Premier League grades: Manchester City and Liverpool get the job done again
By Sky Sports Football
Last Updated: 07/05/19 4:15pm
Who "looked like a Champions League outfit" in the Premier League at the weekend? And which team "does not know how to drop points"?
Read on for the lowdown from all of this week's games from our football reporters, who grade each team's performance from A to F...
Liverpool - A
Liverpool's performance was as far from vintage as they have produced in some time but by hook or by crook, they always find a way to get the job done in the title race. The character of this team deserves an A on its own for sheer persistence to beat a far superior Newcastle team with an 86th-minute deflected header. Their defending was ropy, they lost Mo Salah to injury, they could barely pick a pass for 10 minutes near the end. But they ground out the win. And at this stage of the season, that's all that matters. (Ron Walker)
Manchester City - A
Manchester City do not know how to drop points. Leicester held them at arms' length, and kept them there, and hung on, and dug in, but still they found a way through. Vincent Kompany, who hasn't even had a shot from outside the box in nearly six years is the last man anyone would have expected to be scoring goal-of-the-season contenders, but there's something magical in this City side and nothing showcased it like his stunner. City were nervous and well below par in the final third, but they still put themselves within touching distance of the Premier League. (Ron Walker)
Chelsea - B+
This wasn't Chelsea at their best but at this time of the season, all that matters is the three points. For the opening 45 minutes, the Blues were lethargic and clearly second best against an energised Watford outfit.
Luckily for Chelsea, Watford did not carry enough ruthlessness in the final third to punish them. The second half was a different story as Chelsea attacked with greater fluency and looked like a Champions League outfit. (Lewis Jones)
Everton - B+
Everton started like a steam train against Burnley, and understandably took their foot off the gas when they went 2-0 up early on. But that drop in intensity was slightly disappointing, as although they ended the season on a high in front of their home fans, they could have won by more had they continued with that level of vigour.
But with Richarlison on song before his injury, Bernard coming into his own, and Gylfi Sigurdsson back to his best, among other strong performances, there are plenty of signs 2019/20 could be a good season for the Toffees. (Ron Walker)
Newcastle - B+
Newcastle were desperately unlucky to lose to Liverpool on Saturday. If either side deserved the win, it was probably the hosts. Had Trent Alexander-Arnold been sent off and Christian Atsu's goal not disallowed, they might have got all three points, but they can at least take plenty of positives from making a brilliant Liverpool side very average and coming within four minutes of a point. (Ron Walker)
West Ham - B+
Despite the comfortable scoreline, for a while this match represented West Ham's season in microcosm.
For the first half, they looked slick and produced a goal of real class with Mark Noble's delightful through-ball converted by Marko Arnautovic.
But then, after a break for half-time, the maddening inconsistency. A Southampton equaliser looked on the cards for 20 minutes until a stroke of good fortune helped Arnautovic grab a second.
Suddenly, West Ham were a vibrant force again and added a third straight away. The talent is there, they have a good manager and a ninth home win suggests they now have a happier relationship with the London Stadium. (David Tindall)
Crystal Palace - B+
While much of the focus was on Cardiff and their relegation on Saturday, it has to be noted that Crystal Palace continued their superb form away from home and deserved their victory. They have won 29 away Premier League points this season (W9 D2 L8) - only Man City, Liverpool and Spurs have won more.
Their attacking performance in the first half was wonderful to watch and their defensive efforts in the second took plenty of guts against a determined Cardiff side fighting for survival. Palace themselves have really suffered with injuries, especially in 2019, and Roy Hodgson will surely be looking forward to getting everyone fit in time for pre-season. (Charlotte Marsh)
Leicester - B+
Brendan Rodgers will be licking his lips ahead of a pre-season and full campaign with Leicester. They get him and he gets them. They were marvellous against Manchester City, committed from 1 to 11 and tactically perfect; Hamza Choudhury and Ben Chilwell's terrific job on Bernardo Silva a highlight. It's difficult to attach the slightest blame for Vincent Kompany's goal which downed them, and the fact it took such a wonderful strike to see them off showed just how well they played at the Etihad. (Ron Walker)
Cardiff - B
There has to be plenty of credit for Cardiff after their battling performance against Crystal Palace. They knew a defeat would send them back to the Sky Bet Championship and even at 3-1 down, they continued to probe and test the Crystal Palace defence with Bobby Reid's 90th-minute consolation truly deserved.
But they do not quite push themselves into the 'A' bracket because they did, after all, suffer a 3-2 defeat and their defending for the three opposition goals was pretty bad. But they made up for it with spirit, effort and tenacity with a sensational atmosphere from the home fans, with manager Neil Warnock calling this season the best he has ever had as a manager.
Cardiff have had plenty of blows this season but their performance against Crystal Palace shows that life is running through the club once again. (Charlotte Marsh)
Huddersfield - B
In a similar vein to Cardiff, Huddersfield showed plenty of fighting spirit despite their relegation being confirmed quite a while ago. Perhaps they were aided by a wounded Manchester United side who allowed them into the game from the 20th minute and it was a Luke Shaw error that allowed Isaac Mbenza to score.
But the Huddersfield fans never stopped singing and manager Jan Siewert said the draw - which must have felt more like a victory - was for the supporters and outgoing chairman Dean Hoyle. They certainly gave both some good final memories of Premier League football at the John Smith's Stadium. (Charlotte Marsh)
Brighton - B
With their Premier League status for next season already confirmed, you'd have forgiven Brighton if they'd taken their foot off the gas at the Emirates Stadium.
There was none of that from Chris Hughton's side, though. They were excellent against Arsenal and they could have come away with all three points but for a magnificent save from Bernd Leno to deny Solly March.
In the end, they had to settle for a point but the draw meant they avoided defeat away from home against "big six" opposition for the first time in the Premier League - they had lost each of their last 11 games before the 1-1 draw with Arsenal.
Wolves - B
It was not Wolves' greatest display of the season on Saturday, but the home side secured seventh place in the Premier League with their deserved 1-0 win over Fulham.
And the victory meant that Nuno Espirito Santo's side have now won 57 points in the Premier League this campaign, the most by a newly-promoted side since Ipswich Town in 2000-01 (66 points).
And that could still result in a first appearance in Europe since 1980 if Man City beat Watford in the FA Cup final. (Richard Morgan)
Watford - B-
Watford impressed in large parts of their visit to Stamford Bridge but lacked quality in both boxes. In attack, they wasted some golden early chances and were denied by an amazing save from Kepa Arrizabalaga. Then in defence, they went to sleep from two corners and Chelsea punished them. The future does look bright under Javi Gracia for the Hornets, though. (Lewis Jones)
Burnley - C+
Burnley never really got going at Everton until it was far too late. As many people far wiser than me have said down the years, it's far easier to play football when you're already a couple of goals behind.
But credit Burnley, their slow start was not down to a lack of guts, they could rarely be accused of that, just beaten by a better team at Goodison Park and two fine early goals to beat them. With safety already secured games like this will never define their season. (Ron Walker)
Bournemouth - C
The Cherries got out of jail courtesy of Nathan Ake's late header. Despite playing against nine men for over 40 minutes, they struggled to create any meaningful chances. If anything Spurs looked the more comfortable side. Before the two red cards, Spurs were utterly dominant and the Cherries were indebted to their debuting goalkeeper Mark Travers, who was in outstanding form. (Lewis Jones)
Tottenham - C
This is a really hard one to grade. Spurs were utterly dominant for 40 minutes but failed to take their chances. Frustration boiled over with the two sending-offs but even then, Spurs defended in resolute fashion and would have been great value for the point had Nathan Ake not powered home a late header. (Lewis Jones)
Fulham - C
After some recent impressive performances under caretaker boss Scott Parker, already-relegated Fulham turned in a listless display at Molineux on Saturday afternoon to cap off a miserable campaign back in the top flight.
In fact, their latest defeat means the west London club have now lost 25 Premier League games this season, the most by a newly-promoted side since Derby County lost 29 times in 2007-08. (Richard Morgan)
Southampton - D
Southampton had done the hard work by securing safety before they set foot in the London Stadium.
Ralph Hasenhuttl sensed the push for safety had taken a lot out of his team and rested some of his key troops. For 45 minutes it showed.
Nathan Redmond's introduction at the start of the second half changed the momentum but the fragility was exposed when West Ham's second went in. It was no surprise when a third followed soon after.
Hasenhuttl's style needs high energy levels and they simply weren't there. As a result, this defeat came as no surprise. (David Tindall)
Arsenal - D
Just not good enough from Arsenal. The Gunners had yet another opportunity to close the gap to Chelsea and Tottenham in the race for the top four, but yet again they failed to take advantage.
Unai Emery's side's hopes of qualifying for the Champions league via the Premier league are all but over after taking just one point from their last four games against Crystal Palace, Wolves, Leicester and Brighton.
Arsenal, who have now conceded 50 or more goals in consecutive top-flight campaigns for the first time since 1982-83 and 1983-84, produced another lacklustre display against Brighton at the Emirates Stadium, leaving them staring at the prospect of finishing outside the top four a third straight year.
They still have a chance of qualification for the Champions League if they can win the Europa League, but they will need to produce a much better performance in Valencia, who they lead 3-1 from the first leg, than they showed against Brighton on Sunday. (Oliver Yew)
Manchester United - D
The stats do not make good reading for Manchester United. They are winless in six away games across all competitions (D1 L5), their poorest streak on their travels since November 2014 (nine games). Overall, they have now gone five matches without a win in all competitions (D2 L3), their longest such run since December 2015 (eight games under Louis van Gaal).
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave an honest assessment after the game, saying his side were not good enough against Huddersfield or during the season and it is hard to disagree. They absolutely had to win to keep them in the hunt for a Champions League place and, bar the opening 20 minutes or so, it looked they had already given up and booked their holidays. With no disrespect to Huddersfield, Manchester United should be able to win against side who had their relegation confirmed a few weeks ago.
The Champions League will not be at Old Trafford next season, although they are still firmly in the hunt for a Europa League spot. Both Solskjaer and Ashley Young said United should be aiming higher than the top four but Sunday's performance showed that you have to put the work in over 10 months. United have not done that this season. (Charlotte Marsh)
The last act of The Run In will be shown live on Sky Sports on a defining final day of the Premier League season.
Manchester City's trip to Brighton is live on Sky Sports Main Event from 2.30pm, while Liverpool vs Wolves at Anfield is live on Sky Sports Premier League from 2pm on Sunday, May 12. Kick-off for both games is at 3pm.