Premier League Best XI of 2019-20 (and Project Restart)

Premier League Best XI

It is that time again, time to dish out Premier League grades for each team based on their displays in 2019-20.

The season was long, longer than any in history, and a lot has changed since the season began last August.

[ MORE: Premier League standings ]

Based on their performances on the pitch, decisions off it and where they finished, here’s a grade for all 20 Premier League teams.

Feel free to dish out your Premier League grades in the comments below as we go through the Premier League in alphabetical order.


Arsenal: C-

Rallied after Unai Emery was fired and Mikel Arteta was hired but there is so much for the young manager to sort out. Will Aubameyang and Lacazette stay? Do they have money to spend? How will they improve defensively? What the heck is going on with Ozil? Still, an FA Cup win to seal a return to Europe would rescue a horrible season, as Arteta’s side finished in eighth, their lowest position in 25 years.

Aston Villa: D

Saved themselves on the final day but this was not pretty. Sure, they can celebrate survival but Dean Smith and Aston Villa had a lot of quality players but never really looked like a team until the final two weeks. They had a few big injuries and Jack Grealish was good, but not amazing, for most of the season. Villa have to move a lot of players in and out this summer to avoid another relegation scrap.

Bournemouth: F

Eddie Howe’s side are much-loved but this season they were woeful. They stopped creating and scoring goals midway through the season and they continued to let them in. Callum Wilson’s goals dried up, the way Ryan Fraser’s contract running out was handled was awful and even though David Brooks was injured, would he have made that much of a difference? After a five-season fairytale stay in the top-flight, Bournemouth were relegated and Howe can have no complaints. Will he stay to try and bring them straight back up? Expect Ake, Wilson, Brooks and others to be sold this summer.

Brighton: B

What a job Graham Potter has done. Brighton are now a great team to watch, play exciting soccer and Potter has done that with largely the same squad Chris Hughton had. Pretty safe from relegation for most of the season and the likes of Maupay, Trossard and Connolly should be good next season. Potter was a gamble, but he’s worked his magic on Brighton (see what I did there…).

Burnley: B+

Sean Dyche once again proved he can organize a team on a shoestring budget and Burnley finishing in 10th was an amazing achievement. Dyche was angry towards the end of thee season as players left as free agents and he may leave this summer unless the Clarets start to spend more. Has he taken them as far as he can? Whatever happens, Dyche and Burnley once again punched well above their weight.

Chelsea: A-

Pulisic news
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Frank Lampard’s youngsters delivered a top four finish nobody really thought they could and they did it with swagger and a few slip ups along the way. Defensively fragile but sumptuous in attack, the likes of Mount, James, Pulisic and Abraham took their chances and now a new host of stars are arriving with Werner, Ziyech and maybe Havertz on the way. Lampard exceeded Chelsea’s expectations and if they can sort out their defense, they could challenge for the title.

Crystal Palace: D-

Pretty meh season for Palace. Roy Hodgson did what he does and turned them into a solid outfit but one win from their final nine games of the season is worrying. Wilfried Zaha didn’t turn up all season and wants out, so that’s a big offseason problem to sort out. Palace will want to kick on and that could mean moving on from Hodgson, who has done a fine job.

Everton: F

Just not good enough. Marco Silva was fired and Carlo Ancelotti hired and despite some glimmers of hope in the second half of the season, the same problems arose for Everton. Defensive mistakes cost them dear and they need a midfield enforcer. Richarlison can’t do it all on his own up top. With the squad they have they should be in the top 10, minimum, but 12th place wasn’t good enough. Ancelotti knows that and will demand wholesale changes this summer.

Leicester City: A

So, so close to a Champions League return. For the first half of this season it looked like Leicester would challenge Liverpool for the title. Then they imploded. Jamie Vardy won the Golden Boot and they finished fifth to qualify for the Europa League, but Brendan Rodgers will be disappointed with the way they crumbled in the second half of the season. They are a young team but it seemed like arrogance crept into their play.

Liverpool: A+

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What can we say that hasn’t already been said? A first Premier League title and a first league title in over 30 years, Jurgen Klopp has delivered. His players were sensational and looked like they would go the entire season unbeaten and even though they didn’t, 99 points gained is remarkable. They smashed so many records and did it in style. Deserved champions and one of the best teams in Premier League history.

Manchester City: B+

Pep Guardiola’s men had an off season but still finished second. Defensively they were shambolic at times and not signing a new center back last summer came back to haunt them. Laporte being injured was one thing but Pep needs to upgrade his full backs too. Kevin de Bruyne was majestic and they could still win the Champions League. Man City will be up there again next season and having the Champions League ban overturned was huge for their future.

Manchester United: A-

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was delighted with a third-place finish, and rightly so, but he knows United are a long way behind Liverpool and Man City. Man United were superb in the second half of the season and Bruno Fernandes’ arrival was key to that. Defensively they’ve improved and Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood are electric in attack. If David de Gea can regain his form and United can bring in two or three quality additions this summer, they may just be back to being title contenders. Solskjaer is at the wheel and slowly but surely he’s turning Man United back on track.

Newcastle United: C

A very average season for Newcastle. Steve Bruce probably overachieved with the players he has and the delayed and controversial sale of the club to the Saudi Arabian royal family has been hanging over the Magpies. Defensively they are tough but they must improve going forward. Allan Saint-Maximin is a gem, while Miguel Almiron found his feet and Joelinton didn’t. Plenty of ‘Brucie Bonus’ wins but all in all, Newcastle did well to stay out of the relegation scrap. Bang average.

Norwich City: D

Didn’t have a chance from the start but still a really poor finish to the season. It was like Daniel Farke’s side gave up after hearing their manager say all season long they needed a miracle to stay up. Norwich never strengthened after sealing promotion and that is their model. The Canaries will be in the top half of the Championship next season and after a great start to 2019-20, they let their Premier League status slip away so easily. Lovely to watch, at times, but not hungry enough in both boxes.

Sheffield United: A+

Chris Wilder is up there as a manager of the year candidate. The Blades were brilliant and finished ninth in their first season back in the Premier League. Their European bid came up short after a tough restart period but their overlapping center backs and general tenacity should be applauded. Great at the back, not so great in attack, Wilder needs to add more firepower. If he gets it right then the Blades can eye another top 10 finish. Next season will be really tough.

Southampton: B

Ralph Hasenhuttl and Southampton deserve huge credit for turning their season around. After THAT 9-0 loss against Leicester City, the entire mood of the club changed. They have returned to being the plucky upstarts and their form from November onwards was majestic. Danny Ings banged in 22 goals and they regained their hunger and caused plenty of shocks as Hasenhuttl’s famed 4-2-2-2 high-pressing system is working a treat. 11th place finish this season, but can they push for Europe next season?

Tottenham Hotspur: C

Tottenham
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Mauricio Pochettino being fired was a shock but probably needed as he had taken Spurs as far as he could. Jose Mourinho coming in was an even bigger shock but it’s working, sort of. Spurs have been grinding out wins since Mourinho arrived and had so many injuries to deal with. Harry Kane is back fit and scoring goals and if Mourinho can improve this defense, they will always have a chance of winning thanks to Kane and Son. Sixth place was fine, all things considered, and Mourinho will want top four next season. Will he get the money to do that?

Watford: F

Absolutely shocking. Four managerial changes in a season says it all. The ownership and players have to take a huge amount of criticism for the way the Hornets went down. Javi Gracia was fired, so too were Quique Sanchez Flores and Nigel Pearson, the latter with two games of the season to go after he had Watford within touching distance of safety. Watford’s owners have always hired and fired coaches but this was utter nonsense. Watford’s players were in a European hunt and in the FA Cup final last season and now they’re in the Championship. A hugely disappointing season. Can they recover quickly from this?

West Ham: F

Just about stayed up and this wasn’t pretty either. Manuel Pellegrini spent a lot of money and most of the new signings have failed to impress. The jury is out on Haller and Fornals, while Declan Rice and Michail Antonio were the only major positives. David Moyes being hired to save them from relegation for a second time worked, again, but West Ham massively underachieved. Is Moyes the right man long-term? Will he be given a chance to build something this time? West Ham should be a top 10 club but they have to get their recruitment right.

Wolves: B+

Another very impressive season for Wolves who finished seventh, again. They were in the top four conversation all the way until the end and are in the Europa League knockout rounds. Nuno Espirito Santo has done a magnificent job and with Raul Jimenez banging them in up top and Adama Traore dazzling on the wing, they scare so many opponents. Can Wolves keep hold of their star duo? That will be key to mounting another top four challenge next season.

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