10 The Daily Telegraph Monday 27 July 2020 *** The lowdown Total Football Club-by-club verdict on 2019-20 season Arsenal Aston Villa Star of the show Most improved player Star of the show Crystal Palace. Granit Xhaka was booed off the pitch, reflecting the discontent around the club. March was appalling and it appeared Villa were heading down. Ezri Konsa. The former Brentford defender has steadily improved and that £12million fee could look a bargain. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Captain, top goalscorer and a huge personality. A special mention should go to Bukayo Saka for his breakthrough season. Douglas Luiz. The £15 million midfielder displayed flashes of promise before lockdown, but has been outstanding since the restart. Dani Ceballos has become arguably Arsenal’s most important player since lockdown. Biggest headache this summer Biggest headache this summer Game to remember Game to remember The future of Jack Grealish is likely to define Villa’s summer. Biggest let down Getting rid of Mesut Ozil and his £350,000-a-week wages. The 2-0 win over Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final. Arsenal were solid, resolute and ruthlessly efficient. Mbwana Samatta. Looks way off the pace and incapable of adding to his two goals since Project Restart. The 1-0 win over Arsenal last week reinvigorated Villa when all seemed lost. Biggest let down Fans’ mood Nicolas Pepe has shown flashes of his talent, but it has not been enough for a player signed for £72 million. Fans’ mood Buoyant. After the Everton game on July 16, relegation looked inevitable. Mikel Arteta has brought optimism back. Game to forget Sadly quite a few, but the 4-0 defeat by Leicester in Grade D Grade C- Most improved player Game to forget Sam Dean John Percy A 2-2 draw with Burnley Chelsea Star of the show Game to forget Star of the show Most improved player Keeping Dyche happy with investment in the squad and ensuring the manager stays at Turf Moor. Southgate’s England team. Dwight McNeil’s reputation has grown, putting him on the radar of bigger clubs. Sheffield United 3, Chelsea 0. They were outplayed, and outfought. Christian Pulisic has been in superb form and offers hope that Chelsea have found their replacement for Eden Hazard. Game to remember Mateo Kovacic has played a crucial part for Frank Lampard’s side, offering energy and drive. The 2-0 win at Old Trafford was the first win there since 1962. Biggest headache this summer Biggest let down Fans’ mood Ben Gibson was needed for cover, but was training at Middlesbrough after falling so far out of favour. Game to forget Game to remember Murmurings of discontent after defeat by Aston Villa have disappeared with equalling their best points haul in the Premier League. It is unlikely any teams can afford to sign Kepa, but Chelsea need to replace him. Biggest let down Losing 5-0 in the first game back also saw the club embarrassed by fans’ “white lives matter” plane banner. Kepa Arrizabalaga. His world-record £72million fee was always going to bring pressure, but he is a long way short of the best goalkeepers. Ajax 0, Chelsea 1. This suggested that Chelsea’s youngsters not only had the talent, but also the mental strength to handle pressure. Most improved player Fans’ mood Lampard has been a unifying figure for most fans. Nick Pope has emerged as a contender for Gareth Biggest headache this summer Grade B Grade B+ Mike McGrath Matt Law Leicester City Liverpool Manchester City summer summer Star of the show Star of the show Star of the show remarkable capitulation in the final 25 minutes. emerged as a contender for the England squad after a number of inspired performances. names on Gareth Southgate’s team-sheet during Euro 2021. particularly with David Silva departing. When will fans be allowed back? When will a realistic financial outlook be possible? Title winners need to keep moving and the steps taken by young players will have to be leaps if there is no transfer kitty for the manager. Ensuring they select the right centre-half from a limited pool to help fill the huge void left by Vincent Kompany’s departure. Jamie Vardy won his first Golden Boot, scoring 23 goals, so it can only be the 33-year-old striker. Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool have become what they are because of the manager. Kevin De Bruyne, of course. City’s perpetual driving force. Biggest headache this summer Game to remember Game to remember Biggest let down September’s 8-0 demolition of Watford. Game to remember Biggest let down Rodgers needs to ensure there are no lingering effects from the final months of this season carrying into the next season. After a superb previous season, Bernardo Silva’s dip in form was a disappointment. Liverpool’s home win over Manchester City has to be the most significant. None in the league, but the last-16 exit to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League was a major disappointment. Biggest let down Game to forget The 9-0 win over Southampton was Brendan Rodgers’s vision of football in high definition. Leicester’s failure to beat a team in the top six all season was poor and urgently needs addressing. Shock 3-2 defeat at relegated Norwich City in September offered a startling glimpse of the defensive failings that haunted City. Fans’ mood Most improved player Game to forget Better if City can win the Champions League and bring in defensive reinforcements. Watford away. The strangest of venues in which to surrender an unbeaten record. The strides taken by Phil Foden, not least after lockdown, augur well for next season, Fans’ mood Game to forget Most improved player Fans’ mood Most improved player From joy to despair. The 4-1 defeat at Bournemouth was dreadful and included a Buoyant. Grade B Grade A+ Grade B Biggest headache this Biggest headache this Harvey Barnes. The winger has Joe Gomez will be one of the first John Percy Chris Bascombe James Ducker Sheffield United Southampton Tottenham Hotspur summer Biggest headache this summer Star of the show Star of the show Star of the show Most improved player Leicester. Southampton’s heaviest-ever loss. and had an impact. Tanganga has enjoyed a breakout season. Wilder needs to strengthen to avoid secondseason syndrome and is aware there is less money with no fans coming in. Chris Wilder put a team together where the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. Danny Ings. An extraordinary goal haul for a team in the bottom half of the table. We may only know once the Amazon documentary is released, but on the pitch Giovani Lo Celso has had an encouraging start. Game to remember Jan Bednarek. No coincidence that Southampton’s improvement coincided with the decision to pair Bednarek and Jack Stephens at centre-back. Biggest headache this summer Game to remember Competing in the transfer market. There were no fans at Bramall Lane but Wilder’s team took Chelsea apart in a 3-0 win. Fans’ mood Tottenham 2, Manchester City 0. Steven Bergwijn marked his debut with a brilliant goal. Decisively resolving the future of PierreEmile Hojbjerg will be important. Many fans are torn between wanting desperately to win a trophy and wanting to retain the style that Mauricio Pochettino had brought to the side. Biggest let down Biggest let down Fans’ mood Ravel Morrison had the stage to revive his career in England but he ended up going out on loan to Middlesbrough. Angus Gunn was certainly not the primary reason for the 9-0 defeat against Leicester but Southampton have looked more secure since he was replaced as goalkeeper by Alex McCarthy. Game to forget Supporters are delighted and away trips provided results at Chelsea, Everton, Tottenham and Arsenal. Biggest let down They were failed by technology in the first game of Project Restart when they had the ball in the net at Villa Park. Fans’ mood Game to remember Game to forget Tanguy Ndombele. Has made no impact during his first season at Tottenham. The lack of home wins remains a frustration, but the turnaround was impressive. Tottenham 2, Bayern Munich 7. Embarrassment, made worse by the fact that Serge Gnabry netted four times. Losing 9-0 against Leicester. Sparked a complete reset of philosophy. Most improved player Grade A Grade B Grade C Most improved player Biggest headache this Game to forget John Fleck adapted quickly Mike McGrath Jeremy Wilson Matt Law Japhet Losing 9-0 against
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