GRADES: How did each Premier League team fare in the Summer Transfer Window?

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After the 2015 Summer Transfer Window slammed shut at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday, September 1, we can now start to analyze the moves each team made over the last two months.

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Premier League teams have spent a whopping $1.3 billion during this transfer period, which is a record for any window involving England’s top-flight, but have they spent that cash wisely?

Let’s break down the business they managed to do. Here is a grade for all 20 PL teams after their deals.

   GRADE

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A Manchester City: After buying Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and Nicolas Otamendi, then adding Kevin de Bruyne, City have become title favorites. The have spent over $220 million on transfer fees and Pellegrini’s boys are set up to challenge for the PL title and the Champions League.
source: B+ West Ham: The Hammers had a great Deadline Day, and they added 13 players in total. Top business from new manager Bilic as Moses, Song, Ogbonna, Lanzini, Jelavic and Antonio will make a big difference.
source: B +   Swansea City: Garry Monk continues to excel in the market as he brought in Andre Ayew in attack on big wages but for no transfer fee, plus Eder and a bunch of players to augment his strong squad. Top window for Swans.
source: B + Crystal Palace: The Eagles have added Cabaye, Bamford, Wickham, McCarthy and Sako to strengthen throughout their spine. Pardew didn’t lose any important players. Great business.

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B ChelseaMany complained that Chelsea didn’t get the big-name signings but they did land Pedro, and grabbed Falcao and Begovic early on. Mourinho didn’t sign Stones but added two CBs in Hector and Djilobodji. 
source: B Stoke City: A busy, busy window for the Potters. They lost Nzonzi and Begovic but brought in Afellay and Shaqiri in shock moves. All in all, Potters look like a top 10 team once again.
source: B Manchester UnitedScratching your head, yeah, me too. David de Gea’s move collapsed at the last minute, then United seemed to panic buy teenager Martial late on for $55 million. That said, Darmian, Depay, Romero, Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin have all settled in well. Decent business, but plenty of lost opportunities.
source: B Newcastle UnitedFour key players arrived in the window for the Magpies as Thauvin, Wijnaldum, Mitrovic and Mbemba arrived for $80 million in total. Steve McClaren has strengthened the side.
source: C+ WatfordThe Hornets have spent lots of money and bought more players than any other PL team. That will give them a chance of staying up, but most are unproven in England and that will be a big challenge.
source:  C+ Southampton: After losing Schneiderlin, Clyne and Alderweireld, Koeman has pounced to bring in plenty of new faces. Jordy Clasie, Oriol Romeu, Martina, Cedric, Caulker and Virgil van Dijk arriving from Celtic was a big signing at CB. Keeping hold of Mane was huge for Saints.
source: C+ Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers took a different route this season and signed players early and bought from within the PL. Ings, Milner, Clyne and Benteke arrived, while Gomez and Firmino may take longer to settle in. They lost Sterling (a big blow) but overall, a decent window.
source: C+ BournemouthThe Cherries weren’t scared to splash some cash and the arrival of Max Gradel and Glenn Murray in attack will boost their chances of survival. Sensible business from the new boys.
 source: C Aston VillaSherwood has gambled on the French market and so far the jury is out. Gueye has been superb but Ayew, Amavi and Veretout have struggled to settle. Let’s see if Richards, Gestede and others settle quicker.
source: C  Leicester CitySome shrewd buys from the Foxes as Ranieri brought in Okazaki, Inler, Kante and Huth. Solid buys throughout their spine should improve their chances of staying up after a spectacular start to the season.
source: D EvertonThe big thing about this window was keeping John Stones around, and the Toffees have done that despite Chelsea offering $60 million. Martinez has added Cleverley, Lennon and Mori, but apart from that it was pretty uneventful.
source: D- Tottenham: Harry Kane needs help and although Son and Clinton have arrived in attack, Spurs’ new boys are unproven in the PL. Bringing in Wimmer, Trippier and Alderweireld bolsters their defense and Pochettino has trimmed his squad but not grabbing Berahino or a top striker to help Kane will hurt Spurs.
source: D- West BromBerahino did not leave on Deadline Day but he is now refusing to play for the Baggies. Huge blow. They have signed Rickie Lambert and Salomon Rondon in attack, plus Jonny Evans in defense, but overall Berahino’s situation could be very harmful.
source: F Arsenal: Yeah, that striker never arrived did he? The Gunners are the only team in the top five leagues in Europe to not add a new outfield player this summer. They signed Petr Cech, which was great, but how did Wenger not grab a striker and a DM to strengthen this summer?
source: F Norwich City: The Canaries failed to sign a striker and with Alex Neil serious about keeping Norwich up, they have to buy a predatory forward. Norwich failed in late bids for several strikers and right now, their chances of staying up look bleak.
source: F SunderlandSpeaking of bleak survival chances, Sunderland signed plenty of players in the window but you have to argue if they were any better than those Dick Advocaat had before. Lens, Toivonen, Yedlin and Kaboul aren’t really upgrades. Another season of struggle ahead.

Struggling Atleti in unfamiliar territory under Simeone

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MADRID — This is uncharted territory for many Atletico Madrid fans.

Few other times in recent years have they seen their team struggle so much under Diego Simeone.

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Few other times have they seen their coach fail so often while trying to put the team back on track.

Atletico hit a new low under Simeone on Thursday when it was eliminated by third-division club Cultural Leonesa in the round of 32 of the Copa del Rey. The 2-1 loss in extra time was the team’s worst result in the cup competition since losing to third-tier club Albacete at the same stage in 2011-12.

Two days after that loss in 2011, Atletico hired the then-mostly unknown Simeone to replace Gregorio Manzano, a move that kick-started one of the club’s most successful eras and led to a Spanish league title, two Europa League trophies and two Champions League final appearances.

Atletico did go through difficult moments under Simeone, including when the team failed to advance past the group stage of the Champions League a couple of seasons ago.

“There were always complicated moments in past seasons, maybe after we didn’t make it in the Champions League, or when we lost in the Champions League finals,” Simeone said. “After being at the club for so long, things like this can happen, although they shouldn’t happen.”

There is a greater sense of urgency about the team’s struggles this time.

In addition to Wednesday’s embarrassing Copa del Rey elimination, Atletico lost the Spanish Super Cup final to Real Madrid on Jan. 12, and already is eight points off the Spanish league lead after 20 matches.

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Before, there used to be a notion that Simeone would quickly turn things around and put the team back on track, but this time there aren’t many signs things will improve again soon.

Atletico has yet to impress since undergoing its biggest squad revamp under Simeone at the end of last season, when it lost Antoine Griezmann and other veteran players such as Filipe Luis and Diego Godin. Young Portugal forward Joao Felix, who arrived to replace Griezmann after a transfer from Benfica worth more than 120 million euros ($133 million), has yet to meet expectations.

More concerning, Atletico is not being nearly as effective as it used to be, when it always seemed to find a way to win matches despite not playing well.

The team remains solid defensively — it has the second-best defense in the Spanish league with 14 goals conceded — but it hasn’t been able to do much in attack recently.

“Everything is harder when you can’t score,” Simeone said.

Only seven teams have scored fewer goals than Atletico’s 22 in the 20-team standings.

Diego Costa has been mostly out injured, and Victor “Vitolo” Machin and Alvaro Morata haven’t done much in attack. Morata is the team’s leading scorer with 10 goals in all competitions, and no one else has more than five.

“We have to be humble enough to be self-critical,” Simeone said. “We need to keep working to try to be ready for the challenges that we have ahead of us. We have a very good squad and I’m sure that the results that we want will start arriving soon.”

Atletico biggest chance to rebound will come next month against European champion Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League. The first leg will be on Feb. 18 in Spain.

Mourinho in favor of PL’s winter break, but says timing all wrong

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Jose Mourinho seems to be quite happy that the Premier League will implement its first-ever winter break next month, allowing players a bit of rest and recovery time during a marathon campaign, but says its timing makes the break almost worthless for clubs competing in European competitions.

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The next four weeks will play out as follows for Tottenham Hotspur: FA Cup against Southampton this weekend; PL fixture against Manchester City next weekend; the following weekend off which results in two weeks without a game; PL fixture against Aston Villa the following weekend; Champions League first leg against RB Leipzig three days later.

In Mourinho’s perfect world, that first round of PL fixtures following the break would be held a week earlier, leaving the seven English clubs competing in the Champions League and Europa League with a week and a half between games before setting out once again to chase European glory. Instead, Tottenham, Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea will all have a quick turnaround from PL action to UCL competition — quotes from the Guardian:

“It is what it is. I’m not happy that the break comes in the wrong moment. The break should be before the Champions League and, in the end, before the Champions League we don’t have the break. We have to play Aston Villa on the Sunday, playing [RB Leipzig three] days later. So we don’t really care about the break, honestly.”

Mourinho’s point is a solid one: if the winter break is going to exist — and it should — then why shouldn’t its benefits be maximized? Non-European sides — typically those with smaller squads — would still have the full two weeks between games, while those in Europe are able to better leverage their slightly larger squads with only 10 or 11 days between games — still a lengthy break relative to the rest of the season.

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It’s only the first year of the winter break in the PL, so perhaps hopefully they’ll receive Mourinho’s criticism — and that of any other managers — constructively.

Serie A: AC Milan extends unbeaten run since Zlatan’s arrival

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BRESCIA, Italy (AP) Ante Rebic scored his third goal in two matches, goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was superb and AC Milan won 1-0 at relegation-threatened Brescia on Friday to climb into the Europa League places in Serie A.

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Rebic, who scored twice in a win over Udinese last weekend, pounced on a loose ball directly in front of the goal following a cross from Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 71st minute.

Since Ibrahimovic’s return to Milan over the holiday break, Milan is unbeaten with four wins and a draw across all competitions.

Donnarumma produced several difficult saves to deny Dimitri Bisoli and Ernesto Torregrossa.

Also, Milan fullback Theo Hernandez hit the crossbar in the closing minutes.

The Rossoneri moved up to sixth place, four points behind fifth-place Atalanta.

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“Our goal is to qualify for Europe,” Donnarumma said. “We’ve got to continue like this and not rest for a moment. There’s another big Italian Cup match coming up with Torino midweek and we want to reach the semifinals.

“We’ll take it one game at a time and try to keep this momentum going.”

Brescia was without Mario Balotelli, who was suspended for two matches after protesting a booking last weekend that ended up with the striker being sent off.

Brescia remained one point above last-place Genoa.

FA Cup: Sheffield Wednesday into 5th round; Derby headed for replay

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Sheffield Wednesday became the first club to reach the fifth round of the 2019-20 FA Cup by beating Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on Friday.

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The Owls took a 1-0 lead into halftime after Morgan Fox squeezed his shot past the goalkeeper from a tight angle, and Sam Winnall put the EFL Championship side 2-0 up by slotting the ball home just before full-time. QPR pulled a goal back through Nahki Wells just moments later, but it wasn’t enough and the game finished 2-1.

It’s the second time in three seasons that Wednesday has reached the fifth round after doing so just twice in their previous 17 seasons.

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Elsewhere, fellow Championship side Derby County, featuring Wayne Rooney who played all 90 minutes, couldn’t see off League Two side Northampton Town and will be forced into the dreaded replay after struggling to a scoreless draw away from home.

The draw for the fifth round will be held on Monday at 2:20 p.m. ET, prior to kickoff of Bournemouth v. Arsenal.