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End Of Season Reports For Clubs

And just like that we’re done with another Premier League season. It seems only yesterday that Manchester United were dropping points at Everton, Spurs were thrashing Inter Milan and Sunderland were dreaming of Europe. Since a very hasty super-injunction has legally prevented any levels of actually insight or analysis in RPO we’ll just make do with a teacher’s review of each club:

Manchester United: A record nineteenth title to go with third Champions League final in four years is a fairly impressive achievement by any standards. Only concern would be terrible away form. Grade: A

Chelsea: Oh what could have been were it not for that staggeringly long poor spell in the middle of the year. Squad renewal is a must along with an improvement in European performance. Grade: B

Manchester City: A slightly shaky start with brand new squad but gelled nicely and will be very much in contention for the title next year. Also broke massive trophy duck. Grade: A-

Arsenal: Need more mental strength. Too many passengers in the side and the defensive frailty is beyond a joke. So close to being a title winning side and only have themselves to blame for trophy less season. Grade: C

Tottenham Hotspur: Hard to picture any club having more of a Jekyll and Hyde season. A wonderful first four months won plaudits all over Europe while a limp and frankly pathetic effort in the run-in cost them Champions League football. Grade: C+

Liverpool: The polar opposite of Spurs. The purchase of Suarez looks very, very astute. Could well regain their top four place next year if they start the season well. The feel good factor is back at Anfield. Grade: B-

Everton: At some point David Moyes is going to have a good start to a season and that year could see the Toffee’s in the Champions League. But once again an exceptionally poor start ruined a very fine finish to the season. Grade: C+

Fulham: Roy Hodgson left a good legacy but Mark Hughes has done a rather good job at Craven Cottage himself. A fully fit Zamora flanked by the likes of Dempsey et al combined with some good reinforcements could see them aim for a top six finish next year. Grade: A

Aston Villa: How the Villains have finished in the top half is a mystery given their performances. Bent and Downing aside very few in a Villa shirt did well this year. However a new manager and a new start should see them aiming for top seven at least. Grade: C-

Sunderland: They started the season very strongly but there are problems with Bruce’s squad. Given how much he has spent a higher finish should be expected. Still there is a solid core of players at the club and they’ve finished about where they were expected to. Grade: C

West Brom: Di Matteo started very well but once the wobble began the board made a wonderful call to replace the Italian with Hodgson. The aim was survival and the Baggies managed the best finish of all the promoted sides, a resounding success. The future looks good as well. Grade: A+

Newcastle: Along with West Brom they’ve done well this year. Survived comfortably and made a monster profit on Andy Carroll. Furthermore although Chris Hughton was very harshly sacked, Pardew has done reasonably well as his replacement. Grade: A-

Stoke: Pulis has done a lot of good work to make the Potters a Premier League staple. Yes they could be prettier but they’re in no danger of relegation whatsoever and managed a very strong FA Cup run. Not a bad season by all accounts. Could have finished a little higher perhaps. Grade: B+

Bolton: Bolton have been one of the best sides in the league this year and it’s a real shame they finished as low as they did. Even until a few months ago they looked good for a possible Europa League place. A late season collapse shouldn’t obscure the fact they played good football and have a stable basis on which to build. Grade: B

Blackburn: It was a massive blunder to sack Allardyce and the club became embroiled in a relegation battle they should never have been part of. Kean should be removed and a better manager introduced immediately. If Venky’s could avoid foot-in-mouth disease that would also help. Grade: D

Wigan: It’s heartening to see Roberto Martinez’s brand of football be rewarded. Furthermore it might just be that the players have clicked with the manager. The team showed great heart and next season might not be the nerve-shredding experience this one was. Grade: C+

Wolves: Difficult one to call this. On the one hand they only barely survived the drop but on the other they claimed some huge scalps including ending Manchester United’s 29 game unbeaten run and were dogged by terrible bad luck and injuries. Still lots of work needs doing by Big Mick. Grade: C

Birmingham: Negative and boring for most of the season. Huge hangover (Bubum-tush!) from Carling Cup and not a particularly big loss to the Premier League for the neutrals. McLeish should be replaced but the squad is there to come straight back up. Grade: D

Blackpool: Huge effort, positive attitude and great football for much of the season. A real loss for the league. However they still have the worst squad of the relegated teams and could struggle to win promotion again although it would be nice. Good grade given how many were betting on them being the worst team ever in the top flight. Grade: B+

West Ham: Limp. Uninspired. Tepid. Their capitulations are habitual and embarrassing. The final day loss to Sunderland summed up their season. Scott Parker aside very few come out of this campaign with credit. Grade: F

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