Premier League Review – Grading Each Team’s 18/19 Season – Part 1
The 2018/19 Premier League season has drawn to a close and, as the dust settles, we’ve marked each team’s report card.
Man City were crowned champions on the final day after the most exciting title race in history, while at the other end of the table Cardiff, Fulham and Huddersfield lost their fight for Premier League survival.
How did your team fare in our 2018/19 Premier League Review?
Part 1 looks at Arsenal through to Huddersfield….
Premier League Review of 2018/19
Final position: 5th
Verdict: Before ranking the Gunners’ 2018/19 campaign, it’s important to step back and remember this was always going to a transitional season at the Emirates. Unai Emery was going to find it a difficult task replacing Arsene Wenger after his 22-year spell at the club, even accounting for the fact the latter part of the Frenchman’s reign turned flat.
For that reason, a 5th place finish may seem static for Gunners fans, but that still represents a stable building block to work from for the former PSG man, particularly if he can cap his debut season with Champions League qualification via a Europa League win. It’s this summer where Emery deserves to be judged as he gets the chance to reshape the squad following a series of high-profile departures.
Final position: 14th
Verdict: Steady Eddie continues to keep Bournemouth punching above their weight, and it’s a continuing credit to the excellent job Howe has done on the South Coast that nobody even raised an eyebrow when the Cherries calmly booked their place in the Premier League for a fifth successive campaign.
Saying that, there is still some work Howe needs to do to avoid complacency creeping in and improving Bournemouth’s rocky away form will be the primary objective for 2019/20 if Howe wants to help the Cherries move up yet another gear.
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
Final position: 17th
Verdict: For any club embarking on their second season at this level, survival was always going to be the primary objective and Brighton just about managed to clear that hurdle as a series of gritty draws helped the Seagulls squeak over the line.
However, the methods used to achieve that goal were by no means pretty, and while to outsiders looking in the sacking of Chris Hughton looks a headscratcher, their 2018/19 form makes it hard to point to three teams that would be worse than them next season if that form was to continue. A fresh start may be the ideal move for all parties – provided Albion also fix their recruitment issues this summer after a series of underwhelming signings.
Final position: 15th
Verdict: A regression back to the mean for Burnley after a stellar seventh place finish in 2017/18 allowed them to enjoy a short-lived European adventure at the start of this campaign. That distraction almost proved costly as the Clarets let their defensive discipline slip during the first half of the season.
Thankfully for Burnley, in Sean Dyche they have one of the Premier League’s calmest operators. His refusal to panic and return to a back-to-basics approach paid off handsomely as Burnley made a mockery of their early-season nosedive to comfortably consolidate for another year despite their limited means at this level. Burnley continue to merit their Premier League billing.
Final position: 18th
Verdict: A valiant effort for the Bluebirds, who failed in their quest for survival but surpassed many pundits’ pre-season expectations with a series of determined displays throughout the season just when all hoped looked lost.
Neil Warnock can look back with plenty of satisfaction in keeping the Bluebirds competitive all the way through to May and you wouldn’t bet against them making a swift return now the old stager has opted to have another crack at the Championship. A lack of star power ultimately proved costly, but they still leave this campaign having at least proved a point to several critics who feared they would match Derby’s record low total of 11 points.
Final position: 3rd
Verdict: A strange season at Stamford Bridge, where a third-place finish and two cup finals from a manager making his debut in English football looks, on the face of it, a more than respectable return.
However, misgivings over style and substitutions have marred Maurizio Sarri’s first season in charge, and there’s a nagging sense he could have got Chelsea within far closer touching distance to the top two. For all his flaws, Sarri surely deserves a stay of execution at the Bridge.
Final position: 12th
Verdict: It was Groundhog Day yet again for Palace in 2018/19 as once again they fell into an unwanted flirtation with relegation before switching on the style in the spring to pull clear.
In truth, the Eagles always looked far too good to go down, and if Roy Hodgson can fix their horrendous form on home soil next season, and hold onto key man Wilfried Zaha, perhaps Palace can start aiming for Europe instead of painstakingly chipping their way towards the 40-point mark.
Final position: 8th
Verdict: There have been plenty of ups and downs and it’s not always been pretty, but Everton finished just about where you’d expect them to in their maiden season under Marco Silva – although that’s probably a sign of the respective weakness of the rest of the division beyond the ‘Big Six’ rather than a ringing endorsement for his managerial prowess.
Nevertheless, it’s easy to forget Silva came under plenty of early pressure at Goodison Park, so he deserves credit for smoothly negotiating that rough patch and offering Toffees fans plenty of hope going into the new campaign.
Final position: 19th
Verdict: The biggest disappointment of the 2018/19 Premier League season? Fulham arrived back in this division with plenty of fanfare after an ambitious summer spree, with many pundits tipping them to match Wolves as this season’s surprise package.
However, any Premier League survival bid needs to be built on strong foundations, and the Cottages were ruthlessly punished for failing to fix the defensive mishaps that sent them plummeting towards the bottom of the table in the autumn. In retrospect, sacking Slaviša Jokanović seemed hasty, and the less said about the ill-fated Ranieri era the better. The pragmatic Scott Parker could be a good fit as they adapt back to the more low-key surroundings of the Championship.
Final position: 20th
Verdict: The Terriers looked to be running on empty towards the end of their maiden season in the Premier League and failed to arrest the slide in a ‘difficult second album’ of a season for the Yorkshire side. The exhausting effort of simply trying to tread water at level took its toll on everyone at the John Smith’s Stadium in 2018/19, so it’s perhaps no surprise David Wagner opted to walk away and recharge his batteries midway through this season. After being handed mission impossible, the real job starts now for rookie German boss Jan Siewert who can surely only be judged by the rebuilding work he carries out this summer.
All image sources from PA Images
How would rate your side’s season?
Follow us and tweet @Marathonbet