Alan Smith report cards: My verdicts on Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Tottenham, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Fulham

·4-min read
 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)

Standard Sport columnist Alan Smith runs the rule over how London’s clubs fared in the Premier League this season.


What a forgettable season it’s been in N17. Jose Mourinho’s tenure took a predictable path as he gradually created an unhappy atmosphere.

You’re never getting far under those conditions. Cracks start to appear as people look after themselves. Not only that, when players don’t look forward to coming into training, performances on matchday will always suffer.

As a result, Spurs are now scrambling for a European spot at a turbulent time for the club in general. As always, however, so many problems disappear when the team starts winning again. But that’s going to require some very skilful management.

My verdict: C

Arsenal FC via Getty Images
Arsenal FC via Getty Images


For a team of Arsenal’s stature, a mid-table finish is never good news. The season has veered between moments of promise and episodes that have left fans in total despair.

Mikel Arteta must find a way of curing such inconsistency and find it pretty quickly at the start of next term, otherwise he might struggle to keep hold of his job. For me, that would be a great pity. If you’re going to entrust this huge task with a rookie manager, you’ve got to give him time to learn the ropes.

Arteta will be a better manager next season, for all the highs and lows. Not only that, the summer gives him another chance to ditch the unwanted and hopefully recruit some genuine promise. The gap can’t be closed quickly, so patience is key.

My verdict: C+

POOL/AFP via Getty Images
POOL/AFP via Getty Images


Such are football’s fine margins, Chelsea’s season could either turn into a belter or disappear without trace. Having lost to Leicester in the FA Cup Final, they could easily go the same way against Manchester City in the Champions League Final, having dropped out of the top four on the last day.

That Doomsday scenario might force Roman Abramovich into a rethink. There is no doubt, however, of Thomas Tuchel’s credentials. He’s a fantastic coach who has made a huge difference in a short time.

And, as strong as the squad is, I’m sure the German would love to bring in a clinical poacher to round off all the good approach play. With one of those, Chelsea would not now be sweating on grabbing a Champions League spot.

My verdict: A

POOL/AFP via Getty Images
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

West Ham

What a season it’s been for the Hammers.

A club that previously squandered so much money on second-rate signings is being taken seriously once more, thanks to the skilful stewardship of David Moyes. Respect has returned, the club’s reputation rescued by a hard-working manager and talented players. Nobody looks forward to playing them. Moyes has pushed them all the way and the reward looks like coming in the shape of a Europa League place.

I’ve loved seeing Moyes getting so much praise when many thought his type were a thing of the past. It just goes to show that old-fashioned values like honesty and diligence will always play a key part. And if the club can continue to recruit bargains like Tomas Soucek, this season’s success can be sustained.

My verdict: A+

Offside via Getty Images
Offside via Getty Images

Crystal Palace

So, farewell Roy Hodgson, a gifted manager who will be tough to replace.

If the new boss can’t retain the same levels of organisation, the team could easily slide into trouble. Hodgson skilfully avoided that. The football may have been functional but it did the job. Deviating from that path brings plenty of peril for a club like Palace.

That applies even more to an ageing squad full of out-of-contract players and desperately in need of major surgery.

My verdict: B+

Getty Images
Getty Images


Could Scott Parker have done better with those players? I’m not sure.

Whatever system he chose, whichever players he picked, it just wasn’t good enough to overcome opponents.

An efficient defence provided a platform on which some nice football was played, but get the ball in the box and it all came to nothing. A big rebuilding job now heavily involves sorting out the attack to avoid a repeat if the Cottagers bounce back.

My verdict: C

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