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Premier League 2015-16 season team-by-team reviews: Newcastle to West Ham

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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 are looking at the individual teams alphabetically and analyzing how they fared.

Here’s a look at the 10 teams from Newcastle United down to West Ham United.


Newcastle United

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Newcastle United playes show their dejection after Bournemouth's first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and A.F.C. Bournemouth at St James' Park on March 5, 2016 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Position: 18th
High: Georginio Wijnaldum scored four goals against Norwich in a 6-2 win.
Low: Being relegated for the second time in a decade. A club of this size?!?
Star man: Andros Townsend — With respect to Chancel Mbemba, who also missed plenty of time, Townsend’s arrival in January reinvigorated a miserable attack.
Coach: Steve McClaren proved that many who wander are lost, and Rafa Benitez would need to have almost zero missteps to save the club. He had one big one, a 0-0 draw against Villa.
Grade: F

Norwich City

NORWICH, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Ryan Bennett of Norwich City looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Watford at Carrow Road on May 11, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Position: 19th
High: The 3-2 win over Newcastle on April 2 had the Canaries feeling ready for safety.
Low: The 3-0 loss to Sunderland three weeks later all but ruined those plans.
Star man: Robbie Brady — Their season could’ve been as poor as Aston Villa’s, honestly, had Norwich not bought the Hull City star.
Coach: Alex Neil didn’t save the Canaries, but he came close despite a lack of top-end talent.
Grade: D

Southampton

SWANSEA, WALES - FEBRUARY 13: Southampton players celebrate their team's first goal by Shane Long (obscured) during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Southampton at Liberty Stadium on February 13, 2016 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Position: 6th
High: Thumping Arsenal on Boxing Day or  Spurs on the season’s penultimate match day.
Low: Bouncing out of the Europa League at the hands of Midtjylland.
Star man: Virgil Van Dijk — There were a lot of wonder workers at St. Mary’s this season, but the former Celtic center back was stout, strong and fearsome.
Coach: Ronald Koeman was absolutely the right man to take over for Mauricio Pochettino, even if many of us scratched at our heads at the hiring last season.
Grade: A

Stoke City

Jack Butland of Stoke City during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City at The Hawthorns on January 2, 2016 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Position: 9th
High: Beating Manchester United 2-0 on Boxing Day.
Low: Allowing 12 goals over three-straight losses in April.
Star man: Jack Butland — It’s no coincidence that Stoke’s turn in form was very close to coinciding with his season-ending injury.
Coach: Mark Hughes‘ defense fell apart after a very promising smart. Injuries certainly hurt his chances, but better is needed to take the next step.
Grade: B-

Swansea City

SWANSEA, WALES - MAY 01: Andre Ayew (L) of Swansea City celebrates scoring the opening goal with Gylfi Sigurdsson during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Liverpool at The Liberty Stadium on May 1, 2016 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Position: 12th
High: Battering West Ham and Liverpool in successive May fixtures.
Low: Getting two points between Halloween and Dec. 20.
Star man: Gylfi Sigurdsson — Andre Ayew was the new shiny toy, but Icelandic star Sigurdsson had plenty of big moments in lifting Swans out of its relegation-threatening funk.
Coach: Garry Monk felt like a hard-luck sacking with Swans in the drop zone, but Francesco Guidolin’s work proved that a fresh take in the team room was all the talented Swans needed to thrive in the PL.
Grade: C+

Sunderland

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - MAY 11: DeAndre Yedlin and Patrick van Aanholt of Sunderland celebrate staying in the Premier League after the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Everton at the Stadium of Light on May 11, 2016 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Position: 17th
High: Beating up on miserable Everton to seal PL safety with a 3-0 win in May.
Low: Going winless from Opening Day until October 25
Star man: Lamine Kone — Jermain Defoe caught fire and scored some massive goals, but Kone stabilized a very leaky back line.
Coach: Big Sam Allardyce isn’t much of a tactician, but his work in the January transfer market kept the Black Cats up.
Grade: C-

Tottenham Hotspur

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Position: 3rd
High: Walking all over Manchester United 3-0 in a Top Four tilt on April 10.
Low: Throwing away a 2-0 halftime lead and any remaining title chances in a messy, card-filled 2-2 draw at Chelsea in May.
Star man: Harry Kane — Lots of worthwhile players here — Mousa Dembele is criminally underappreciated — but Kane is so much more than a finisher and took his game to new heights this season.
Coach: Mauricio Pochettino should be lauded for a wonderful season, but fans will be licking their wounds after Arsenal passed them on the final day. Twenty-one straight seasons below their rivals. Woof.
Grade: A-

Watford

WATFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: Troy Deeney of Watford celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Watford and Aston Villa at Vicarage Road on April 30, 2016 in Watford, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Position: 13th
High: Clobbering Liverpool 3-0 in December at Vicarage Road, or upsetting Arsenal in the FA Cup.
Low: Losing 4-0 to that same Arsenal side two weeks later.
Star man: Troy Deeney — For scoring and captaining the side, the big man gets the nod over electric striker Odion Ighalo and shotstopper Heurelho Gomes.
Coach: Quique Sanchez Flores did a fantastic job, and is not coming back. Safety first, stability when?
Grade: B-

West Bromwich Albion

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 09: Tony Pulis manager of West Bromwich Albion gestures during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion at the Etihad Stadium on April 9, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Position: 14th
High: Beating Arsenal on Nov. 21 at the Hawthorns.
Low: Upset in the FA Cup by Reading.
Star man: Johnny Evans — Slim pickings here, but Evans was huge given what Tony Pulis wants from his charges.
Coach: Tony Pulis kept his side safe again… at the expense of entertainment. And it’s not like he doesn’t have talent! This is a personal beef of mine, but the Baggies supporters I know expect better football from their club.
Grade: D

West Ham United

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 10: Winston Reid of West Ham United celebrates as he scores their third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester United at the Boleyn Ground on May 10, 2016 in London, England. West Ham United are playing their last ever home match at the Boleyn Ground after their 112 year stay at the stadium. The Hammers will move to the Olympic Stadium for the 2016-17 season. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Position: 7th
High: Winning a London Derby 2-0 at Arsenal on Opening Day was nice, but the final match at the Boleyn Ground was a night for the ages. The fact that it was a thrilling win over Manchester United helped, too.
Low: May 7’s loss to Swansea City cost the Hammers dearly in the race for the Top Five.
Star man: Dimitri Payet — Quite simply sensational.
Coach: Slaven Bilic is that rare breed to make the transition from club playing hero to club managing hero. A near impeccable job from the granite-jawed Croatian, who showed West Ham that their “We can do better than Big Sam” theories were fair.
Grade: A

Jorge Sampaoli resigns as Santos boss

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Brazilian club Santos confirmed Tuesday evening that manager Jorge Sampaoli has resigned as boss.

Sampaoli, who won the 2015 Copa America in charge of Chile but could not recreate that success with the Argentinian national team, signed on with Santos a year ago and guided them to a second-place finish in the Brazilian top flight, 16 points behind runaway champions Flamengo. His contract had another year, expiring in the winter of 2020, but with reports of offers from multiple clubs, he has stepped down.

The most widely reported destination is fellow Brazilian club Palmeiras, whom many believe Sampaoli has already entered talks with. He has also been linked with Argentinian club Racing, and his name has cropped up on occasion with the Arsenal vacancy, although that seems like a longshot. It was said in late October that Sampaoli had an offer from an unnamed La Liga club, but those rumors have cooled.

His reason for leaving Santos after just one successful season in charge is unconfirmed, but rumors are circulating that Sampaoli had incredibly ambitious transfer plans for the offseason, and when club president Jose Carlos Peres could not guarantee his support, the relationship became strained.

The 2019 season was mostly successful for Sampaoli at Santos, finishing second in the league table, but the secondary competitions were somewhat disappointing. They received a tough first-round draw in the Copa Sudamericana, falling to River Plate on away goals. They were also ousted from the Copa do Brasil in the Round of 16, falling 2-1 to an Atletico Minero side that finished 13th in the league table.

Tierney out months as Arsenal injuries pile up

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According to multiple reports, including Mark Mann-Bryans of PA Sport and Charles Watts of Goal.com, Arsenal full-back Kieran Tierney could be out up to three months after dislocating his shoulder in the 3-1 win over West Ham on Monday.

Tierney was withdrawn in the 29th minute after an awkward fall, using the bottom of his shirt as a makeshift sling. The club is still deciding on whether he will require surgery, according to Mann-Bryans, and that decision will ultimately determine the length of time he will miss. Still, even without surgery, it could leave him sidelined for a month or more.

The 22-year-old has struggled with injuries since joining the Gunners this past summer, missing the first seven games of the year with a hip injury. He has seen action in just five Premier League games thus far, and again could be sidelined for a significant spell. He could also end up missing Scotland’s critical playoff match against Israel in late March depending on his recovery timeline and fitness level.

Tierney’s injury is not the only one Arsenal is currently sweating. Granit Xhaka will miss the Europa League group stage finale against Standard Liege with a concussion, while Hector Bellerin is struggling with a hamstring problem. “Hector had a feeling in his hamstring during the warm-up [before West Ham] and we took the decision,” said interim manager Freddie Ljungberg after the win over the Hammers. “Not going to force anyone to play if they don’t feel 100%.”

Dani Ceballos is still sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered against Vitoria in October Europa League play and won’t return to training until later this month, while Rob Holding is a question mark this week after missing the West Ham game thanks to a bruised knee.

Arsenal, currently sitting ninth in the Premier League table and is scheduled to host Manchester City this coming Sunday following the trip to Belgium. They have upcoming games against Everton, Bournemouth, Chelsea, and Manchester United through the festive period.

Report: Leicester City looking to give Maddison, Soyuncu pay raises

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According to a report by Sky Sports, Leicester City has started negotiations with young stars James Maddison and Caglar Soyuncu about new contacts with increased pay.

The pair of 23-year-olds have current deals that run through the summer of 2023, so there is no urgency to lock them up long-term, but the Foxes are hoping to ease any lingering doubts about their futures at the club by rewarding good play on the field with a salary that fits the bill.

Soyuncu has been one of the league’s breakout defensive stars this season, partnering with veteran Jonny Evans to produce the Premier League’s stingiest defense thus far. The Foxes sold Harry Maguire in the summer for a record fee, and thanks to Soyuncu haven’t missed a beat.

Maddison, meanwhile, has proven himself the heartbeat of the Leicester City attack. He is assisting or taking nearly six shots per 90 minutes, and is on pace to score double-digit goals in league play.

The Sky Sports report says both club and players are “relaxed” about securing a new deal, given the lack of urgency required, but locking down the pair with improved salaries will ward off any significant noise about their futures – at least, for now.

The 2 Robbies podcast: Liverpool, Chelsea through to UCL knockouts

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle on Liverpool’s nervy 2-0 win against Red Bull Salzburg to take first place in Group E of the Champions League (1:55), Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Lille to secure a place in the Round of 16 (13:15) and who is the current favorite to win it all (20:45).

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Plus, what Arsenal’s come-from-behind 3-1 win at West Ham means for both London clubs (29:10) and the Robbies discuss what they’re looking forward to most at the next Live Premier League Mornings Fan Fest in Miami Beach (46:05).

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]