2017/18 Premier League Grades: Part 2
Another dramatic Premier League season has come to a close – but did your club live up to expectations?
Here are our marks for the class of 2017/18…
Final position: 8th
High point: In a season of few highlights, a 3-1 win over Swansea in December gave the Toffees considerable breathing space after their early flirtation with relegation.
Low point: A limp 5-1 defeat to Arsenal was surely the point Everton fans lost faith in Sam Allardyce as a viable long-term option.
Verdict: A disappointing season for the Toffees all round, with their 8th place finish a reflection of the dearth of quality across the rest of the league. After a huge outlay last summer on a number of expensive flops, Everton will need a much better summer this time around – and have already put the wheels in motion by sacking Big Sam.
Final position: 16th
High point: Back to back draws away to Man City and Chelsea that underlined the Terriers’ grit and determination in defying the odds.
Low point: A 2-0 home defeat to Everton that left most fans starting down the barrel with a tough run-in to face.
Verdict: The lowest budget in the league, but the biggest heart. The Terriers found things extremely tough going at times this campaign, but David Wagner’s boys found a way. With some strong teams coming up, next year will be harder still but Huddersfield fans won’t worry about that right now.
Final position: 9th
High point: Claude Puel’s return to Southampton – a 4-1 away victory, a fourth consecutive win for the Frenchman and a belief around the club that an unlikely Top 6 charge was on track.
Low point: A 5-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in late April drained confidence that Puel is the right man to take the Foxes into the 2018/19 season. It could be another interesting summer in the East Midlands.
Verdict: The Premier League winning season has perhaps skewed expectations both inside and outside the King Power Stadium and an eventual 9th place finish marks a more than respectable return for the Foxes – even if it might not be enough for the unpopular Claude Puel.
Final position: 4th
High point: Reaching the Champions League final in Kiev – can they go all the way against Real Madrid?
Low point: A 5-0 defeat to Man City was a stark reminder of Liverpool’s ability to self-destruct defensively.
Verdict: A season of real progress for the Klopp project on Merseyside, and few neutrals would begrudge them lifting the Champions League trophy after some breath-taking attacking displays in Europe. They still need to improve their consistency to seriously challenge over 38 games, but will surely only get stronger next time around.
Final position: 1st
High point: In a season of highs, Gabriel Jesus’ 94th minute winner on the last day against Southampton to hit the unprecedented 100-point mark was the cherry on the cake.
Low point: Failing to find a way to counteract Liverpool’s attacking threat on three separate occasions will be one thing to keep an obsessive like Pep Guardiola awake at night this summer.
Verdict: An exceptional season, only slightly dented by disappointment in the FA Cup and Champions League. It’ll take a superhuman effort to topple them next season.
Final position: 2nd
High point: A 3-2 win over Man City at the Etihad to deny their neighbours the title.
Low point: Mourinho will have been disappointed to lose to all three promoted teams away from home.
Verdict: Man Utd’s upward curve under Mourinho continues despite the occasional setback this campaign. If they can add an FA Cup to their second-place finish, they have strong foundations to build upon for another tilt at the title in 2018/19.
Final position: 10th
High point: A 2-1 win over Arsenal in April gave Newcastle four consecutive wins at just the right stage of the season and lifted them over the magic 40 point mark.
Low point: A 1-0 home defeat to Everton in mid-December left Rafa Benitez scratching his head with the Magpies flying dangerously close to the drop zone.
Verdict: Guiding a limited Newcastle side to a top 10 finish is up there as one of Benitez’s strongest achievements during a glittering career. He deserves real backing this summer – and the Geordie faithful will be praying he gets it.
Do you agree with our grades?