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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.

Ayoze Perez hat trick leads Newcastle past Southampton (video)

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  • Newcastle now 10 points clear of 18th
  • Perez scores both Magpies goals
  • Southampton five points ahead of drop zone

Ayoze Perez a hat trick as Newcastle United held off Southampton’s second half charge in a 3-1 win at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Mario Lemina scored a beauty for Saints in a game of high quality goals.

Newcastle goes 12th with 41 points, while Saints remain 16th with 36.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Newcastle wanted a penalty when an early shot from Ayoze Perez was blocked by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg‘s arm.

Miguel Almiron took a Salomon Rondon flick and hit a wayward cross that Angus Gunn slapped wide of the goal.

The dam burst near the half-hour mark, when Perez scored both of his goals.

The first came with a fine, physical dribble right which the Spaniard punctuated with a hard shot across his body and inside the far post.

Then it was 2-0 within four minutes, Perez sliding onto the end of a Rondon cross to slap the ball inside the goal.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Saints deserved a goal and nearly had one through Maya Yoshida before Lemina answered the bell.

Off the bench, the ex-Juve midfielder scored from 21 yards after Stuart Armstrong and Nathan Redmond combined to set the table.

But Matt Ritchie‘s diving header was redirected by Perez for an 87th minute insurance goal and the completion of a fine hat trick.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Perez brings Newcastle three points closer to safety (video)

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  • Perez scored his seventh Premier League goal of the season
  • Almiron played 78 minutes before being substituted
  • Vardy fails to score after three goals in two games
  • Newcastle up to 13th place on 38 points

Ayoze Perez scored a first half header and Newcastle’s stayed resolute against late Leicester City pressure to secure three crucial points on the road. Newcastle defeated Leicester City, 1-0, at the King Power Stadium on Friday evening, with James Maddison nullified at one end and Perez scoring the winner at the other.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

January signing Miguel Almiron was like the energizer bunny, constantly making lung-bursting dribbles forward down the wing or through the heart of the defense to help push the ball out of Newcastle’s half of the field, though he failed to score again.

With the win, Newcastle moves up to 13th place with 38 points, and may have just secured safety in the Premier League for another season. Newcastle now sits ten points above Cardiff, which is in the final place in the drop zone to head back down to relegation. For Leicester, it remains in seventh place, but it has played two more games than eighth-place Wolves. Both clubs are on 47 points in the table.

Leicester City seemed to set out to pass their way through the Newcastle defense, with Rafa Benitez‘s side sitting in a low block and inviting pressure to allow Perez and Almiron to race forward and create counter attacking chances. Newcastle came closest to scoring in the 15th minute, when Solomon Rondon absolutely smashed a curling free kick off the crossbar, before it was headed away to safety by Leicester City.

The Magpies did get on the board finally thanks to some strong dribbling work at first from Almiron. The Paraguayan tried to dribble through two Leicester City defenders before Ricardo Pereira stepped in and knocked the ball away. It fell though right to Matt Ritchie and in the 32nd minute, Ritchie’s near-post cross was flicked past Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel and in for a goal.

Leicester City took the game to Newcastle in the second half, but just couldn’t find its way past the Newcastle backline. Leicester City’s best chance of the match came in the 78th minute. Star forward Jamie Vardy, who had three goals in his last two games, was played through into the box and was one-on-one with Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. However, Vardy’s looping strike went over the bar, the latest of many occasions in which Brendan Rodgers‘ side failed to execute properly in front of goal.

Arsenal beats Newcastle, moves 3rd (video)

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  • Ramsey sees goal pulled back
  • Then bags left-footer off post
  • Arsenal moves third with 63 points
  • Newcastle seven clear of drop zone

Aaron Ramsey‘s first half goal was all Arsenal needed in a tight 2-0 defeat of Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium on Monday.

The win boosts Arsenal into third place in the Premier League, while Newcastle is 14th.

The Gunners visit Everton on Saturday when Newcastle hosts Crystal Palace.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ramsey looked to have put Arsenal ahead off a 13th minute corner kick, but Anthony Taylor spied Sokratis’ hold of Florian Lejeune and the goal did not stand.

Ramsey flicked a ball to send Alexandre Lacazette into the box, and a bobbling ball ended up back in the Welshman’s range for a shot off the far post and into the goal for 1-0 in the 30th minute.

Matt Ritchie made a terrific goal line stop when a free-flowing move from Arsenal saw Alexandre Lacazette spin to lash a shot on goal in the first minute of first half stoppage.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

Arsenal yelled for a penalty kick when Lacazette’s end line cross attempt hit a sliding Paul Dummett‘s arm, but only a corner arrived for the Gunners.

Newcastle keeper dove forward to foil a cross from substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to strike partner Lacazette in the 68th.

Ki Sung-Yueng sent an arrow over the Arsenal goal shortly before the Gunners found their second through the typically clinical Lacazette.

Newcastle grab last-gasp draw at Bournemouth (video)

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  • Ritchie scores stoppage time equalizer
  • King’s double gave Bournemouth the lead
  • 1 defeat in 6 for Newcastle

Bournemouth were haunted by a former star, as Matt Ritchie scored a late, late leveller for Newcastle United at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.

The former Bournemouth winger made it 2-2 in second half stoppage time with a fine volley, in a game played in swirling winds on the South Coast. Salomon Rondon had given Newcastle the lead right on half time, but two Josh King goals looked to have sealed all three points for Bournemouth.

Ritchie’s goal grabbed a point for the Magpies, who now move seven points clear of the relegation zone and are just three points behind Bournemouth who have 38 on the board.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Newcastle had plenty of the ball early on and DeAndre Yedlin was brought down in the box by Charlie Daniels but no penalty kick was given. Ryan Fraser hit the post with a low shot but the game was a scrappy encounter.

Ayoze Perez then sent a shot in on goal which Artur Boruc saved smartly, as the Magpies took the game to the Cherries.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Jefferson Lerma was then lucky to not be sent off as he caught Perez with a late challenge, but that Colombian midfielder was only shown a yellow card.

The wind on the South Coast of England impacted both teams in the first half, but right on half time Rondon gave Newcastle the lead. His stunning free kick, won by Miguel Almiron who almost ran the length of the pitch after a Bournemouth corner, flew in at the near post to put Newcastle 1-0 up.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Bournemouth equalized right at the start of the second half, as they were awarded a penalty kick. Federico Fernandez had his arm around Nathan Ake‘s neck and Mike Dean pointed to the penalty spot. King finished calmly to make it 1-1. Game on.

Moments later Bournemouth should been ahead. Chris Mepham‘s header across goal from a corner went towards Ake and instead of nodding home he got out of the way of the ball as he thought it was going on.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Rondon fired across goal and Matt Ritchie was inches away from knocking home to put Newcastle back ahead in an end-to-end encounter, with Rondon also going down in the box after being pulled back by Callum Wilson but no penalty was given. Lerma then headed over from close range as Bournemouth missed a big chance.

Wilson then thought he had given Bournemouth the lead, but Paul Dummett acrobatically cleared off the line as Newcastle survived a huge scare. Soon after they weren’t so lucky as Dominic Solanke took his time in the box and set up King to sweep home and put Bournemouth 2-1 up late on.

However, the drama wasn’t over. DeAndre Yedlin sent in a cross and Ritchie popped up, in stoppage time, to smash home a beautiful volley to make it 2-2. He then celebrated wildly with the travelling Newcastle fans, as the point gained felt like a win for the Magpies.