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Season Review: Burnley, Bournemouth, Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Watford

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After looking over the bottom five finishers in the Premier League this season, we look through the next five teams, a smattering of clubs both happy to avoid the relegation scrap and looking to use this finish as a launching pad for the coming campaign.

[ REVIEW: Huddersfield, Fulham, Cardiff, Brighton, Saints ]

Managers in this group also could find themselves candidates for jobs down the road, and teams like Burnley, Bournemouth, and Watford may end up in a battle to keep one of their most prized possessions. How did these five teams perform this year?

Burnley

Finishing position/points total: 15 / 40pts
High point
: Eight straight unbeaten through January.
Low point
: Sitting 19th in early December with just 2 league wins

Our opinion: Burnley had a roller coaster ride this year, but Sean Dyche managed to pick the club up from 19th in early December to finish without worry over the last few months. Nailing the magic 40-point total on the nose, it’s hard to argue with where they finished given the rough first half.  
Star player
: Chris Wood
Most memorable goal
: Ashley Barnes‘ finish off an exquisite Johan Berg Gudmudsson delivery capped off an eight-match unbeaten run that defined Burnley’s season. They’d go on to lose their next four, but that stretch combined with a solid finish to the campaign gave them life and avoided a relegation battle.


Manager grade: Sean Dyche: B
Hopes for next season
: Keeping Burnley up will be the consistent goal until the club can build a financial base to challenge for a top half finish. Sean Dyche managed to meet the goal relatively comfortably this season after a rough start to the campaign, but how much longer can they keep hold of him?

Bournemouth

Finishing position/points total: 14 / 45pts
High point
: Sitting 6th in mid-October with 6 wins in the first 10 games
Low point
: A 7-game stretch through the holidays conceding 20 goals and earning just 4 points

Our opinion: It was a solid season for Bournemouth, although without the fabulous start to the season, things may have ended quite differently. After the first 11 games where lost just twice, the club picked up 25 points over a 27-match span, a relegation-type pace. Eddie Howe is a good manager who may end up at a bigger club sooner rather than later, but Bournemouth’s consistent inability to defend despite good back-line talent will give a potential suitor pause.
Star player
: Ryan Fraser
Most memorable goal
: This strike by David Brooks from outside the box helped Bournemouth to a big 2-0 win over Brighton when the Cherries were beginning to nosedive down the table.


Manager grade: Eddie Howe: C
Hopes for next season
: Bournemouth is about where they’re going to be, and survival is the perennial goal. They may be a candidate for the drop once again, but with as much firepower as they have, it shouldn’t be on the cards for them. An improvement at the back would be helpful over the summer.

Newcastle United

Finishing position/points total:
High point
: A 2-1 win over eventual champions Man City in late January, Pep Guardiola‘s final loss of the season.
Low point
: No wins in the first 10 matches of the season.

Our opinion: Rafa Benitez stumbled early after another summer of penny pinching from Mike Ashley, but he recovered enough to lift Newcastle out of the relegation battle, and convinced Ashley to splash the cash for Miguel Almiron in the winter, a move that proved positive until Almiron got hurt. Benitez is arguably the most valuable asset at the club and he did well to keep this squad out of the bottom three.
Star player
: Ayoze Perez is the team’s star goalscorer but Matt Ritchie is the man who makes the team tick.
Most memorable goal
: Matt Ritchie’s late penalty to beat Man City gave Newcastle its most famous win of the season, but Fabian Schar’s absolute howitzer to take the lead over Burnley in February is easily the stunner of the year for Newcastle. That win capped off a 6-match stretch that included four wins and just three goals conceded.


Manager grade: Rafa Benitez: A-
Hopes for next season
: If Benitez is to be believed, Newcastle has European potential, but it will take a few years to realize that potential. Should they keep Benitez around, Newcastle should be a top half contender if Ashley can be convinced to open the wallet this summer.

Crystal Palace

Finishing position/points total: 12 / 49pts
High point
: Five wins in seven to end the season, including a 3-2 win over Arsenal
Low point
: Eight games without a win through October and November

Our opinion: Aside from the brutal start to the year which saw Palace gain just nine points from their first 13 games, Crystal Palace had a very good campaign – it would have likely featured a top-half finish with a better start to the year. Ugly losses still dot the season occasionally (this is the Premier League, after all, nothing is guaranteed), but Hodgson has built this side into a consistent performer week in and week out.
Star player
: Wilfried Zaha
Most memorable goal
: Andros Townsend scored a ripper against Burnley (who seem to have been victimized plenty by great goals this season) but there is no question that his volley against Manchester City is Crystal Palace’s best of the campaign and maybe the entire Premier League this season.


Manager grade: Rod Hodgson: B-
Hopes for next season
: Crystal Palace always has the potential to end up sucked into the relegation scrap with a bad run of form, as the start to this season showed, so staying up should always be priority #1. However, with that in hand, the club should be challenging for top-half finishes if they would like to continue growing. 53 goals conceded is less than all but one club below them in the table, meaning the defense performed well, and if they can attack like they did during the run-in this season (11 goals scored against Arsenal, Cardiff, and Bournemouth) they’ll be poised to make that happen.

Watford

Finishing position/points total: 11 / 50pts
High point
: Beating Tottenham for its fourth straight win to start the season.
Low point
: Losing six of nine to finish the season.

Our opinion: At its best, Watford is a fantastic group that absorbs pressure and counters with vicious intent. At its worst, it gives up four goals to Bournemouth or West Ham. Overall, Watford did quite well this season, and while the four straight to start the season set lofty expectations that were unsustainable, finishing 11th in the Premier League is a laudable accomplishment even with the disappointing finish to the campaign.
Star player
: While Troy Deeney, Andre Gray, and Gerard Deulofeu shared the goalscoring this season, defender Craig Cathcart logged more minutes than anyone on the squad this season and bagged the winner against Tottenham early in the season.
Most memorable goal
: Watford bagged a host of good goals this season, but this brilliant solo run from Roberto Pereyra is the best of the bunch.


Manager grade: Javi Gracia: B+
Hopes for next season
: Somehow, Watford made finishing 11th appear disappointing, proof that they were strong for most of the long season. Watford even challenged for a spot in Europe before being outlasted by Wolves, so fans will hope that next season they can finish the deal and earn a top-7 spot.

Aubameyang double helps Arsenal down Burnley (video)

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A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double saw Arsenal finish the Premier League season on a winning note, and the Gabon international draw level with the Premier League top scorers as Arsenal topped Burnley 3-1 at Turf Moor on the final day of the season.

Aubameyang started the day off strong, hitting the bar in the opening minutes. A free kick from a lateral angle swung in to the near post and the Arsenal striker clattered the crossbar with a chested ball. Tom Heaton was also forced into action in the early going, with Aubameyang again coming close minutes later.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Arsenal was nearly broken down past the half-hour mark on a scrum in the box but a critical tackle from Mateo Guendouzi kept Burnley off the board. Just before the break, James Tarkowski got his head to a corner, but it fired just wide.

The Gunners had a familiar sight when Konstantinos Movrapanos went off injured past the half-hour mark, with Laurent Koscielny coming on in his place. The back line for the Gunners this season has been a revolving door with injuries dotting the landscape, and now with the Europa League final on the horizon, they will have to deal with another.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Burnley finally broke thanks to a poor back-pass from Jack Cork, leaving Ben Mee in trouble. Aubameyang snatched the wayward ball, and he finished cooly through on goal for the opener 52 minutes in, his 21st goal of the season.

The second came 10 minutes later with Aubameyang on the double, smashing home a looped cross from Alex Iwobi to the far post. The goal was notable in the Golden Boot race, but Burnley made sure the celebration was short-lived as a header from Ashley Barnes pegged the Gunners back.

Aubameyang had a glorious chance to not only seal his hat-trick but also to win the Golden Boot, and he somehow missed. Henrikh Mkhitaryan‘s pinpoint cross came right to a sliding Aubameyang at the doorstep, but he managed to put it wide with the goal gaping.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

19-year-old Eddie Nketiah finished off the scoreline with the final kick of the game as he scored from an absurdly tight angle, squeaking it through a defender’s legs right on the end line and into the far corner. The goal was somewhat noteworthy given that Aubameyang was wide open at the penalty spot calling for the ball, and another goal for him would have sealed not only the hat-trick but the Golden Boot outright. Instead, Nketiah took it himself and wrapped up the game.

With the win, Arsenal finished the season in fifth, just a point off the Champions League places with 70, inches behind rival Tottenham’s 71-point haul. Burnley ends up in 15th, right on the magical 40-point mark.

Man City edge past Burnley, go top of the table (video)

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  • Aguero scores winner
  • Man City go top of the table
  • 12-straight PL wins for City

Manchester City beat Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor on Sunday to go back to the top of the Premier League table with two games to go.

Sergio Aguero’s goal in the second half, which was awarded via the goal-decision system, was the difference as the ball just crossed the line as Matt Lowton cleared. Small margins decide titles, and this was another huge moment in the season.

With the win City move to the top of the table on 92 points, as they sit one point clear of Liverpool. City know if they beat Leicester City at home and Brighton away in their final two games then they will win back-to-back titles. Burnley remain in 15th on 40 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Burnley started the game brightly and had a huge chance to take the lead.

Wood was played in and was clean through on goal, but his poor first touch saw Ederson rush out and bravely collect the ball. A massive chance came and went for the hosts.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Man City were sloppy in the first half but Tom Heaton had to save from Bernardo Silva as the reigning champs started to wake up.

As the first half played out, City started to grind through the gears and Burnley just couldn’t get a foothold in the game.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Wave after wave of City attack arrived in the second half, with Burnley throwing their bodies in front of the ball at every opportunity. Heaton denied Silva again in the second half as Burnley’s goalkeeper was in sensational form.

Pep Guardiola was then left fuming as Silva’s shot appeared to strike Ashley Barnes‘ arm in the box but no penalty kick was given, but soon after he was smiling.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

After another fluid City attack, the ball found its way to Aguero and he bundled his way towards goal before his shot was saved by Heaton… but the ball then crossed the line as Matt Lowton tried to cleared as the goal-decision system was used and awarded the goal.

Late on City came so close to scoring a second as Gabriel Jesus did superbly to get past several challenges but Ben Mee cleared heroically off the line to deny the Brazilian youngster.

John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi came on to help see out the win late on, as City’s players and fans celebrated at the final whistle.

Burnley take point in draw at Chelsea (video)

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  • Burnley took lead after eight minutes
  • Huguain and Kante scored within two minutes of each other
  • Burnley came back to earn a point, now at 40
  • Chelsea moves up to fourth place on 67 points

In a wild, back and forth affair, Burnley cane away with a crucial point in a visit to Stamford Bridge as Sean Dyche’s side looks to stave off relegation.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Burnley scored first and then rebounded from a one-goal deficit to draw Chelsea, 2-2, on Monday at Stamford Bridge. With the draw, Burnley is now nine points clear of relegation, while Chelsea moved into fourth place, passing Arsenal.

After a strong start by Chelsea, Jeff Hendricks shocked the fans at Chelsea with a terrific strike on the half volley off a corner kick that flew past Keba Arrizabalaga in goal. The goal put Burnley up, 1-0 after just eight minutes.

However, only four minutes later, Chelsea struck back. N'Golo Kante fired home a strike in the 12th minute, finishing a pass from Eden Hazard after the Belgian took his fullback defender to task. Two minutes later, Gonzalo Higuain produced some fantastic footwork to put Chelsea in front.

In the 24th minute, Chelsea’s defending went missing off a free kick. Burnley was able to get headers from Ben Mee, Chris Wood and then finally Ashley Barnes, who nodded home to tie the scoreline and give the match its fourth goal in the first 25 minutes.

Chelsea had to bring on Pedro late in the first half, as Callum Hudson-Odoi limped off and was substituted.

Tempers flared in the second half as both teams looked for the winner, but were unable to find the proper finish.

Watch Live: Chelsea v. Burnley

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Chelsea bids to move into the Premier League’s third place when in-form Burnley visits Stamford Bridge on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Ruben Loftus-Cheek starts for Chelsea, which will have Pedro, Olivier Giroud, and Ross Barkley amongst its subs.

Burnley opens with Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood leading the line.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Luiz, Emerson, Jorginho, Kante, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Higuain, Hazard. Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Zappacosta, Kovacic, Barkley, Pedro, Giroud.

Burnley: Heaton, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Cork, Westwood, Hendrick, McNeil, Barnes, Wood. Subs: Hart, Gibson, Long, Ward, Brady, Gudmundsson, Vydra