Our experts’ end-of-term Premier League reports

Ollie Watkins, Phil Foden and Erik ten Hag
Ollie Watkins, Phil Foden and Erik ten Hag

Another Premier League season is in the books and again it is Manchester City who are left on top of the pile.

Four straight titles for Pep Guardiola’s side and despite concerted efforts from Arsenal and, for a time, Liverpool to dethrone them, City again proved too good when it mattered most.

Elsewhere we had mid-table ups and downs, another morale-shattering season at Old Trafford, two points deductions and saw all three promoted sides fall back to the Championship

  1. Manchester City: Four in a row for Pep’s titans

  2. Arsenal: Another step closer at the Emirates

  3. Liverpool: Klopp sees in start of new era

  4. Aston Villa: Into the European big time

  5. Tottenham Hotspur: A little bit of everything

  6. Chelsea: Development or regression?

  7. Newcastle United: An injury-ravaged season

  8. Manchester United: Ten Hag fails to make his mark

  9. West Ham United: Moyes bows out

  10. Crystal Palace: Hope restored under Glasner

  11. Brighton: Fun in Europe but a backward step

  12. Bournemouth: Iraola shows new wat forward

  13. Fulham: Relegation never a threat

  14. Wolves: O’Neil brings solidity

  15. Everton: Roller coaster from start to finish

  16. Brentford: Injuries made survival priority

  17. Nottingham Forest: Survive season from hell

  18. Luton Town: Valient but not enough

  19. Burnley: Kompany struggles to make mark

  20. Sheffield United: Outmatched from start to finish

Manchester City

Player of the Year – Phil Foden

The FWA Footballer of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season has firmly established himself as one of the world’s best players: 27 goals and a string of man-of-the-match displays – and he is not 24 until next Tuesday.

Breakthrough star – Oscar Bobb

His sublime shuffle of the feet and finish past Martin Dubravka to score a dramatic stoppage-time winner in January’s 3-2 victory at Newcastle would prove critical in the title race and underline the Norwegian’s burgeoning talent.

Manager grade: A+

A European Super Cup, Club World Cup and the first manager to lead an English club to four successive league titles, Pep Guardiola could yet add the FA Cup to that collection. The best around.

Overall season grade: A

How many other clubs could have coped without a talismanic midfielder (Kevin De Bruyne) for five months and top goalscorer (Erling Haaland) for two months and still won the league title? The only disappointment was a Champions League quarter-final exit to Real Madrid but City were the better team over the two legs.

Champagne moment

De Bruyne’s extraordinary pass for Bobb’s goal against Newcastle – barely 20 minutes after coming on for his first game for five months – was evidence of a master at work.

Ambition for next season

City’s owners will hope to convince Guardiola to extend his contract – and see off the Premier League charges against them. Guardiola will hope to secure a second Champions League as City manager.


Player of the year – Declan Rice

There was an enormous amount of expectation on Rice following his club-record move from West Ham United but the midfielder has justified the £105 million transfer fee. A monstrous presence in midfield, he has taken Arsenal to another level.

Breakthrough star – David Raya

Raya was already known as a very good goalkeeper from his time at Brentford but the Spaniard has now established himself as a genuinely top-class player. The Golden Glove winner had to deal with a delicate situation as he ousted Aaron Ramsdale, but no one questions that decision now.

Manager grade: A

If last season represented Arsenal’s return to the top table, then this year has shown that they are here to stay. Mikel Arteta has transformed this club and they are getting better and stronger with each passing campaign. It is easy to forget this is his first managerial role.

Overall season grade: A

Only the most narrow-minded of supporters would say that Arsenal’s inability to win the Premier League is a failure. This has without doubt been a season of progress for Arsenal, who remain a young team, and they qualified for the Champions League without fuss. Not so long ago, that would have been seen as a huge achievement.

Champagne moment

The 5-0 thrashing of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was a delicious flexing of the muscles, and for many Arsenal fans it must have felt like the old order had been restored. It helped, too, that former Chelsea player Kai Havertz was the star man. The Emirates danced as one that night.

Ambition for next season

Go one further and win the Premier League. That is the task that remains for this Arsenal side, who will strengthen again in the summer transfer window. The time is coming for all of this promise and progress to be converted into trophies.


Player of the Year – Virgil van Dijk

There were murmurings as to whether Van Dijk’s best days were over last summer, and even persuasive arguments that Trent Alexander-Arnold would be a more appropriate, long-term fit as Liverpool captain. The Dutchman buried those thoughts and was critical to Liverpool keeping their quadruple bid going until April. Like the team, the form dipped near the end. But a bad four weeks should not overshadow an imperious seven months.

Breakthrough Star – Conor Bradley

When  Bradley suffered an unfortunate pre-season injury, it barely registered a sentence on the news wires. Few realised that Liverpool’s next academy star’s major breakthrough had been delayed for five months. Once Bradley deputised for Alexander-Arnold at right-back, his pace, courage and eye for goal earned tentative comparisons with a young Gareth Bale. The potential when he is more fully physically developed is frightening, and he is one to watch under new coach Arne Slot next season.

Manager grade: A+

Okay, sentimentality is ruling here. It would be inappropriate to allow Jürgen Klopp to exit Liverpool without granting him top mark for his nine years, rather than downgrading him on the basis of the last four weeks of this season. Klopp led a recovery from his worst season as Liverpool manager to what – at one point – looked like it might be his best. Ultimately, the squad lacked the necessary depth, but the coaching performance was stellar.

Overall season grade: B

In the first year of midfield rebuild, Liverpool reached their target of returning to the Champions League and won a trophy. Nobody expected more last August. The team peaked in mid-season, recovering from an inconsistent start before fading when the pace in the title race intensified. As a foundation for further improvement, Liverpool have much to be positive about, despite another transitional period beckoning. The great unknown, of course, is how many points the manager himself was worth.

Champagne moment

Aside from Klopp’s emotional farewell, the story of the victory over Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final cannot be reflected in merely the scoreline. Liverpool ended that game with a team full of inexperienced academy youngsters. When Klopp said he took as much pleasure from the win as lifting the Champions League in 2020, he genuinely meant it. The other champagne moment was more literal – Klopp handing out around 60 bottles of fizz reporters after his final press conference.

Ambition for next season

In two of the last three years, Liverpool have made it to April with press conferences dominated by the question, ‘is the quadruple on?’ To expect the same in Arne Slot’s debut campaign is unrealistic. For the Dutchman, ‘hitting the ground running’ involves establishing a clear style of play, improving the talented youngsters he has, keeping Liverpool in the top four and proving himself the right character to be the club’s figurehead. He will not be able to erase memories of the Klopp era – but he will prove an exceptional appointment if he makes the Kop look excitedly forward rather than wistfully back.

Aston Villa

Player of the Year – Ollie Watkins

In a crowded field of contenders, including Pau Torres and John McGinn, the winner has to be Ollie Watkins. The forward has elevated his game to another level this season and the numbers for goals and assists do all the talking for him. He is now the undisputed No 2 to Harry Kane for England.

Breakthrough star – Leon Bailey

He has been at Villa for nearly three years now, but the improvement in Bailey this season is eye-catching. The Jamaican has now added consistency to his undoubted talents and is further evidence of Emery’s impact on individuals through coaching and analysis.

Manager grade: A+

It cannot be any other mark for Unai Emery, who has transformed the club beyond recognition. A head coach with almost complete autonomy, he has taken Villa from the depths of the Premier League to the Champions League in the space of 18 months.

Overall season grade: A

While there will be inevitable disappointment over missing out on a European final, the fact Villa even reached the last four is proof of Emery’s magic touch. Their domestic campaign – outside of the cups – has been outstanding and fourth place is thoroughly deserved.

Champagne moment

The champagne was certainly flowing at Villa Park when Champions League football was secured on the night of Tottenham’s defeat by Manchester City. Yet the home victories over City and Arsenal in the space of four days were stirring experiences.

Ambition for next season

Building on the progress, and balancing Champions League football with domestic demands, will be difficult but do not bet against Emery. Reaching the knockouts in Europe, with the new format, will be an impressive achievement.

Tottenham Hotspur

Player of the Year – Micky van de Ven

The Dutchman has enjoyed a superb first season and proved himself to be one of the signings of last summer.

Breakthrough star – Destiny Udogie

Not an academy or club product, but Udogie’s breakthrough season in the first-team has been a huge success.

Manager grade: B-

Ange Postecglou started like a train, but may feel Spurs missed an opportunity by not qualifying for the Champions League.

Overall season grade: C+

Progress in the league, but Spurs were knocked out of both cup competitions early and did not take their top-four chance.

Champagne moment

Topping the table after 10 games.

Ambition for next season

Qualifying for the Champions League.


Player of the Year – Cole Palmer

What a season and what a bargain. Nobody could have expected him to make such an impact after his £40 million move from Manchester City.

Breakthrough star – Alfie Gilchrist

Earned a new contract after breaking into the first-team squad and also scoring his first senior goal.

Manager grade: B-

Pochettino proved himself to be a fighter by surviving a series of setbacks to finish the season strongly and clinch European qualification.

Overall season grade: B-

Better than many people would have predicted in February. One cup final, one semi-final and a top-six finish. It is not what qualifies for success at Chelsea, but it certainly was not bad.

Champagne moment

Palmer’s four goals in the 6-0 win over Everton.

Ambition for next season

Qualify for the Champions League.


Player of the Year – Anthony Gordon

To think Everton fans once claimed Newcastle had been robbed, paying £45 million for the winger back in January 2023. After a quiet start last season, Gordon has been phenomenal for the club reaching double figures for goals and assists. Durable, quick and still getting better. A triumph for Eddie Howe’s coaching ability.

Breakthrough star – Lewis Miley

The midfielder only turned 18 last month and was not expected to play as much as he did. But Miley was the main beneficiary of the winter injury crisis and blossomed under pressure. A back injury curtailed his season but Newcastle have got a star on their hands.

Manager grade: A-

There is an argument to make, given how many injuries Newcastle have suffered, that the job Howe did this season is every bit as good as the one he did last year when they qualified for the Champions League. It has been a season full of challenges and problems he has navigated his way through choppy waters with skill.

Overall season grade: B-

It could have been so much better. Newcastle dropped points at home to Luton, Everton and Nottingham Forest. Win those and they would have finished fourth again. They were 90 seconds away from reaching the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup and lost on penalties. They were also desperately unlucky to finish bottom of their Champions League group.

Champagne moment

This really was the stuff dreams are made of. In their first Champions League game for 20 years Newcastle destroyed PSG in front of a delirious home crowd. Right up there with the best of European nights.

Ambition for next season

For all the talk of the ambition to play in Europe every season the itch that really needs to be scratched is to end the most infamous trophy drought in English football. To remind you, Newcastle have not won a major trophy since 1969 and getting that monkey off will unlock the next levels of the challenge to become one of Europe’s most powerful clubs.

Manchester United

Player of the Year – Bruno Fernandes

In a season in which players dropped like flies through injury, United’s captain was the one constant and it does not bear thinking about where they would have been without him. The Portuguese deserves so much better than this mess.

Breakthrough star – Kobbie Mainoo

Superb goals against Wolves, Liverpool and Newcastle underlined the teenager’s rich potential and he could yet make England’s Euro 2024 squad. He ended up being overplayed in the final weeks of the season and the hope is United get better players and characters around him next term.

Manager grade: D

A bruising second season for Erik ten Hag who, for all United’s injury woes, has faced pressing questions about the way he sets up his side. There are huge doubts over whether he will now survive under Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his Ineos team.

Overall season grade: E

The FA Cup final against Manchester City on Saturday offers the chance to salvage something from an otherwise miserable season and put another trophy on the board. United’s lowest league finish since 1989/90 and a negative goal difference to boot. Their Champions League campaign typified the chaos.

Champagne moment

In a season of precious few highs, Alejandro Garnacho’s breathtaking overhead kick against Everton was one of the great Premier League goals.

Ambition for next season

Unless United win the FA Cup, they will not be in Europe next season which, on the upside, should offer more time on the training ground for Ten Hag or a new manager to bring some cohesion and structure to the team and help on the injury front. They will need to get back into the Champions League and have to have a good summer in the window, despite the purse strings being tight.

West Ham

Player of the Year – Jarrod Bowen

His Premier League tally of 16 goals was his best-ever and he netted 20 goals in all competitions.

Breakthrough star – George Earthy

Knocked out in his first senior appearance and scored in his second…some start. Deservedly awarded West Ham’s Young Player of the Year.

Manager grade: C-

David Moyes leaves with his head held high. He may not have left West Ham in Europe, but it was still a very decent season.

Overall season grade: C-

Nothing could have compared to last season’s Europa Conference League triumph, but West Ham still more than held their own.

Champagne moment

Winning at the Emirates.

Ambition for next season

Please the fans.

Ambition for next season: Please the fans.

Crystal Palace

Player of the year – Jean-Philippe Mateta

Mateta has not always looked like an elite striker in waiting, but this year he has exploded into a quite incredible run of form. He ended the campaign with 19 goals after finding new levels following the appointment of Oliver Glasner.

Breakthrough star – Adam Wharton

In Wharton, Palace have an exceptional young talent on their hands. The 20-year-old arrived from Blackburn Rovers in January and already looks like an absolute bargain at £18 million. It will not be long before bigger clubs come knocking.

Manager grade: A

Since Glasner’s appointment in February, the team has been transformed. He took over a bunch of relegation candidates and ended the campaign as the manager of one of the league’s in-form teams. Palace finished the season on a seven-game unbeaten run.

Overall season grade: B+

There were some challenging days under Roy Hodgson, when Palace appeared to be short of ideas and ambition, but Glasner’s appointment has changed all that. They now play thrilling football and their star men, such as Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise, are shining.

Champagne moment

The 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United in early May was the high-point of Glasner’s reign so far. Olise, Eze and Mateta were at their best, and the scoreline could have been even greater. An extraordinary performance.

Ambition for next season

Given their form in recent weeks, why not aim for the European places? Palace’s primary goal will always be to avoid relegation but the mood at Selhurst Park is buoyant right now. It is time to dream, although the extent of those dreams may depend on whether they can keep Eze, Olise and Marc Guehi at the club.


Player of the year – Pascal Gross

In a year of relentless injury issues and inconsistency on the pitch, Gross has been a constant presence in the heart of Brighton’s team. In all competitions, he made 47 appearances, scoring five goals and registering 13 assists.

Breakthrough star – Jack Hinshelwood

One of the great shames of Brighton’s season was the loss of Jack Hinshelwood to a season-ending injury in February. The 19-year-old had become a first-team regular and was impressing with his intelligence and versatility. An exceptional talent.

Manager grade: B

Roberto De Zerbi had to cope with a brutal injury list and also had to deal with the sales of Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo last summer. He leaves with the gratitude of the Brighton fans after guiding them into the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Overall season grade: B

An 11th-placed finish is a backwards step from last year, but their European adventures were great fun for the supporters and the reality is that their bad luck with injuries prevented them from kicking on as De Zerbi hoped.

Champagne moment

A dramatic 88th-minute winner from Joao Pedro brought a famous and thrilling victory over Marseille in the Europa League in December. The Brighton striker went as far as to say it was the “best moment” of his life.

Ambition for next season

First, Brighton need to find the right manager to replace De Zerbi. Then they need to invest in the squad again, which they will. From there, the fans will want them to once again push for European qualification.


Player of the Year – Dominic Solanke

Solanke scored 21 goals at a ratio of one in every other game. He has come of age and his goals came consistently through the season – he did not have a bad spell.

Breakthrough star – Illia Zabarnyi

First full season since arriving from Dynamo Kyiv in the 2022/23 January window. The Ukraine centre-back, 21, has played in almost every game and caught the eye as a player who has increased his value significantly after being signed for £24 million.

Manager grade: B+

Andoni Iraola admitted he feared the sack after picking up three points from the first nine games of the season with the club in the relegation zone. He has turned it around by implementing his style and was rewarded with a new contract and a Barclays 2023/24 manager of the season nomination.

Overall season: B-

Finishing 12th and picking up 48 points does not tell the whole story considering where Bournemouth were in October.

Champagne moment

Forget the win at Old Trafford, any victory after falling 3-0 down by half-time is a memorable one – and that is what happened against Luton.

Ambition for next season

Signs of real promise under Iraola when he turned results around. With the right signings arriving they could have a tilt at Europe.


Player of the year – Antonee Robinson

Antonee Robinson has developed into one of the Premier League’s most consistent and dynamic left-backs, and is a constant threat as he attacks down the wing. Robinson started 37 of Fulham’s 38 league games.

Breakthrough star – Rodrigo Muniz

Muniz has been a Fulham player since August 2021 but it was only this season that he really made his breakthrough. The Brazilian has enjoyed a superb 2024 and finished the campaign as the club’s top scorer, with 10 goals.

Manager grade: B+

It requires considerable managerial skill to keep Fulham away from chaos, and indeed to keep them away from the relegation zone. Marco Silva has done so again, with the club never in any danger of going down. Silva is a reliable coach who has built a reliable team.

Overall season grade: B+

It should not be forgotten that, over the last decade, Fulham had found it incredibly difficult to reach and then stay in the Premier League. This year, as with last year, they have maintained their top-flight status without ever being under real threat.

Champagne moment

In the space of one wild week in December, Fulham won two consecutive games, against Nottingham Forest and West Ham United, by a score of 5-0. Home wins against Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur were also hugely enjoyable for the Fulham fans.

Ambition for next season

Stay consistent, avoid relegation and continue to build. Fulham are not yet at the point where they need to be dreaming of anything bigger than that, although they may struggle to match Silva’s personal ambition. He will not be short of admirers.


Player of the Year – Mario Lemina

Pedro Neto would probably have coasted to this award if it had not been for those frustrating hamstring injuries. Yet in terms of consistency and leadership, it is difficult to look beyond Lemina. A vastly experienced and reliable individual, he is a dream player for Gary O’Neil to manage.

Breakthrough star – Joao Gomes

In his first full season at Molineux, Gomes has emerged as a high quality midfielder attracting envious glances from the European heavyweights. Known as the Pitbull for his abrasive style, he is actually far more skilful and technically gifted than observers think. He is made to measure for Premier League football and, at around £12 million, represents another piece of fine business from the recruitment team.

Manager grade: B+

Gary O’Neil would deserve a higher grade had it not been for the disappointing way the season has fizzled out as the injuries pile up. Around February time, he was a genuine contender for Manager of the Year after guiding a squad that Julen Lopetegui feared was not good enough towards the European places. O’Neil will reflect on these final months with frustration, and a sense of what might have been.

Overall season grade: C

Lopetegui walked out days before the season started as he feared a grim relegation battle, but Wolves never remotely looked like being down among the stragglers. O’Neil will still rue those injuries to key players at crucial times.

Champagne moment

The home win over Manchester City. It was an afternoon where Neto was outstanding, while O’Neil’s tactical acumen also earned deserved praise. At the time, there were still some doubts from supporters over their new manager, but this performance and result underlined his reputation as one of the most shrewd in the Premier League.

Ambition for next season

While Wolves are still restricted over spending by financial rules, a few pieces of clever recruitment could enable the squad to progress. The No 9 striker O’Neil has been desperately seeking needs to be addressed. A new contract for O’Neil will also be a reward for a fine first season.


Player of the Year – Jarrad Branthwaite

Alongside James Tarkowski, Branthwaite was the defensive foundation of a team which – at its most effective – was tougher to beat than at any time in the past five years. Everyone knew of Branthwaite’s potential when he spent last season on loan at PSV Eindhoven. Perhaps no-one realised quite how good. His absence from the young player of the year nomination needs a VAR review.

Breakthrough star – Jarrad Branthwaite

See above. There are rumours he will be targeted by Premier League clubs this summer. They will have to pay a premium price to get him. In the current market, a valuation of around £80 million does not look excessive. Senior international honours beckon and on the basis of current form, he should be heading to the Euros.

Manager grade: A

What does the average working day look like for Sean Dyche? Where most dedicate their time to training sessions, tactics and injury concerns, he requires hourly updates on points deductions, takeover sagas and ongoing Premier League investigations. Without any significant transfer pot, in real terms he led Everton from the bottom four to mid-table – only the punishments kept the team near the drop zone for so long. Pound for pound, he deserved to be among the contenders for manager of the year given the context of where Everton are now compared to when he joined the club.

Overall season grade: C

Compared to the previous seasons, the team probably deserves a higher grade. But longer-term, nobody associated with the club will accept the current position. It will be a dark day when Everton start patting themselves on the back too much because they have not gone down. Historically, the standards are much higher. There is still plenty of recovering needed in uncertain times.

Champagne moment

Everton did not just win the Goodison derby, they outplayed Liverpool in doing so – the noise and intensity as ferocious as anything you will experience in English football. It was the night safety was guaranteed, and another of those evenings where Dyche must have savoured the atmosphere and thought, “I know it can’t always be like this on a matchday, but even if it was half as good we’d feel unbeatable at home.”

Ambition for next season

A knight in shining armour appears over the horizon with a cheque for £500 million to get rid of Farhad Moshiri, pay off the debts, and divert the path of the asteroid NASA scientists might call ‘777 Partners’ from causing further Goodison peril. If Everton have the same number of points a year from now, Dyche and his team will once more have performed admirably.


Player of the year – Ethan Pinnock

Pinnock’s rise from lower league football to the Premier League has been remarkable. He has now fully established himself as one of the top flight’s most reliable and commanding centre-backs. Physically dominant and technically excellent.

Breakthrough star – Yehor Yarmoliuk

Yarmoliuk, Brentford’s young Ukrainian midfielder, has made 27 appearances this season and is clearly a player of significant potential. Brentford are experts at developing talent and the 20-year-old is on the rise.

Manager grade: B+

Brentford continue to punch above their weight as a club and, while this season was not as spectacular as last year, Thomas Frank has done well to keep his injury-ravaged squad away from the relegation dogfight. Brentford now face a battle to keep hold of him.

Overall season grade: B

For Brentford, staying in the Premier League is by far the most important goal, and they have achieved that. A dreadful run of injuries has prevented them from making the progress they would have hoped for but this remains a successful campaign.

Champagne moment

A thrilling 3-2 win at Nottingham Forest ended an awful run of form and came at a crucial moment in the season. It was Ivan Toney’s first game back after suspension and, inevitably enough, he found the back of the net.

Ambition for next season

Firstly, stay up again. Secondly, continue to evolve the side. Frank (assuming he stays at the club) wants his team to gradually become more offensive and progressive. Will they be able to adequately replace Toney, who is almost certain to leave?

Nottingham Forest

Player of the Year – Morgan Gibbs-White

The frustration for Forest in the dressing room this season has centred around how the squad should be doing better than they have. There are impressive individuals but not enough consistency. Murillo has been the breakout star (the £11 million fee is remarkable business) but Gibbs-White has again stepped up to the plate when needed. Callum Hudson-Odoi at £3 million also represents a very shrewd signing.

Breakthrough star – Murillo

It can only be Murillo Santiago Costa dos Santos. The 21-year-old centre-half will eventually play in the Champions League and Forest fans are just adopting the stance of enjoying him while it lasts. It is scary to consider that the centre-back had only made a handful of league appearances for Corinthians before moving to the Premier League.

Manager grade: C

Nuno Espirito Santo has endured an excruciating five months or so, with a points deduction, refereeing injustices, losing key players to the AFCON tournament and injuries. However, he will still feel that he should have done better. He has improved players and introduced organisation but the nagging feeling is one of underachievement considering the players available.

Overall season grade: C-

Second-season syndrome sucks. This has been the season from hell for Forest but, despite all the turmoil, they have completed the job. Everybody concerned will just want to put this campaign to bed.

Champagne moment

With a nod towards the home victory over Manchester United on Dec 30, the magical moment was provided by Murillo at Crystal Palace in October. Who can forget that incredible run from his own half towards goal, only to be denied twice by the goalkeeper? It was arguably the moment when Murillo emerged as a star to watch.

Ambition for next season

Though owner Evangelos Marinakis is targeting the top ten in the future, the next stage will be to survive again and aim towards a finish in the top 12 or so. Brighton provide a good barometer of how to build steadily and Forest will hope to emulate that. The target is lowering the average age and putting together a more balanced squad.

Luton Town

Player of the Year – Ross Barkley

Caught the eye in central midfield, rolling back the years with his driving runs. Questions were asked over whether he deserved an England call-up.

Breakthrough star – Alfie Doughty

The 24-year-old played well at left wing-back in his first top-flight season after previous spells at Stoke and Charlton.

Manager grade: B

Rob Edwards may have ended up relegated but he put himself on the radar of other clubs after getting Luton within sight of safety only to miss out. Carried himself well throughout the season.

Overall season: D

Fell short in the race for survival with the race almost run before the final game of the season. But they fared better than many thought they would.

Champagne moment

Tahith Chong’s goal against Liverpool on the counter-attack was a beauty and Luton ended up drawing against Jürgen Klopp’s team.

Ambition for next season

To head straight back up to the Premier League at the first attempt and with Rob Edwards still in charge.


Player of the Year – Sande Berge

Signed from Sheffield United in August, the Norway defensive midfielder has been Burnley’s most consistent performer although they could now struggle to keep hold of him.

Breakthrough star – Wilson Odobert

The 19-year-old became Burnley’s youngest ever Premier League goalscorer in November and made 25 league starts during a difficult season for the club following a summer move from Troyes. One to watch.

Manager grade: D

Vincent Kompany was hot property after steering Burnley back into the Premier League in his 101-point debut campaign but it has been back to earth with a bump this season when his inexperience showed and invited criticism for tactical naivety and being too stubborn.

Overall season grade: D

After spending £90 million last summer in the wake of a fine season in the Championship, Burnley fans expected so much better. Burnley did not have the quality to play the same way in the top flight and repeat individual errors and a lack of cutting edge in both boxes routinely undermined them.

Champagne moment

Dara O’Shea’s late equaliser against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge despite Burnley having been reduced to 10 men after Lorenz Assignon’s 40th minute dismissal showed some fighting spirit and boosted hopes of a great escape.

Ambition for next season

Burnley will keep faith with Kompany but he will be under pressure to get them back into the Premier League at the first attempt, particularly with the club’s auditors issuing a warning about Burnley’s financial position in the latest accounts.

Sheffield United

Player of the Year – Gus Hamer

Would be easy not to give the award after a disastrous season but Hamer has been good in central midfield. He creates chances for others and makes late runs into the penalty area.

Breakthrough star – Ollie Arblaster

Brought in when relegation was almost a certainty. He was on set-pieces and always wanted the ball in tight spaces. The 20-year-old has bigger clubs circling after his central-midfield displays.

Manager grade: D

New-manager bounce never came after Chris Wilder’s return to the club in December. Just two Premier League wins after he replaced Paul Heckingbottom. Wilder accused players of giving up in the defeat to Burnley.

Overall season: F

Will go down as one of the worst in Premier League history, with 16 points painting the picture. Players fought among themselves on the pitch against Wolves and their best players were sold before a ball was kicked.

Champagne moment

Last-gasp win against Wolves under Heckingbottom saw Oliver Norwood score a penalty to seal a first victory of the season in their 11th match.

Ambition for next season

Start a rebuild. They have a raft of first-team players out of contract who need to be re-signed or new players found. They may not be ready for promotion again.