FootballPremier League

Premier League halfway school report

January 29, 2022

The Premier League’s winter break is not yet a classic of the genre, less a clean gap in and around the festive period and more a sudden mini-break as February looms, writes Duncan Alexander.

Nevertheless, a pause is a pause so its time to rate all 20 Premier League sides based on their performance thus far, in true school report style.

Manchester City

This class remain a shining example to the rest of the school, working well under our Head of Full-Back Business Development Mr Guardiola. Their average sequence time of 15.26 is considerably longer than any other team and proves my eternal point about time in the classroom resulting in success in exams. A++

Liverpool

Charismatic Applied Science teacher Herr Klopp has once again got his class hitting all their KPIs. They have the leading xA pupil in young Alexander-Arnold (0.33 per 90) and the king of xG with Salah (0.73 per 90). Rumours the latter might be off to a new school next year are worrying and I have made my view on the matter extremely clear in recent staff meetings. A+ 

Liverpool specials

Chelsea

Herr Tuchel, a popular member of staff who joined us last year, enjoyed great success on our European fact-finding holiday last May but has recently seen a couple of defensive lapses creep into his philosophy. 13 points dropped from winning positions is slightly concerning but we are sure Tuchel’s well-heeled students can step up their concentration in the spring term. B+

Manchester United

We changed the form tutor in November as we felt the lessons needed a lot more structure and Herr Rangnick has certainly revamped our library with a lot of interesting but quite arcane literature. More pressure is needed from certain pupils in class 4222 if they are emulate some of the other more successful classes. B

West Ham United

Mr Moyes has surprised a lot of the teaching staff this season, rolling back the years to his famously intense classes from the 2000s. 12 points won from losing positions shows the character of this form. The lad Rice has excelled in almost everything he has done but is attracting attention from other schools. A

Arsenal

Discipline is a worry with this class, with Mr Arteta’s students already collecting four red cards this season, despite the fact this was a noted concern last year too. That said, he has shown great patience bringing through a promising set of pupils from the junior school so we are excited to see how that goes. B+

Tottenham

Mr Espirito Santo joined us in the summer but had to leave due to unforeseen circumstances, so we were delighted to welcome back the fearsome Mr Conte to the school. Star pupil Kane was a little disruptive in the autumn term but is showing signs of knuckling down so we expect a great spring term from this class. B-

Wolves

Mr Lage is a new member of staff this season and delighted me personally by remembering the ZX Spectrum. Not much gets past him but he perhaps needs a bit more output from his star pupils up front. Class prefect Traore is set to go on an exchange trip to a school in Barcelona which will overhaul the school’s olive oil budget. B+

Brighton

Some of Mr Potter’s teaching methods are a little avant-garde for my taste but he is getting results so I cannot argue with that. 292 sequences of 10+ passes is the school’s best set of KPIs behind the classes of Mr Guardiola, Herr Klopp and Herr Tuchel, and theirs have had significantly more funding than Mr Potter’s. If only he’d follow my clearly stated rule on beards. A-

Leicester

An inconsistent year so far from Mr Rodgers and his class, although they continue to get through most of the mince in the school canteen. Star pupil Vardy has perhaps been overworked and is currently off sick, although young Maddison is looking sprightly again. B-

Aston Villa

Mr Smith saw Mr Guardiola snap up head boy Grealish in the summer which seemed to affect the whole class, so I encouraged former school head boy Mr Gerrard to come down from a sabbatical in Scotland to take his first teaching role at the school. He still looks the same but clearly has learnt a lot since he was a pupil at the school. Who else could have persuaded the lad Coutinho to return from that Catalan educational facility he was stuck at. B+

Southampton

I backed Herr Hasenhüttl after a difficult couple of terms at the school where pupils from other schools were scrawling “9-0” on his blackboard. As usual I was entirely correct, with Hasenhüttl’s lads recently going head to head with Mr Guardiola’s class in a difficult test and coming out as equals. B+

Crystal Palace

Former pupil Mr Vieira was my choice to teach this class in the summer which a few people were worried about. Could he replace the extremely strict Mr Chips-Hodgson? Would he make the children drink wine at lunchtime? Yes and No are the definitive answers. This class has been excellent at times this season, with young Gallagher looking excellent (thanks Herr Tuchel!) although he really should cut his hair. B

Brentford

Mr Frank has been a bit cross in the staffroom recently, but I told him to a) tell his class to keep doing what they are doing and b) to stop getting through so many towels; our laundry bill has gone through the roof. A total 11.2 xG from set-pieces is the best in the division although some parents have said they were hoping he’d concentrate a bit more on the arts. Shut up, I replied. B

Leeds United

Mr Bielsa continues to work his pupils extremely hard. Cross country runs to start every lesson no matter the subject has worried some parents but to them I just say “a PPDA of 9.6 is the lowest in the division and that’s all that matters.” C+

Everton

A very worrying term for this class. We had to dispense with Mr Benitez after he had lost the classroom and the PTA. Currently we have the school caretaker Big Mr Ferguson looking after these pupils but this is impacting the rest of the school so we hope to announce a new teacher very soon. D-

Relegation markets

Norwich

We were delighted to welcome Mr Smith back to the school after his difficult time with class AV1 and he seems to have settled well with his new students, cheering them up although they have given away six penalties which displeases me considerably, as they should know by now. C+

Newcastle

A big month for kindly Mr Howe who has been given a monumental budget to replace classroom equipment. An open play xG conceded of 29.0 is the worst in the school but the boy Saint-Maximin has made 16 more chance creating carries than any other player and has the sort of exam results that you’d expect from a pupil in a superior class. D

Watford

Some say this class is verging on unteachable, but I refuse to accept that. “Goodbye Mr Chips-Hodgson,” we sang in the summer as he retired but a master teacher is a master teacher for life and so he is back, with his toughest assignment yet. No clean sheets in the division since February 29 2000 is a real concern to both me and OFSTED but if anyone can sort that out it’s Mr Chips-Hodgson! D

Burnley

I feel bad for Mr Dyche. A leaky roof in his classroom and a virus has meant that he hasn’t been able to get much teaching done this season and currently things are looking concerning for his pupils. He continues to command complete respect though and I’ve seen him turn around his class’s results from positions like this before. Seems to have cut out the worrying earthworm incidents too. C-

 

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