Premier League report card: Your team’s early season rated, from Liverpool to Wolves

The Premier League season may have reached its latest hiatus but there has been no shortage of drama from the first seven games of the season.

The race to be crowned the champions of England’s top flight looks to be a fascinating race, while there are several other contenders who could yet compete for a European spot next season.

But as we take a break from the thrills and spills of the Premier League for the second set of international fixtures this season, it appears a suitable time to reflect on how each of the 20 top-flight clubs has performed so far.

Sportsmail took you through the report card of every team from Arsenal until Leicester earlier in the week. 

Now in part two of our early season report card, Sportsmail looks at Liverpool down to Wolves to complete the list.

Tottenham have produced a mixed bag so far this season after winning four and losing three

LIVERPOOL

Position: 2nd Points: 15

Few doubted Liverpool’s ability to challenge for the Premier League title this season, but few were also convinced they could actually win it.

Chelsea and Manchester City spent £98million and £100m on Romelu Lukaku and Jack Grealish respectively, leading many to believe they would be the two teams to battle it out for the most prestigious domestic prize in this country.

But many had forgotten the Reds already had one of, if not currently the best player in the Premier League in Mohamed Salah, who currently leads the Golden Boot race along with Jamie Vardy with six goals.

The Egyptian was part of the side that won four of their first five games, namely at Norwich and Leeds and at home to Burnley and Crystal Palace.

Mohamed Salah has been in inspired form and is leading Liverpool's challenge for the title

Mohamed Salah has been in inspired form and is leading Liverpool’s challenge for the title

In those five games, only Kai Havertz managed to score past Alisson in the draw against Chelsea, a game in which the Reds pressed frantically throughout but could not break the door down once more following Salah’s penalty to beat the 10-man visitors.

A blip arrived at the Brentford Community Stadium after beating Palace, with a 3-3 draw coming after the Reds lead 2-1 and 3-2 in the fixture, but they followed that up with a thrilling 2-2 draw at home to champions Manchester City.

Salah impressed with a stunning solo goal in that one and with him alongside the likes of Sadio Mane, the Reds look destined to remain a threat throughout the rest of the season.

They will hope to lift their confidence when they face Watford in Claudio Ranieri’s first game in charge at Vicarage Road before the big one a week later at Old Trafford against Manchester United. 

Grade: A

The Reds have dropped points at home to Man City and Chelsea and away at Brentford

The Reds have dropped points at home to Man City and Chelsea and away at Brentford

MANCHESTER CITY

Position: 3rd Points: 14

Pep Guardiola’s men have been league champions in three of the last four seasons and their ability has not waned as they aim to make that four in five.

There have no doubt been slip-ups along the way, failing to break down Tottenham in their 1-0 defeat in north London on the opening weekend, while they appeared sluggish in their goalless stalemate against Southampton in their most recent home league game.

But at the same time, Guardiola’s men have smashed five past a sorry Arsenal side, beaten FA Cup winners Leicester on their home turf and, most impressively of all, inflicted a first defeat on Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea at the fourth attempt.

Manchester City look set to launch a title challenge once more after a tricky last few games

Manchester City look set to launch a title challenge once more after a tricky last few games

The mental strength they showed to come from behind twice to draw at Liverpool – having also faced the Blues and then Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League in the same week – shows they are determined to defend their crown.

Guardiola may still not have worked out a long-term solution for his centre forward problem but with Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Kevin De Bruyne and Ruben Dias in his side he has some of the finest products in European football to choose from. 

They still sit two points off the Blues but can look to build some momentum given they have some favourable matches – on paper at least – against Burnley, Brighton and Crystal Palace coming up prior to the Manchester derby in early November.

Grade: A

MANCHESTER UNITED

Position: 4th Points: 14 

Inconsistency has come to define Man United’s start to the season in all competitions, and none more so than in the Premier League.

The excitement of a Bruno Fernandes hat-trick and Paul Pogba’s four assists in one game on the opening weekend against Leeds promised to herald the arrival of a United team that would compete for the title.

United also won at Wolves in August thanks to a late Mason Greenwood strike, but sandwiched in between those games was a disappointing stalemate against Southampton.

The return of Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to re-energise a side that had already welcomed Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho in the summer, and the Portuguese’s double on his second debut against Newcastle brought chants of ‘Viva Ronaldo’ from the Stretford End.

Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Manchester United appeared to reinvigorate the club

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United appeared to reinvigorate the club

Ronaldo was on target again while Jesse Lingard came back to haunt his former club with the winner against West Ham, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have faltered in the two matches since then.

Kortney Hause’s late header and Fernandes’ missed penalty saw Aston Villa come away from Old Trafford with all three points, while United huffed and puffed against Everton in a game which began without Ronaldo on the pitch.

The pressure has therefore very much cranked up on the Norwegian boss, who has also seen his side exit the Carabao Cup and slip up in the Champions League. But perhaps the old adage that not everything is quite as bad it seems rings true here, with United on the same number of points as City and two off Chelsea. 

However, they have on paper faced an easier schedule than those two sides to date, and their upcoming fixture list only gets tougher from here, with all but one of last season’s top eight coming up before the end of November. 

Grade: B

But they have failed to win four of their last six matches and drew against Everton last time out

But they have failed to win four of their last six matches and drew against Everton last time out

NEWCASTLE

Position: 19th Points: 3

No wins and four defeats offers just a glimpse at part of the problem, but it is the issue that needs rectifying with the most urgency of them all.

Their winless start across all competitions leaves them only above Norwich in the table and fans are continuing to voice their feelings against boss Steve Bruce from the terraces.

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust has called for the 60-year-old to resign in the ‘best interests’ of the club, with 94.3 per cent of its members in favour of him leaving. 

There is also growing resentment towards Bruce among his squad, but a multi-million-pound payoff is protecting him from being sacked and he has insisted he will not quit. 

Newcastle have yet to record a victory this season and fans want boss Steve Bruce gone

Newcastle have yet to record a victory this season and fans want boss Steve Bruce gone

In fact, it appears the hierarchy will only take action if they believe the team is in danger of relegation. That top branch of the club is set to change though with the £300m takeover from the Saudi-backed investors now ready to go through.

But while that takeover could raise fans’ hopes of survival, current the Magpies seem to be heading towards relegation, with only Allan Saint-Maximin’s showings giving the slightest hint they could survive, especially after the wasteful finishing that was on show at Watford.

Bruce’s men face Tottenham and Chelsea in their first three games back after the international break, and having lost to Man United, West Ham, Aston Villa and Wolves this season, it is currently – as Ian Wright said – very difficult to see where their next win is coming from.

Grade: E 

NORWICH

Position: 20th Points: 1

It has got to take something especially poor to be worse off than Newcastle this season. Sadly for Norwich fans, their side are currently managing to do just that.

They no doubt deserved to take a point in their drab 0-0 draw against Burnley in their final match before the break for international fixtures.

But prior to that they had suffered six defeats on the bounce, conceding 16 goals in the process and ending up with a goal difference of -14.

Unfortunately it isn’t working well yet at the other end of the pitch either, with Teemu Pukki scoring their only two goals so far.

Norwich earned their first point at Burnley but were beaten in their previous six matches

Norwich earned their first point at Burnley but were beaten in their previous six matches

They undoubtedly have faced some stern tests, with Liverpool and Man City in their first two games, followed by Leicester and Arsenal later on, and they could easily have taken something from their narrow defeat at the Emirates. 

But if they are to avoid dropping down to the Championship again they need to ensure they don’t waste opportunities that they have against the likes of Watford and Burnley to pick up some wins in their upcoming fixtures.

An in-form Brighton and European champions Chelsea await them on their return to domestic action, and should they continue like this after a summer in which they spent £50m, Farke will be lucky to finish the season as boss and the club themselves with their top-flight status intact.

Grade: E 

SOUTHAMPTON 

Position: 17th Points:

Ralph Hasenhuttl is so concerned about Southampton’s form that those not on international duty have lost part of their week off. But that decision has come during a season in which they have drawn against both Manchester clubs and West Ham.

The Austrian and his team agreed players not heading off for international fixtures could relax for the week if they managed to emerge from games against Manchester City, Chelsea and Wolves without losing.

But after a promising start with a goalless draw at the Etihad Stadium, they failed miserably in their aim, suffering a home defeat by the West Midland outfit before a 3-1 reversal against Tuchel’s men.

Therefore, those not on national team duty will report for training for some of the next week, and while reports suggest Hasenhuttl is doing it to ensure his player are fit, you cannot help but feel he feels he has elements to urgently work on.

Southampton sit just one point above Newcastle and Burnley at this stage of the season

Southampton sit just one point above Newcastle and Burnley at this stage of the season

The Saints’ defeat against Chelsea extended their winless run in the Premier League to nine games, equalling the longest run without a victory in Hasenhuttl’s reign. 

But the former RB Leipzig boss has issues at both ends of the pitch, describing his side’s defence against Wolves as ‘naive’, while they have yet to find a substitute for Danny Ings’ goal, netting just five as a team so far.  

Two of those came in the draw against fellow strugglers Newcastle, and while James Ward-Prowse scored their latest he will miss the next three games after his dismissal at Stamford Bridge.

But three of Southampton’s four league games after the international break are at home, with the visit by Leeds followed by games against Burnley and Aston Villa with a trip to Watford sandwiched in between.

They managed to escape relegation on both occasions when they have been enduring a similar rut, but they must turn their upcoming matches – unlike their draw with fellow strugglers Newcastle – into wins.

Grade: D 

James Ward-Prowse scored their latest goal but will miss the next three after a red card

James Ward-Prowse scored their latest goal but will miss the next three after a red card

TOTTENHAM

Position: 8th Points: 12

Along with north London rivals Arsenal, Spurs are perhaps the most unpredictable side in the Premier League at this stage this season.

Spurs topped the league after three games with victories at home to Man City and Watford either side of a victory at Molineux, while their main rivals languished at the bottom.

But the cracks that some Spurs fans had warned were being papered over despite their position were uncovered and widened exponentially over the course of the next three games.

Nine goals were conceded evenly over three London derby defeats to Crystal Palace, Chelsea and then the Gunners, with the latter overtaking them as a result of their win at the Emirates Stadium.

Tottenham won their first three games but then suffered three losses before bouncing back

Tottenham won their first three games but then suffered three losses before bouncing back

But Spurs got back to winning ways against Aston Villa as Son-Heung min starred, just as he had against the Hornets. Yet Harry Kane – who he linked up with so often last term – has failed to produce a single league goal so far.

Emerson Royal and Cristian Romero have also taken their time bedding into the XI, but it is boss Nuno Espirito Santo who is facing the most pressure given Spurs’ topsy-turvy start.

Reports suggest Spurs have a clause in the Portuguese’s contract that allows them to sack him in the summer without paying compensation if they do not qualify for Europe. 

But after seven games of the campaign, it is no clearer for fans or neutrals alike whether Spurs are on course or not to achieve the aim set by the club for Nuno and his side. 

Grade: C 

WATFORD

Position: 15th Points: 7

The Hornets have just hired their 15th manager in the past 10 seasons in Claudio Ranieri following a ruthless decision to sack Xisco Munoz.

They sit four points above the drop zone as we enter the international break, but their Pozzo owners deemed a return of seven points from as many league games insufficient for the Spaniard to keep his job.

Watford have won two games this season against Aston Villa on the opening weekend and at struggling Norwich, the same amount as 13th-place Leicester.

But the reversals against Brighton, Tottenham and most recently Leeds has clearly left the club still fearing they could be dragged into a relegation scrap, having also failed to beat 19th-place Newcastle at home.

Watford have won only two of their seven games this season and have sacked Xisco Munoz

Watford have won only two of their seven games this season and have sacked Xisco Munoz

The Hornets have conceded 10 goals so far this term – with a maximum of two in one game twice – but it was perhaps a glance at the upcoming fixture list that has forced the Italian owners’ hand.

Klopp’s Liverpool are first up after the international hiatus, but they also face Everton, Arsenal, Man United, and two of Ranieri’s former clubs – Leicester and Chelsea – all before the end of next month. 

Premier League champions Man City then visit Vicarage Road in their first game of December. 

And unless Ranieri can dramatically change the squad’s fortunes and build a team around the likes of Ismaila Sarr, they could well be heading into dangerous territory in the not too distant future. 

Grade: D

Claudio Ranieri has been named his successor but a nightmare run of fixtures await the Italian

Claudio Ranieri has been named his successor but a nightmare run of fixtures await the Italian

WEST HAM

Position: 9th Points: 11

The Hammers have shown their true worth under David Moyes in the Europa League and Carabao Cup so far more than their league form.

Their first time ever in the Europa League group stages has gone swimmingly well, having won at Dinamo Zagreb and against Rapid Vienna at the London Stadium.

A third-round League Cup victory at Old Trafford also continues their quest for silverware in that competition, but it appears their league form has suffered slightly because of it.

West Ham have excelled in cup competitions but have huffed and puffed in the league

West Ham have excelled in cup competitions but have huffed and puffed in the league

David Moyes’ men began their Premier League campaign emphatically, smashing four past Newcastle and Leicester in resounding victories. But they followed them up with frustrating draws against Crystal Palace and Southampton.

A victory has come since away at Leeds, but that came sandwiched in between home reverses against Man United and Brentford, fixtures in which they dominated spells but that also both followed European action. 

The Hammers sit just three points behind third place in a tightly-contested top half of the table so there is absolutely no need for alarm bells to be ringing, but they will hope that trend comes to a halt soon. 

Grade: C 

WOLVES

Position: 12th Points: 9

Many feared what state of mind their opening three fixtures against Leicester, Tottenham and Man United would put Wolves in, especially with a new coach in charge following Nuno Espirito Santo’s summer departure to Spurs.

All three games ended in 1-0 defeats, but Wolves were unfortunate not to come away with at least a point in their reverses at Molineux to their former boss’ side and Solskjaer’s men.

However, despite going into the international break of the season without a point and failing to score a single goal, there were hints – for example how Adama Traore terrorised the United defence – that there were signs of life under Bruno Lage.

And so it appears to have proved, with the West Midlands outfit having bounced back with three victories coming in their following four fixtures, with the home defeat by Brentford the only blot in the book.

Wolves have bounced back from three straight losses by winning three of their last four games

Wolves have bounced back from three straight losses by winning three of their last four games

The club’s new Portuguese boss has admitted the international break has come at the wrong time following back-to-back wins against Southampton and Newcastle, with only the skeleton of his squad available to work with him over the next week.

But he will feel that the momentum gained between the two breaks this season can be maintained when club action resumes next week, with Leeds, Crystal Palace, Norwich and Burnley all up before the end of November, which includes another break for national team duty.

They however will require to win the majority of those matches, with Liverpool and Man City up back-to-back at the start of December, while they also face Chelsea and Arsenal in that same month before travelling to Man United on New Year’s Day. 

Grade: C 

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