2017/18 Premier League Grades: Part 3
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: 17th
High point: All but securing safety with a gritty 1-0 win at Swansea to avoid last day nerves against Man City.
Low point: A 3-0 defeat away to Newcastle that left Saints deep in relegation trouble – and a result that finally sealed Mauricio Pellegrino’s fate.
Verdict: Joy at surviving can’t mask a wretched season on the South Coast, and the Saints set-up have plenty of lessons to learn from their lucky escape – namely that consistently selling your best players inevitably leads to diminishing returns. Not sacking Pellegrino sooner also nearly cost them dear.
Grade: C –
Final position: 19th
High point: A 1-0 home win against Arsenal was a fleeting reminder of the glory days of Stoke’s early Premier League adventures when they could routinely trouble the Big Six.
Low point: Consistently shipping goals across the season to end the campaign with an appalling -33 goal difference.
Verdict: Stoke paid for their complacency after effectively gliding in autopilot to mid-table in recent campaigns without enhancing the dressing room with the character needed to avoid a relegation scrap. The fact the Potters had the most Champions League winners of any squad says it all – big name players who have already reached their pinnacle are rarely a good fit for a middling Premier League outfit.
Final position: 18th
High point: Back-to-back home wins against Liverpool and Arsenal in January that suggested the Carvalhal bounce might just save the beleaguered Swans.
Low point: No wins from their last 10 games – a desperate slump that suggested the Carvalhal bounce was just that, with the media-friendly Portuguese manager not cut out for the Premier League.
Verdict: Time ran out on Swansea’s Premier League journey in 2017/18 and in truth, it’s a moment of reckoning that has been coming for some time after a series of poor recruitment and managerial decisions. It may be a while before they come back.
Final position: 3rd
High point: Beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to end a run of 28 years without a win away to their rivals.
Low point: Another ‘Spursy’ end to the year left them sweating on their Champions League status after defeats to Man City and West Brom and a draw against Brighton.
Verdict: Another decent league campaign for Mauricio Pochettino who negotiated what could have been a tricky season at Wembley with flying colours. Another season without silverware is the one blot in his copybook, however.
Final position: 14th
High point: A 4-1 home win against Chelsea was a memorable home debut for Javi Gracia who has failed to make much of an impression since. Will the Hornets boss still be there in August?
Low point: A 4-1 home defeat to Huddersfield that suggested all was not well at Vicarage Road between Marco Silva, his players and his board.
Verdict: Watford seem to sleepwalk towards relegation every year, and whilst the regular chopping and changing in the dugout seems to still be a formula that works for them, could next year be the campaign it finally catches up with them?
WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Final position: 20th
High point: The Darren Moore era – a case of what might have been for the Baggies had they shown a little more bravery in dispatching Alan Pardew sooner.
Low point: Taxigate. A pre-season tour to Barcelona certainly looks off-the-table for the West Midlands outfit this summer.
Verdict: As with Stoke, West Brom’s relegation should act as a warning sign to ‘established’ Premier League sides that it’s the moment you forget the qualities that helped get you there in the first place is when things can start to fall apart.
Grade: D, with a B- for their late season rally under Darren Moore.
WEST HAM UTD
Final position: 13th
High point: A 1-0 win over Chelsea that restored belief amongst the Hammers faithful and kick-started their escape from relegation trouble.
Low point: The disgraceful scenes at the London Stadium that marred their game with Burnley and surely contributed to the heavy 3-0 defeat.
Verdict: Job done for David Moyes, who deserves real credit for keeping the Hammers above water. It wouldn’t prove enough for him to land a longer stay in East London.
Do you agree with our grades?