Getty Images

Grades for every Premier League team in 2016-17

1 Comment

So, we know where each team finished in the Premier League table this season, but how did they really do?

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

Taking everything that happened into account, let’s dish out a grade for the overall performance of each club with a brief summary

Plus, click on the link above to follow all of ProSoccerTalk’s reviews of the 2016-17 season.


Chelsea: A
Sublime season with 30 wins from 38 to win the title. The switch to a 3-4-3 formation after losing to Arsenal in September proved the pivotal moment and Antonio Conte galvanized his squad with his passion and attention for detail. Having no European action certainly helped Chelsea during the run-in but with Kante, Hazard and Costa around they have game-changers. Surpassed everyone’s expectation as Conte took the PL by storm and this Chelsea team will add two or three stars over the summer and aim to challenge for the Champions League. Ruthlessly efficient.

Tottenham Hotspur: A-
For the second season running Spurs came up short in the title race but they were the only team who kept up with Chelsea and made things very interesting as we entered April. Harry Kane led the PL with 29 goals and had he been fit for the whole season, maybe Spurs would’ve won the title. Who knows? What we do know is that Mauricio Pochettino is leading this young team into a brave new era with Wembley their temporary home next season and then the new 61,559 capacity stadium at White Hart Lane ready for the 2018-19 campaign. Another season of huge progress but no silverware is the only annoyance. Going the entire season unbeaten at White Hart Lane before it was demolished was a huge achievement.

Bournemouth: B+
Eddie Howe led the Cherries to their highest-ever finish as a club and finishing ninth in the PL after a real struggle in the middle of the season is a great achievement. Josh King scored the goals to push them up the table and even though Jordon Ibe and Jack Wilshere struggled, this young team still showed plenty of class. A third-straight season in the PL was always the aim and Bournemouth comfortably achieved that.

Burnley: B+
The Clarets had a fine season, especially at home, as Sean Dyche‘s side only won once away from Turf Moor all season. With Tom Heaton and Michael Keane excelling in defense, they always hung in games and the pace of Andre Gray and power of Sam Vokes up top gave them a better cutting edge than the last time they were in the PL. On limited resources, this was a superb campaign which will be overlooked due to a poor finish.

Liverpool: B+
Everyone expected Liverpool to challenge for a top four finish and that is what they did. Jurgen Klopp‘s high-powered offense blew teams away and Sadio Mane was the star man. When he was injured Liverpool missed Mane badly and that threatened to derail their top four bid. In the end they held on to finish fourth but for most of the season they were title contenders. Defensive issues, once again, cost Liverpool any chance at the title. Still, Klopp’s first full season in charge was a success.

Everton: B
A solid season for the Toffees as Ronald Koeman‘s men faded a little but still qualified for the Europa League. Keeping Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku this summer will be key for the Dutchman but it wouldn’t be surprising if both players left. Another summer of transfer dealing will make this Everton team really feel like Koeman’s and they weren’t far away from challenging for the top four this season. Solid.

West Brom: B-
Looked like they were going to finish eighth but a bad end to the season saw Tony Pulis‘ players fail to record a win in their last nine outings. That won’t sit well over the offseason but survival and getting to 40 points is always the first thing the Baggies want. Anything else is a bonus. A severe lack of goals from Salomon Rondon proved costly but resolute defensive displays were once again their strength with Ben Foster having a fine campaign.

Manchester City: B-
Pep Guardiola struggled in his first season in England but finished third to get the job done in terms of Champions League qualification. However, a UCL exit at the Round of 16, plus disappointment in both cup competitions didn’t go down well. Claudio Bravo and John Stones were the scapegoats of Pep’s philosophy not quite working in the PL as possession-based soccer from the back was found out. He will have to tweak things this summer, and spend plenty more cash, to turn this ageing squad into title contenders.

Hull City: C
Even though they were relegated, let’s remember that the Tigers hardly had a squad when the PL season kicked off. Mike Phelan was eventually replaced by Marco Silva and the Portuguese boss did a phenomenal job to give them a chance of surviving. The Tigers will be heavy favorites to come straight back up but Silva is unlikely to remain at the KCOM Stadium as their ownership struggles continue behind-the-scenes.

Southampton: C-
A really strange season for Saints who finished eighth, which is their fourth season on the spin in eighth or higher in the PL. For a club of their size, you can’t argue with that. Yet manager Claude Puel is under severe pressure and could be fired after his first season in England. Saints didn’t make it through their Europa League group in agonizing fashion and then dominated Manchester United in the EFL Cup final but lost 3-2. Their slow paced build-up play has angered many supporters with just 17 goals scored in 19 home PL games. Saints should be careful what they wish for but it is likely Puel will depart.

Manchester United: C-
If Jose Mourinho ends up winning the Europa League then this grade will be higher. However, United have recorded their least wins in a PL season and have been awful to watch at times. Part of that has to do with having a huge number of games with the Europa League and EFL Cup, but Mourinho spent big on the likes of Paul Pogba who has yet to deliver the goods consistently. Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s injury was a big blow but if United end this season with EFL Cup and Europa League trophies, then it will be job done for Mourinho. It wasn’t pretty as Wayne Rooney and others were deemed surplus to requirements and Mourinho has gambled on Europa League success.

Swansea City: C-
The Swans had three managers and somehow survived. Francesco Guidolin was replaced by Bob Bradley early in the season and the American coach was not given time or a transfer window to turn the struggling squad around. Paul Clement arrived and did just that as he won 29 points as Swans boss and they rose out of the relegation zone after winning four of their last five games of the season. Now it’s all about not repeating those mistakes and trying to push for a top 10 finish. Keeping Gylfi Sigurdsson will be tough.

Watford: D+
Walter Mazarri is out as boss in a weird campaign for the Hornets. They were looking set for a top 10 finish but collapsed in the second half of the season as the players appeared to lose faith in Mazarri’s tactics. With Troy Deeney out of favor the goals dried up and Watford’s new manager will now have to try and restore confidence to a mish-mash of players who under-performed. Not a pretty campaign.

Stoke City: D
Disappointing season for Stoke who finshed in 13th place but were just two points off eighth. Goalscoring was the issue once again for Mark Hughes‘ men as Saido Berahino struggled for fitness, Wilfried Bony couldn’t settle and the likes of Arnautovic and Shaqiri were inconsistent. The return of Jack Butland in goal was a huge boost but the Potters will have to start well next season otherwise Hughes will be under a little bit of pressure.

Crystal Palace: D
The Eagles stayed up, just, but this was a bad season for a talented squad. Alan Pardew‘s men didn’t recover from a poor second half of the 2015-16 season and the Palace legend was sacked midway through the season. In came Sam Allardyce who initially failed to turn things around but big wins against Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool sparked a miraculous recovery alongside some great January additions in Mamadou Sakho, Patrick Van Aanholt and Luka Milivojevic. Palace will have to rebuild defensively this summer if they truly want to be a top 10 team.

Leicester City: D
Claudio Ranieri was fired as manager after the Foxes dropped into the relegation zone and the 2015-16 champions rallied late in the campaign to finish in midtable. Interim boss Craig Shakespeare did a fine job to turn things around but Ranieri still played his part as Leicester lost to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals. You have to think a lot of these players will be moved on in the summer, but can Leicester afford their replacements after dishing out big contracts after the title win? Vardy, Mahrez and Schmeichel will attract interest but the Foxes must keep hold of them. 12th place in the table is about right for Leicester’s squad, which shows you just how miraculous last season was.

West Ham: D
So many things went wrong for the Hammers this season. The move to their new stadium was met with plenty of criticism by home supporters, Dimitri Payet left in January and so many injuries piled up in defense. Simply put, you can’t help but feel sorry for Slaven Bilic. The Croatian coach may still leave this summer but he will probably stick around and he deserves too. Strengthening defense should be the main focus this summer and getting in a proven striker with Andy Carroll far too injury prone to rely on. The Hammers finished in 11th which, considering all the issues, was not a bad outcome at all.

Arsenal: D-
Where do we start? Not finishing in the top four for the first time in 20 years under Arsene Wenger says it all. The Frenchman is under increasing pressure to leave the Gunners but it appears he will remain in charge for another two seasons. The debate about the future’s of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez also hung around for most of the season to disrupt the team and humiliation in the Champions League at the hands of Bayern Munich threw them out of the top four race in early 2017. That said, with five wins in their last six they almost made the top four again and if Arsenal beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final this weekend then there will be something to salvage from this season. There is a huge change needed in recruitment and investment if Arsenal are ever going to be genuine title contenders. Wenger’s future is not the only big issues which needs to be addressed at the Emirates Stadium after this season.

Middlesbrough: F
A truly woeful return to the PL Boro who had worked so hard to get back to the promised land. Aitor Karanka often set his team up to get clean sheets and they got plenty of them, but the lowest scorers in the PL hit the back of the net just 27 teams in 38 games. Karanka was shown the door at a bizarre time and caretaker Steve Agnew didn’t really have a chance. Boro will be among the favorites in the Championship next season but they may lose some of their talented young defenders, especially Ben Gibson. Five wins from 38 games sums it up.

Sunderland: F
The only team who had it worse than Boro was their north east rivals Sunderland. David Moyes resigned the day after the season was over as he led the Black Cats to a 20th place finish with 24 points and they simply had no chance all season long. Moyes talked about relegation in the opening weeks of the campaign and despite Jermain Defoe‘s goals and Jordan Pickford‘s heroics in goal, they never looked like staying up. The Black Cats will need a complete rebuild but owner Ellis Short has a lot to answer for as he simply failed to invest enough in this squad which has stayed up in the PL by the skin of their teeth for many, many years.

Ligue 1: PSG return to comfort zone, thrash Strasbourg

AP Photo/Francois Mori
Leave a comment

PARIS (AP) After falling short in the Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain returned to its French league comfort zone and beat Strasbourg 5-2 on Saturday.

Edinson Cavani netted twice, and Julian Draxler, Angel Di Maria, and Neymar also scored to ensure PSG stayed 12 points clear of second-place Monaco at the top.

But not without a fright.

Strasbourg took the lead in the sixth minute and pulled back to 3-2 as PSG continued to show alarming signs of weakness at the back. Strasbourg had a late goal incorrectly ruled out for offside after PSG’s defense was again easily breached, although it was already 5-2 by then.

PSG lost at Real Madrid 3-1 on Wednesday in the first leg of the last 16. The way PSG capitulated by giving away two late goals heaped pressure on coach Unai Emery over his team selection.

“The atmosphere was a bit tense. That’s normal,” Cavani said. “We have to look forward now. We played well today, although at times we could have been better.”

Emery was booed by sections of the home crowd when his name was announced over the loudspeaker before the game. Later, Cavani stopped short of giving Emery his personal backing when asked if the under-fire coach has the full support of the players.

“We’re a team and big teams stick together in the important moments,” Cavani said. “That’s the only way you can win.”

Strasbourg beat PSG at home in December, and stunned the crowd at Parc des Princes by taking the lead when midfielder Jean-Eudes Aholou was left completely unmarked near the penalty spot.

PSG hit back hard and was 3-1 up after 23 minutes thanks to Draxler, Di Maria and Neymar’s 19th in 19 league games.

Stephane Bahoken scored against PSG for the second time this season after a quick counterattack. Strasbourg poured forward but the hope didn’t last for long.

Cavani gave PSG some breathing space with an assured finish in the 72nd, clipping the ball over goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja, then lobbed him for his league-leading 23rd goal.

“It was important to win after Wednesday’s match. We have to get our fans ready for the games to come against Marseille (next weekend) and Real Madrid,” Emery said. “We have to show we can maintain this level of play against better sides, with all due respect to Strasbourg.”

To celebrate Chinese New Year, PSG players’ names were written in Mandarin on the back of their shirts and a Chinese dragon paraded around the pitch. PSG says it has 1.3 million Chinese followers.

In order to better serve the soccer market in Asia, the league match between Nice and PSG on March 18 has been moved forward to 1 p.m. local time (1200 GMT).


Marseille players will also have their names in Mandarin for Sunday’s home game against Bordeaux at Stade Velodrome. Marseille recently launched an account on Chinese social media site Weibo.

Striker Giovanni Sio’s second-half equalizer gave Montpellier the point it needed to take fifth place after drawing with Guingamp 1-1.

Two goals from newly signed striker Diafra Sakho gave Rennes a 2-2 draw at Caen, which missed two penalties.

Saint-Etienne won at Angers 1-0, Troyes beat last-place Metz 1-0, and Amiens drew with Toulouse 0-0 in another relegation scrap.

In Sunday’s other games, fourth-place Lyon goes to Lille, and Nice hosts Nantes.

Pardew “furious” after 4 WBA players steal taxi in Spain

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Leave a comment

At least when you’re bottom of the Premier League table and appear headed for relegation, as West Bromwich Albion now find themselves, you can take the positive approach that “the only way to go from here is up.”

[ FA CUP: Man United advance, drawn against PL opposition in QF ]

Alternatively, four of your most senior players — Jonny Evans, Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill, in this case — might have other ideas and elect to steal a cab during a late-season training camp in Barcelona. That’s the current state of affairs for the Baggies and manager Alan Pardew, who openly admits he was “furious” and felt “let down” — quotes from the Guardian:

“This is obviously not ideal. They broke the curfew and that’s unacceptable and I feel a bit let down by that.”

“It’s difficult for managers. Obviously, I was furious with what happened but at the same time I’ve got to stay faithful to the players and give them a chance to remedy the situation.”

The night’s timeline reads something like this: the quartet wanted to go out in the city center, but everything was closed late at night; they got a taxi to a McDonald’s by the Barcelona port; the driver left the car, at which point the players decided to drive back to the team hotel around 5:30 a.m.; the care was returned to the cab driver around 8 a.m.

Evans was stripped of his captaincy for Saturday’s FA Cup fifth-round defeat to Southampton. The players have since released the following statement through the club’s website:

“We felt it important we identify ourselves as the players involved in an incident which occurred during the training camp in Spain this week out of respect for team-mates who otherwise could be implicated by association. We freely acknowledge and apologize for the break of curfew which we accept represented a breach of the standards of professionalism required of us as representatives of West Bromwich Albion.

“The club has informed us that it will now conduct its own inquiry into the incident and we will cooperate fully. In the meantime, we would like to assure our supporters that this incident does not reflect the determination and resolve we possess to do all we can to recover a difficult season.”

With 11 games left to play, West Brom currently sit seven points adrift of safety; Pardew’s position grows more and more tenuous with each point dropped; and three of their final 11 games are against Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

Serie A: Turkish youngster Under fires Roma back into 3rd

Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images
Leave a comment

ROME (AP) The rapid development of 20-year-old Turkey winger Cengiz Under is playing a big role in Roma’s revival.

Under scored his fourth goal in three matches and Roma won at Udinese 2-0 for its third straight win in Serie A on Saturday.

Roma moved into third place, two points ahead of Inter Milan, which lost at Genoa 2-0.

It’s a drastic improvement from where Roma was a month ago, when the Giallorossi were mired in a five-match winless streak that risked dropping them out of contention for the Champions League places.

“We’re getting back on track to where we were in the first half of the season,” forward Diego Perotti said.

Roma went ahead when Under unleashed a powerful, rising shot from beyond the area in the 70th.

Perotti sealed the victory in the 90th with an angled effort after Udinese gave the ball away near midfield.

Under is having a breakout month.

First, he scored after 43 seconds when Roma ended a five-match winless streak by beating Hellas Verona 1-0. Then he had a brace and also delivered an assist in a 5-2 win over Benevento last weekend.

All this after not being involved in any goals in his first 14 matches with Roma.

“He plays far more for the team than himself,” Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said of Under. “His greatest strength is being able to prepare his shot with great speed, making him difficult to close down.”

Added Perotti, “He’s very humble and he doesn’t speak Italian yet but he’s well behaved and is a great kid. He deserves all of this.”

On Wednesday, Roma visits Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.

“We’ve got to make the most of the fact they’ve had a winter break and might not be match fit,” Di Francesco said of the Ukrainian side. “They have a lot of quality in attack and are dangerous, but we shouldn’t change our attitude.”


Inter’s defense was in shambles against Genoa.

The hosts took the lead before the break when a failed clearance attempt from Milan Skriniar ricocheted off of a stunned Andrea Ranocchia, who was charged with an own goal.

Then former Inter striker Goran Pandev was left unmarked to score from the center of the area midway through the second half.

Inter hasn’t won at regional rival Genoa in more than seven years.

Chievo Verona took a big step toward avoiding relegation with a 2-1 win over visiting Cagliari.

Emanuele Giaccherini and Roberto Inglese scored late for the hosts before Leonardo Pavoletti pulled one back for Cagliari.

Chievo moved up to 14th, level on points with Cagliari, eight points above the drop zone.

La Liga: Barca’s 31-game unbeaten run ties longest in club history

AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos
Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ FA CUP: Man United advance, drawn against PL opposition in QF ]

Eibar 0-2 Barcelona

Barcelona, the last remaining unbeaten side from Europe’s five major domestic leagues, warmed up for Tuesday’s Champions League round-of-16 clash with Chelsea by dismantling seventh-place Eibar side away from home on Saturday and extending their unbeaten run to 31 games in the league, tying the club’s all-time record in the process.

The Blaugrana took the lead after 15 minutes, when Lionel Messi slotted an inch-perfect through ball for Luis Suarez who rounded the goalkeeper and slotted home (WATCH HERE) for his 17th league goal of the season (20 in all competitions).

Messi played his part in Barca’s second goal, which came three minutes before full-time. The Argentine’s shot was initially saved, but Jordi Alba arrived on the scene moments later to clean up and finish off the 10-man Basque minnows.

The victory sends Barca 10 points clear of second-place Atletico Madrid, who play on Sunday, and 20 points clear of fourth-place Real Madrid, who have played two fewer games thus far.

Malaga 1-2 Valencia

Valencia, who spent the majority of the season’s first half as Barca’s nearest title rivals (while never really challenging), fell to third when they recently lost three straight league games, but have since regained their footing with back-to-back wins, including Saturday’s come-from-behind triumph away to last-place Malaga.

Brown Ideye put Malaga ahead just before the half-hour mark, a lead which remained intact for more than 50 minutes. Alas, Francis Coquelin bagged his first goal for Valencia in the 80th minute to draw level, followed by a penalty kick converted by Dani Parejo five minutes later.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Las Palmas 1-2 Sevilla
Alaves 1-0 Deportivo La Coruña

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Real Sociedad vs. Levante — 6 a.m. ET
Atletico Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao — 10:15 a.m. ET
Espanyol vs. Villarreal — 12:30 p.m. ET
Real Betis vs. Real Madrid — 2:45 p.m. ET