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The Premier League View: End of Season

The Premier League View: End of Season

Anfield's Shankly Gates

At the start of the season, View From The Ninian got the Premier League View from our relegation rivals, title contenders and the mid-table pack about Cardiff City, their clubs and what they expected during the 2018/19 season.

With the season now wrapped up, we caught up with some of those fans to reflect on the season gone by.

Arsenal

How would you rate your season?

If we win the Europa League? 8/10. If we don’t, 5/10.

Winning the Europa will paper over a number of cracks that are still there in this team, but you can’t deny the fact that winning a European trophy, the first since 1994, and getting back into the Champions League can be seen as anything other than a success.

The underlying numbers of our season are what worries me however, Wenger’s final season was
arguably our worst ever yet some of the numbers, analytically, this season have been even worse both in defence and attack. Having two world class forwards has been a joy to watch this season and they are a large reason as to why we finished as high as we did but with the top 4 well within our grasp we completely bottled it and churned out woeful performance after woeful performance. I think the players are partly to blame but Emery also made some questionable team selections and substitutions in key matches.

Against the bigger teams we looked our best, far more competitive this season then we have been in a long time. Emery had a tough job taking over from Wenger and did ok. It’s a huge summer ahead and we need Champions League football or I fear we risk slipping further from that top.

What does your side need this summer? 

Champions League football for one! As a squad we have a lot of talent yet we also, still, have a number of mediocre players earning far too much. We need to shift players like Jenkinson, Elneny, even Monreal now as he is past his best. Ramsey, Welbeck & Cech are all leaving. Koscielny may well be playing his final game for us in the Europa Final.
There’s rumours we want to sell Mustafi and Mkhitaryan…it stands to be a busy summer.

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We desperately need to replace Ramsey with a player of high quality, who I don’t know but it’ll be interesting to see what type of player we go for and whether it’d be a like for like player or if Emery has a different path in mind. Nelson & Chambers are set to return from successful loan spells and I’d like them to be integrated into the first team squad. We definitely lack a dribbler, someone who can beat a man both with skill and pace and I’d love if we could tempt Pepe from Lille to us.

Centre back, left back, winger and central midfielder required.

What did you make of Cardiff this season?

They fared better than I thought they would. I honestly thought they’d struggle from the off and be cast adrift at the bottom of the table but they put up a good fight. They were on the end of some incredibly bad officiating (that Chelsea match…deary me) and margins like that can make all the difference at this level.

I can’t see I’m Warnock’s biggest fan personally but he had the players fighting for him throughout the season and I think they can be proud of some of their performances. The win at Old Trafford was particularly pleasing to watch.

Ed Wilson (@ed_wilson87)

Brighton & Hove Albion

How would you rate your season?

I would rate out season as a rollercoaster there were plenty of up and downs but we finished on a high achieving survival with a couple of games to spare as well as reaching an FA Cup semi-final we had not expected to and only narrowly missing on a place in the final.

What does your side need this summer? 

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Well firstly we need a new manager, which looks like it could be Graham Potter of Swansea. [Editor’s Note: We spoke to Adam before Potter was appointed.] Personally we need another striker as Glenn is not getting younger and we can’t rely on him to bang in the goals like he has done over the last two seasons and both Andone and Locadia have not been firing like we’d hope. Also we need a right back after Bruno’s retirement as we only have Martin Montoya, we have been linked with Reece James of Chelsea who was on loan at Wigan and he would be a good young player to add and would be provide healthy competition for Montoya for the starting role. The other position we need to strengthen in is on the wing as Izquierdo as been missing for a large part of the season so we have only had three wingers of which two have really been performing more consistently in Knockaert and March. As Jahanbakhsh has been poor and could be heading for the exit door.

What did you make of Cardiff this season?

I feel sorry for Cardiff as they have had rotten luck. I thought they made some good signings in the summer in Murphy and Camarasa. However, they have had rotten luck with injury with Sol Bamba getting injured at a key point in the season. Obviously you then had the sad news of Emiliano Sala, who I believe would have kept Cardiff up with his goals. Also they have rotten luck with games e.g the Chelsea game but they put in great performances against Brighton and Manchester United this season to name just a couple and I hope Warnock can get them straight back up.

Adam Stenning (@StenningAdam)

Everton

How would you rate your season?

After a second successive eighth-place finish, the temptation away from Merseyside must be too assume that very little progress has been made at Goodison Park over the past 12 months. Both statistically and stylistically, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Marco Silva’s Everton are a most welcome tonic to the turgid fate served up under predecessor Sam Allardyce. More points, more goals and better performances against the top-six tell their own story. A mid-season dip had everyone worried, particularly given the worrying regularity with which goals were conceded from set-pieces, but the general feeling is that when tested, the Portuguese has come up with answers. The challenge now is to turn promise into tangible steps forward in both the league and cups.

What does your side need this summer? 

It’s likely to be a particularly busy summer at Goodison Park. Shifting deadwood will be key, as will securing the permanent futures of loan stars Kurt Zouma and Andre Gomes, but for the majority of Evertonians, the most pressing issue remains securing a forward capable of scoring 15-20 goals over the course of a campaign.

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Signing a creative foil for Gylfi Sigurdsson, top-class right-back and box-to-box midfielder will also be essential if the Blues are to push on. And then there’s the small matter of keeping the likes of Idrissa Gueye and Richarlison from the clutches of Champions League clubs. It’s fair to say Marco Silva and Marcel Brands will have their hands full over the coming months…

What did you make of Cardiff this season?

As expected, really. With a general lack of Premier a League quality in the ranks and Warnock at the helm, Cardiff were among the three I predicted to go down at the start of the campaign. Victor Camarasa, a shining light throughout, was the obvious exception to the rule, but Kenneth Zohore – once, rather remarkably, a Steve Walsh target for around £30m – predictably showcased exactly why the former Leicester scout is no longer in a job. After a turbulent year, fingers crossed they bounce back sooner rather than later.

Patrick Boyland (@Paddy_Boyland)

Fulham

How would you rate your season?

1/10 … a shitshow from start to finish.

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What does your side need this summer? 

Weirdly, not a lot. It needs to do it’s best to hold on to the talent it has. Players like Mitro, Sess, Cairney, Mawson and Anguissa will do absolute bits in the Championship. Doing that will be easier said than done, and therefore we may need to replace a couple of those players that do leave.

What did you make of Cardiff this season?

It pains me to say this, but I was mightily impressed. Warnock instilled in you something we lacked for most of this season; spirit. The fact you kept the fight going until the end of the season, despite spending very little was testament to the character in your team. Had that been coupled with the undoubted talent in ours, we would have almost certainly have been safe.

Sammy James (@MrSammyJames)

Huddersfield

How would you rate your season?

It’s been nothing short of terrible to be honest, we’ve lost every week and what’s worse we’ve lost most of those games without scoring. It’s been incredibly dull to be a Huddersfield Town fan this season. The writing was on the wall when we hosted you in our third game of the season, “Our season starts at home to Cardiff” said David Wagner, we were lucky to get a 0-0 draw in the end…

What does your side need this summer? 

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Outgoing chairman Dean Hoyle said that some of our players have been a ‘disgrace’ this season, so our first objective has to be getting these players out of the club. Jan Siewert will only be undermined if we keep players here that want to leave. Whilst we shouldn’t go out and spend crazy money I’d like to see us revamp the squad somewhat and bring players in that fit Siewert’s style.

What did you make of Cardiff this season?

I’ve watched 5 full Cardiff games this season and I have to say I’ve been largely unimpressed by your apparent lack of ambition. Like us it’s clear that you lack that Premier League quality in both boxes but it does seem from the outside that you haven’t really done yourselves justice this season. I thought you gave us way too much respect in January and barely laid a glove on us in that game – despite us going into that game on the back of 9 straight defeats.

Then of course there was the Fulham game, I tuned into that with high hopes of cheering on your Great Escape but you didn’t turn up until the last 15 minutes. Maybe I haven’t seen enough of Cardiff this season but I just feel you could have stayed up with a tad more bravery?

John McNamara (@TerrierBlog)

Liverpool

How would you rate your season?

It’s been a 9.5/10 season, and if we can win in Madrid on June 1st it will be a 10/10 in my book. Not everyone will agree but that’s how I see it.

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I never expected to see such an incredible level of consistency on show, and to reach 97 points is a stunning effort. Fair play to Man City, who were just that tiny bit too good in the end, and losing out to them is nothing to be ashamed of.

The football has been great, a winning mentality has been discovered and we are now one of the top two sides in Europe. The addition of Alisson and Fabinho has been huge, while Virgil van Dijk has been colossal, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have excelled and full-back pair Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have been a joy to watch. I love this team more than any in my 25 years as a fan.

I struggle to find a negative apart from the disappointment of falling short in the title race – we were never expected to get close, though – and there is another Champions League final to look forward to.

What does your side need this summer? 

I don’t think huge additions are needed this summer, even though City are frighteningly good, will spend big and likely get near the 100-point mark again next season.

Another centre-back is required, preferably someone who can stay fit and who is an upgrade on Joel Matip, and more so, Dejan Lovren. Joe Gomez should be Van Dijk’s first choice moving forward if he stays injury-free, but there’s nothing wrong with even more competition. An new deputy to Robertson at left-back is also required, with Alberto Moreno moving on.

Liverpool also need a No.10 type player who can weave magic in the way David and Bernardo Silva do for City – someone capable of thriving both out wide and centrally.

A strong backup to Roberto Firmino would also be good, although I expect big things from teenager Rhian Brewster, so keep and eye out for him. He is special.

What did you make of Cardiff this season?

I felt for Cardiff if I’m honest, having not given them a prayer at the start of the season. I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’m Neil Warnock’s biggest fan but he’s done a brilliant job despite relegation.

In the end, you did better than many expected and you can hold your heads up high, and the style of football wasn’t a one-dimensional as some lazily paint it as, from what I saw.

That Chelsea game was a killer, and while I’m far from wholly in favour of VAR, who knows how your season would’ve paned out if it had been implemented this season.

Best of luck in the Championship – I wouldn’t be surprised to see you up near the top again.

Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87 )

Manchester United

How would you rate your season?

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3/10. Regressed in Mourinho’s third season, and all top-four hopes died by December. And then Solskjaer took over as interim, oversaw a long unbeaten streak that got the hopes of fans up again, only to eventually dash them once again. The last two months have been a tedious exercise. The only positive this season was PSG away: that unlikely comeback and the ecstatic celebrations that followed will always be remembered.

What does your side need this summer? 

A lot. Get a new director of football (and not an ex-United player), which seems unlikely to happen so soon. A new CB, RB, CM and RW should be the minimum. Clearing out some of the deadwood in the squad (looking at you, Sanchez). Can’t predict how this summer will turn out.

What did you make of Cardiff this season?

Cardiff were no pushovers (as seen from the last day loss to them). At the end of the day, the squad was simply not good enough to deal with the PL. But they didn’t spend in excess and have the players to challenge for promotion next season in the Championship. They were also unlucky (like against Chelsea) and eventually wasted chances for three points. If they’d beaten Fulham or Palace in the last few games, they’d be staying up. Didn’t have the goals to stay up, and the Sala tragedy was truly unfortunate.

Rahul Warrier (@rahulw_ )

Southampton

How would you rate your season?

Obviously, a season where we finished 16th and with two losses and three draws from our final five fixtures can hardly be construed as a success, even if it is up one place from last season. Having said that, the appointment of Ralph Hasenhuttl in December was a masterstroke.

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I was asked back in September who would be my ideal manager and I picked him, totally in hope rather than expectation; the board have, however, shown a degree of foresight and confidence that has been lacking since the Pochettino appointment in 2013. The team’s performance has improved under RH but, more clearly, so has its purpose – there now seems to be a clear sense of what we’re trying to do for the first time in a while and though he still doesn’t seem sure on formation or line-up, I have confidence that we will begin next season with a clear identity and, hopefully, an off-pitch strategy to match

What does your side need this summer? 

This summer, we need to look hard at some previous transfers and work out whether or not those players deserve to stay: Carillo, Hoedt, Soares, and Boufal are all on loan and may well leave (I would keep Soares and Hoedt, probably), and Elyounoussi hasn’t worked. Some players may be deemed surplus now – Gunn has been generally good in goal, so Forster’s time looks up – and there will also be a battle to hold onto players like Redmond and Bertrand, who I would do everything I could to keep hold of. The summer needs to be about setting out a clear transfer strategy, retaining players that fit RH’s playing style and bringing in strength in the defence. In short, the sort of planning that has been absent for a while, but hopefully will return.

What did you make of Cardiff this season?

See Also
Huddersfield Town: Preview from the opposition

Cardiff obviously beat Ralph in his first game, which wasn’t very nice. I think they’ve both met and exceeded expectations, really – relegation was no surprise, but many players, especially Etheridge, Bamba, Morrison, and Paterson have, to me at least, enhanced their reputations. They clearly couldn’t be written off as easily as some pundits did, and I think Warnock showed that he can still coax good performances from players and cause bigger teams issues. Sadly, in the shakedown, Cardiff just did not have enough quality in the squad in terms of goal-scoring to justify or achieve staying up. But I don’t think they were as bad as some people expected they would be.

Alex Stewart (@AFHStewart )

Tottenham Hotspur

How would you rate your season?

It’s very difficult to rate a season in which you’ve lost 13 domestically, but also reached the unthinkable in a champions league final. Purely for the latter, it’s a 9. I haven’t given us a 10 purely because we haven’t won anything yet – but reaching the final feels like a ridiculous achievement given what we’ve been through this season.

What does your side need this summer? 

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Full backs! Trippier seems to have let last year’s success get to head. Rose is brilliant to watch – but is final ball leaves a lot to be desired! There’s talk of Ryan Sessegnon and I think he’d fit our mould perfectly. That, and a new centre mid. Andre Gomes, Jack Grealish – someone like that!

What did you make of Cardiff this season?

I’m disappointed to see them go down, but after losing to Fulham, they probably didn’t deserve to stay up. They looked good in parts, poor in others. I mentioned on the podcast that Camarasa was a player and I think he missed a few games this season? Could have been costly! I really felt for the club in January with the passing of Emiliano Sala. The way the club rallied behind the squad for the following months was nothing short of exceptional, and that’s how I’ll remember Cardiff’s season.

Stuart Fagg (@stuart_fagg)

Watford

How would you rate your season?

There is not a Watford on the planet who wouldn’t have taken an 11th place finish and an FA Cup final if you had offered it to them in August. It’s been our best and most harmonious season since we returned to the Premier League, with the only very slight gripe being that we petered out post-semi-final and slipped into the bottom half on the final day after looking like a good shout for 7th at one point.

What does your side need this summer? 

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We could do with upgrades at striker and centre-half. Deeney and Gray have done a good job this season but you don’t feel they have a great deal of capacity to improve, Deulefeo has been used as a striker for most of the season and is our best player on his day but is prone to inconsistency, we’re searching for the same thing as every other club outside the top 6 and that’s someone who can exceed or at least get close to that fabled 20 goal mark. Our centre-halves are all decent but none of them outstanding and none of them getting any younger, we could do with a defensive lynchpin with which to build our back line around for the whole season.

What did you make of Cardiff this season?

I was surprised that Cardiff managed to take the survival battle as far as they did, and I would rather you stayed up over Brighton as I think the league is better for Neil Warnock’s presence and I admire the battling qualities of a lot of your squad. Of course you deserve every sympathy after the Sala tragedy and I hope you have another good crack at the Championship next season. We scored 8 of our best goals of the season against you, so thanks for that.

David Walker (@D_C_W)

West Ham United

How would you rate your season?

I’d say 7/10. Poor start but made up for it with a top half finish & 10 points from the last 4 games. No major controversy or mockery from the owners, other than the defeat to AFC Wimbledon it was pretty respectful.

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What does your side need this summer? 

Needs a box to box CM most of all, plus another CB, a back up keeper and a striker or two depending on if Arnie goes (the rest of them can all go).

What did you make of Cardiff this season?

They were up against it before you throw in your new signing passing away plus your two top scorers getting injured. Were it not for poor refereeing decisions you’d have stayed up, plus I’d prefer to have seen you stay up over Brighton. Etheridge & Camarasa impressed. I’d say 6.5/10 as you very nearly stayed up.

Rick (@rickhimself101)

Wolves

How would you rate your season?

Like most Wolves fans, at the beginning of the season I’d have happily taken a comfortable survival.

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So to finish 7th in the Premier League and to make an FA Cup semi has been a dream come true.

This has easily been my best season following Wolves and I’ve been going since 1990!

What does your side need this summer? 

A lot will depend on if Wolves make the Europa league (they will if Man City beat Watford on Saturday) & although it’s been an amazing season, they’ll definitely need some reinforcements if ten or so extra games are on the fixture list.

For competition, I think a minimum of a RWB, RCB, CM and a forward would be needed. Plus I think Wolves will turn a few heads with what they’ll do this summer.

What did you make of Cardiff this season?

Despite going down, I think Cardiff had a good season.

Most people had written off Cardiff back in August and had them nailed on for bottom spot, but even finishing 18th they proved a few people wrong.

They had a bit of bad luck at the end of the season and were unlucky not to catch Brighton who were in free fall for the run in.

I’d fully expect Cardiff to challenge for promotion next season.

Ryan Leister (@MrRyanLeister)

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