Andre Schurrle

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Biggest flops of the Premier League season

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We’ll try not to be too harsh as our review of the Premier League season continues with the most disappointing performances of 2018-19.

[ SEASON REVIEW: Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal ]

[ SEASON REVIEW: Man United, Wolves, Everton, Leicester, West Ham ]


— Fulham — You can’t pin it on any single manager, nor a single transfer flop. There was just something around Craven Cottage that didn’t allow the men to mesh on the big stage. Andre Schurrle petered out, Alfie Mawson stumbled when healthy, Jean-Michael Seri wasn’t as advertised, and Claudio Ranieri couldn’t summon any saviors after Slavisa Jokanovic also failed to find the right chemistry.

— Max Meyer, Crystal Palace — The 23-year-old just couldn’t quite adapt after being hailed by many including us as a remarkable free transfer from Schalke.

— Gonzalo Higuain, Chelsea — Part of this blame lives with us: The expectation that came with Maurizio Sarri‘s favored man arriving to make good on the failures of Alvaro Morata was too high; Higuain finished with five goals in 1100 minutes.

— Mohamed Elyounoussi, Southampton — Maybe his Premier League adjustment will come in Season Two, but zero goals and plenty of days outside the Saints’ 18 hardly make for good value.

Fred, Manchester United — Cost the Red Devils about $3.5 million per league appearance. Shoulder shrug emoji, as Pep Guardiola also reportedly viewed the Brazilian as a fix for his midfield.

— David De Gea, Manchester United — While not a new signing, the Red Devils’ perennial savior was not close to his standards in 2018-19. In fact, the Spaniard was basically league average and couldn’t bail out his defenders (which underscores Jose Mourinho’s assertion regarding their quality).

Top 10 Premier League goals of the 2018-19 season

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The 2018/19 Premier League season has come to a conclusion, and what a thrill ride it was. Manchester City won the title on the last day of the season, but there was so much more that this campaign brought to the table.

What’s the one thing everyone wants to see when the season is over? The best goals of course! So here they are, the top 10 goals of the season, ranked. What do you think should be higher on the list, and what was left off?

10. Andre Schurrle vs. Burnley

It was a tough season for Fulham, but they will have the January Goal of the Month to savor. On-loan Andre Schurrle delivered a thrilling volley that opened the scoring for the Whites just two minutes into the match.

9. Gylfi Sigurdsson vs. Leicester City

It was a season of ups and downs for Everton, perfectly encapsulated by this looping strike from Gylfi Sigurdsson who blasted it from way outside the box and somehow got the ball to hook from top to bottom, burying into the upper-left corner giving the Toffees a lead on the road.

8. Daniel Sturridge vs. Chelsea

If you want a combination of great goal and big, late moment, this is the goal for you. With Liverpool looking to stay unbeaten in the seventh match of the season, Daniel Sturridge came through this this massive moment.

7. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs. Leicester City

A wonderful team goal that featured 15 passes saw Arsenal through against Leicester City at the Emirates. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tapped home for one of his league-leading 22 on the season, but it was the buildup that made it so fantastic.

6. Mohamed Salah vs. Chelsea

An utterly sensational strike that put Liverpool 2-0 up on Chelsea and took out the frustration of a difficult three-month stretch for the Egyptian. It would be higher on this list if it weren’t for the huge amount of outrageous strikes this season. One thing is for sure…it’s better than the one he won the Puskas Award for!

5. Aaron Ramsey vs. Fulham

A backheel goal is fifth on the list? That’s how good the goals were this season. Ramsey had three different touches in the buildup all while sprinting two-thirds of the pitch to be in position at the end of make the final, brilliant touch.

4. Heung-Min Son vs. Chelsea

With an absolutely blistering run down the right-hand side, Heung-Min Son roasted multiple defenders before finding his way to the penalty spot and blasting a strike past Kepa Arrizabalaga to put Spurs 3-0 up over Chelsea in late November, securing a third successive win for Spurs.

3. Eden Hazard vs. West Ham

It’s looking like Eden Hazard will play his last game for Chelsea in the Europa League final this summer before moving to Real Madrid, but Blues fans will always have moments like this to savor from the Belgian’s time at Stamford Bridge. Hazard weaved and meandered through defenders leaving baffled Hammers players in his wake.

2. Andros Townsend vs. Manchester City

The unquestioned Goal of the Season for months before Vincent Kompany happened, Townsend’s strike was an absolute blast that featured just enough curl to find its way into the top corner from miles away. It left Man City stunned in a famous win over the eventual champions as part of their mid-season slump.

1. Vincent Kompany vs. Leicester City

Every kid dreams of this moment: your team struggling to put the ball in the back of the net, not much time on the clock, your title chase on the line. Vincent Kompany, Manchester City’s captain who had battled injuries and form to even find his way onto the field, blasted a howitzer to savor that not only inched Manchester City one win away from securing the Premier League title, but also left mouths agape all across the globe. A stunner that will be remembered for years to come – a goal that finds itself on par with Sergio Aguero’s last-gasp title winner in Manchester City lore.

Honorable mention: Anthony Knockaert vs. Crystal Palace, Fabian Schar vs. Burnley, Jean-Michael Seri vs. Burnley, Andre Schurrle vs. Cardiff City, Sergio Aguero vs. Chelsea.

Season Review: Huddersfield, Fulham, Cardiff, Brighton, Southampton

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As the 2018/19 Premier League season has come to a close, it’s time to take a very brief look back at each club’s campaign and review how they did. First, we look back at the bottom five sides and work our way up the table.

Huddersfield Town, Fulham, and Cardiff City were relegated to the Championship, while Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton both managed to stay up, barely. Each team took its own path to where they finished in the table, so here’s a look back at some of the journeys.

Huddersfield Town

Finishing position/points total: 20 / 16pts
High point
: Doing the double over Wolves.
Low point
: Losing 5-0 to Liverpool to cap a stretch of 8 losses.

Our opinion: They struggled to score all season, with just 22 goals in 38 league matches. Shut out in a whopping 19 Premier League matches, they never had the firepower to compete.
Star player
: Aaron Mooy
Most memorable goal
: Isaac Mbenza equalized on an assist from goalkeeper Jonas Lossl to draw Manchester United on the penultimate day of the season.


Manager grade: David Wagner: C- / Jan Siewert: F
Hopes for next season
: Huddersfield needs to stabilize and regroup next season, and a top-10 Championship finish should be the target, building towards a promotion campaign the following year. Siewert wasn’t able to do anything of note in charge during the second half of the Premier League season, and the jury is still out on if he’s the right man to lead them through the Championship.

Fulham

Finishing position/points total: 19 / 26pts
High point
: Winning 3 straight under Scott Parker.
Low point
: A 4-1 loss to Watford to mark 9 straight.

Our opinion: An absolutely woeful defense doomed what was an otherwise entertaining attacking club. With a change of manager came a change of style, but nothing improved at the back. Fulham needs to sort out its back line for next season or a quick return to the Premier League can be thrown out the window.
Star player
: Aleksandar Mitrovic
Most memorable goal
: Jean-Michael Seri blasted an absolute stunner against Burnley early in the season. Andre Schurrle also victimized Burnley with a glorious volley as well.


Manager grade: Slavisa Jokanovic: D- / Claudio Ranieri: F / Scott Parker: C+
Hopes for next season
: The club did well to secure a permanent manager so quickly so they can get to work strengthening the squad for a promotion campaign to come straight back up. The priority this offseason will be looking to secure assets like Mitrovic, Jean-Michael Seri, and Ryan Sessegnon while looking to improve the defense.

Cardiff City

Finishing position/points total: 18 / 34pts
High point
: Beating Manchester United on the last day of the season.
Low point
: Failing to score in 4 straight, confirming relegation.

Our opinion: A club that many through would finish bottom of the league, or close to it, gave it a real fight and came close to staving off relegation a few times. The season clearly wore on Neil Warnock, who said there isn’t “a cat’s chance in hell” he ever manages in the Premier League again.
Star player
: Victor Camarasa
Most memorable goal
: Junior Hoilett‘s wonderful curler to beat Wolves in November pulled the club out of the relegation zone for the time being, but it can’t beat Camarasa’s unbelievable strike to beat Leicester City in stoppage time.


Manager grade: Neil Warnock: C
Hopes for next season
: They will be a real challenger for promotion in the Championship and should do well if they can improve the playmaking abilities up front.

Brighton & Hove Albion

Finishing position/points total: 17 / 36pts
High point
: Winning 3 straight in October, critical to staying up.
Low point
: 8 straight without a win Jan-Feb in a relegation battle.

Our opinion: Brighton was one of the most fun teams this season, with a combination of suffocating defense and an attack that could crop up at any time against any club. While they often fired blanks, when they came alive it was exciting and enjoyable. Still, the attack was too inconsistent and they’ll want to make smart improvements.
Star player
: Shane Duffy
Most memorable goal
: Glenn Murray‘s winner against Wolves capped off a critical 3-game winning streak and ultimately proved vital in keeping the club alive.


Manager grade: Chris Hughton: C-
Hopes for next season
: Sacking Chris Hughton, the man who pulled the club out of the muck and brought them to the promised land, is a bold decision. This is a team with good assets and a solid base, and they should be able to stay up again next season with the right leader.

Southampton

Finishing position/points total: 16 / 39pts
High point
: Beating Arsenal 3-2 in December.
Low point
: 6-1 loss to Man City as part of a 12-match winless run.

Our opinion: Southampton started off the season horribly and was a real candidate to go down until Ralph Hassenhuttl saved them. His management kept this team up and there’s real hope for the future with a young, scrappy squad that needs improvement.
Star player
: Nathan Redmond
Most memorable goal
: It wasn’t the best goal of the season (that would be the Redmond curler to finish off the campaign on Sunday?) but the most memorable is Charlie Austin‘s in the 85th minute to beat Arsenal and end their long unbeaten run. It sparked the turnaround for Southampton, marking their first league win in over three months and beginning a nine-match run where they picked up 15 points.


Manager grade: Mark Hughes: D- / Ralph Hassenhuttl: A-
Hopes for next season
: With Hassenhuttl in charge and improvements to the defense this summer, Southampton should be able to show more consistency next season. On their day, they’re capable of beating any team in the league and that should lead them to a belief in a top 10 finish. This team shouldn’t be battling for Premier League survival again.

Fulham hires Scott Parker as full-time head coach

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Fulham has taken its first step towards next season in the Championship by locking down a boss, hiring interim boss Scott Parker as full-time head coach, the club announced on Friday, signing a two-year deal.

Parker spent the final four years of his playing career at Fulham, making 128 appearances for the club before retiring in 2017 and joining the backroom staff. He remained part of the coaching staff through multiple managerial changes in the Premier League this season, finally being tabbed as caretaker manager after the dismissal of Claudio Ranieri in late February.

Under Parker’s guidance, Fulham finished the season strong despite being strapped with relegation. They lost their first five matches under Parker, but three of those came against Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool. They then won three in a row against Everton, Bournemouth, and Cardiff City in mid-April despite having won just four matches all season previously.

“Scott was brave to accept a very difficult challenge in February when appointed as our Caretaker Manager,” said club chairman Shahid Khan in the official team announcement . “Since that time, day by day, whether in training or on matchday, we’ve undeniably become a better football club. Scott will now have another challenge to face, and that is to return Fulham to the Premier League. I fully believe Scott is more than up to the task.”

The 38-year-old former Fulham captain feels he is ready for his first managerial gig, having previously played nearly 600 career matches for Charlton, Chelsea, Newcastle, West Ham and Tottenham.

“Now, the challenge lies with me to move things forward,” said Parker in the official team release. “Ultimately, success comes from a culture and a desire – that needs to be our foundation. We’ll drive a culture here that our fans will recognize.”

A big focus for Parker is the atmosphere in the dressing room, which Parker believes he can influence as a recent player. “I’ve got 20 years of playing experience and 20 years of being in changing rooms,” Parker said. “I want to use that experience to help the club be successful and move things forward.”

The job ahead is a tough one moving forward given the Fulham squad is in a state of horrible flux. Young winger Ryan Sessegnon is out of contract next summer and therefore likely to be sold unless he changes course and signs and extension with the club. Striker Aleksandr Mitrovic and midfielder Jean-Michel Seri could also be out the door given their level of talent, potentially avoiding dropping down a league with the club. Sergio Rico, Calum Chambers, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Havard Nordveit, Andre Schurrle, and Luciano Vietto are all loanees scheduled to return to parent clubs after the season ends. Denis Odoi, Floyd Ayite, and Neeskins Kebano are all out of contract this summer and could depart as well.

USMNT’s Ream speaks out after his Fulham side is relegated

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Fulham lost its ninth-straight Premier League match on Tuesday, dooming the London side to relegation.

Fittingly, the Cottagers allowed four more goals in the loss to see their total of conceded goals reach 76.

[ RECAP: Watford 4-1 Fulham ]

USMNT center back Tim Ream has been with Fulham since 2015, and was the club’s Player of the Season when they won the Football League Championship playoffs last season.

Hopes were high when Fulham spent loads of dough to bring in Aleksandar Mitrovic, Andre Schurrle, Jean-Michael Seri and others for their return to the Premier League.

Unlike fellow promoted spenders Wolves, Fulham did not find the right mix and is relegated in a three-manager PL season for the second time this decade.

The latest manager, Scott Parker, said he was dealing with “pure disappointment.” Ream, he was just angry. From the BBC:

“We haven’t shown a togetherness, unity, desire, passion,” Ream said. “We’ve shown it in bits and pieces, in the first half then go dead and flat. We need to find it from somewhere. Guys need to speak up more in training sessions. What we do in the match is a product of what we do between Monday to Friday.”

Ream said there was a harsh team talk following the 4-1 loss at Watford, and he’ll be interested to see what follows at Craven Cottage.

“There were some home truths,” Ream said. “We’ll see if it resonates with the guys. We will approach the remaining games like we have for every game. We will go out to try to get points, albeit meaningless points.”

Parker vowed to do his part in delivering something to supporters over the final weeks of the season.

“The team and the players owe it to the football club and fans to out in the last five games and give something back, although it’ll be very little,” Parker said.

“The next five games, we will crack on.”