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Forty matches in 17 days can make anyone’s head spin, and make matches from, well, 17 days ago feel like 17 weeks.
But let’s stretch back one further week, as Premier League clubs found themselves with six scheduled matches between Friday, Dec. 11 and Monday.
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How did the teams fare? We’ll dish out grades, A-F, for all 20.
The Gunners lost two of three to start the period, but those matches saw them superior to Burnley and Everton sides that claimed all of the points. Saints were better than the Gunners, but there’s no debate about the last three Festive Fixtures. Grade: B+
Aston Villa (3W-2D-1L)
Look at Dean Smith’s boys, all growns up. the Burnley draw stings and the United loss feels tough. Don’t both of those tell you something about the progression of expectations for the Villans? Grade: B+
Brighton and Hove Albion (0W-4D-2L)
Graham Potter’s Seagulls may be cursed, because out-performing the opponent and not collecting all or even any of the points is the rule, not the exception. Grade: D-
Who cares if the manner of the results aren’t terribly impressive (aside from the Wolves win)? Sean Dyche’s men have new owners and a new outlook on life, the manager imagining what might be with new talent. It would be nice to see what he’d cook with different ingredients, or what he’d select from the market. Grade: A
Maybe he’ll rebound, but this feels like the stretch of Frank Lampard’s young career where the weaknesses of his current plan have been exposed and he needs to find a way to swim. Grade: D
Crystal Palace (1W-3D-2L)
The draws were all quality, but the losses to Liverpool and Villa look rough. A win over Blades hardly gets the good vibes flowing, but a win is indeed a win. Grade: B-
The West Ham hiccup aside, Carlo Ancelotti’s men should be nothing short of happy with their performances from a brutal run of fixtures. The Blades win wasn’t what they wanted, but nine-of-nine points from Chelsea, Leicester, and Arsenal? Chef’s kiss. Grade: A-
No one asks for a COVID-19 rise, obviously, but it came at a bad (or good) competitive time for Scott Parker’s Cottagers. They’ve been cagey and resolute, led by Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, and while they’ll have wanted a deserved win over the Magpies, the four points put them on better footing. Grade: B
Leeds United (3W-0D-3L)
The beatdowns of bad teams and lashings from the good attacks come as no surprise, but the West Ham loss and Burnley win challenge the mind. Leeds deserved a bit better from West Ham’s visit, but the chances given up to Burnley beg the question of whether there’s anyone Marcelo Bielsa’s men can sincerely limit (even with the clean sheet). Grade: B-
Leicester City (3W-2D-1L)
This was a rough stretch of matches, but the Foxes picked up enough points to stay in the top four fight while also showing some backbone in stopping the Man United and Palace draws from turning into a slump. Could’ve been Newcastle by much more than a goal. Grade: A-
The Reds produced a lot of chances and we need to be fair — if you knew that Man City’s early season slide was about fortune and finishing rather than form, than the Reds deserve the same break. Still, all three draws were uninspiring and the Saints loss a tough one to sit on for two weeks heading into a huge clash with longtime rivals Man United. Grade: C-
Manchester City (3W-2D-0L)
While there will be questions about behavior given Benjamin Mendy’s faux pas and the COVID postponement of the Everton game, there’s little to dislike here besides the West Brom draw. In these matches, Man City’s combined expected goals score line?
11.41 for, 2.28 against. Pep’s back and he probably never left. Grade: B+
Manchester United (4W-2D-0L)
The only team not to lose despite four of the six fixtures appearing quite challenging. Yes, they were fortunate to draw at Old Trafford. Yes, they labored to outlast Blades. But level in first with a match-in-hand with this stretch starting days after bombing out of the Champions League with two losses in seven days? Big time mentality stuff there. Grade: A+
Newcastle United (1W-2D-3L)
Perhaps the point against Liverpool makes amends for the draw with Fulham, who as noted above are better than their record, but there’s a lot to dislike here. The long COVID-19 absences of Jamaal Lascelles and Allan Saint-Maximin shouldn’t go against Steve Bruce’s record, but the disorganization against Leeds and failure to look up a man against 10-man Fulham should. The League Cup setback to Brentford doesn’t go into their grade, but if it did… Grade: C-
Sheffield United (0W-1D-5L)
The first three matches? Fine. Everton even? Fine. But if the 2-point Blades claimed wins over Burnley and Blades they’d be in the thick of a rise out of a historically-bad start. Instead, it’s zero goals and points in three. Grade: F
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men have deal with injuries and sickness to allow a total of two goals in six games, including zero to Liverpool and one to Man City. There’s a plan here and it’s executed more often than not. Grade: A
Tottenham Hotspur (1W-2D-2L)
A tough and rough stretch became — perhaps — a lesson learned from the Lilywhites when they went after Leeds and did not relent once ahead. Very much in the picture, though that Roberto Firmino goal at Anfield may be what keeps them from touching distance of the top. Grade: C-
West Bromwich Albion (0W-2D-4L)
Drew the two best teams in the league for two different coaches. Absolutely hammered at home by a derby rival and then two teams who haven’t lit the league on fire. Big Sam says he needs new players to stay alive in the top flight? Let’s hope he has a backup plan. Grade: D
West Ham United (2W-3D-1L)
This is a bit of a headscratcher. Given recent seasons at the London Stadium, nine points out of 15 is nothing but a success. The Chelsea loss is not great and the Palace draw a bummer but London derbies can be fierce. Grade: B+
Life without Raul Jimenez has proven a major challenge, but the lack of a clean sheet in the bunch is perplexing given a series of strong days for Conor Coady and Romain Saiss. The latter has been in particularly strong form. But what grates Wolves will be that the losses have come against a team they’d like to pass (Villa), one they stuck with (Man United), and one well below their level (Burnley). Grade: C+
Festive Fixture grades for all 20 Premier League clubs originally appeared on NBCSports.com