Football

How did each club fare this season? M – W

After yesterday’s Premier League club review of those ranked A – L, we are now reflecting on the clubs alphabetically ranked M – W.

 

For clubs in this section, grades vary but how did your club fare under Sport Grill’s eyes?

 

Manchester City

 

Pep Guardiola saw his Citizens off to a flyer before the wheels nearly flew off en route to third place.

 

A strong start saw Man City win their first nine games before stuttering through October to allow Chelsea through and into the lead of this season.

 

An inconsistent winter saw their title hopes really fall apart with too many points lost against fellow sides in top ten.

 

February onwards saw them get back to their best in the league, whilst reaching the FA Cup semi finals.

 

Guardiola ultimately will be disappointed to finish the season trophy less but there are promising signs in place with Gabriel Jesus.

 

The summer will be key in shifting on many vertans and bringing in fresh blood to suit Guardiola’s blueprint for success.

 

The main highlight has to be Kevin de Bruyne finishing this season as top scorer but all in all, it was a great first season on English turf.

 

Grade – B

 

Manchester United

 

Jose Mourinho will be happy with progress made this season, despite not finishing in the top four.

 

Man Utd might of been consistent this season with a 25 match unbeaten run between 29th October and 7th May, they have however drawn too many matches.

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been the main highlight at 35 years old, taking the Red Devils to EFL Cup glory but is out of contract this summer.

 

Give him another contract and Champions League football then we might just have a title contender for next season.

 

Fans can’t bemoan an Europa League final appearance but the main concern has to lie in the number of draws.

 

Grade – C

 

Middlesbrough

 

Great start but attempting to draw every game doesn’t equal survival as Boro found out.

 

You can’t fault the defence because they did their job with only 53 goals conceded all season. The attack however has been woeful with just 27 goals scored and one was an own goal.

 

Now that they’re down, the target has to be keeping hold of players like Marten de Roon and Ben Gibson. If they can do that then expect them to make an instant return.

 

Their discipline record too is impressive with only one red card all season.

 

The players can go down boasting that they have the upper hand over Sunderland, having done the double this season.

 

Despite suffering relegation, there are positive signs to take from a season that saw Aitor Karanka depart at the wrong time. If he had gone earlier, Middlesbrough could of potentially survived as long as goals started flowing into the opposition’s net.

 

Grade – D

 

Southampton

 

Southampton should be disappointed at how this season turned out.

 

They fairly gave Europa League priority early on seeing as the winners get Champions League football.

 

Once they were knocked out, they should of started focusing on scoring more goals domestically.

 

The EFL Cup final is really their only highlight, having not produced any memorable performances of note league wise.

 

If you ask me, Claude Puel really isn’t the right fit because they need someone who is going to get them playing attacking football.

 

Do that then they will be back up there alongside Manchester United and Everton next season.

 

Grade – D

 

Stoke

 

After bringing in several bright sparks like Wilfried Bony and Saido Berahino, this season isn’t really representative of their potential.

 

Like last season, a slow start with no wins till October has really cost them here. They then went on a barren run since January with just six wins and five draws.

 

That sort of form is really poor from a club of Stoke’s ability so here’s hoping to things clicking in place next season.

 

Grade – D

 

Sunderland

 

No words to describe how poor Sunderland are if they can’t get their first win till November.

 

The Mackems only managed eight clean sheets all competitions, which is absolutely dreadful and probably at standard of a League One side realistically. Things will have to drastically change next season or things could get bleaker.

 

The highlight has to be the 4-0 away win at Crystal Palace over previous boss, Sam Allardyce. Fans would of thought that would of been the turning point in their season but it wasn’t to be.

 

Jermain Defoe must be wondering how he managed 15 goals at this club. You have to however hand it to him for keeping Sunderland’s survival chances alive, one week further than that of Aston Villa last season.

 

In summary, a dreadful season compounded by David Moyes resigning just a day after the season’s end.

 

Grade – F

 

Swansea

 

Swansea will be happy with 15th place after a hard fought season.

 

Francesco Guidolin must feel hard done by, after a difficult start fixture wise didn’t provide much opportunity for positive results.

 

His replacement, Bob Bradley however doesn’t deserve any sympathy after seeing some massive hammerings from the likes of Tottenham and Middlesbrough. The only positive came in an entertaining 5-4 win against Crystal Palace, who were just terrible then.

 

Paul Clement might of had a difficult experience in his last job on English soil but seemed unfazed by the task in hand.

 

You have to hand him credit for getting a poor side to start believing as shown in wins against Liverpool, Leicester and Everton.

 

In the end, a scrappy season with promise amongst their youngsters going forward.

 

Grade – D

 

Tottenham

 

In a season which saw Spurs bid farewell to White Hart Lane, they just continue to improve.

 

Europe might not of brought much luck but their domestic form was stronger than last season.

 

Their defence has improved remarkably with eight less goals conceded compared with 35 last season. Same can be said about their attack, having netted 93  league goals all season in comparison to 69 last season.

 

Records were smashed with an unbeaten season at home, Harry Kane gaining back to back Golden Boot awards and most league points in a season.

 

Overall, a great season with title hopes once again dashed by a London rival. If they can avoid any London clashes in May next year, expect them to take the title battle to the final day.

 

Grade –  A

 

Watford

 

Watford really need to decide what they want from the Premier League. Otherwise, they will just keep hitting the safety mark then freefalling till summer is over.

 

For quite a few seasons, the owners have been dismissing the managers at end of season. That has to stop if the club are to find consistency and build towards something bigger like a top ten finish.

 

Despite Walter Mazzarri coming in, Watford has surprisingly produced similar stats akin to last season. Credit have to be given to the players for that but their defensive record is the only oddity, having conceded 73 goals to 50 of last season.

 

Overall, a stable season but the defence needs shoring up next season. If the owners can set a more challenging target other than survival, the Hornets might finally battle right till the end.

 

Grade – C

 

West Brom

 

West Brom fans should celebrate the club’s achievements regardless of their poor run in.

 

To comfortably be mid table all season on their budget is something to be proud of, especially with their quality at set pieces.

 

The highlight has to be their destruction of Arsenal in March. I say this because they had plenty of desire and made every set piece look easy.

 

Even though, they lost the previous match to Everton before to all but end any Europa League ambitions, I think if they had produced the performance that they gave against Arsenal more regularly in the run in, they would of sewn up eighth and potentially made a late steal for seventh.

 

Tony Pulis shouldn’t settle for the current squad and look to add more proven scorers to help them going forwards.

 

He should also look at how best to spur the team on after hitting 40 points because this is the second Pulis club to go walkabouts after hitting 40 points.

 

All in all, a pleasant season with room for improvement heading forwards.

 

Grade – B

 

West Ham

 

After a difficult move to the London Stadium, West Ham have finally shown signs of settling down.

 

Its unfair to shift most of the blame onto Slaven Bilic because adjusting to a new stadium was always going to be tough.

 

Results have been inconsistent but given the circumstances, the Hammers should be relieved to avoid a proper relegation scrap.

 

Goals have been too and far all season with some terrible performances in defence. The players however handled Dimitri Payet’s departure excellently with back to back wins against Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough respectively to show their depth in squad selection.

 

Realistically, Bilic and the players should be pleased with finishing just outside of the top ten on goal difference.

 

If Bilic is in charge next season, hopefully he and the players can get some extra pre season experience at the London Stadium in. It has been their home form that really cost them so be great to see them back to their best.

 

Grade – D

 

 

 

 

 

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