Our football writer @SteTudor123 gives his end of season ratings for every Premier League club - do you agree with his scores?
It feels like a lifetime ago now when the Cherries went to Anfield and were ruthlessly dismantled nine times over and understandably it took a good while for the newly-promoted side to recover from that humiliation.
Even a ‘new manager bounce’ enjoyed under Gary O’Neill didn’t change a commonly held perception of the relegation battle which had Bournemouth nailed-on to drop along with two others undetermined.
That the South Coast side comfortably survived is testament to O’Neill’s superb work as well as numerous fine performances from Dominic Solanke and Philip Billing.
Let rivals fans and cynics focus on the Gunners’ nine points from their concluding nine fixtures as their favourite status in the Premier League title odds dissipated.
When viewing their campaign as a whole this is a team that topped the table for 248 days, largely playing some sensational stuff.
In 47% of their games, Mikel Arteta’s men racked up 3+ goals while at the back only Manchester City and Newcastle were stingier.
Over the course of one summer, Arteta elevated his side to a higher plateau and with that in mind the future bodes extremely well.
There were two distinctly different Aston Villas this term, the first a directionless mess that seemed destined for the Championship under Steven Gerrard.
Then came Unai Emery who has whipped them into shape superbly.
The Villans only failed to score in two of Emery’s 27 games in charge while it would be unfair to highlight individuals who have flourished under his spell because the truth is, all of them have.
To secure European football from such a low standing has been a remarkable achievement.
Comfortably nestled in the top half of the table for almost all of 2022/23, the Bees have taken another quantum leap forward in their quest to become an established force in the Premier League.
They ended on a high note in beating Spurs, then Manchester City. They began on the front foot, dispensing with Manchester United way back in autumn.
In between, they have taken on all-comers and bowed to no-one, a brilliant back two of Ben Mee and Ethan Pinnock ceding the headlines to the goals of Ivan Toney.
Brighton & Hove Albion
The Seagulls have been an absolute revelation this season, delighting neutrals with their erudite pressing and attractive, constructive build-up play.
They’ve been a paradigm for what can be achieved when a club with limited resources does everything right.
All of their good work in recent years could easily have unravelled when Graham Potter jumped ship to Chelsea but instead, under Roberto De Zerbi they have gone up another level again.
Europa League football awaits and deservedly so.
The era of Todd Boehly has ushered in chaos and comedy at Stamford Bridge, a soap opera now associated with haphazard recruitment, ludicrously long contracts, and managerial sackings and appointments seemingly made on a whim.
In that context, the woeful performances from players who are ten times better on paper can be excused, but only up to the point.
The last time Chelsea posted a worst league finish their forward options were Neil Shipperley and Robert Fleck.
An upbeat ending to their campaign under Roy Hodgson shouldn’t mask a terrible period after the World Cup that can largely be put at Patrick Vieira’s door, but not wholly.
Across 15 games, the Eagles won just once and scored a meagre seven goals.
Quite clearly then, this is a side that operates best when its flair players are set free and let’s hope for Palace’s sake their next permanent boss does precisely this.
As for their five out of 10 rating, that’s fair for a team that has hardly pulled up trees but always seemed like a cut above the relegation candidates.
Escaping the drop by the skin of their teeth does not detract from what has been a wholly dispiriting year for the Toffees, one that has seen them overly reliant on a centre-forward who is rarely fit and a passionate fan-base distracted by an ongoing war with the club’s board.
Everton went behind on 25 occasions in 2022/23 and dropped points in 24 of them. A seismic summer awaits.
A terrific run post-Qatar saw the Cottagers break into the top six and even if their season fell away in the final third, this has still been an extremely positive return to the top-flight. They finished above Chelsea, for starters.
In safe hands with Marco Silva, Fulham have shown they have learned valuable lessons from their recent past in how to adapt as a promoted side. They are a yo-yo club no more.
Leeds undoubtedly possess some talented attacking players, a whole roster of them in fact. Yet not one of their four managers this season could synch them into a functioning unit.
At the back meanwhile, it was an eight-month long horror show. Just five clean sheets all term tells it own story, as too does the concession of a colossal 78 goals.
An overhaul was needed last summer. Brendan Rodgers knew it. Leicester fans knew it.
Instead, the Foxes sold their dressing room leader Kasper Schmeichel and their best defender Wesley Fofana and didn’t properly replace either.
Perhaps too, complacency is to blame for one of the most surprising relegations in modern times.
Perhaps, the players looked at Maddison, Vardy and Barnes and assumed they had enough quality to do okay this season. They were wrong.
Serious glitches in the matrix resulted in the Reds missing out on Champions League football and though legitimate reasons can be offered as to why – namely squad fatigue from chasing down City in recent years – this season still represents a significant regression for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
What looks like a successful refreshing of their forward-line and an unbeaten spell from early-April has kept crisis talk at bay.
After losing to Spurs in February it felt like this was going to be a season of transition for the reigning champions but a structural tweak by Pep Guardiola transformed their fortunes and dramatically so.
As Miles Davis once said, sometimes it takes a long time to sound like yourself and the jazz the Blues played from early Spring on, was off the scale.
Blasting fours, fives and sixes became commonplace, with Liverpool and Real Madrid in that number, and then of course there was Erling Haaland, smashing records and long-standing norms.
A third-place finish, a domestic trophy and – at the time of writing – a FA Cup final to look forward to.
By these metrics alone, Erik Ten Hag’s first season has been a success, but really it goes deeper than that.
Clever recruitment has resolved two long-term issues while just as pertinently, dissenting voices within the squad have been moved on. Moreover, this is now a team with a clear mandate that everyone is on board with.
As opening gambits go, Ten Hag has played a blinder.
Newcastle’s takeover unfairly informs their rise to prominence this term, with some perhaps believing their considerable improvement was always on the cards.
To put their top four securement into perspective however, four clubs out-spent the Magpies in 2022/23, their outlay pretty much matching Nottingham Forest’s.
Rather, Eddie Howe deserves huge credit for masterminding a brilliant campaign. Previously viewed as highly suspect from a defensive standpoint, his team have conceded 0.8 goals-per-90.
Survival was always the end-game for the Tricky Trees, so we can be snippy about the sheer volume of players they’ve bought or highlight a woeful away record that traversed the whole season, but ultimately none of that matters.
Forest are a Premier League side next season and they can build from here.
Just three wins from their opening 14 fixtures saw Ralph Hasenhuttl’s four-year stint on the South Coast come to an end but at that juncture there was still plenty of time to turn things around.
The big mistake the Saints made thereafter was appointing Nathan Jones as his replacement, an unsuitable choice who only exacerbated their dire situation.
Southampton’s two points are awarded for admirably keeping faith in youth, most notably the potentially exceptional Romeo Lavia.
The last time Spurs lost 14 or more league games in a season was back in 2009 and a similar reset is required now for a club that appears utterly lost.
Harry Kane was once again their compass, scoring a career-equalling best of 30 top-flight goals but this was the year when a succession of poor managerial appointments caught up with Tottenham.
The next choice needs to be right, or else.
West Ham United
After two outstanding campaigns, it was a big surprise to see the Hammers stagnate in 2022/23, spending 74% of a largely miserable season in the bottom six and with David Moyes a regular fixture in the next Premier League manager to be sacked odds.
Reaching a European final is obviously a huge fillip but based on their league struggles this has been a year to forget.
Similarly, Wolves have regressed, and if rumours are to be believed about having scant money to invest this summer, forcing Julen Lopetegui to already reconsider his options, then it could get even worse very soon.
What has damned Wolves throughout is a lack of firepower with Diego Costa, Raul Jiminez, Goncalo Guedes, Matheus Cunha, Hwang Hee-chan and Pedro Neto scoring a combined six goals between them. That’s abysmal.
*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to AP Photo*