate price.
source:  D Norwich City: They hardly spent any money and in the end the lack of quality proved costly. Alex Neil‘s side battled hard but defensive frailties and a lock of goals cost them. That’s never a good combo. Straight back down.
source:  D West Brom: What else did we expect from Tony Pulis? The Baggies ground out points wherever they could to stay up but didn’t inspire anybody along the way. Big summer to see what direction they’re going in.
source:  D Chelsea: The worst title defense in PL history as Chelsea collapsed and it cost Mourinho his job. The players simply weren’t prepared and now Antonio Conte has arrived to whip them into shape.
source:  F Newcastle: Steve McClaren‘s experiment went badly wrong and Rafael Benitez almost saved Newcastle. He ran out of time and they’ve been relegated. Will the Spaniard steer them back to the PL? Poor management at every level of the club.
source:  F Aston Villa: Probably don’t even deserve this. First-ever relegation from PL, equaled a club record of 11-straight defeats as they were relegated. Woeful and new owner has lots to sort out.

Champions League permutations: Who needs what?

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Here’s a quick reminder of how many teams from each group have already reached the last 16:

Group A: Paris St-Germain (winners), Real Madrid (runners up)
Group B: Bayern Munich (winners), Tottenham (runners up)
Group C: Manchester City (winners)
Group D: Juventus (winners)
Group E: None
Group F: Barcelona (winners)
Group G: RB Leipzig
Group H: None

And here’s what teams in each group need to do to advance:

Group C
Shakhtar Donetsk will reach the last 16 if they win at home against Atalanta, while both Atalanta and Dinamo Zagreb can still reach the last 16 with wins.

Group D
Atletico Madrid will secure their spot in the last 16 if they beat Lokomotiv Moscow at home, but if they draw or lose and Bayer Leverkusen win at home against group winners Juventus, the German side will go through.

Group E
Red Bull Salzburg will reach the last 16 if they beat Liverpool at home, while the reigning UCL champions need just a point to make it to the knockout rounds. However,  if Liverpool lose they will be out unless Napoli lose at home to Genk too or if Liverpool score four away goals or more and only lose by one goal (eg a 5-4 loss) combined with a Napoli defeat they will go through. Napoli need a point in their final game at home against Genk to reach the last 16.

Group F
Inter Milan will make the last 16 if they beat Barcelona at home but if they don’t win then Borussia Dortmund will go through by bettering Inter’s result. Dortmund host Slavia Prague at home.

Group G
Leipzig have already qualified and will finish top of the group with a win. Zenit will reach the last 16 if they win away at already eliminated Benfica, while Lyon can qualify if they better Zenit’s result from the final game.

Group H
Chelsea know they will reach the last 16 with a win at home to already eliminated Lille. Ajax only need a draw to make the last 16, while Valencia need a win at Ajax to advance. Chelsea will also reach the last if they draw against Lille and Ajax beat Valencia.

Champions League score predictions: Matchweek 6

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The sixth and final matchday of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League group stage is here, and two of the four Premier League clubs needing to avoid defeat to go through.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Fans of Liverpool and Chelsea will both be sweating ahead of their group stage finales.

Below we predict the scores for all 16 UCL games taking place over the next two days, with Tottenham heading to Bayern Munich able to rest players,  while reigning champions Liverpool head to Jesse March’s Salzburg needing a draw to advance but the hosts will go through with a win.

As for Chelsea, they host Lille needing a win to secure their route to the last 16 and a draw could be enough if Valencia lose to Ajax, while Man City travel to Dinamo Zagreb already confirmed as group winners.

Feel free to make your own predictions in the comments section below, too.


Tuesday

Group E
Red Bull Salzburg 3-5 Liverpool
Napoli 3-1 Genk

Group F
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Slavia Prague
Inter Milan 2-2 Barcelona

Group G
Lyon 2-1 Leipzig
Benfica 0-2 Zenit

Group H
Chelsea 1-1 Lille
Ajax 2-2 Valencia


Wednesday

Group A
PSG 3-0 Galatasaray
Club Brugge 1-2 Real Madrid

Group B
Bayern Munich 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Olympiacos 3-1 Red Star Belgrade

Group C
Shakhtar Donetsk 1-3 Atalanta
Dinamo Zagreb 1-3 Man City

Group D
Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Juventus
Atletico Madrid 2-1 Lokomotiv Moscow

MLS teams learn opponents for CCL last 16

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The draw for the last 16 of the CONCACAF Champions League took place late Monday and some intriguing clashes have been set up to kick off the knockout rounds.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage

2019 Supporters’ Shield champs LAFC face Liga MX’s Club Leon, while NYCFC fave San Carlos from Costa Rica, 2019 MLS Cup champs Seattle Sounders square off with Honduran side Olimpia, the Montreal Impact face Costa Rica’s Saprissa and Atlanta United also have Honduran opponents in Motagua.

Fans of MLS teams will not need reminding that Liga MX have dominated this competition, with a team from Mexico winning this competition each season since 2006.

Below is the schedule in full for the knockout rounds of the tournament, which begin in mid-February.


2020 CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 schedule

Leg 1: Feb. 18-20; Leg 2: Feb. 25-27. First team listed hosts Leg 2.

  1. Atlanta United (USA) vs. Motagua (HON)
  2. Club America (MEX) vs. Comunicaciones (GUA)
  3. Cruz Azul (MEX) vs. Portmore United (JAM)
  4. LAFC (USA) vs. Club Leon (MEX)
  5. Tigres UANL (MEX) vs. Alianza (SLV)
  6. NYCFC (USA) vs. San Carlos (CRC)
  7. Seattle Sounders (USA) vs. Olimpia (HON)
  8. Montreal Impact (CAN) vs. Saprissa (CRC)

Quarterfinals

Leg 1: March 10-12; Leg 2: March 17-19. Winner of odd-numbered Round of 16 game hosts Leg 2.

  • Winner 1 vs. Winner 2
  • Winner 3 vs. Winner 4
  • Winner 5 vs. Winner 6
  • Winner 7 vs. Winner 8

Semifinals

Leg 1: Apr. 7-9; Leg 2: Apr. 14-16. Hosting determined by performance in prior rounds.

  • Winner 1/2 vs. Winner 3/4
  • Winner 5/6 vs. Winner 7/8

Final

Leg 1: April 28-30; Leg 2: May 5-7. Hosting determined by performance in prior rounds.

  • Winner SF1 vs. Winner SF2

Arsenal issue injury update

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Arsenal have issued an injury update on several players after their win at West Ham on Monday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg will have an injury headache to sort out, especially at full back, as Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney were both injured before and during the 3-1 win at the London Stadium.

Bellerin felt his hamstring go in the warm up and the Spaniard was replaced by Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who performed well.

“Hector had a feeling in his hamstring during the warm-up and we took the decision. Not going to force anyone to play if they don’t feel 100%,” Ljungberg said. “It was a straight swap on that with Ainsley. Ainsley has been out in the cold a little bit but came in and did really well. I’m really proud of him.”

As for Tierney, who suffered a shoulder injury during the game, the prognosis on the Scottish left back doesn’t appear as positive as Bellerin.

“It’s something with his shoulder but I don’t know exactly what that is. We obviously had to take him off. He’s going to hospital to get it checked,” Ljungberg added.

The Gunners have enough defensive issues as it is without throwing a few injuries to arguably their best right and left backs.

Arsenal have plenty of walking wounded right now, as Rob Holding wasn’t in the squad to face West Ham due to a knee injury flaring up, while Dani Ceballos and Emile Smith-Rowe are still working their way back to full fitness.

Remarkably, Arsenal are just seven points off the top four given the firing of Unai Emery, their woeful defensive displays and their worst-ever start to a season.

Ljungberg’s boys host Man City on Sunday (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) which looks like being a straight shootout between two teams who can score at will but can’t keep them out at the other end.

The Gunners are great to watch for the neutrals, but these defensive injuries continue to hamper any recovery post-Emery.