The 2019-20 Premier League season has been postponed until April 30 at the earliest but all parties involved have agreed that the current campaign should be ‘extended indefinitely’ and the ambition is to finish the season, whenever that may be.
After a conference call meeting between Premier League clubs on Thursday about the best course of action to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, a statement was released in conjunction with the English FA, the English Football League and the women’s professional game in the UK.
Previously the Premier League season was due to resume on April 3 but due to the coronavirus pandemic escalating in the UK in recent days, the decision has been taken that no games will be played until the end of April and that the season will be extended as long as possible, with the FA changing its rules to accommodate an end date past June 1.
With all that in mind, now seems like a good time to look at the 29 games most Premier League teams have played so far and give them a grade on how things have gone.
Poor start which cost Unai Emery his job but a real upturn since Mikel Arteta arrived. They could sneak into the top four but being knocked out of the Europa League was a huge blow. There’s a newfound grit about this Arsenal side and plenty of young players are stepping up. Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi have even become integral parts of their team as they aim to become regulars to finish in the top four of the Premier League.
Aston Villa: D-
Given the money they’ve spent and the players they have, Dean Smith‘s side have underperformed. They should not be in the relegation zone but they’ve defended poorly and have been too cavalier. Jack Grealish will surely have to move on to another Premier League club if they go down.
Eddie Howe‘s side have been a bit unlucky with defensive injuries but nobody saw their decreased attacking output coming. That’s what could end up sending them down. If Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Josh King can regain their form, the Cherries have hope.
A lovely team to watch but style over substance isn’t putting them where they want to be in the table. Graham Potter‘s side struggle to score goals despite dominating possession. Need a clinical edge, and fast, if they’re going to turn things around.
Great second half of the season after a slow start as Sean Dyche was correctly named PL manager of the month for February as the Clarets are now genuine contenders for a top 10 finish. Maybe even Europa League qualification?
Just about overachieving for their squad and this being Frank Lampard‘s first season as a top-flight manager. They started so well and after a lengthy wobble have found a new formula for success with Giroud, Pedro, Barkley and Willian all in good form. Top four finish would be a superb season.
Crystal Palace: B+
Roy Hodgson is doing it once again. Palace will not win any awards for their style of play but they grind out results and have Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha delivering. Solid midtable Premier League team.
What a rollercoaster of a season. In the relegation scrap under Marco Silva, he was fired and then Duncan Ferguson and Carlo Ancelotti have dragged them up the table. Better defensively plus Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are not a great partnership in attack. Steady midtable finish beckons.
Leicester City: A-
What a season so far as they sit in third place and look certain to qualify for the Champions League. Brendan Rodgers‘ young side looked like title contenders up until December and then things fell apart a little. Jamie Vardy has found his scoring boots again and a top four finish would be brilliant.
What more can we say that has already been said? Their hopes of an unbeaten season are over but with a 25-point lead atop the table, Jurgen Klopp‘s side will win the league as long as the PL season continues. Despite some sloppy recent displays and being knocked out of the Champions League, Liverpool have had a historic season with 27 wins from 29 games so far.
Man City: B
‘Just okay’ would be the summation. Pep Guardiola‘s side won the League Cup and are in the FA Cup and UCL latter stages but their failure to defend their PL title, at all, will hurt. Defensive injuries and lack of form have been crucial to being so far behind Liverpool. European glory is the aim, especially as they appeal their two-season ban from UEFA competitions.
Man United: B
Fair to call this an up and down season for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Man United have beaten most of the top four and drew against Liverpool as their counter-attacking style has worked well. Losing to smaller teams has curtailed their progress but they are still in the FA Cup and Europa League and reached the League Cup semifinals. Three points off the top four with nine games to go is right on track. Bruno Fernandes has made a big difference, while Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have totally transformed their defense with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial consistent (when fit) up top.
Newcastle United: B+
Like Crystal Palace, Steve Bruce‘s Newcastle won’t get many style points but there have been plenty of ‘Brucie Bonus’ wins this season. Newcastle sit deep and use the pace of Almiron and Saint-Maximin on the break to cause havoc and they are so dangerous from set pieces. Comfortable in midtable, Bruce has done everything that was asked if him and more as injuries have also hit Newcastle hard.
Norwich City: C+
Operating under extreme limitations after committing to low spending, Norwich are fun to watch and have a go at teams. Daniel Farke has always said they were favorites for relegation and they sit bottom of the table, even though they are now within touching distance of safety. The likes of Pukki, Cantwell, Aarons, Godfrey and Buendia will likely move on this summer.
Sheffield United: A+
The Blades have shown newly-promoted teams can be successful and are in the Champions League hunt heading into the final stretch. Chris Wilder, a lifelong Blades fan, has fostered an incredible team spirit and their playing style is clear and that has caused so many problems for the rest of the Premier League. A clear philosophy, continuity and clever signings can go a long way.
A woeful start to the season gave way to a tremendous festive period and Ralph Hasenhuttl is getting pretty much all he can from this squad of players. After a few seasons of failed transfers, Danny Ings is at least working out as the hometown hero has been on fire. Saints will just about stay up and after their 9-0 thumping at home to Leicester, that is admirable.
Tottenham Hotspur: D-
Mauricio Pochettino‘s departure was inevitable after a poor start and even though Jose Mourinho had an initial bump, Spurs have reverted to type and are struggling to qualify for the Champions League. Daniel Levy has to sanction a huge squad overhaul. Is Mourinho the man to overseen that? Tottenham have no real playing identity and their entire defensive unit needs replacing. A woeful season, especially given all of their recent success, and injuries to Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and others stars has rubbed further salt into the wounds.
Nigel Pearson could save the Hornets from Premier League relegation and it would truly be a great escape. That said, how did this group of players perform so badly in the opening months of the season? From Javi Gracia to Quique Sanchez Flores to Pearson, Watford looked doomed for large spells but Pearson has them tough to beat and they have the potential to beat anyone, as Liverpool found out.
West Ham United: D-
Embroiled in a relegation battle before, during and after Manuel Pellegrini was fired, David Moyes is now the man who has to rescue West Ham. They’ve played better in recent weeks but are still in deep trouble and relegation would be a disaster for their owners after the move to the London Stadium. A team full of top talent which has woefully underperformed.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: B+
Another fine season for Wolves as Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side have a clear playing style and this squad have perfected it. Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez have taken their games to a new level and a Champions League push beckons. Somehow Wolves’ small squad have managed to cope with the rigors of the Europa League and Premier League. They have got better after a slow start and are superb at fighting back in games.