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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.

Serie A: Juventus edge past Parma; Napoli-Fiorentina thriller (video)

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

[ MORE: Liverpool bests wobbly Arsenal at Anfield | Player ratings ]

Parma 0-1 Juventus

Juventus’ quest to win a ninth straight Serie A title began with a win away to Parma on Saturday, but only just barely. Giorgio Chiellini scored the game’s only goal in the 21st minute, redirecting Alex Sandro’s half-volley past the goalkeeper after a corner kick wasn’t fully cleared. The victory sets Maurizio Sarri‘s side (Sarri wasn’t in charge of the team on Saturday as he continues to recover from pneumonia) on its way in a season that figures to feature multiple challengers to the throne, with Napoli and Inter Milan each strengthening their squads considerably in the summer. Sarri will also miss out on next weekend’s heavyweight clash between Juve and last season’s runners-up Napoli at Allianz Stadium.

Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal taken off the board after the video-assistant referee picked up on the narrowest of offside calls.

$85-million center back Matthijs de Ligt was named to the bench, where he remained for the entirety of 90 minutes, with veterans Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci preferred to the 20-year-old. Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon joined De Ligt on the bench in his return to Juve after spending last season at Paris Saint-Germain.

Fiorentina 3-4 Napoli

Napoli’s 4-3 victory over Fiorentina was a truly wild ride. There is no other way to describe it.

Napoli went from a goal down inside the first 10 minutes, to 2-1 up just before halftime, level at 2-2 in the 52nd minute, 3-2 ahead just four minutes later, level at 3-3 in the 65th, and finally 4-3 ahead just two minutes later.

Dries Mertens (38th), Lorenzo Insigne (43rd and 67th) and Jose Callejon (56th) got the goals for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.

Hirving Lozano, who joined Napoli for $44 million on Friday, wasn’t yet available to make his debut but will only add another level of quality to what has proven to be an already impressive attacking unit.

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Udinese v. AC Milan — 12 p.m. ET
Roma v. Genoa — 2:45 p.m. ET
Sampdoria v. Lazio — 2:45 p.m. ET
Cagliari v. Brescia — 2:45 p.m. ET
Verona v. Bologna — 2:45 p.m. ET
SPAL v. Atalanta — 2:45 p.m. ET
Torino v. Sassuolo — 2:45 p.m. ET

Messi to miss Barcelona’s next game; Suarez, Dembele also out

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Lionel Messi has been left out of Barcelona’s squad to face Real Betis in the Spanish league on Sunday.

[ MORE: Liverpool bests wobbly Arsenal at Anfield | Player ratings ]

Messi returned to training this week after recovering from a right calf injury picked up in preseason, but the Argentina star was not included in the list of players available for the team’s home opener at Camp Nou Stadium.

He missed the team’s 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the league opener last weekend.

Coach Ernesto Valverde is also without forwards Luiz Suarez and Ousmane Dembele because of injuries.

Klopp preens after Liverpool win: ‘Our identity is intensity’

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Liverpool and Arsenal entertained on Saturday, with the Reds earning a deserved 3-1 win and keeping the Gunners off-kilter for most of the day.

Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds pushed the tempo for much of the match and overcame some wobbly moments at the back to cruise to the win.

[ MORE: Liverpool-Arsenal recap | 3 things ]

They were tough, fiery, and deserved every bit of the win. And Klopp knows it, and knows that you know it. From the BBC:

“Our identity is intensity, and we showed that today. … We were a bit surprised by their system. We couldn’t know that they would play a diamond, but we switched things around and coped very well.

“The last 10 minutes I saw the possession – 53 to 47 or something like that – but over 80 minutes it must have been completely different. For 80 minutes we were completely in charge of the game. We are not Disneyland, we do not need to excite everyone in every second.”

This guy is an absolute beauty. Even those who despise him have to admit that we are lucky to have him.

Klopp’s men lapsed late and allowed a Lucas Torreira goal. The defense has been wobbly over the first three weeks of the season, and preseason was just as rough. Klopp would’ve loved a clean sheet for the first time since the first week of preseason, but he’s happy with the performance.

“I would have loved to have it, but things can happen. They’re a quality side, Arsenal. I didn’t see that many chances, but we were really in charge today and completely deserved the win.”

Liverpool is off to Burnley next, and then will enjoy the international break.

Bundesliga wrap: Lewandowski scores hat trick for Bayern; USMNT’s Morales scores

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What a good day (well, 2 days) for the visitors.

[ MORE: Liverpool-Arsenal recap | 3 things ]

Bayern, Gladbach, Bayer, and Freiburg joined Friday winners Borussia Dortmund in being in the away locker room and the win column on Saturday in the Bundesliga.

Newly-promoted Union Berlin got a point away from home, too, and Werder Bremen scored twice and nearly took a point off Werder Bremen.

Boo home teams. Boo.

Schalke 0-3 Bayern Munich

A Robert Lewandowski hat trick betrayed a halfway decent effort by Schalke as Bayern rebounded from a season-opening draw to claim all three points at the Veltins Arena.

On the American side, only Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich covered more ground than Schalke’s Weston McKennie’s 12.36 km. McKennie registered a shot and completed 32 of his 34 passes.

Mainz 1-3 Borussia Monchengladbach

Stefan Lainer, Alassane Plea, and Breel Embolo all scored in Gladbach’s comeback from an early concession.

USMNT midfielder Fabian Johnson subbed off after 79 minutes after Embolo scored Gladbach’s final goal, registering 10 won tackles.

Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-3 Bayer Leverkusen

USMNT goalkeeper and Man City loanee Zack Steffen had a Man of the Match performance last week for the hosts, and was under siege again this time to less success.

An American player did produce a goal in the contest, with Alfredo Morales scoring for his fourth-consecutive Bundesliga campaign. Throw in the second tier, and the midfielder has scored in eight-straight German seasons between his current team, Ingolstadt, and Hertha Berlin.

Morales covered the second-most ground for Dusseldorf. At 29, could he be one of the new faces that Gregg Berhalter wants to see this September with the USMNT? Probably not, but it’d be neat.

Elsewhere

Koln 1-3 Borussia Dortmund — Friday
Augsburg 1-1 Union Berlin
Paderborn 1-3 Freiburg
Hoffenheim 3-2 Werder Bremen
RB Leipzig v. Eintracht Frankfurt — 9:30 am. ET Sunday
Hertha Berlin v. Wolfsburg — Noon ET Sunday