It’s been just over two weeks since the Premier League returned, and with some FA Cup matches sprinkled in among an action-packed period, clubs have been forced to find sharpness and fitness fast.
We’ve now been able to get a good look at each team post-lockdown, and we’ve provided grades for each Premier League side based on performances and results since the restart.
Arsenal are on a three-game winning streak (in all competitions), something that didn’t feel particularly possible after back-to-back losses—one of which was to Brighton & Hove Albion—dogged their immediate return to action.
The wins have helped put the losses into context: Manchester City were too tough a nut to crack in the opener, and they battered Brighton for a good 60 minutes before imploding.
Since then? Southampton and Norwich City were well beaten in the league, Sheffield United were overcome in the FA Cup and Bukayo Saka has signed a new contract.
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 01: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Norwich City at Emirates Stadium on July 01, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images)
Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images
Aston Villa: C+
Villa look a different side since the restart—but “different” doesn’t necessarily mean “better.”
They’ve gone from expansive but leaky to…well, the opposite, grinding through games in a controlled manner but really lacking any spark, any ingenuity and any pace up front. They’re now difficult to beat but dry up top.
They were the better side against Sheffield United, Newcastle United and arguably Wolverhampton Wanderers, but they squeezed just two points out of those games. Wins need to come or the season will probably end in relegation, but at least they’re working off a solid base.
What on Earth?
Bournemouth weren’t in a good place before the break, and somehow they’ve come out of it looking even worse. They’ve lost all three games played, have lacked the sort of fluency and personality Eddie Howe’s team usually play with and were defensively calamitous against Newcastle United in midweek.
Their fixture list from here reads: Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, Manchester City, Southampton, Everton. And they’re already in the relegation zone. Gulp. continue reading
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