Premier League end-of-season grades: Sky Sports’ writers assess all 20 clubs after the 2021/22 campaign

At the finish of a season that noticed Manchester City retain their title, Burnley, Watford and Norwich relegated and Liverpool come nearer than any English facet ever has to successful the Quadruple, Sky Sports’ soccer writers hand out end-of-season grades to all 20 Premier League clubs.

Arsenal: B-

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the match between Arsenal and Everton in the Premier League

Another season of regular progress below Mikel Arteta, regardless of falling simply in need of the Champions League locations. The Gunners had dragged themselves again into the top-four race previous to assembly Tottenham in mid-May – with that recreation in the end establishing who acquired a seat at the desk of Europe’s elite and who was compelled to accept the subsequent smartest thing.

All six of Arsenal’s everlasting signings have been aged 23 or below final summer season and epitomises Arteta’s dedication to youth, though some would argue therein lies the root reason behind their end-of-season stutter. They crave management or a figurehead to show to when issues aren’t falling their method. The common age of Arsenal’s beginning XI was the youngest in the high flight by fairly a long way (24 years 230 days) final time period and subsequently a give attention to supplementing that youthful vibrancy with expertise in the subsequent switch window would serve Arteta nicely. Intricate passing strikes which find yourself in mouth-watering targets (Emile Smith-Rowe at Chelsea) are again, although, and sign the begin of a return to the Arsenal of previous.

  • Writers’ end-of-season verdicts: De Bruyne, Salah and Eriksen amongst the finest
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Aston Villa: C

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Steven Gerrard says ending 14th in the Premier League is not adequate after Aston Villa’s 1-1 draw with Burnley

Aston Villa went into the campaign with aspirations of ending in the high half of the Premier League for the first time in 11 years, particularly after spending practically £100m on 9 new gamers in the summer season. However, 5 consecutive defeats in the autumn spelled the finish for supervisor Dean Smith and had the membership going through as much as a battle in opposition to relegation.

New boss Steven Gerrard efficiently navigated the staff away from that destiny and has helped to convey some extent of optimism again to Villa Park together with his attacking model of soccer, plus his skill to steer the likes of Lucas Digne and Philippe Coutinho to affix the trigger. However, a run of simply two wins from their final 11 league video games noticed Villa end 14th and means they go into subsequent season with loads of room for enchancment.

Brentford: A

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Brentford supervisor Thomas Frank says he’s constructive Christian Eriksen would possibly keep at the membership at the finish of the season and says they nonetheless have loads to supply the participant

What a breath of recent air Brentford have been – the solely promoted staff to exhibit any endurance this time period, 74 years after their final top-flight foray. A sensational opening-night victory over Arsenal set the tone for the season, as Thomas Frank masterminded a collection of standout outcomes to complete 11 factors above the drop zone and 5 shy of the high half. They might want to guard in opposition to ‘second season syndrome’, which has plagued the likes of Sheffield United and Leeds in latest campaigns, however the Bees look destined for continued success.

They play a horny, virtually endearing model of soccer, which advantages the enchantment of the Premier League enormously – commendable on such a shoestring funds. Christian Eriksen was an impressed January addition and typified the feel-good issue operating by way of the cloth of Brentford’s model new Community Stadium – a healthful story which neatly sums up their rise to the large time.

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  • Writers’ end-of-season verdicts: De Bruyne, Salah and Eriksen amongst the finest

Brighton: A

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Brighton boss Graham Potter stated he was extraordinarily pleased with his facet after they achieved their highest ever end in the Premier League

It’s unattainable to present Brighton something aside from the highest grade after Graham Potter led them to their best-ever league end. The Seagulls progressed from the decrease mid-table inserting that they had recorded in the earlier 4 seasons to complete ninth this time period, regardless of an 11-game winless run in the first half of the campaign and a six-game dropping streak in the new yr.

Potter’s facet made up for these spells by recording a collection of spectacular outcomes in opposition to the league’s large hitters, together with victories at Arsenal and Tottenham and a 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United at the Amex Stadium. If Brighton can maintain onto Potter and thrilling abilities comparable to Marc Cucurella and Alexis Mac Allister, then the future is brilliant on the south coast.

Burnley: F

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Burnley caretaker supervisor Mike Jackson was devastated for his facet and followers after getting relegated on the closing day of the season

Most of Burnley’s season makes for pretty grim studying. Perhaps sacking Sean Dyche was the unsuitable name in hindsight, though the Clarets gained three league video games on the bounce for the first time since April 2019 below the stewardship of Mike Jackson. Burnley are a facet who scarcely pulled off large outcomes however typically managed to take factors off groups round them – hardly an revolutionary strategy nevertheless it labored, till now.

Suffice to say Burnley’s trump card got here unstuck this time period. They solely gained 4 of their 18 matches in opposition to bottom-half sides, which is nicely under the essential when staying in the Premier League rests totally on beating three different sides’ factors tallies. Anecdotally, it is completely potential that Dyche will reappear in the high flight earlier than Burnley, though a disastrous opening 21-game run which contained one lonely victory in the end spelled the starting of the finish for the membership’s six-year keep. A file that will not simply be forgotten.

Chelsea: C+

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Thomas Tuchel says he has taken pleasure from guiding the Chelsea gamers by way of the further calls for attributable to the membership’s possession state of affairs

Chelsea’s campaign is probably the hardest to grade as there was merely a lot drama packed into 9 months. There’s no denying that going toe-to-toe with a generational Liverpool facet in successive cup finals and securing Champions League soccer for a fourth successive season, all whereas the membership’s future was in severe doubt, was a powerful feat. But on the different hand, how happy ought to a membership that went into the season as European champions be with dropping two cup finals and failing to mount a push for the Premier League title for the fifth season in a row?

The underwhelming performances of file signing Romelu Lukaku have been one other disappointment, as was seeing their bid to retain the Champions League finish at the quarter-final stage. Lifting the European Super Cup and Club World Cup ensured the trophy cupboard stays nicely stocked, however Chelsea would have hoped for extra after they started what turned out to be a rollercoaster of a season.

Crystal Palace: B-

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Patrick Vieira says ‘it is at all times good to be nominated’ after it was revealed he was on the shortlist for supervisor of the yr

Preparing for all times with out Roy Hodgson seemed tough final yr. Twelve months on, Crystal Palace are thriving below Patrick Vieira’s enigmatic fashion. A Twelfth-place end and an FA Cup semi-final look at Wembley represents evolution at Selhurst Park, albeit with room for enchancment.

Let us not overlook the final main change in Palace’s hierarchy proved to be considerably of a misadventure, with Frank de Boer’s tenancy lasting simply 4 league video games and spanning an underwhelming 77 days. Honourable point out goes to Conor Gallagher as the Eagles’ star performer, nonetheless the improvement of everlasting acquisitions deserves equal recognition – be careful for the continued rise of Eberechi Eze, Marc Guehi and Michael Olise subsequent season.

Everton: D

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Everton’s win in opposition to Crystal Palace in the Premier League that ensured the Toffees’ top-flight standing

Everton might have ended the campaign on a excessive after avoiding relegation with a euphoric comeback win in opposition to Crystal Palace at a rocking Goodison Park, however the truth they have been even at risk of taking place means this season was a disappointing one for the Toffees.

In hindsight, the appointment of former Liverpool supervisor Rafa Benitez was an enormous mistake, and he left lower than seven months after arriving, with the membership going through as much as the actuality of dropping their Premier League standing for the first time. Frank Lampard got here in and united a fractured membership, however the former Chelsea boss now has an enormous summer season forward of him as he seems to be to rebuild a squad that recorded Everton’s worst league end in 18 years.

Leeds: E

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Watch Jesse Marsch give a strong speech praising his staff’s by no means say die perspective after his Leeds United facet survived relegation on the closing day with a final minute victory over Brentford (Pictures: @LUFC Twitter)

By stark distinction to their first season again in the Premier League, Leeds have didn’t dwell as much as their billing. Disaster was averted on a dramatic final-day shootout with Brentford, however assessing their campaign as an entire reveals main frailties. The impression of a threadbare squad, the lack of Marcelo Bielsa and an unexpected nice escape are all themes that finest summarise Leeds’ abject season.

Bielsa underpinned every thing that was good about Leeds when securing a momentous return to the high flight in 2020; a soccer purist who had restored the Yorkshire membership to its former glory after a 16-year wait. “He is the best manager in the world,” midfielder Kalvin Philips exclaimed when Leeds gained promotion. Moving on from the Argentine has been a tough process, not least as a result of his imprint is on the membership’s philosophy off the pitch and its taking part in fashion on it. The unpredictability of Leeds made them so arduous to play in opposition to, however that was moderately stripped away this season. Jesse Marsch now has a whole summer season to impart his methodology on the squad he inherited in February, with enchancment wanted throughout the board if the Whites are to keep away from a repeat of this season’s cube with hazard.

Leicester: B-

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the match between Leicester and Southampton in the Premier League

Some might argue this grade is beneficiant, however there is a sturdy case to be made that Leicester have grow to be victims of their very own success. The Foxes’ wage invoice is estimated to rank in the center of the Premier League pack, so an eighth-place end isn’t any underachievement by that metric. Brendan Rodgers additionally oversaw a Community Shield victory in opposition to Manchester City to comply with final season’s historic FA Cup success, whereas they reached the semi-finals of the inaugural Europa Conference League.

An incapability to defend set items helped to make sure Leicester had the leakiest defence in the high half of the Premier League, and Rodgers has been open about his want to clean up his squad, which means the supervisor has issues to work on this summer season. But the feeling stays that the Foxes’ 2021/22 campaign was most likely extra spectacular than it gave the impression to be at the time.

Liverpool: A-

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Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson says lifting the Champions League trophy in 2019 has been the pinnacle of his profession and believes the gamers and the followers deserve extra success this season

Trophies, trophies and doubtlessly extra trophies. A home cup double is already in the bag for Liverpool, however what they actually need their fingers on is Champions League silverware, with the competitors reaching its climax on May 28. After lacking out on the Premier League title by a single level, this weekend’s showdown in opposition to Real Madrid has the potential to be Jurgen Klopp’s crowning glory. Expectations have been excessive from the outset and so they’ve matched them, though you get the sense that this season can be predominantly judged on Saturday’s European showpiece. It will not full a Quadruple, however a historic treble is not vastly far behind.

The acquisition of Luis Diaz in January represents one other triumph for the Reds this season; he performs his half of their prolific entrance three as if he is been a everlasting fixture for years. Six targets and 5 assists in 25 appearances has added an additional spark to Liverpool’s three-pronged assault, and he might nicely make the distinction when Klopp’s facet inevitably go toe-to-toe with Man City in the hunt for extra honours subsequent time period. Oh and Mo Salah is staying – that is very important!

Manchester City: A-

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After a frantic finale to the finish of the 2021-2022 season, we check out how Manchester City gained their sixth Premier League title

Pep Guardiola’s overseeing of Manchester City’s fourth title in 5 seasons means we’re in the midst of considered one of the most dominant spells by a staff and supervisor in Premier League historical past. City’s consistency – in addition to the incontrovertible fact that they and Liverpool are streets forward of the different 18 sides – means we are able to generally take their brilliance with no consideration, however holding off Jurgen Klopp’s staff to win the league but once more is a significantly spectacular feat.

However, the beautiful late collapse at the fingers of Real Madrid that ended their pursuit of a maiden Champions League casts a shadow over the campaign, whereas Guardiola can be sad at his facet’s failure to win considered one of the home cups for the first time in 5 seasons. But with Erling Haaland on the method, do not be shocked to see City’s league dominance proceed.

Manchester United: D

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Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick says that unforced errors throughout their loss to Crystal Palace is indicative of their performances this final couple of weeks

There is little place to cover in the purple facet of Manchester. Having been eclipsed by their sky blue neighbours some years in the past, Manchester United’s decline reached new lows this season. The Red Devils completed the campaign with their lowest factors tally in Premier League historical past, whereas Ralf Rangnick left the membership with the lowest win charge of any United boss to handle in the high flight. Perhaps not many supporters, or pundits for that matter, would have linked United with silverware this time period, however none predicted the sheer scale of the demise that unfolded.

A rebuilding job is what faces incoming supervisor Erik ten Hag this summer season, with options an entire squad overhaul is important to get United again on the pathway Alex Ferguson so famously carved out when his facet reigned supreme for thus a few years in the Nineties and 2000s. A profoundly humbling season reached its head on the closing day as Rangnick bid farewell with a 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace – what a moist solution to exit.

Newcastle: B-

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TV presenting duo – and Newcastle followers – Ant and Dec took to the discipline to congratulate Newcastle gamers after a 2-0 win in opposition to Arsenal

It’s arduous to image a fanbase which might be extra optimistic than Newcastle’s appear to be proper now, which is attention-grabbing given their facet have simply recorded their fifth successive mid-table end in the Premier League. Perhaps beginning the season with out a win of their first 11 video games – a run of type that led to Steve Bruce’s dismissal – means ending eleventh is extra creditable than it appears.

Newcastle supporters might argue that Eddie Howe deserves an ‘A’ for dragging the membership away from relegation hazard, however the former Bournemouth boss solely gained considered one of his first 9 video games, with the victories solely coming extra incessantly as soon as the new house owners started spending in the switch market. In reality, a mix of Howe’s strategies taking maintain and new signings elevating the high quality of his squad was probably answerable for Newcastle’s enchancment in the second half of the season – however with better assets will come better expectations.

Norwich: F

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Dean Smith feedback on his facet’s lack of targets this campaign and targets areas to bolster his squad for subsequent season in the Championship

Another alternative to grow to be a Premier League mainstay has come and gone for Norwich, simply because it has finished many instances earlier than. Deja vu maybe? The Canaries have now achieved, or moderately accrued, a Premier League-high six relegations. Maybe a modicum of consolation will be taken from the incontrovertible fact that Fulham, fellow yo-yoers, can be in the high flight subsequent season thus eliminating some competitors when making an attempt to be reinstated – though the second tier is packed filled with promotion contenders subsequent time period.

What is probably most disappointing is that Norwich failed to enhance on 2019/20’s exhibiting. In truth, throughout the previous 4 seasons, the Canaries have completed both twentieth in the Premier League or first in the Championship. For now, a one-season keep is all they’ll muster. But count on Norwich to be in competition once more subsequent yr, as their sample of inevitability cycles on. They are at the least in good fingers below Dean Smith.

Southampton: D

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Southampton supervisor Ralph Hasenhuttl was inspired by his facet’s efficiency of their defeat in opposition to Liverpool however says they have to be higher subsequent season

The truth Southampton have not too long ago parted methods with three of their first-team teaching employees says loads about how their season unravelled. Some highs, juxtaposed with a large number of lows. What seems to canine Saints yr on yr, season on season, regardless of who the supervisor, is inconsistency. Early season promise pales into insignificance, or an excellent run of mid-season outcomes ushers in an end-of-season collapse. It’s tough to know what Southampton facet will arrive on any given day. Consider a 6-0 drubbing in opposition to Chelsea and a 1-0 victory over Arsenal all in the house of per week in April.

Certainly, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s fashion is thrilling; aggressive press, youthful exuberance, abundance of targets (at each ends of the pitch). But it feels as if that philosophy is unsustainable throughout a whole season. The naivety of youth performs its half – Saints have the third youngest group by common age (25.71) – however that truth alone can not shoulder all of the blame. What is spectacular, nonetheless, is how Hasenhuttl has guided Saints away from relegation fodder on a particularly modest funds – if backed in the summer season by the membership’s new possession mannequin, there might be a turning of the tide on the south coast. But do not rely on it.

Tottenham: B+

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Antonio Conte says Tottenham’s fourth-place end is considered one of the greatest achievements of his managerial profession

Tottenham’s season started with victory over champions Manchester City in Nuno Espirito Santo’s first recreation, however that was nearly as good because it acquired for the former Wolves boss, who was sacked after simply 4 months on the again of 5 defeats in seven video games. The dismissal of Nuno after such a brief spell in cost was a recognition by Spurs that they had made a mistake in appointing the Portuguese, however changing him with Antonio Conte proved to be a masterstroke.

The charismatic ex-Chelsea boss instantly led Spurs on a nine-game unbeaten run in the Premier League and, though 4 defeats in 5 in the new yr threatened to derail his reign, Conte acquired his facet again on observe in spectacular style, main them into the Champions League at the expense of bitter rivals Arsenal. Exiting the Europa Conference League at the group stage – albeit on a technicality – was most likely a blessing in disguise for Spurs, because it allowed the notoriously meticulous Conte extra time to drill his gamers on the coaching floor. Spurs’ wage invoice locations them exterior the high six in the Premier League, so ending fourth – notably given Conte arrived mid-season – shouldn’t be underestimated.

Watford: F

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Roy Hodgson admitted he was grateful for the profession that he is had in soccer, however says he is trying ahead to attempting different hobbies as he begins his ‘second’ retirement

Watford’s fourth Premier League season ended with their fourth relegation, and their lowest-ever factors whole in the competitors. Sacking Xisco Munoz – who had led the Hornets again into the high flight – after lower than two months appeared harsh, whereas appointing Claudio Ranieri was a threat, given his earlier spell in England was an unsuccessful 17-game run as Fulham supervisor.

It was a threat that did not repay, with the Italian lasting simply 14 matches at Vicarage Road, as was changing the 70-year-old Ranieri with the 74-year-old Roy Hodgson. It was clear lengthy earlier than the season’s finish that Watford’s destiny was sealed and that it had been one job too many for the retiring former England boss. Three managers, 23 factors, 77 league targets conceded and simply two residence league wins ensured it was a campaign to overlook.

West Ham: B

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After taking part in his final match at the London Stadium, Mark Noble delivers an emotional speech to the West Ham followers

Another robust one to grade. In some ways West Ham have overachieved this season, though a lot of a Hammers persuasion most likely will not see it like that. They in the end fell in need of continental glory, however gave followers a primary style of European clamour since 1999. Club stalwart Mark Noble, who introduced his retirement this season, is forsaking the membership in its finest place for years.

David Moyes’ inventory continues to rise. Jarrod Bowen’s type has been rewarded with a primary England call-up. Declan Rice goes from energy to energy. Another stab at Europe is assured subsequent season. There’s loads to be grateful for and but one way or the other it may have been far more. There can be remorse over Eintracht Frankfurt’s Europa League success and it was a chequered finish to the Premier League season, however all in all, causes to be quietly constructive at the London Stadium.

Wolves: B-

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(*20*)

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Liverpool in opposition to Wolves in the Premier League

Wolves are one other facet that look like affected by the elevated expectations that back-to-back seventh-place finishes – plus a run to the Europa League quarter-finals – below Nuno Espirito Santo created. In actuality, ending tenth – three locations larger than Nuno managed final season – in Bruno Lage’s first campaign, all whereas having a wage invoice that ranks in the backside half of the Premier League, isn’t any small achievement.

Wolves additionally took factors off Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, however a file of simply 38 targets in 38 video games meant they have been hardly considered one of the league’s nice entertainers. Finishing the season with simply two factors of their final seven matches means there stays loads of room for enchancment for Lage forward of his second season.

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