Premier League grades: Chelsea, Liverpool and Watford impress

Who earned praise for a “dominant performance” in the Premier League at the weekend and who needs to do some extra work after “committing a surprising amount of mistakes”?

We rated each team for their efforts from A to F, excluding Leicester and West Ham, where the match was paled into insignificance by the tragic event afterwards.

Here’s how we graded each side this weekend…

Watford – A

Watford put in a dominant performance and were fully deserving of their 3-0 victory over Huddersfield. David Wagner’s side found it incredibly difficult to contain Watford’s fluid forward line who were particularly effective on the counter-attack.

As Javi Gracia noted after the match, Watford could have finished the game off earlier on with some good chances going begging, but overall Gracia should still be delighted with what he saw from his exciting team that was without Troy Deeney. (James Kilpatrick)

Bournemouth – A

Looked slick going forward and more than comfortable at the back as they eased past Fulham and proved why they are sixth in the league. Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and David Brooks looked dangerous as Fulham were unable to cope with them. (Will Unwin)

Chelsea – A

Teams rarely go to Turf Moor and make it look easy, but Maurizio Sarri’s side did just that to move to within two points of the league leaders. The 4-0 scoreline did not flatter them. Indeed, but for three world-class saves from Joe Hart it might have been even better for the visitors.

They had to overcome the obligatory difficult 10 minutes at the start of the game, but once they did, they assumed full control with a performance of guile and strength that suggested they are a side ready to challenge at the very top this season. (Ben Reynolds)


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Manchester United – A-

After a lacklustre performance against Juventus in midweek, Man Utd looked like getting back to their best on Sunday and were much the better side against Everton. They played some wonderful, flowing football with Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial linking up well down the left flank as the source of much of United’s success.

They did not look like missing Romelu Lukaku or Alexis Sanchez in any way – they may have even been better without them – although Pogba’s bravado and showboating nearly cost his side. It was his stuttering run-up that saw Jordan Pickford save his penalty before he got a stroke of luck with the rebound, and then an attempt to chip the ball out of trouble lead to Everton’s penalty.

It wasn’t quite a stunning performance but a marked improvement and it appears that Jose Mourinho is finally starting to get the best out of his side. (Charlotte Marsh)

Brighton – B+

Solid, if unspectacular, from Chris Hughton’s side, who recorded a third successive top-flight win for the first time in 37 years thanks to Glenn Murray.

But what will perhaps most please the Brighton boss was his side’s rock-solid defensive display against a Wolves team who dominated for large portions of the game.

In fact, it was so impressive that the home team set a club record for consecutive top-flight clean sheets in the process after their third in a row. (Richard Morgan)

Liverpool – B

A 4-1 victory would normally warrant an A, but the scoreline did flatter Liverpool somewhat, who, for a time, were in danger of being pegged back by Cardiff. Liverpool’s problem, after taking an early lead at Anfield, was that they were trying to find the perfect second and trying to walk the ball in.

Cardiff’s goal which brought the scoreline back to 2-1 jolted Liverpool into life, with their final two goals of the highest standard. Overall, a 4-1 win to go top of the league is more than commendable, but this team is capable of even more. (Pete Hall)

Crystal Palace – B

Roy Hodgson claimed Palace deserved all three points against Arsenal – it was hard to argue with him. Tenacious in midfield, organised at the back and capable of chances in the final third, this was a huge step in the right direction for Hodgson’s side who were scoring their first goals at home this season. Despite Arsenal’s wealth of attacking talent, Wilfried Zaha was the outstanding player on the pitch and it was his skill that won his team the crucial second penalty. (Lewis Jones)

Wolves – B-

The visitors had 25 efforts on goal at the Amex on Saturday, but lacked the final touch to make Brighton pay, and that will most disappoint head coach Nuno Espirito Santo.

After losing just one of their first eight Premier League games of the season – winning four times – Wolves have now lost two matches in a row.

So it will be interesting to see how they respond when they host Tottenham at Molineux in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Saturday night. (Richard Morgan)

Everton – C+

After three successive Premier League wins, it was a bump back down to earth for Everton at Old Trafford, although they had plenty of things go against them. The opening goal for United had all sorts of bad luck from the initial awarding of the penalty – which Sky Sports pundits Graeme Souness and Jamie Redknapp think should not have been given – to the rebound falling to Paul Pogba who slotted home from Jordan Pickford’s wonderful save.

Anthony Martial’s second was a pure stroke of genius although their own penalty was correctly awarded and well taken by Gylfi Sigurdsson. But while they matched United for the opening 25 minutes or so, they looked out of ideas after going behind with only a few chances to speak of and Marco Silva’s substitutions could not get them any points this weekend.

There are still plenty of positives for Everton after the last few weeks, but it was not their day on Sunday. (Charlotte Marsh)

Arsenal – C

Apart from a 10-minute spell after half-time where they put Palace under severe pressure and got their two goals, Arsenal rarely looked comfortable at Selhurst Park. Mesut Ozil was subdued, Alexandre Lacazette was wayward with his finishing and the Arsenal defence creaked like it has at various times this season.

The fouls for the two penalties conceded by Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka were completely avoidable. Their unbeaten run is intact but improvement is needed in order to challenge for major honours. (Lewis Jones)

Southampton – C

Seven days on from their creditable draw at Bournemouth, Saints were again solid defensively as they prevented Newcastle from having a single shot on target, but Mark Hughes admitted afterwards that his players are suffering from a crisis of confidence in front of goal.

There were groans at the full-time whistle with the wait for home celebrations now to extend beyond 172 days.

There is no shortage of striking personnel, but having plundered £13.5m on reserve goalkeeper Angus Gunn in the summer, this latest stalemate exposed how that money could have been better invested seeking additional creativity further up the pitch. (Ben Grounds)

Burnley – C

It’s difficult to be too harsh on Burnley when they came up against a Chelsea side in such exquisite form. Sean Dyche’s side were excellent for the first 10 minutes and had Robbie Brady’s volley flown the right side of the post it might, might, have been a different story.

But once Chelsea warmed to their task, there was little the home side could do. Three of the goals were top class and Joe Hart was in inspired form with three brilliant saves. Dyche refused to be too downcast and with good reason – few teams would have lived with the dynamism of Chelsea here. (Ben Reynolds)

Newcastle – C

While this inauspicious draw hardly set pulses racing for the thousands of Newcastle supporters who made the long trip south, the manner of the defensive performance certainly provides shoots of recovery for Rafa Benitez’s side.

They rode their luck at times and were grateful to more misfiring from Southampton, but Benitez highlighted the positive of a clean sheet away from home which took his side off the foot of the Premier League table.

The side’s attacking threat was non-existent, however, with Yoshinori Muto and Ayoze Perez looking desperately lightweight. Resolute defending is Benitez’s speciality, but the more technically gifted among his limited resources need to do a lot more if they are to pull away from danger. (Ben Grounds)

Cardiff – C

It looked like Cardiff were in for a long afternoon at Anfield when they fell behind in the ninth minute, but they put in a spirited effort in the second half to at least give Liverpool a scare, with progress certainly being made.

They just lacked that final bit of quality when it really counted. They had several counter attack where they chose the wrong final pass, or overran the ball with team-mates screaming for it. One decision can make all the difference at the highest level, and Cardiff are learning that the hard way. (Pete Hall)

Fulham – D

Committed a surprising amount of mistakes, resulting in a needless penalty and two simple second-half goals for Bournemouth, not to mention having a man sent off and only mustering one shot on target. (Will Unwin)

Huddersfield – E

David Wagner’s side struggled to get going against Watford, which was made even more difficult after Roberto Pereyra’s fine solo goal in the 10th minute and looked particularly vulnerable on the counter-attack. They were perhaps slightly unfortunate not to score in the first half after forcing Ben Foster into two fine saves, but a 3-0 defeat will do little to lift the spirits of the Terriers fans who have now seen their club go winless in 15 games in all competitions. (James Kilpatrick)

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