Danny Ings

Premier League club grades: The story so far

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We are nearly a third of the way into the 2019-20 Premier League season and the table is finally starting to take shape.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The surprise packages seem here to stay, there are a bunch of teams battling for European qualification, plenty of giants are struggling and it seems like both the title and relegation battles have already started.

Taking all of that into consideration, we feel like 12 games into the season is a very good time to dish out some grades on each PL club based on their performances so far.

Here it goes…


Arsenal: D
Unai Emery is under pressure, big time, as the defensive problems weren’t properly fixed. Add to the mix that Granit Xhaka was handed the captaincy via a player vote, then stripped of it after his outburst following fans celebrating his substitution and things are a bit of a mess. The only reason Arsenal didn’t get an F is because somehow they are still in the top six and well-placed in the Europa League. That said, they are eight points off the top four and Emery needs some big wins fast. His team don’t seem to know what is being asked of them tactically, and he’s almost 18 months into the job. Scary.


Aston Villa: C
This is just about what we expected from Villa on their return to the PL. Dean Smith‘s side are fun to watch and take risks in the final third, but they are naive defensively. They’ve pushed Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal all the way and they’ve picked up some big wins when things click in attack. Villa look set to hover just about the relegation zone this season and look to have enough quality in midfield and attack to stay out of trouble.


Bournemouth: B-
It’s a case of one step forward, one step back for the Cherries. The last few weeks summed that up well as they beat Man United then lost to Newcastle. Defensively they’ve improved massively but Eddie Howe‘s side are now suffering with a lack of clinical finishing in attack. Bournemouth will be well clear of relegation trouble, but a European push still seems a step too far for this young side.


Brighton: B+
Graham Potter‘s arrival has seen the Seagulls play some wonderful stuff, especially at home. Brighton have picked up some big wins and they have a gem in Leandro Trossard and youngster Aaron Connolly has emerged as a regular. Brighton still have a strong defensive core but they are much more adventurous going forward and Potter has got his ideas across to the players very quickly. A great start for a team many tipped as relegation favorites.


Burnley: B
Some very strong displays from the Clarets, as they’ve hammered the likes of Southampton, Norwich and West Ham, plus beat Everton and drew against Villa and Wolves. They are back to their best with a strong defensive unit and Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes are a handful up top. A top 10 finish seems very likely.


Chelsea: A+
It couldn’t have gone any better than this. Frank Lampard‘s first few months as a top-flight manager got off to a slow start but the Blues have won six PL games on the spin and are sitting pretty in the UEFA Champions League. Christian Pulisic has been on fire in the last month and the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori have taken their chances in the first team, not to mention Jorginho and Willian shinning in their new roles as leaders. Chelsea may not be genuine title contenders, but they look certain to finish in the top four. In a season where they were supposed to be hit hard by a transfer ban, that’s very good going. Super Frank, indeed.


Crystal Palace: C+
The Eagles have had their ups and downs and after a fast start they’ve been on a gruelling stretch of games. Wilfried Zaha doesn’t seem fully focused and has looked frustrated, while Roy Hodgson has had to rely on Jordan Ayew for goals. How long will that last? Defensively Gary Cahill appears to be one of the bargains of the season after his free transfer from Chelsea, with the Eagles tough to beat but lacking a little in attack. Palace will be battling for a top 10 finish. Nothing less, nothing more.


Everton: C-
The last few results have improved this grade significantly, as Marco Silva still has so many issues to sort out at Everton. It appears the owners will give him plenty of time and drawing against Spurs and beating Southampton bought him some more of that. But what is Everton’s identity? They now seem to be slipping into a counter-attacking style which suits their players best, and they have to nail down that identity. Everton have the players to push for the top six (the horrible injury to Andre Gomes will make that tougher) but they have underperformed and Silva has been under pressure. Maybe now the pressure has eased (slightly) they can rise up the table.


Leicester City: A+
Brendan Rodgers is working miracles at the King Power Stadium. This young Leicester side have been a revelation so far, with Jamie Vardy leading the PL in goals and finishing off most of the copious chances created by James Maddison, Youri Tielemans and Co. At the other end of the pitch Caglar Soyuncu has replaced Harry Maguire expertly and Wilfred Ndidi is ripping it up as N’Golo Kante’s replacement. The Foxes are perfectly balanced and sit second in the table for a reason. They deserve to be there, but the only worry is who will replace Vardy if he’s injured? If he stays fit, Leicester will finish in the top four. Simple.


Liverpool: A
Unbeaten with 11 wins from their opening 12 games. Not bad, Jurgen, not bad at all. Klopp’s Liverpool are hungry and although they haven’t been at their best for most of this season they are ruthless in attack and dogged in defense. Sadio Mane has taken his game to a new level and Fabinho is shielding the back four superbly. They are eight points clear but know how quickly those leads can evaporate. Still, pretty much the perfect start for Liverpool as the reigning European champs are the red-hot favorites to secure their first league title for over 30 years. If injuries are kind to them, there is no way they will let this lead slip this time.


Man City: B
Pep Guardiola‘s side have been hit hard by defensive injuries early in the season and the defending champs will rue not signing a new center back in the summer. With Aymeric Laporte going down, they’ve had to put Fernandinho at center back with Otamendi and Stones all over the place. Ederson‘s recent injury was also a blow as going forward they’ve been sublime but defensively there have been huge issues, as the defeats against Norwich and Liverpool proved. Nine points off the top early on, can Man City claw this back? It is going to take a superhuman effort, plus a Liverpool collapse, to do that. Guardiola’s side may soon go ‘all-in’ on chasing that Champions League trophy.


Man United: C+
What a weird start to the season for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s young side. They’ve beaten Chelsea and Leicester and drawn against Liverpool and Arsenal, but they’ve also lost to Newcastle, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and West Ham. A real mixed bag, which is what you can expect with such a young team out there week in, week out, and because of injuries. When Rashford, Martial and James are fit, they look so dangerous in attack and at least there is a plan in place and a style of play. Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have shored things up at the back and United now need a midfield playmaker to step forward to dictate games. Expect them to make a move in the January window for a Bruno Fernandes type, while a top four finish isn’t out of the question but is looking unlikely after a topsy-turvy start.


Newcastle United: B-
Things have gone surprisingly well for Steve Bruce‘s side so far. Anarchy was in the air among the Toon Army in the summer but wins against Spurs and Man United calmed things down, and they’ve just beat West Ham and Bournemouth back-to-back. Relegation could still be on the cards, but for now the Magpies are looking solid defensively and are tough to beat. Joelinton and Miguel Almiron are struggling to produce in attack and long-term that seems to be their biggest problem.


Norwich City: C
It all started so well as Teemu Pukki couldn’t stop scoring and they beat Man City to spark wild scenes at Carrow Road. That was in September and Norwich haven’t won since. There’s no doubt defensive injuries have hit Daniel Farke‘s side hard and the players they have are adventurous but seem to be taking too many chances in possession. Pukki has been an isolated figure in recent weeks but if they can get him the ball in dangerous areas, he will finish. There’s a long way to go but Norwich sit bottom and look destined for relegation. But maybe Pukki is ready to fire up another #PukkiParty…


Sheffield United: A
The newly-promoted Blades have been one of the stories of the season so far as they sit in fifth place. We’ve all heard about their overlapping center backs and Chris Wilder being adamant they won’t change their style of play, but one of the biggest plus points from their opening few months back in the PL has been their work rate. Every play on this Sheffield United team knows their job and works their socks off. They play as a unit and have given some of the big boys big wake-up calls (they’ve beat Arsenal, drawn against Chelsea and Tottenham and only lost late on against Liverpool). The way they commit players forward is refreshing and they have brought something totally different to the PL. They should easily stay up.


Southampton: F
What a disastrous start for Saints in Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s first full season in charge. They didn’t make the correct offseason additions and were hamstrung by previous poor signings they couldn’t offload. Danny Ings has been the only bright spot so far as he’s scored seven goals in all competitions, but Saints have the worst defense in the league. They were smashed 9-0 at home by Leicester City and they sit second from bottom in the table. It’s true that the fixtures machine wasn’t kind to them for the start of the season, but they now have a very winnable run of games coming up. If they are still in the bottom three in mid-December, they look certain for relegation.


Tottenham Hotspur: D-
A summer of discontent has rumbled on into the fall and now the winter as Mauricio Pochettino‘s mood swings sum up the current situation at Spurs. Eriksen, Vertonghen, Alderweireld and Rose all want to leave but contract situations haven’t been sorted out by Daniel Levy and this has become one heck of a mess. Spurs sit in 14th place in the table, 11 points off the top four, and they look a shell of the hungry, determined side which overachieved season after season since 2015. Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son are trying their best to score goals and lead the team but something isn’t right behind-the-scenes and Pochettino has a huge job on his hands to push for a top four finish.


Watford: D-
It has taken them 12 games to get a win but the recent signs have been good for the Hornets. After sacking Javi Gracia and bringing in former manager Quique Sanchez Flores they have shored things up defensively overall (let’s forget that 8-0 loss at Man City) and they’ve now drawn games against Spurs, Arsenal and Sheffield United. The win against Norwich gave them belief they can pick things up in the second half of the season and with Troy Deeney set to return they will now have more of a threat in the final third alongside Gerard Deulofeu. Goalkeeper Ben Foster has been superb so far and Watford will need to keep improving defensively if they’re going to get out of the bottom three. They certainly have the talent to do so.


West Ham United: D
Worrying times for Manuel Pellegrini as the Hammers enjoyed a good start but haven’t won since September. West Ham spent big again in the summer and they’re in danger of being sucked into the relegation battle. Declan Rice is struggling for form, so too is Sebastien Haller, and the loss of Lukas Fabianski to injury was a hammer blow (pardon the pun) as Roberto has struggled massively since replacing him in goal. West Ham shouldn’t be in a relegation scrap but it looks like a bleak winter is ahead.


Wolverhampton Wanderers: B-
Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side are ticking over very nicely after a slow start with their small squad seeming to get up to pace of the Thursday-Sunday grind with the Europa League. Raul Jimenez is on fire and although they’re making defensive mistakes, Wolves are able to bounce back better this season when they’ve fallen behind. They should be battling for another top seven finish as well as going on a deep run in the Europa League.

Everton grab huge win at Saints

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Everton beat Southampton 2-1 at St Mary’s on Saturday as Marco Silva‘s men dug deep to secure their first Premier League away win of the season.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Tom Davies gave them the lead but Danny Ings equalized for a much-improved Saints in the second half. However, Richarlison bagged the winner 15 minutes from time as the Toffees continue their fightback.

With the win Everton move on to 14 points, while Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s Southampton remain on eight points and are second from bottom in the table.


3 things we learned

1. Everton dig deep and finally win away: For the first time in nine PL games the Toffees won on the road. They deserved it and after a tough week following Andre Gomes’ horrendous injury, Marco Silva’s side answered their critics. They had a wobble around half time as they let Saints back in but as soon as they scored the second goal they didn’t look like letting their lead slip. Everton looked much better going forward as Walcott, Tosun and Richarlison caused havoc with Sigurdsson pulling the strings. Everton have to win games like this to push themselves towards a top seven finish.

2. Poor defending cost Saints again: In the first half Saints could have been three or four down and they didn’t really deserve to still be in the game at the start of the second half. They didn’t have a recognized right back or left back on the pitch as Hasenhuttl has totally lost faith in some of his defenders after their poor recent displays. Two crosses to the back post led to Everton’s goals and if they had proper full backs in those positions, maybe the positioning would have been better. Saints have the worst defensive record in the PL and after two successful relegation battles in the past two years, they now look destined for the drop unless things change drastically.

3. Hasenhuttl’s time running out: His strange formation and personnel decisions show he is a desperate man and Hasnehuttl is coming up to one year in charge of Saints. His time is running out. Saints are now second from bottom and three points from safety. They face Arsenal, Watford, Norwich and Newcastle in their next four games and nothing less than three wins will do.

Man of the Match: Richarlison – Scored the winning goal and his pace caused Southampton all kinds of problems. The Brazilian was the difference in a game between two teams lacking in confidence.


Saints started well as they aimed to get on the front foot but they were then dealt a hammer blow.

Everton then took the lead with poor defending from Southampton as Sigurdsson’s corner was flicked on by Holgate and an unmarked Davies at the back post as he made it 1-0 with a simple finish.

Cenk Tosun then missed a glorious chance as Jack Stephens tackled the Turkish striker superbly.

Sigurdsson then whipped in a lovely delivery which almost found Yerry Mina to make it 2-0.

Theo Walcott then got free down the right again and forced Alex McCarthy into a fine save at his near post.

Everton dominated the first half as Southampton failed to deliver any dangerous moments in attack.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Sofiane Boufal came on at half time and Saints improved immediately.

The Moroccan winger smashed Saints’ first shot on goal and then dribbled towards towards and crossed for Ings to tap home and make it 1-1.

Some poor defensive work from Saints then set up Sigurdsson who had his shot tipped over my McCarthy as the game became and end-to-end encounter late on.

Tosun dragged an effort across goal, while Jordan Pickford denied James Ward-Prowse‘s fine free kick with an equally good save.

Richarlison was causing problems up top for Southampton as there was extreme pressure for both teams late in the second half.

Mason Holgate flicked a header inches over as Everton pushed hard for their first away win of the season.

And it arrived as Djibril Sidibe‘s cross was finished by Richarlison to make it 2-1.

Lucas Digne then whipped the ball in for sub Alex Iwobi who had a shot deflected wide and another one deflected onto the post, as Everton eased to victory and piled more misery on Southampton.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Our latest Premier League player Power Rankings have landed.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Matchweek nine provided plenty of star performances, with eight new entries in our top 10. Man City, Chelsea, Everton and Leicester City are all well represented in our rankings this week.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


1. Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea) – Even
2. Youri Tielemans (Leicester City) – New entry
3. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – New entry
4. David Silva (Man City) – New entry
5. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – New entry
6. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – Up 12
7. Raul Jimenez (Wolves) – New entry
8. Daniel James (Man United) – New entry
9. Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford) – New entry
10. Theo Walcott (Everton) – New entry
11. Jorginho (Chelsea) – Down 8
12. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Down 2
13. Andre Gomes (Everton) – New entry
14. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Down 9
15. Dean Henderson (Sheffield United) – Even
16. Rui Patricio (Wolves) – Down 3
17. Gabriel Jesus (Man City) – New entry
18. John Lundstram (Sheffield United) – New entry
19. Danny Ings (Southampton) – New entry
20. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – New entry

Wolves grab draw against stubborn Saints

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Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton battled to a 1-1 draw at Molineux on Saturday, as Danny Ings‘ goal was canceled out by a Raul Jimenez penalty kick.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

After Jimenez had two goals correctly ruled out for offside in the first half, Saints took the lead as Ings made the most of a defensive mistake. However, VAR then confirmed a penalty to Wolves and Jimenez scored amid controversy to grab them a point.

Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side have 11 points, while Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s Southampton have eight and they’ll be happier with a point than Wolves.


3 things we learned

1. VAR drama gets two correct, one wrong: Jimenez’s two goals in the first half were correctly ruled out by VAR, but a big call in the second half went in Wolves’ favor. The referee awarded a penalty kick when Matt Doherty went down in the box but it looked harsh as Yoshida and Hojbjerg did their best to stay out of the way of the stumbling right wing back. It was harsh on Saints and VAR should have overturned the decision.

2. Ings in fine form for Saints: Danny Ings is perfect for this system under Hasenhuttl. He has now scored goals against Spurs, Liverpool and Wolves by pouncing on defensive errors and Saints’ high-pressing game now had someone who can deliver an end product. Yes, Saints and Ings won’t be happy with not holding on to win this game, but Ings has five goals in his last four games and six for the season. If Ings stays fit, he will keep Southampton in the Premier League.

3. One step forward, two back for Wolves: After beating Watford and Man City back-to-back ahead of the break, Wolves finally got their first wins on the board this season. But they huffed and puffed against Saints and were a little lucky to nick a point. Just like last season, they play better against the big boys and struggled to break down more defensive-minded teams at the bottom of the table. That has to change if Wolves are going to challenge for European qualification once again.

Man of the Match: Raul Jimenez – He got his goal from the penalty spot, had two others disallowed and his constant clever movement, dropping deep and holding the ball up caused Saints many issues. Mexico’s striker ended his mini-drought and played superbly well.


It was all Wolves early as Joao Moutinho fired just over and Saints couldn’t get going as an attacking force.

Raul Jimenez thought he had given Wolves the lead but he handled the ball when controlling and then scored, but VAR was then used as he was handed a yellow card.

Wolves’ Ryan Bennett had to come off injured and Jesus Vallejo replaced him, as Nuno Espirito Santo was forced to reshuffle his defense.

Saints improved as the first half wore on with Danny Ings and Nathan Redmond causing Wolves problems, as the former was played in by the latter but Conor Coady blocked.

Wolves thought they had taken the lead once again just before the break as Jimenez scored after Cutrone’s flicked effort goalwards was pushed away by Angus Gunn. Despite Wolves’ celebrations, VAR again denied the goal in what was the correct decision.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

At the start of the second half Saints had a great chance to take the lead as Vallejo gave the ball away and Ings was through on goal but his low shot was tame and Rui Patricio saved.

Ings did then put Southampton ahead, as the in-form striker finished well after Vallejo and Coady got themselves in a mess and Saints made the most of it.

But Saints’ lead didn’t last long, as Wolves were awarded a penalty kick as Doherty went down after a tangle with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. After VAR was used, the penalty was given and Jimenez scored to make it 1-1, but Southampton were far from happy with the decision.

James Ward-Prowse saw a free kick saved well and neither team pushed too hard for the win late on as a draw was probably a fair result.

Chelsea breeze past Southampton

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SOUTHAMPTON — Chelsea beat Southampton 4-1 at St Mary’s on Sunday, as Frank Lampard‘s side moved up the fifth in the Premier League table.

[ MORE: How did Pulisic perform? ]

Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante all scored in the first half to set the Blues on their way and even though Danny Ings pulled a goal back, Michy Batshuayi‘s late goal did the damage.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

With the win Chelsea now have 14 points, while Saints remain on seven points.


3 things we learned

1. Jorginho, Kante run the show: The attacking duo of Mount and Abraham will get plenty of the plaudits, but Kante and Jorginho were sublime in midfield. Kante scored, via a deflection, and Jorginho was at the heart of everything good Chelsea did going forward, as well as clearing an effort off the line and doing the dirty work. The two defensive midfielders set the tone for this Chelsea win and their intelligence on the ball and in terms of positioning gave them a platform to win this game.

2. Chelsea’s defensive fragilities on show: Even though it was a fairly routine win in the end, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea have only kept one clean sheet in their opening eight games of the season. Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori looked a a little shaky in possession, as a better team would have scored three of four times. Addressing the top-heavy nature of this Chelsea side is a must if they’re going to finish in the top four.

3. Saints’ tough season gets tougher: Once again Southampton were their own worst enemies as three big defensive errors led to goals in the first half. James Ward-Prowse, Jan Bednarek and Jan Valery were all at fault, as only two PL teams have conceded more goals than Saints so far this season. With games against Wolves, Man City, Everton, Leicester and Arsenal coming up, Saints will likely be in the bottom three when December rolls around.

Man of the Match: Callum Hudson-Odoi – The winger played a perfect ball over the top for the opening goal and was lively throughout. The 18-year-old oozed quality on the ball and made superb runs inside all game long.


Saints started brightly as Nathan Redmond fired over and their high-pressing caused Chelsea’s defense some issues.

At the other end Abraham fired a shot on target which Angus Gunn saved and some hefty challenges started to fly in as Shane Long put himself about.

Chelsea then took the lead with their first big chance of the game as after a poor giveaway in midfield, Callum Hudson-Odoi dinked the ball over the top and Abraham lobbed home a wonderful finish.

The Blues doubled their lead after another Saints mistake, as Jan Bednarek’s header was short and Jorginho picked out Mount to fire home.

Mount then missed the target twice and just when it looked like Chelsea would run away with it, Saints pulled one back. Yan Valery went on a mazy run past four Chelsea players and into the box, and his cut-back found Ings as the ball went in off him and Kurt Zouma to make it 2-1.

Before half time Chelsea restored their half time lead as Marcos Alonso was allowed plenty of time and space on the left and his pass found Kante, who’s shot deflected off Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and in.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Gunn denied Hudson-Odoi at the start of the second half as the Blues dominate possession and Saints barely threatened.

Alonso’s cross was almost knocked into his own net by Maya Yoshida as Chelsea click through the gears in the final stages.

Ings headed wide as Southampton tried to push for a way back into the game, but Chelsea sealed the win in style.

USMNT star Christian Pulisic jumped off the bench and cracked Saints’ defense open with a lovely pass as fellow sub Batshuayi slammed home to make it 4-1.