Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Premier League Grades: Chelsea, Liverpool dominate; Ronaldo scores but Manchester United underwhelm in win

Premier League Matchday 5 brought 24 goals and only one scoreless game as title contenders Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea all won. Manchester City, somehow, had to settle for a draw at home while teams like Brentford an Brighton continued to surprise. 

Here are our grades for all 20 clubs based on their games this past weekend:

Brentford 2, Wolves 0 (xG: 2.22-1.26)


Another fantastic result as the club looks to further solidify its future in the top flight. Clinical when needed, compact and united in defense and just a menace to play against. A full deserved three points on the road despite having to close it out with 10 men for the last half hour.

Grade: A


Here we go, once again. Another match at home where they produce a ton of chances, deserve at least a goal, don’t get one and take nothing from a game they probably should have. That’s three home games so far this season and zero goals scored. It’s just not clicking.

Grade: D

Arsenal 1, Burnley 0 (xG: 1.02-1.07)


A win is a win. It was far from convincing, yet again, but two wins in a row gives them some confidence. Martin Odegaard’s free kick was something else, Nicolas Pepe was able to get into dangerous areas, but they still need to find that consistency. 

Grade: B


They know they probably should have gotten something from this game considering they were more threatening and had five more shots than the Gunners. The defense held its own until for the most part but their strikers failed to get into the right spots to cause damage. With one point from five matches, they sit in 19th place, and it sure looks like they’re in for a season long relegation battle.

Grade: D

Liverpool 3, Crystal Palace 0 (xG: 2.48-0.64)


They are gelling now in attack and took care of Palace with little trouble. Diogo Jota looks more and more comfortable. Konstantinos Tsimikas is really creating problems from left back and they are playing their best attacking ball of the season. They’re deep, and strong and look like the team that won the league two years ago, not the one that was decimated by injuries last season. 

Grade: A

Crystal Palace

That big win over Tottenham feels like a stroke of luck at this point. They had their chances but rarely were they any good. The passing was sharp but the ability to get some separation from their markers to deliver on goal was quite poor. Just overmatched. They did manage 13 shots, but such a low xG total makes it absolutely clear that despite that they weren’t bothering Liverpool’s defense at all.

Grade: D

Manchester City 0, Southampton 0 (xG: 0.97-0.43)

Manchester City

Their worst attacking display in terms of xG since the Champions League final loss to Chelsea. Bringing on Kevin de Bruyne helped them be a bit more threatening down the stretch, but this was just one of those days we get from them every now and again where it just isn’t fully clicking, which is surprising considering it usually is. A really poor result which drops them three points behind league leaders Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United. It’s still early, of course, but given how strong a couple of those teams look, those points could matter come the end of the season.

Grade: D


They’ll certainly take not only that draw but also that performance. Holding City below 1 xG is cause for celebration for a team battling at the bottom of the table. If you saw manager Ralph Hasenhuttl’s celebration when Raheem Sterling’s goal was ruled out late, you’ll know just what this means. Considering they haven’t won a game this season, a point like this can be huge in the end.

Grade: B

Watford 3, Norwich City 1 (xG: 2.6-0.83)


They, like everybody else, had no trouble with the inconsistent Canaries. While the defense still has its issues, they have shown the ability to looks consistently dangerous going forward. Now, is that just because of who they faced? The next few weeks will teach us plenty. Their schedule over the next month and a half is manageable as outside of Liverpool the only team in the top half of the table they play before November is Everton. A strong month now could put them well and truly clear of relegation danger before the season even kicks into high gear.

Grade: A

Norwich City

They’ve yet to take a point, let alone win a game, have scored just two goals, have the worst defense and attack in the league, and they don’t look to be getting any better. If they can’t get some points in the next couple weeks, something has to change.

Grade: F

Aston Villa 3, Everton 0 (xG: 0.81-0.67)

Aston Villa

Outperformed their xG considerably by catching fire in the second half with three goals. Leon Bailey looked sharp, Danny Ings’ passing was absolutely brilliant, and that was a statement win for them after some poor results as of late.

Grade: A


Absolutely average without Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Salomon Rondon had a decent look, but that was about it. On a positive note, Andros Townsend continues to put the ball in dangerous spots, he just needs more support on the end product. Everton maybe gets a pass for one poor performance given the state of their roster (in addition to Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, Jordan Pickford, and Seamus Coleman both missed the match), but throw up another stinker or two like this and the season could get ugly fast.

Grade: D

Newcastle 1, Leeds 1 (xG: 1.26-1.43)


Battled back and earned a draw but really had to hold on. Not having Callum Wilson makes them so one-dimensional, and they benefited by Leeds’ essentially non-existent defense. They still feel like a prime candidate for relegation though.

Grade: B


A frustrating game where they really should have gone up multiple goals. It really felt like the draw or a win for either was possible late in one of the more entertaining games of the matchday. Patrick Bamford is really struggling to find consistency in front of goal despite having the chances. Could we see Rodrigo earn some minutes at striker? Every week we say Leeds will probably be fine, and they probably will be but it’s now five matches to start a season with no wins. Though the schedule gets easier from here, especially once they’re done with West Ham next week. Then it’s a run of Watford, Southampton, Wolves, and Norwich. If they don’t climb the table during that stretch, maybe it’ll be time to worry.

Grade: C

Brighton 2, Leicester 1 (xG: 1.56-1.54)


A tight match where they needed a fortunate offside call late to hold on, but don’t let that take away what this team is accomplishing. There is a real unity and cohesion in this side, and they are one of the trickier under-the-radar teams to face. Too early to think about Europe, but they have the potential to qualify. There is, however, something very ironic about this team which was notable for underperforming their xG last season, promptly started winning matches where they aren’t obviously outperforming their opponents. 

Grade: B+


Created enough chances to get something from the match but just couldn’t find their sharpness late. They’ve conceded in five straight games now, and that header miss from Caglas Soyuncu late will give Foxes fans nightmares. It may be time to start worrying if you’re a Leicester fan now. Through five matches they have the third lowest xG total in the Premier League and have given up the sixth most xG. They need to turn things around, and fast.

Grade: C-

Manchester United 2, West Ham 1 (xG: 2.29-1.64)

West Ham

They showed tremendous fight without Michail Antonio and didn’t deserve to lose. The missed penalty in added time will see David Moyes questioned for bringing in Mark Noble off the bench just to take it. It wasn’t ideal, but they showed they can compete with the big boys.

Grade: C+

Manchester United

It wasn’t pretty, and it felt like Young Boys all over again for a little there. In the end, Jesse Lingard was the difference, but it was still too sloppy. They can’t be so reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo, though he did score again. At the back, Harry Maguire’s passing has just been way off. It’s a great result though, even if it wasn’t quite deserved. They’re tied at the top of the Premier League and it still feels like this team has room to improve dramatically. On the other hand, it also feels like that improvement may not be coming.

Grade: B

Chelsea 3, Tottenham 0 (xG: 2.23-0.73)


It was a tale of two halves for Tottenham. If we were grading them simply on what happened before they conceded they’d get an A. A radically different lineup with Tanguy Ndombele and Giovanni Lo Celso gave Chelsea everything they could handle. Then they conceded from a set play and fell apart so thoroughly that it erased the good that came before. If Spurs do eventually turn their season around we might point to this half as where it started. But, for this game, you don’t get brownie points for keeping it close for an hour when you get embarrassed after that.

Grade: F


Increasingly, Chelsea feel inevitable. Spurs threw everything they had at them for a half, and created 0.67 xG. Then Chelsea brought on N’Golo Kante for Mason Mount at halftime and ground Spurs into dust in the second half. Just another ho hum three goal win from the team that might currently be favorites to win the Premier League title

Grade: A

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