Premier League grades: D for Manchester United; West Ham and Leicester top
By Sky Sports Football
Last Updated: 01/10/18 10:26am
It's been another busy weekend of Premier League action, but who tops the class and who sits bottom of the pack?
It was a bad weekend for Manchester United after their 3-1 loss at West Ham, with Chelsea and Liverpool drawing in their second clash of the week.
There were wins for Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham, while Burnley were 2-1 winners at Cardiff on Nissan Super Sunday.
We take a look at how each side got on over the weekend, and grade them on their performances...
West Ham - A
Manuel Pellegrini has overseen an impressive turnaround at West Ham. They opened their campaign with four straight defeats and it would have been very easy for the powers that be at the London Stadium to start panicking. However, they backed Pellegrini and are now reaping the rewards.
What a win it was against Manchester United. The front three of Mark Arnautovic, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko terrorised the United defence as Pellegrini's side dominated from the very first whistle.
It was just their second win in their last 20 Premier League matches against Manchester United (D5 L13) and the first time they have beaten them by a two or more goal margin in a league game since October 1982 (also 3-1).
The Hammers are now up to 13th in the league table after picking up seven points from their last three games against Everton, Chelsea and Manchester United. (Oliver Yew)
Leicester - A
Claude Puel is not everyone's cup of tea, but once again he seems to be overseeing steady progress at another Premier League club. Leicester are up to seventh after beating Newcastle, in what was as comfortable an away win as they are ever likely to encounter, but it is the foundations laid by Puel that means such assured victories can take place.
Puel put his neck on the line in the summer by splurging the cash to bring James Maddison to the club from the Championship, but his decision appears to have been a correct one, with Maddison continuing to impress in the Premier League. He was one of several star performers at St James', as Leicester slowly but surely continue to impress. (Pete Hall)
Man City - B+
Pep Guardiola was expected to make several changes against Brighton ahead of an important Champions League week, but sticking with the likes of Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero paid off in a routine win.
Sterling was the real positive, scoring one and making another, picking up a much-deserved and morale-boosting man-of-the-match award. Nicolas Otamendi and Aymeric Laporte were also superb at the back; competition for City's centre-half positions is among the strongest in world football.
Bigger tests will come, not least against Liverpool on Super Sunday, but City got the job done with minimal fuss. (Gerard Brand)
Everton - B+
It was a much-needed win for Everton over Fulham in the Premier League, with successive losses to West Ham and Arsenal having preceded the game. It looked like it might be a cagey affair after the first half, but something Marco Silva said gave them the boost they needed.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Silva revealed he told his side to be more "aggressive", although it was an overall ease on the ball and understanding between the players that really impressed in the second half. If they had maintained the same levels throughout the entire 90 minutes, they would have been top of the class. (Charlotte Marsh)
Chelsea - B
Chelsea looked as though they were going to pass their biggest test of the season so far until Daniel Sturridge's stunning late equaliser earned Liverpool a 1-1 draw. Maurizio Sarri's side might have been fortunate that Liverpool missed a couple of excellent chances, but they could have scored a second themselves when Eden Hazard was played through on goal.
Overall, it was an encouraging display from Chelsea, which Sarri summed up with his assessment on the title race: "I think they [Liverpool] are a step forward, but I think also that we are closer than I thought one week ago." (James Walker-Roberts)
Liverpool - B
Having been wasteful in their last Premier League away game against Tottenham, Liverpool again missed openings at Stamford Bridge, with Mohamed Salah failing to take several opportunities he might have been expected to finish last season.
However, Liverpool did create more chances than Chelsea, and managed to preserve their unbeaten record thanks to that superb late goal from Sturridge, so there were positives to take from the game for Jurgen Klopp. (James Walker-Roberts)
Arsenal - B
Again, the Gunners weren't anywhere near their best. Again, they got the job done. They owed a lot to Watford's profligacy to be level when Craig Cathcart bundled into his own goal with nine minutes to go at the Emirates, but good teams can win ugly, and although it remains to be seen how good they actually are, you can't argue with a fifth Premier League win in a row. (Ron Walker)
Tottenham - B
It wasn't a vintage Spurs display by any means at Huddersfield but following three successive defeats earlier in the month, Mauricio Pochettino's side have now strung together a three-game winning sequence.
On the plus side, Harry Kane looked as fit and sharp as he has done all season, while Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose provided plenty of attacking intent from the wing-back positions.
Less pleasing for Pochettino will be the injuries sustained by Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele ahead of Wednesday's pivotal Champions League clash against Barcelona. (Oliver Young-Myles)
Watford - B
Watford could not have asked for much more from their performance at Arsenal - they created the chances to go with it too, but just failed to take them. Troy Deeney, Isaac Success and Andre Gray were all guilty of passing up great opportunities, but these are not the games which will define Watford's season by any stretch. (Ron Walker)
Wolves - B
It was far from a vintage display from Wolves and for much of the second half against Southampton, they were second best. However, they withstood everything Saints threw at them and when their opportunities arose late in the game, they took them.
Nuno Espirito Santo's side will certainly play better this season but winning when not playing particularly well is not a bad skill to have. (Sam Drury)
Southampton - B-
Southampton can feel highly unfortunate to have come away from Molineux with nothing after having the better of the play for much of the game. In between both penalty areas, they were the better side; the problem came in what happened in both boxes.
Going forward, Saints were not incisive enough, even with Danny Ings back in the side, and at the back Wolves were able to score twice without ever really applying any pressure. While there was some nice football in the middle third, they need to be more clinical at either end to turn that into points. (Sam Drury)
Burnley - B-
They might have got a second straight win, but Burnley were far from their best at Cardiff. Their passing accuracy was just 56 per cent and they scored from their only two shots on target. Had it not been for a couple of important saves from Joe Hart, then Burnley could have lost, but they managed to grind out the victory and might now be able to build some momentum after a slow start to the season. (James Walker-Roberts)
Cardiff - C
"We had to work really hard to lose," was Neil Warnock's assessment after Cardiff were beaten at home by Burnley. This was a crucial game for the Bluebirds after a tough start to the season; they controlled most of it, and had 19 shots compared to three from the visitors. However, they failed to take their chances and defensive errors proved costly for the two Burnley goals. How they respond to this result could be crucial for Cardiff's hopes of survival. (James Walker-Roberts)
Fulham - C
Fulham have been impressive at times this season, but they looked seriously lacklustre at Goodison Park. They did have the better chances in the first half - with Ryan Sessegnon hitting the crossbar - but after Timothy Fosu-Mensah's eighth-minute substitution, you could guess it was not going to be their day.
They were simply blown away by Everton in the second half. Perhaps it was the hosts' Premier League pedigree shining through, but the game showed how reliant the Cottagers are on Aleksandar Mitrovic's goals. He was kept quiet for much of the game by Michael Keane, and Fulham were not given the chance to provide him with any service. This - coupled with their lack of a clean sheet this season - could be a real issue in the coming months. (Charlotte Marsh)
Brighton - C-
Though a 2-0 defeat at the champions seems acceptable on first look, Brighton really offered nothing to disrupt City at the Etihad. They looked ambitious in the opening 10 minutes, but City strangled them thereafter without really getting out of second gear.
Spare a thought for Jurgen Locadia, who fed off next to nothing up front, but it was never going to be a fruitful afternoon for Chris Hughton's men. A big ask, and they have bigger, more winnable games to come in their quest to stay in the Premier League again. (Gerard Brand)
Huddersfield Town - C-
It was the same old story as far as David Wagner and Huddersfield were concerned as despite playing well overall against Spurs, they were beaten without scoring a goal.
Although they had moments - most notably when Laurent Depoitre thundered the crossbar with a volley - their inability to find the net means that Huddersfield have now gone four home games without scoring.
Wagner remains upbeat despite Huddersfield's predicament, but he needs to turn things around quickly. (Oliver Young-Myles)
Manchester United - D
The pressure continues to build on Jose Mourinho after his side turned in yet another turgid performance at West Ham.
Defeat caps what has been an extremely difficult week at Old Trafford following the 1-1 draw with Wolves last weekend, the midweek exit from the Carabao Cup on penalties at the hands of Derby, and the public bust-ups between Mourinho and Paul Pogba.
The negative atmosphere in the United camp showed, as there were lacklustre performances all over the pitch from Mourinho's players as they suffered what is already their third defeat in the Premier League season.
United have now won just 10 league points in the campaign thus far. They last picked up fewer points from their opening seven games of a top-flight campaign in 1989/90 (7). (Oliver Yew)
Newcastle - D
Everything that could be going wrong is at Newcastle. Off the pitch, there is talk of a takeover and mass protests week after week against owner Mike Ashley, while on the pitch, they remain winless so far this season, having suffered four home league defeats in a row for the first time in the club's history.
It really does look bleak. The Magpies offered very little as an attacking force against Leicester, and have found the net just four times in seven matches. Joselu does not seem to have the required quality to lead the line on his own, meaning the supply has very little to aim for. Fans will be getting worried, with cavalry options so thin on the ground. (Pete Hall)