1) Manchester City: A+ Pep Guardiola was called a lot of names at the beginning of the season. A chequebook manager, a rich club's manager, a one trick pony, so on. All of them are true. But once you win the league with 19 points to spare, breaking PL records along the way, playing scintillating football and making once-good players look world-class, turns out no one cares what names you are called anymore. His investment in full backs paid off very handsomely, Ederson turned out to be a perfect replacement for Bravo, and his defence stepped it up along with KDB, Sane, Sterling and Silva. The expectations were to win trophies domestically and go far in the CL. He won the PL, the League Cup, and made a very good account of themselves in the CL. His only regret would be not having a plan B for games against high-press teams like Liverpool, who are the only ones who have been able to expose them this season. They have a young, world-class squad with more reinforcements to come, and they play lovely football. It'll take something special to stop this City juggernaut next season. 2) Manchester United: B- Mourinho's second season is usually his strongest at any club. He spent a lot of money on acquiring Lukaku, Lindelof and Matic in the summer, and Sanchez later on in the January window. The expectation was to challenge for the title, and win some silverware domestically, while putting on a strong show in the CL. United might have technically finished second, but we were in no means in contention for the title at any point of time, and not just because of City's dominance. We did well against the top 6, but dropped points against all relegated clubs, with inexplicable losses and draws to other 'lower' teams, too. We got knocked out of the League Cup early with an unexpected embarrassing loss, and then collapsed in the FA cup final and in the knockout against Sevilla in a similar manner - playing with no cohesive attacking plan, going for a safety first approach, and generally being terribly boring to watch. While the second place position needs to be appreciated, especially with good results against other top teams with some lovely football on display in the earlier part of the season, it is not enough. We need to play better football more consistently, Mourinho's football legacy or whatever speech was cringe af(TAA, Robertson, Henderson made it to a CL fecking final), and our attack needs improvement. We swapped a Mourinho buy, Mkhi, for another flop, Sanchez, pushing an in-form Martial/Rashford combo out of the door. Better than last season? Yes. Anywhere close to expectations? Nope. And worryingly, unlike other challengers, the solution 'buy better players' hasn't worked out for United. 3) Tottenham Hotspur: A No one expected Tottenham to win the league. Or the CL. The expectation was to challenge domestically and secure CL football again, while retaining their top players. And they have succeeded on all fronts. Coming third in the PL this season, after a Pep juggernaut and a typically effective Mourinho squad, is an achievement. While Chelsea lost out with internal politics and poor transfers, while Liverpool struggled to manage CL and PL at the same time, dropping points against the bigger teams this season, and while Arsenal struggled in the limbo of Arsene Wenger's last season, Tottenham quietly continued what they started two seasons ago. Harry Kane turned up with the goals, Eriksen with the assists, Son stepped it up a notch, and depsite Alderweireld's saga, the defence was as good as earlier with Davinson Sanchez and Kieran Tripper coming of age this season. Pochettino has done a wonderful job of making the most of the resources and players he has. Spurs' wins against Dortmund/Juve/Madrid were probably the highlight of their season. However, while they had a strong squad with a cohesive plan, they could not improve on last season in terms of trophy counts. They still need to overcome their 'bottler' mentality, but the signs are looking good. With the new stadium in place, another season of CL, and most top players on the verge of signing new contracts, things are looking very good for Spurs. 4) Liverpool: A- Yes, I think Spurs had a better season than Liverpool. Because getting to the CL final against fortuitous opposition with a single man carrying the team and then bottling it, is same as Spurs beating Madrid and Dortmund in the group stages and Juve in their first leg, and then bottling it against Juve. Liverpool switched places with United in terms of beating the easier teams and losing against the big ones this season. Like a standard Klopp team, they played very good attacking football, and had no plan B when plan A didn't work. They let Coutinho leave for a king's ransom, and the spunked it all on Virgil Van Dijk, who despite being a fart better option than what they had before, makes basic defensive errors from time to time in big games. Despite Salah producing CR7/Mess-esque numbers, they couldn't capitalize on it to actually go on and win something, and their same defensive errors of errant full-backs and poor GKs plagued them in most of the key games this season. The positives, however, come from the CL run, and the way they dismantled City and Roma in the first legs of both games. When they get going, they are a very strong team, but they never have a plan B, and share Klopp's bottling-it-in-finals mentality. Early transfer business suggests they are strengthening in the righ places with Fabinho, but Liverpool always find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory every season. 5) Chelsea: C Oh, what a collapse for the champions, and it is not the first time we've seen them crumble this way. It could have been a D if not for their FA cup win. The FA cup, if anything, was gross indictment of what they could have been in the league but chose not to be. Conte's spat with Costa was totally avoidable, and his treatment of new man up front Morata was far from ideal, destroying the Spaniard's confidence at every turn. Hazard carried them this season, like in most, but that was not enough to get them CL football. Conte's constant digs at the board means he'll probably be out next season, but he failed to achieve bare minimum this season. Bakayoko, Drinkwater, Rudiger for Matic, Costa and young talents like RLC, Batshuayi, Chalobah, Ake and co was a terrible transfer window to start with. Missing out on Lukaku for Morata wasn't good PR, either. The season continued on the bad note, with inexplicable losses and draws, a one-dimensional approach to football, poor attitude and mentality in most games, and collapsing time and again before Giroud brought some semblance of respect to their league position. The problems are deep rooted at Chelsea, with half hearted players who seem to give up when things don't go their way, a lack of control from the manager, poor transfers, expiring star player contracts, and reportedly no transfer fee to rectify things. Sarri has a huge problem on his hands, but if played right, that squad can do great things, as it has shown in the past. 6) Arsenal: C- Same old, same old. Arsenal show promise, play great football, and then collapse through the season, especially when it comes to mentally tough games. The transfers were poor (until Aubameyang and Mkhi started linking up), they let their best player go to a rival once again, they got kicked out of the Europa League in a predictable fashion, messed up against counter attacks in predictable fashion, trusted blindly in the same flawed players in a predictable fashion, who then messed up in a predictable fashion. Under Wenger, it was the same old script. The only positive for Arsenal is that he's gone now, and Emery can bring new ideas to the team, albeit with the same squad, since he hasn't been reported given a transfer budget - precitably common from Kroenke. Overall, another season to forget. --------------- Phew that took a long time to type out. What does the caf think? What does your report card for the top 6 look like?