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Transfer rumor roundup: Arnautovic to Man Utd; J-Rod, Jorginho buzz

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The transfer rumor mill has churned out two double-digit Premier League strikers and a Serie A second-place hero into Wednesday’s reading material.

[ MORE: Newcastle signs Dubravka ]


West Ham big man Marko Arnautovic and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho may seem like a combustible pair, but the Red Devils boss is apparently interested in seeing the mix.

Arnautovic, 29, engineered a $26 million move away from Stoke to West Ham last season, and came into form under David Moyes when he bagged 11 goals and six assists after going his first 11 matches without either.

Now the center forward who also plays either wing would perceivably be a depth move behind Romelu Lukaku. The move doesn’t seem the neatest fit given Arnautovic’s preference to play left wing and United’s glut of players on that side of the pitch.

West Ham is said to value Arnautovic at $67 million, which seems bonkers and a non-starter. Arnautovic did spent time under Mourinho at Inter Milan.


West Brom striker and former England man Jay Rodriguez is also wanted by Premier League teams after scoring 11 of West Brom’s 31 goals in Premier League play.

Rodriguez cost the Baggies around $16 million last season, when he signed a four-year deal with the Midlands club.

West Brom will be attempting to convince Rodriguez and/or Salomon Rondon to stick around and dominate Championship defenses, but Burnley and Bournemouth are said to be after Rodriguez.

“J-Rod” has spent time on the South Coast with Southampton, and started his career with the Clarets having been born in Burnley. He could team up with Chris Wood to lead Burnley into Europe.


Jorginho’s rumored move to Manchester City took another step on Wednesday, with the player’s agent admitting an offer has been made for the Napoli star.

“I know an offer to Napoli has arrived from Manchester City. We’re waiting for their response. I don’t think they have rejected offers. If Napoli find an agreement with City, we will assess everything,” Joao Santos told TMW. “Obviously, Manchester City would be very welcome, an opportunity not to be turned down. The coach is one of the best in Europe.”

Jorginho, 26, scored against Man City in the UEFA Champions League, and Napoli finished four points behind Juventus. He posted two league goals and four assists in Serie A, averaging 1.9 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per game.

Top stats of the 2017/18 Premier League season

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We love stats. We love the Premier League.

[ MORE: PL grades for all 20 clubs ]

So, let’s use stats to breakdown the 2017/18 campaign.

Via our friends at Opta, here’s a look at some of the most intriguing stats of the 2017/18 season.


Man City’s brilliance

  • Man City won 32 matches, the most in a single Premier League season, breaking the record which had been held by Chelsea, who won 30 in 2016-17 – it is also a record in top-flight history.
  • Even including when points totals are altered to three for a win, Man City became the first team to win 100 points in a top-flight season.
  • Man City won 16 away league matches, a joint top-flight record in a single season along with Spurs in 1960-61.
  • Man City won the title with five games remaining, equalling the top-flight record set by Man Utd in 1907-08 and 2000-01 and Everton in 1984-85.
  • Manchester City trailed for just 153 minutes in Premier League matches this season – the fewest by a side in a single campaign.
  • Manchester City scored 106 goals in the Premier League this season; a record in a single Premier League season. The last top-flight side to score more in a single season were Tottenham (111) in 1962-63.
  • Between August and December 2017, Manchester City broke the record for most consecutive top-flight wins, winning 18 in a row and eclipsing the record set by Arsenal between February and August 2002 (14 wins in a row).

Surprising stats

  • All three newly promoted clubs (Brighton, Huddersfield and Newcastle) avoided relegation, only the third time this had happened in Premier League history, along with the 2001-02 and 2011-12 seasons.
  • Five different players recorded 10+ goals and 10+ assists in the Premier League this season (Salah, Eriksen, Sane, Sterling and Mahrez) – a record in a 38-game season.
  • This season saw the best shot conversion rate of any Premier League season since 2003-04 (10.95%), with 1018 goals scored from 9297 shots.
  • There were 78 Premier League wins by three or more goals this season – the most in an season in the history of the competition.
  • Spurs also finished as the highest placed London team in the top-flight for the first time since the 1994-95 season, when they finished seventh and above six other London sides.
  • Spurs finished above Arsenal in consecutive seasons for the first time since doing so in 1981-82 and 1982-83.
  • Jamie Vardy ended on the losing side in nine matches he scored in this season – a new Premier League record in a season.
  • Kevin De Bruyne set a new Premier League record for matches won by a player in a season, ending on the winning side in 31 different games.
  • Crystal Palace played nine Premier League games without Wilfried Zaha this season and lost all nine matches.
  • Despite only scoring 10 Premier League goals this season, Chris Wood earned his side Burnley 12 points this season – only Mo Salah (16) and Harry Kane (22) won more points via their goals.
  • Frank De Boer became the first permanent manager in Premier League history to not see his team score a single goal during his reign (four games, zero goals). Frank de Boer’s tenure as Crystal Palace manager was the shortest in terms of matches managed in the Premier League by a permanent appointment (four games).
  • Liverpool’s 0-5 defeat at Manchester City in September 2017 was the joint-biggest margin of defeat for Jurgen Klopp as a manager, level with Mainz 1-6 Werder Bremen (Oct 2006).
  • Darren Moore won more points in his six league games in charge of West Brom this season (11) than both Alan Pardew did in his 18 (8) and Tony Pulis did in his 12 (10) for the Baggies.

Harry Kane’s magic

  • Harry Kane scored 13 goals in September 2017 for club and country in all competitions – his best ever month as a professional footballer. This also equalled the tally of goals that both Lionel Messi (13 in March 2012) and Cristiano Ronaldo (13 in October 2010) have scored in a single month during their career.
  • Harry Kane’s record of not scoring a single Premier League goal in the month of August continued in 2017. His record in the month is now 13 games, 898 minutes and 44 shots without a single goal.
  • Kane became the first Spurs player to score 100 Premier League goals, a tally he reached in just 141 appearances – only Alan Shearer scored 100 in fewer games (124).
  • Kane scored 39 Premier League goals in 2017, breaking the record for a calendar year in the Premier League previously held by Alan Shearer in 1995 (36).

Relegation focus

  • Crystal Palace lost their first seven league games of the season without scoring, an English league record.
  • Crystal Palace became the first top-flight team since Liverpool in 1899-1900 to lose their first seven league matches in a season and avoid relegation.
  • Newcastle United finished 10th – the highest position by a newly-promoted club since West Ham also finished 10th in 2012-13.
  • West Brom were relegated from the top-flight for the 10th time – only fellow Midlands clubs Leicester (11) and Birmingham (12) have been relegated more often.
  • It was West Brom’s fourth Premier League relegation (also 2002-03, 2005-06 and 2008-09), with no side relegated more often (Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough, Norwich City and Sunderland also four relegations).
  • Stoke City suffered their seventh top-flight relegation and first since the 1984-85 campaign, when they went down having accrued just 17 points.
  • Stoke’s relegation was the first in any division for 20 years, when they were relegated from the second tier in 1997-98 along with Reading and Manchester City.

Mohamed Salah central

  • Mohamed Salah scored more goals in his debut season for Liverpool than any other player in their entire history (44).
  • Salah also broke the record for most left-footed goals in a Premier League season, netting 25 goals.
  • Salah scored 32 goals in the Premier League, the most in a 38-game season.
  • Salah scored against 17 different Premier League opponents this season – no player has ever scored against more in a single campaign.
  • Against Watford in March, Salah scored four goals from four shots – since 2003-04, he is only the second player to achieve this in a Premier League match after Andrey Arshavin against Liverpool in April 2009.

Pep Guardiola‘s domination

  • Pep Guardiola has won the top-flight league title in seven of his nine seasons as a manager, with the only exceptions being 2011-12 at Barcelona and 2016-17 at Manchester City.
  • Pep Guardiola secured his best points tally in a single league season as a manager (100); surpassing 99 points with Barcelona in 2009-10.
  • Pep Guardiola became the first Spaniard to win the English top-flight – he has won the top-flight in seven of his nine seasons as a manager, failing only in 2011-12 at Barcelona and last season with Man City.
  • Manchester City ended 19 points ahead of 2nd placed side Manchester United – the Premier League record points gap between 1st and 2nd place at the end of a season, overtaking a gap of 18 points by Manchester United in 1999-00.

Farewell, Arsene Wenger

  • Arsene Wenger broke the record for most Premier League games managed, eclipsing Sir Alex Ferguson’s haul of 810 games on New Year’s Eve against Crystal Palace (currently on 828).
  • Arsene Wenger has now beaten 46 different opponents in the Premier League, more than any other manager (Alex Ferguson, 44).
  • Wenger’s victory at the John Smith’s Stadium was the 48th different ground he had won at in the Premier League, more than any other manager.
  • Arsenal finished outside the top five in the Premier League for the first time 1994-95, when they finished 12th.

Championship Sunday, rounded up

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The Premier League put a bow on its remarkable season with a 100-point flourish from Man City, and a new single-season scoring mark.

[ MORE: Full match replays | Final table | Final grades ]

It also waved goodbye to Arsene Wenger, at least at Arsenal. All that and more in the PL roundup.

Southampton 0-1 Manchester CityRECAP

Gabriel Jesus‘ stoppage time winner — man, does this club play to the final season’s whistle — made sure Man City added “first 100-point club” to its list of amazing accomplishments.

Liverpool 4-0 Brighton and Hove Albion — RECAP

Mohamed Salah set the new Premier League scoring record, while Dejan Lovren, Andy Robertson, and Dominic Solanke also scored to lead Liverpool back into the UEFA Champions League regardless of the final against Real Madrid.

Huddersfield Town 0-1 Arsenal — RECAP

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang became the fastest Gunner to 10 Premier League goals and notably has status as the last player to score in Arsene Wenger’s time at Arsenal.

Newcastle United 3-0 Chelsea — RECAP

Newcastle fans are dreaming of the transfer market after Rafa Benitez put another fine line on his resume with a demolition of the Blues. Ayoze Perez scored twice and Jonjo Shelvey also scored to clinch a Top Ten finish for the Magpies, who were in a relegation battle deep into the season. Chelsea is off to the Europa League, and in poor form ahead of next week’s FA Cup Final against Manchester United.

Swansea City 1-2 Stoke City — RECAP

Spirit remains at Stoke despite its relegation, as it dragged Swansea down with it. An early goal for Andy King was long forgotten after Badou Ndiaye and Peter Crouch gave the traveling Potters support a win in their final Premier League match for at least 15 months.

Tottenham Hotspur 5-4 Leicester City — RECAP

Don’t tell these clubs they had nothing to play for…

Harry Kane became the second Premier League player to score 30 goals this season, as Spurs trailed 1-0 and 3-1. They also were level at 4 following Jamie Vardy‘s second of the night when Kane completed his brace.

What a way to end a season.

West Ham United 3-1 Everton — RECAP

David Moyes‘ Irons hammered his former club, in doing so embarrassing former West Ham boss Sam Allardyce. The Toffees spent big this season and hired Big Sam to fix their season and lead them back into European contention. He largely failed. As for Moyes, has he reclaimed his Premier League mojo?

Burnley 1-2 Bournemouth — RECAP

Chris Wood‘s early goal was canceled out by Joshua King, then substitute Callum Wilson claimed all three points for the Cherries in this match-up of two of the finest British managers in the game.

Crystal Palace 2-0 West Bromwich Albion  — RECAP

Wilfried Zaha and Patrick Van Aanholt ended Roy Hodgson‘s Manager of the Year campaign with another win, as left-for-dead Palace finishes 11th despite an 0-7 goalless start!

Manchester United 1-0 Watford  — RECAP

Marcus Rashford scores the lone goal on a play began by Michael Carrick and helped along by Juan Mata. That’s why Mourinho plays Lukaku so much (#jab).

2017/18 grades for each Premier League club

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With the 2017/18 Premier League season now over after a hectic Championship Sunday, it is time to take stock of how each team did over the course of the gruelling nine-month campaign.

Below we dish out a grade to all 20 teams based on how they performed this season and if they overachieved or underachieved.

It’s safe to say we have a real mixed bag…


Manchester City: A+
Basically perfect. Record points (100), wins (32) and goals (106) in a single PL season says it all. Pep Guardiola‘s side were imperious and with just two defeats throughout the season (at Liverpool and a shocking loss at home to Man United after leading 2-0) they never looked in doubt of securing the title, especially after their 18-game winning run which shattered another PL record. Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva ran the show, while Ederson and Kyle Walker were huge upgrades in defense. Yes, they lost to Liverpool in the Champions League quarterfinals, but Guardiola has built something special and this City team has the stench of a dynasty. Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and and Nicolas Otamendi have all improved drastically too, as Pep’s plan is in full-flow.

Burnley: A
A truly superb season from the Clarets as Sean Dyche led Burnley to a seventh-place finish and a first spot in Europe since 1967. A solid defensive setup with Nick Pope stepping in admirably for the injured Tom Heaton in goal was complimented by Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood up top. Dyche is working miracles on a shoestring budget at Burnley and the fact that several “bigger” clubs are sniffing around him makes perfect sense. The model PL club in just their second season back in the league and now they have a Europa League campaign to look forward to. Thursday nights under the lights at Turf Moor will be a wonderful spectacle for Burnley’s fans.

Huddersfield Town: A
In their first-ever season in the Premier League, the Terriers saw a fast start fade badly but two draws at Man City and Chelsea in the final week of action secured their PL status. David Wagner has the Huddersfield fans, players and staff all pulling in the right direction and despite a lack of quality in some areas they’ve survived with an incredible fighting spirit. Aaron Mooy and Jonas Lossl have been two of the standout players for the Terriers but it has been all about the team first mentality which has seen them survive. It will now be intriguing to see if they can follow in the footsteps of Bournemouth in establishing themselves as a PL club. The fairytale continues in West Yorkshire…

Tottenham Hotspur: B+
Yes, there will be plenty of talk about Spurs not mounting a proper challenge for the Premier League title as they did in the past few seasons but Mauricio Pochettino‘s side navigated a season at Wembley in impressive fashion to finish third. Just two defeats at home (to Chelsea and Man City) and another fine season from Harry Kane (30 goals) led Spurs to a top four finish and they came oh so close to making the UEFA Champions League last eight but came unstuck against Juventus despite dominating over two legs. Having the best record of any club in the UCL group stage means a lot and now moving back into their new stadium at White Hart Lane, Spurs can kick on. Dele Alli had an up and down campaign, while Christian Eriksen kicked on and Pochettino’s biggest problem over the summer will be signing players to new deals to stop Europe’s elite from trying to buy them. Daniel Levy runs a tight ship as chairman and you get the sense this Spurs team will stay together for at least one more season in their new stadium. Next season the talk about them not winning silverware will intensify if they start off slow but the latter rarely happens under Poch.

Newcastle United: B+
Rafael Benitez masterminded Newcastle’s survival with a strong defensive core as the Magpies were tough to break down and had some impressive wins, especially at home. With the cloud of Mike Ashley trying to sell the club hanging over the team for most of the season, Benitez focussed the group expertly in the second half of the campaign as they pulled away from the relegation zone. A top 10 finish has to be aim next season and a new owner could turn the Magpies into a top six club if money is available to spend on new players, especially in attack. Benitez has enhanced his reputation massively with the job he has done at St James’ Park and the big win against Chelsea on the final day underlines how much progress they’ve made.

Liverpool: B+
Could be an A if they win the Champions League final against Real Madrid in a few weeks, but Jurgen Klopp should be applauded for the way he has progressed this Liverpool side. Mohamed Salah is the undoubted star as the Premier League’s top goalscorer (32 goals sets a new record for a 38-game season) and the Egyptian is surely leading the discussion of the best players on the planet not named Messi or Ronaldo. Alongside Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, Salah has ripped PL defenses apart all season long as Klopp’s “heavy metal” soccer has been sensational when it clicks. Salah’s brilliance totalled overshadowed Philippe Coutinho‘s departure to Barcelona in January for almost $200 million. Virgil Van Dijk‘s $100 million arrival strengthened Liverpool’s defense (even if there were still some shocking mistakes along the way), while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andrew Robertson have been great pick ups in the transfer market. The Reds look the most likely to seriously challenge Man City for the title next season given their defeats of Guardiola’s side in the league and UCL.

Brighton & Hove Albion: B+
Chris Hughton has to be one of the most underrated managers around. Much like Benitez at Newcastle, the newly-promoted Seagulls relied on a solid defensive unit led by Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk and had the likes of Pascal Gross, Jose Izquierdo and Glenn Murray to deliver goals and assists in attack. A wonderfully well-run club who could become a top 10 team in the next few years. Brighton have quietly gone about their business this season and have had big wins at home against Arsenal and Man United in the second half of the campaign to help seal their top-flight status for another season.

Manchester United: B

Solid season for Jose Mourinho as his team progressed from a sixth-place finish last season (remember: they basically binned the league to focus on the Europa League last season, so it’s a little skewed) to second place, but they’re still so far behind neighbors Man City. Plenty of unanswered questions remain for Mourinho to sort out this summer surrounding the futures of Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and others. The fact that David De Gea is their clear Player of the Season (that’s now four POTY awards in his last five seasons) says it all. Romelu Lukaku has delivered 27 goals in all competitions but losing to Sevilla in the Round of 16 in the Champions League was a big blow. That said, Mourinho can still deliver the FA Cup and finish in second place which isn’t a bad season, all things considered. You feel as though plenty of deadwood will be cut this summer and given the new long-term contract he signed in January, Mourinho will get to spend big, especially defensively, to try and close the gap to City.

Crystal Palace: B
The Eagles had the worst start in PL history ever, losing their opening eight games without scoring a goal. Frank De Boer‘s appointment as boss just didn’t work out as Palace tried to change their brand of soccer but without a squad able to possess the ball and dominate the tempo of games. They reverted to type with Roy Hodgson coming in during September and a solid defensive base restored. Wilfried Zaha‘s return to fitness coincided with a huge upturn in results in the second half of the season as Hodgson led a massive turnaround with the Eagles finishing in 11th. They can be a top 10 team next season, easily, as long as Zaha sticks around. With ambitious plans kicking on to improve their stadium, the fanatical supporters at Selhurst should have plenty to be excited about over the summer.

Chelsea: C+

What a weird season for Chelsea. The reigning champions have seemed to be in a slump almost since the moment they won the title back in May 2017, as Antonio Conte‘s rhetoric has been constantly negative. The Italian coach calling out the Chelsea hierarchy (especially around Nemanja Matic‘s departure) was never going to go well but they came close to doing well in the Champions League but were edged out by Barcelona and Lionel Messi’s brilliance in the Round of 16. Alvaro Morata’s arrival for big money hasn’t gone as planned and Eden Hazard has had an up and down season with Conte falling out with David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Diego Costa leading to awkward situations. They’ve made the FA Cup final against Man United as Conte could sign-off with a trophy in what is expected to be his final game in charge despite having another year on his deal. Plenty of change on the horizon with a new manager expected and perhaps the likes of Hazard and Thibaut Courtois leaving the Bridge.

Leicester City: C+
Pretty peculiar season for the Foxes but overall, has to be a success given the start they had. Craig Shakespeare lost his job following a run of just one win in their first eight games and Claude Puel not only steadied the ship but has pushed them into the top half of the table with runs to the last eight of both the League Cup and FA Cup. That said, Puel is under pressure and may well lose his job as the Leicester fans are unhappy with the slow, possession-based style he prefers. That cost Puel his job at Southampton too but you can’t argue with two top 10 finishes on his resume in his two seasons as a boss in the PL. Jamie Vardy has had a fine season with another 20 goals scored, while Harry Maguire has proved to be an inspired defensive signing and Riyad Mahrez recovered well from the disappointment of not getting his big move to Man City during the January window.

Arsenal: C+
The big story around Arsenal’s season is Arsene Wenger stepping down after almost 22 years in charge of the Gunners. This moment was coming but after a second-straight season finishing outside of the top four, now is a good time for Arsenal to move on. Wenger is a legend and his three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and incredible consistency in securing top four finishes will see his legacy remain intact (just about) despite a slight regression in recent years. The Europa League almost handed Wenger a chance for a fairytale ending to win a European trophy and qualify for the Champions League via the back door but Atletico Madrid ousted the Gunners in the semifinals. Whoever takes charge after Wenger will have a hugely talented but top heavy squad to work with as Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Auabmeyang and Alexander Lacazette are capable of scoring plenty of goals but Arsenal’s defensive deficiencies must be eradicated if they’re going to make up ground and finish in the top four. Intriguing times ahead.

Bournemouth: C+
Four-straight seasons in the Premier League should not be scoffed at but the Cherries spent big last summer and although they picked up some big results in the second half of the season to pull away from the relegation zone, Eddie Howe acknowledged they’ve slightly underachieved after a ninth-place finish in 2016-17. Josh King had a down year, so too did Jermaine Defoe after arriving on big money, while Asmir Begovic had some shaky displays in goal. That said, big wins against Arsenal and Chelsea showed what Bournemouth are capable of and the emergence of Nathan Ake and Lewis Cook proves they have a bright future and Howe’s philosophy of playing attractive, attacking soccer is well and truly intact. Howe may feel like next season may be his last at Bournemouth with some big jobs potentially coming up.

Watford: C
The Hornets were flying early on (just one defeat in their opening eight games had them in the top four) but Marco Silva‘s head was turned by an approach from Everton and that cost the Portuguese coach his job following a massive mid-season slump. New boss Javi Gracia did very well to steady the ship but a season that promised so much has petered out. Keeping hold of Richarlison and Abdoulaye Doucoure will be the main aim for Watford over the summer. A string of defeats late in the season suggests that Gracia could be on thin ice if Watford start next season sluggishly.

Southampton: D
After an almighty scare the Saints survived but this is a huge wake-up call for the South Coast club who had finished in the top eight in each of the past four seasons. Mauricio Pellegrino just didn’t work as manager as his defensive tactics frustrated fans and players alike and amid Virgil van Dijk’s midseason departure Saints went on a run of just one win in 21 PL games and sunk into the relegation zone. Mark Hughes replaced Pellegrino with eight games to go and saved Saints with a fine end of season run which included wins against Bournemouth and Swansea. The talent level of their squad means this shouldn’t happen again (they drew more games than any other team during the season) but if Hughes is given the job full-time he needs to make quite a few changes to his playing squad, especially in central defense. Reaching the FA Cup semifinal was a bonus but staying up was a massive relief for fans. Saints’ new Chinese owners must spend big and redefine the direction of the club after years of selling their best players and letting managers such as Pochettino and Ronald Koeman leave.

Everton: D
Yes, the Toffees finished in the top 10 but this was a season which started with talk of pushing for the top four but soon turned sour with Koeman sacked in October. After huge sums of money were spent on the likes of Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen, the balance of the squad just wasn’t right. Sam Allardyce came in to steady the ship and Everton were never really in a relegation battle from December onwards. That said, there is plenty of fan unrest as Big Sam’s direct style of play isn’t to the liking of Everton’s fans who have routinely booed him. Allardyce has another season on his contract and wants to stay, while Rooney could be off and there are plenty of question marks around the Toffees despite a top 10 finish. With a new stadium move on the horizon, Everton’s fans are hopeful they can get the right manager in but new owner Farhad Moshiri seems to be slowing down any progress by delaying a long-term plan. A season to forget for Everton.

West Ham United: D-
A season of struggle on and off the pitch for the Hammers has ended with Premier League safety but there are so many issues to resolve. Slaven Bilic was sacked after a poor start to the campaign and with fans protesting against owners David Sullivan, David Gold and Karen Brady (which culminated with the ugly pitch invasions at the London Stadium against Burnley) there is a nasty vibe brewing in East London. The move to their new London Stadium home has never worked for the Hammers faithful and despite David Moyes coming in and doing what was asked to keep them in the PL, there hasn’t been much to get excited about. Marko Arnautovic‘s arrival has been key with the Austrian striker superb in the second half of the season with bags of goals and assists. An uncertain future lies ahead.

Swansea City: F
Relegation from the Premier League has been coming for the Swans and it was confirmed after a seven-year stay. Paul Clement couldn’t build on the great escape he masterminded late in the 2016-17 campaign and selling both Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente last summer was a huge sign of what was to come. The Swans looked dead and buried around the turn of the year when Carlos Carvalhal was surprisingly hired but the Portuguese coach had a great impact, at least initially, as they surged up the table. That impact soon wore off as they dropped back into the bottom three and their fate was all but sealed after a crushing 1-0 defeat at home to Southampton in the final week of the season. With Cardiff promoted back to the top-flight for next season Swansea are no longer the top dogs in Wales.

West Bromwich Albion: F
Well, where on earth do we start here? West Brom won their opening two games of the season, then didn’t win for another 21 games. Tony Pulis was fired amid fan unrest over the playing style and Alan Pardew was hired in a disastrous run which saw the Baggies win lose eight games on the spin amid the now infamous “Taxi Gate” taking center stage. Darren Moore took interim charge late in the season and West Brom almost saved themselves with stunning wins against Man United and Tottenham, but there was too much work to do and they were relegated. A squad of players who were solid under Pulis were asked to do something different and West Brom are a case of a club who tried to push the boundaries of what they were too quickly. They should be the favorites to be promoted back to the PL next season, especially if Salomon Rondon and Jay Rodriguez stick around. Boing, boing indeed.

Stoke City: F
Similar to West Brom, Stoke tried to reinvent their style of play but it was an awful campaign for the Potters who were relegated after a 10-year stay in the Premier League. Mark Hughes was fired in January and although Jack Butland (his tears after relegation was secured will be the enduring image of the season) did his best in goal, Stoke shed goals by the bucket load and had the worst defensive record in the Premier League. Xherdan Shaqiri did his best but Paul Lambert just didn’t inspire any confidence in his team, especially going forward, as they coughed up plenty of leads late on to seal their fate. Stoke’s fans are incredibly unhappy and given the poor recruitment decisions from the club (Saido Berahino, Jese and others) you can understand why. It may well be a long, hard struggle for Stoke to get back into the top-flight over the next few seasons.

 

Burnley 1-2 Bournemouth: Substitute Wilson grabs late winner

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Burnley, so defensively sound all season long, slipped up – literally – at the death of the campaign as they lost a lead and fell to Bournemouth 2-1 at Turf Moor. Kevin Long slipped, allowing substitute Callum Wilson to score in second-half stoppage time, giving a great Burnley season a sour finish.

The best early chance fell to Bournemouth as they worked a shot for Lys Mousset in the 22nd minute, but Burnley keeper Nick Pope was best to it, sprawling to his right to keep out the low effort.

Despite slight possessional domination for the visitors through the opening 45 minutes, it was Burnley who picked out more shots, and they grabbed the opener six minutes before halftime on a sloppy strike. A cross from the left baseline looped in from Stephen Ward, and it fell to Chris Wood in all kinds of space on the penalty spot. The Burnley striker popped his shot and it deflected hard off Tyrone Mings to wrong-foot goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and the shot bounded in for the game’s first goal.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Bournemouth started the second half brightly, and had a header by Steve Cook go just wide moments after the break. Their initial spell was stymied by the solid Burnley defense, but the visitors would find an equalizer with 16 minutes to go on a rare mistake at the back by the hosts.

Jermain Defoe came off the bench and immediately had a solid effort, sliding to meet a cross at point-blank range, but Pope was there to impressively parry the effort. However, the home side couldn’t get the ball clear, and Bournemouth latched back onto possession, eventually finding Josh King who delivered a looping shot that tucked inside the top-right corner with no chance for Pope to make another stop.

[ MORE: Final Premier League standings ]

Burnley had one more chance to grab the three points on 87 minutes, but Jack Cork‘s ball in for Sam Vokes was just inches too far, and Begovic could collect easily. Down the other end, Bournemouth had one more chance as well, as substitute Callum Wilson fired low to the left corner, but his shot skittered agonizingly wide.

It seemed wrapped up as the four minutes of stoppage time ticked down, but the Cherries had one more moment to savor at the end of the season as Bournemouth broke. Burnley defender Kevin Long slipped on the ball, and coughed it up to Defoe, and on the two-on-one, Defoe slipped in Wilson for the tap-in with a minute remaining in stoppage time.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The three points for Bournemouth moves them into a 12th-placed finish, holding off West Ham behind them with 44 points. Burnley will end the year in seventh, five points above Everton with 54 on the year, a fantastic finish despite the late hiccup.