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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.

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

Red-hot Burnley beat Cardiff amid penalty kick drama (video)

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  • Burnley win third-straight match
  • Cardiff lose 6 of last 7 games
  • Penalty kick awarded to Cardiff, taken away

Burnley beat Cardiff City 2-0 at Turf Moor on Saturday, as the Clarets all but secured their Premier League safety with a third-straight win.

Chris Wood scored twice, once in each half, as Burnley battled past a spirited Cardiff side who came up short once again. Neil Warnock and his players were apoplectic with rage as Mike Dean and his fellow officials first awarded a penalty kick when it was 1-0, but after a lengthy consultation took it away as Ben Mee‘s handball was adjudged to have been accidental.

With the win Burnley move on to 39 points, while Cardiff have 28 points and are five points from safety. The play against the team they’re closest to, Brighton, on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Burnley started off superbly and Wood should have put the Clarets ahead, as the in-form striker sent his close range header against the post.

Cardiff improved after a shaky start, but Burnley created the better chances.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Dwight McNeil picked up the ball on the edge of the box but curled just wide of the goal. Ashley Westwood then had a great chance to put Burnley ahead as he went clean through but hit his shot straight at Neil Etheridge.

Wood then put Burnley ahead, as McNeil’s in-swinging corner was nodded home by the New Zealand international to make it 1-0. Moments later Westwood then went clean through but his shot was saved well by Etheridge who rushed off his line.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Burnley then handed Cardiff a lifeline (literally) as Ben Mee twice handled in the box in quick succession, and on the second occasion a penalty kick was awarded as Mike Dean was helped out by the officials. But that decision was then overturned by Dean after talking to his linesman, much to the disgust of Warnock and the Cardiff players.

Harry Arter fired inches over soon after that contentious incident, as Cardiff came flying out of the traps in the second half.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Junior Hoilett then wasted a glorious chance as Kenneth Zohore picked him out but the Canadian winger skied the ball over the bar.

Ashley Barnes and Mee both went close late on for Burnley, while Cardiff appealed for a penalty kick in stoppage time as James Tarkowski appeared to block a shot from Bruno Manga with his arm.

Wood added his and Burnley’s second in stoppage time to complete the win and rub further salt into Cardiff’s wounds as they are hanging in the Premier League by a thread.

PL AT HALF: Saints, Burnley, Bournemouth lead; Cardiff in trouble

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Following Tottenham’s 4-0 defeat of Huddersfield Town, we’re not quite seeing the same blitz of goals across four 10 a.m. ET Saturday kickoffs in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Brighton 0-1 Bournemouth

A well-worked 1-2 between Dan Gosling and Callum Wilson has the former on the score sheet, as Brighton seems destined to stay in the Premier League if only by virtue of Cardiff’s continued struggles.

Fulham 0-0 Everton

The relegated Cottagers look up for the challenge of Marco Silva‘s in-form Toffees, with Aleksandar Mitrovic hitting the bar.

Burnley 1-0 Cardiff City

Chris Wood is the goal scorer at Turf Moor, as Burnley is handling Cardiff in a must-win for the visitors.

Southampton 2-1 Wolves

Nathan Redmond has scored twice as Saints bagged an early goal and answered Willy Boly‘s equalizer within two minutes at St. Mary’s.