Grades for every PL team in 2019-20

Leave a comment

It is that time again, time to dish out Premier League grades for each team based on their displays in 2019-20.

The season was long, longer than any in history, and a lot has changed since the season began last August.

[ MORE: Premier League standings ]

Based on their performances on the pitch, decisions off it and where they finished, here’s a grade for all 20 Premier League teams.

Feel free to dish out your Premier League grades in the comments below as we go through the Premier League in alphabetical order.


Arsenal: C-

Rallied after Unai Emery was fired and Mikel Arteta was hired but there is so much for the young manager to sort out. Will Aubameyang and Lacazette stay? Do they have money to spend? How will they improve defensively? What the heck is going on with Ozil? Still, an FA Cup win to seal a return to Europe would rescue a horrible season, as Arteta’s side finished in eighth, their lowest position in 25 years.

Aston Villa: D

Saved themselves on the final day but this was not pretty. Sure, they can celebrate survival but Dean Smith and Aston Villa had a lot of quality players but never really looked like a team until the final two weeks. They had a few big injuries and Jack Grealish was good, but not amazing, for most of the season. Villa have to move a lot of players in and out this summer to avoid another relegation scrap.

Bournemouth: F

Eddie Howe’s side are much-loved but this season they were woeful. They stopped creating and scoring goals midway through the season and they continued to let them in. Callum Wilson’s goals dried up, the way Ryan Fraser’s contract running out was handled was awful and even though David Brooks was injured, would he have made that much of a difference? After a five-season fairytale stay in the top-flight, Bournemouth were relegated and Howe can have no complaints. Will he stay to try and bring them straight back up? Expect Ake, Wilson, Brooks and others to be sold this summer.

Brighton: B

What a job Graham Potter has done. Brighton are now a great team to watch, play exciting soccer and Potter has done that with largely the same squad Chris Hughton had. Pretty safe from relegation for most of the season and the likes of Maupay, Trossard and Connolly should be good next season. Potter was a gamble, but he’s worked his magic on Brighton (see what I did there…).

Burnley: B+

Sean Dyche once again proved he can organize a team on a shoestring budget and Burnley finishing in 10th was an amazing achievement. Dyche was angry towards the end of thee season as players left as free agents and he may leave this summer unless the Clarets start to spend more. Has he taken them as far as he can? Whatever happens, Dyche and Burnley once again punched well above their weight.

Chelsea: A-

Pulisic news
Getty Images

Frank Lampard’s youngsters delivered a top four finish nobody really thought they could and they did it with swagger and a few slip ups along the way. Defensively fragile but sumptuous in attack, the likes of Mount, James, Pulisic and Abraham took their chances and now a new host of stars are arriving with Werner, Ziyech and maybe Havertz on the way. Lampard exceeded Chelsea’s expectations and if they can sort out their defense, they could challenge for the title.

Crystal Palace: D-

Pretty meh season for Palace. Roy Hodgson did what he does and turned them into a solid outfit but one win from their final nine games of the season is worrying. Wilfried Zaha didn’t turn up all season and wants out, so that’s a big offseason problem to sort out. Palace will want to kick on and that could mean moving on from Hodgson, who has done a fine job.

Everton: F

Just not good enough. Marco Silva was fired and Carlo Ancelotti hired and despite some glimmers of hope in the second half of the season, the same problems arose for Everton. Defensive mistakes cost them dear and they need a midfield enforcer. Richarlison can’t do it all on his own up top. With the squad they have they should be in the top 10, minimum, but 12th place wasn’t good enough. Ancelotti knows that and will demand wholesale changes this summer.

Leicester City: A

So, so close to a Champions League return. For the first half of this season it looked like Leicester would challenge Liverpool for the title. Then they imploded. Jamie Vardy won the Golden Boot and they finished fifth to qualify for the Europa League, but Brendan Rodgers will be disappointed with the way they crumbled in the second half of the season. They are a young team but it seemed like arrogance crept into their play.

Liverpool: A+

Liverpool records
Getty Images

What can we say that hasn’t already been said? A first Premier League title and a first league title in over 30 years, Jurgen Klopp has delivered. His players were sensational and looked like they would go the entire season unbeaten and even though they didn’t, 99 points gained is remarkable. They smashed so many records and did it in style. Deserved champions and one of the best teams in Premier League history.

Manchester City: B+

Pep Guardiola’s men had an off season but still finished second. Defensively they were shambolic at times and not signing a new center back last summer came back to haunt them. Laporte being injured was one thing but Pep needs to upgrade his full backs too. Kevin de Bruyne was majestic and they could still win the Champions League. Man City will be up there again next season and having the Champions League ban overturned was huge for their future.

Manchester United: A-

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was delighted with a third-place finish, and rightly so, but he knows United are a long way behind Liverpool and Man City. Man United were superb in the second half of the season and Bruno Fernandes’ arrival was key to that. Defensively they’ve improved and Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood are electric in attack. If David de Gea can regain his form and United can bring in two or three quality additions this summer, they may just be back to being title contenders. Solskjaer is at the wheel and slowly but surely he’s turning Man United back on track.

Newcastle United: C

A very average season for Newcastle. Steve Bruce probably overachieved with the players he has and the delayed and controversial sale of the club to the Saudi Arabian royal family has been hanging over the Magpies. Defensively they are tough but they must improve going forward. Allan Saint-Maximin is a gem, while Miguel Almiron found his feet and Joelinton didn’t. Plenty of ‘Brucie Bonus’ wins but all in all, Newcastle did well to stay out of the relegation scrap. Bang average.

Norwich City: D

Didn’t have a chance from the start but still a really poor finish to the season. It was like Daniel Farke’s side gave up after hearing their manager say all season long they needed a miracle to stay up. Norwich never strengthened after sealing promotion and that is their model. The Canaries will be in the top half of the Championship next season and after a great start to 2019-20, they let their Premier League status slip away so easily. Lovely to watch, at times, but not hungry enough in both boxes.

Sheffield United: A+

Chris Wilder is up there as a manager of the year candidate. The Blades were brilliant and finished ninth in their first season back in the Premier League. Their European bid came up short after a tough restart period but their overlapping center backs and general tenacity should be applauded. Great at the back, not so great in attack, Wilder needs to add more firepower. If he gets it right then the Blades can eye another top 10 finish. Next season will be really tough.

Southampton: B

Ralph Hasenhuttl and Southampton deserve huge credit for turning their season around. After THAT 9-0 loss against Leicester City, the entire mood of the club changed. They have returned to being the plucky upstarts and their form from November onwards was majestic. Danny Ings banged in 22 goals and they regained their hunger and caused plenty of shocks as Hasenhuttl’s famed 4-2-2-2 high-pressing system is working a treat. 11th place finish this season, but can they push for Europe next season?

Tottenham Hotspur: C

Tottenham
Getty Images

Mauricio Pochettino being fired was a shock but probably needed as he had taken Spurs as far as he could. Jose Mourinho coming in was an even bigger shock but it’s working, sort of. Spurs have been grinding out wins since Mourinho arrived and had so many injuries to deal with. Harry Kane is back fit and scoring goals and if Mourinho can improve this defense, they will always have a chance of winning thanks to Kane and Son. Sixth place was fine, all things considered, and Mourinho will want top four next season. Will he get the money to do that?

Watford: F

Absolutely shocking. Four managerial changes in a season says it all. The ownership and players have to take a huge amount of criticism for the way the Hornets went down. Javi Gracia was fired, so too were Quique Sanchez Flores and Nigel Pearson, the latter with two games of the season to go after he had Watford within touching distance of safety. Watford’s owners have always hired and fired coaches but this was utter nonsense. Watford’s players were in a European hunt and in the FA Cup final last season and now they’re in the Championship. A hugely disappointing season. Can they recover quickly from this?

West Ham: F

Just about stayed up and this wasn’t pretty either. Manuel Pellegrini spent a lot of money and most of the new signings have failed to impress. The jury is out on Haller and Fornals, while Declan Rice and Michail Antonio were the only major positives. David Moyes being hired to save them from relegation for a second time worked, again, but West Ham massively underachieved. Is Moyes the right man long-term? Will he be given a chance to build something this time? West Ham should be a top 10 club but they have to get their recruitment right.

Wolves: B+

Another very impressive season for Wolves who finished seventh, again. They were in the top four conversation all the way until the end and are in the Europa League knockout rounds. Nuno Espirito Santo has done a magnificent job and with Raul Jimenez banging them in up top and Adama Traore dazzling on the wing, they scare so many opponents. Can Wolves keep hold of their star duo? That will be key to mounting another top four challenge next season.

Leeds edge Fulham in seven-goal thriller

Leave a comment

Leeds – Fulham was a belter of a game, as Leeds won for the first time since gaining promotion back to the Premier League but they didn’t make it easy for themselves as they squandered a 4-1 lead but held on for the win.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]   

Leeds took the lead through Helder Costa’s stunner but Aleksandar Mitrovic briefly leveled things up from the penalty spot. Mateusz Klich then made it 2-1 to Leeds from the spot before half time and after the break Klich set up Patrick Bamford to make it 3-1. Costa made it 4-1 but then goals from Bobby Decordova-Reid and Mitrovic made it 4-3 and set up a wild finish, but Fulham couldn’t find an equalizer.

The win was Leeds’ first in the Premier League for over 16 years, while Fulham have now lost their opening two games back in the Premier League and have conceded seven goals in the process.


3 things we learned: Leeds – Fulham

1. “Bielsaball” will deliver classics: Their first two games back in the Premier League have both ended in 4-3 results, one defeat and one win. Leeds will be fun to watch this season. Now, they should have wrapped this game up and created so many chances but they ran out of steam in the second half. That is because they press so high early on and “Bielsaball” is based on that. Maybe they will have to tweak their tactics to cope with the PL but probably not. That means it will be fun to watch Leeds for the foreseeable future.

2. Both teams hampered by defenses: Attack is not the problem for either of these team but at the back they made so many mistake. Bielsa and Scott Parker both love to watch their teams attack but if they’re going to fulfil their potential this season (top 10 for Leeds and staying up for Fulham) they have to cut out silly errors at the back. Both teams gave away sloppy penalty kicks and failed to defense crosses as they left huge gaps at the back. They have to shore things up.

3. New Leeds signings taking a while to settle: Rodrigo was okay but Robin Koch had another game to forget as it is taking Leeds’ two main summer signings a while to settle in. Fulham’s new boys did okay. Maybe the new boys had less time to settle in due to the shorter offseason? But when you look at Everton and Newcastle and Leicester in the opening week of the season, their new boys settled in quickly. Leeds have spent big on new signings and they need more from them.

Man of the Match: Patrick Bamford – He won a penalty, scored a goal and set up another and he is proving he is capable of making a difference in the top-flight.


Leeds got off to the perfect start as they were 1-0 up within the first five minutes. A Kalvin Phillips corner was flicked on to the back post and Helder Costa was somehow left totally unmarked but finished superbly as he smashed home off the woodwork and in.

Michael Hector’s header was deflected over by Robin Koch as Leeds were pinned back after taking the lead. At the other end Koch had a header on goal which Fulham’s new goalkeeper Alphonse Areola tipped over.

Fulham were handed a golden opportunity to get back in the game as Koch slid in and just caught Joe Bryan as a penalty kick was given and Mitrovic made no mistake from the spot. 1-1. In his first two Premier League games for Leeds, Koch has now given away two penalty kicks.

No sooner had Fulham looked settled, they gave away an equally soft penalty kick as Bryan pushed Patrick Bamford in the back at the crucial moment and Klich slotted home to make it 2-1.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

A few minutes into the second half Klich set up Bamford who exposed a huge gap in the Fulham defense and slotted home his second Premier League goal in as many games. Bamford then turned provider as he surged down the left and pulled it back perfectly for Costa to slot home and make it 4-1.

Fulham got themselves back into the game as substitute Decordova-Reid smashed home after good work from Andre-Frank Anguissa to make it 4-2.

Kenny Tete then whipped in a lovely cross which Mitrovic headed home to make it 4-3 and moments later Neeskens Kebano hit the post and Mitrovic flashed a shot just wide as the away side surged forward in search of an unlikely point.

In the end, Leeds rallied and just held on for their first Premier League win since 2004.

Manchester United – Crystal Palace: How to watch, start time, team news

Leave a comment

Manchester United – Crystal Palace: Manchester United finally begins its Premier League season with a visit from Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 pm ET on Peacock).

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

The two sides met at Selhurst Park in July. Marcus Rashford had a goal and an assist in a 2-0 win over the Eagles, a bit of vengeance after Patrick van Aanholt keyed a Palace upset of the Red Devils at Old Trafford in August 2019.

STREAM MANCHESTER UNITED-CRYSTAL PALACE LIVE

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Manchester United – Crystal Palace this Saturday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Manchester United – Crystal Palace (INJURY REPORT)

Paul Pogba starts for Man United as he continues to get back in shape after COVID-19 quarantine, as Solskjaer noted the Frenchman gets himself ready quickly. Mason Greenwood is on the bench, while Timothy Fosu-Mensah starts at right with Aaron Wan-Bissaka only fit enough for the bench. Donny van de Beek is also on the bench.

Mamadou Sakho returns for Palace, while Wilfried Zaha is handed the captains armband for the first time and he captains Palace against his former club.


What they’re saying

Donny van de Beek on joining Man Utd“Everyone has helped me a lot and wanted to make me feel at home and this is really good for me and it has given me the confidence to play. … It’s a family club, I feel this already from the first seconds I have been here. Old Trafford is an amazing stadium. The nicest thing will be when the fans are there too and I cannot wait to play for the first time in front of them. I hope to see them soon in the stadium because for our team they will give us a lot of power when we can have them with us.”

Palace’s Roy Hodgson on perceived wantaway Wilfried Zaha: “Nothing’s changed at all since the last 230 times I’ve spoken on the subject, I don’t think. He’s fit, he’s well, he’s playing extremely well, he’s looking forward to Saturday and we’re looking forward to using him. I’m pretty sure when something major happens on the Wilf Zaha front, the mass media will be the first to know.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Palace is the biggest underdog of the weekend at +850, with hosts United at -325. Even a draw at +440 would be a big surprise.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Prediction

Palace will be playing its third match in a week and that could have them a bit sharper than their opening day hosts or lagging a bit. Given United’s superiority in attack and the impossibility that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will sleep on a team that upset them in the same building a year ago, we’re going 3-1 to the Red Devils. Wilf Zaha scores against his former team, but Aaron Wan-Bissaka gets an assist versus his.


How to watch Manchester United – Crystal Palace stream and start time

Kickoff: 12:30 pm ET Saturday
Online: Stream via Peacock

Diogo Jota to Liverpool confirmed

Jota to Liverpool
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jota to Liverpool is edging closer, as Wolves have all but confirmed the transfer for the Portuguese international.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA

Diogo Jota, 23, is said to be finalizing details on a five-year contract at Liverpool after the clubs agreed a fee which could rise to $58 million.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Wolves’ clash with Manchester City on Monday (start time, 3:15pm ET, stream live on Peacock), head coach Nuno Espirito Santo praised Jota’s contribution to the club and said he is joining the right club in Liverpool.

“Diogo is amazing and everybody knows the relationship we built. What Diogo did for us is absolutely fantastic,” Nuno said. “I think Diogo is going to the right place and we wish him all the best, knowing that it never be forgotten, especially by our fans, all the memorable moments that Diogo provided.”

This has all happened very quickly but it works out well for everyone. Would Wolves have loved to have kept Jota? Of course.

But they’ve bought Portuguese starlet Fabio Silva this summer and have Pedro Neto, Daniel Podence and Adama Traore who can support Raul Jimenez in attack. They will be just fine without Jota. He joined them on loan from Atletico Madrid when they were a Championship club and helped them gain promotion to the Premier League and has been incredibly consistent in terms of goals and assists over the last two seasons.

At Liverpool he will have to wait for chances behind Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane but his style of play suits them perfectly and it is a great move for him. Working under Jurgen Klopp will take his game to the next level and Liverpool’s secondary attacking options have just got a lot better, plus they’ve added Thiago Alcantara to upgrade their midfield.

Diogo Jota to Liverpool is edging closer and he leaves Wolves with the best wishes of everyone and for a transfer fee which justifies letting him go as he cost Wolves just $16.5 million less than three seasons ago.

James dazzles as Everton hammer 10-man West Brom

Leave a comment

Everton – West Brom had it all. Seriously.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]   

The Toffees beat the Baggies 5-2 as Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored a hat trick, plus James Rodriguez and Michael Keane each bagged a goal.

Superb goals from Grady Diangana and Matheus Pereira gave West Brom hope but they were reduced to 10 men before half time and had manager Slaven Bilic sent off in the aftermath for remonstrating with referee Mike Dean.


3 things we learned: Everton – West Brom

1. Everton’s attack on fire: James Rodriguez pulled the strings and scored his first Everton goal with a fine strike. His link-up play with Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Andre Gomes was sublime and Everton’s entire attacking unit was fluid and in-tune. With Moise Keane, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Alex Iwobi able to come off the bench, they have so many options. In James, Richarlison and DCL, their front free are all on the same wavelength and even Lucas Digne on the left flank enhanced their attacks.

2. Shaky Pickford a concern: The one negative for Everton will have been Pickford’s form. He should have done better with Diangana’s goal and although Pereira hit a stunning free kick, was Pickford’ position correct? He gave the ball away early with his feet a few times too and the England international has to stay focused and prove he can be trusted. Right now, it’s tough to say if Pickford should remain as the Three Lions’ number one.

3. Diangana backs up West Ham outrage: When Diangana was sold by West Ham to West Brom, the club he was on loan at last season, Hammers skipper Mark Noble hit out at the West Ham owners. That tells you how highly Diangana is rated. His goal summed up his class and he had some lovely flicks. Alongside Pereira, he will score and create plenty of goals for the Baggies this season.

Man of the Match, Everton – West Brom: James Rodriguez – Now, DCL scored a hat trick of tap ins and he was in the right place at the right time, but James oozed class. Everton’s entire attack is now clicking into place because of the Colombia star.


Everton should have taken the lead early on as James Rodriguez whipped in a superb corner but Calvert-Lewin could only head wide.

West Brom took the lead after Diangana was given the freedom of Goodison to run towards goal and he then drilled home a low shot into the bottom corner, past a slow-moving Jordan Pickford and in.

Everton responded well to going behind with Calvert-Lewin and Allan having chances, but then Jake Livermore did superbly to control and get a shot off but he hit the post.

Before the break Everton were level as Richarlison caused havoc after a cross and Calvert-Lewin flicked home. The equalizer was initially ruled out for offside but VAR checked the decision and it was overturned. 1-1.

James Rodriguez then made it 2-1 with a lovely strike from outside the box for his first Everton goal, then a few moments later Kieran Gibbs raised his hands to the face of James and was shown a straight red card. At half time West Brom boss Slaven Bilic was also sent off for remonstrating with referee Mike Dean as the Baggies imploded.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The second half saw the chaos continue.

Within a few minutes of the restart 10-man West Brom were level as Matheus Pereira curled home a stunning free kick into the top corner from distance.

But it wasn’t 2-2 for long as Richarlison’s header was saved but Michael Keane was on hand to tap home the rebound to put the Toffees 3-2 up.

Soon it was 4-2 as James brilliantly found Richarlison who teed up Calvert-Lewin to tap home. And Calvert-Lewin completed his hat trick as the ball bounced off the back of his head and in to make it 5-2.

Lucas Digne hit the bar with a free kick and Richarlison had a goal disallowed for offside as Everton eased to a second-straight victory to start the season in style.