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  • By Yann Tear

With new season on the way, Capital Football gives final verdict on how our clubs fared last time

The fixtures are out. In little over a month’s time, we will be back under way – a start date brought forward because of the World Cup in Qatar in November and December when the top two divisions go into hibernation.

But what sort of mood will each of our capital clubs have going into those games? Here, we take a quick look back at how they all fared in our annual end-of-term report.

Our crack team of Capital Football writers have all weighed up the evidence to award each club a mark out of 10 for how well they performed. Our teams of the year are Fulham and Brentford, with Watford, unsurprisingly, voted rock bottom.

Over to you to decide if we’ve got it right.

Key to the scoring: YT – Yann Tear; PL – Paul Lagan; CS – Charlie Stong; JT – Julian Taylor; AS – Alessandro Schiavone BP – Ben Pearce

Arsenal: 6 (YT) 6 (PL) 6 (CS) 6 (JT) 5.5 (AS) 6 (BP) = 35.5

Two schools of thought seemed to pulse through Arsenal’s season: That this was a vastly improved campaign under Mikel Arteta, and also that this is a team woefully inadequate when it comes to the crunch. They were all set to finish fourth until a late implosion, capped by an awful night at Spurs. Yet, they would surely have taken fifth at start of play and the development of real talents Bukayo Saka and Gaby Martinelli, as well as the solid contributions of Aaron Ramsdale and newcomer Ben White, made for a slightly more than a glass half-full feeling. They looked short of a top striker after Aubameyang. Maybe Gabriel Jesus will make them more potent.

Brentford: 8 (YT) 8 (PL) 8 (CS) 9 (JT) 7 (AS) 9 (BP) = 49

It seemed impossible to better the previous promotion campaign, but they managed it in spades. One of the greatest ever seasons for the delirious fans to enjoy. So many highlights. That opening weekend win against the Gunners. The last-gasp win at West Ham. The arrival of Christian Eriksen. That scarcely believable 4-1 win at Chelsea. They made an impact, won neutral admiration and bedded down in their new stadium as if reborn. What a job done by Thomas Frank and his Danish contingent, who quickly managed to shed any feelings of imposter syndrome in the top flight.

Charlton: 4 (YT) 5 (PL) 5 (CS) 5 (JT) 5 (AS) 6 (BP) = 30

This was another major let-down for Addicks fans, who have every right to expect to be involved in the promotion shake-up. The Nigel Adkins reign was a flop and though he had so much good will, Johnnie Jackson’s spell in charge could not quite turn the ship around and a disastrous February and March ensured a drab finale. Ben Garner’s task next season is to revive the fortunes of a club which can still count on a great fan base.

Chelsea 5 (YT) 6 (PL) 7 (CS) 6 (JT) 5 (AS) 5 (BP) = 34

By anyone else’s standards, reaching two domestic cup finals and putting in a truly memorable performance at Real Madrid in a Champions League quarter-final would earn top marks. But this is Chelsea. Serial trophy winners without a trophy. The on-field season will probably end up being associated with the failure to get the best out of £97m striker Romelu Lukaku and a bizarrely meek home record in the league. The off-field issues, though, are the ones that will resonate and it remains to be seen whether the Blues can scale the heights under new owner Todd Boehly in the way they did under Roman Abramovich.

Crystal Palace 6 (YT) 7 (PL) 7 (CS) 7 (JT) 6 (AS) 7 (BP) = 40

The stats may show that Patrick Vieira did not achieve much more than Roy Hodgson in terms of points on the board – four points and two places better off than a year ago - but there was an unmistakable upward shift in gear and some notable wins. They also made it to Wembley for an FA Cup semi-final and were good enough to take four points off champions Man City. They will undoubtedly miss Conor Gallagher next season but have plenty of emerging talent to work with – especially Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze. Holmesdale Road regulars can look forward to the next campaign with confidence.

Fulham 7.5 (YT) 9 (PL) 9 (CS) 9 (JT) 8 (AS) 9 (BP) = 51.5

Back on familiar, happy Championship ground, the Whites breezed through the season with barely a hitch – cresting the wave of endless goals from the irrepressible Aleksandar Mitrovic. Champions with 90 points, the Whites’ style of football under Marco Silva was as pleasing as ever and how great was it to see Fabio Carvalho, Harry Wilson and Neeskens Kebano turn in such consistently thrilling displays. The feeling is that this time, surely, they will not suffer an instant relegation as before,and with the prospect of playing in front of a full Riverside Stand again, the prospects are rosy.

Leyton Orient 5 (YT) 6 (PL) 6 (CS) 6 (JT) 5 (AS) 5 (BP) =33

The Os did not have quite enough to get involved in the end of season shake-up and although 13th place is not too bad, there is a slight feeling of stagnation at Brisbane Road, with south Londoners Sutton overhauling them. They finished reasonably strongly but the mid-season slump of 16 games without a win ruined any hopes of making a significant impact. The appointment of Kenny Jackett had promised more. Richie Wellens deserves the chance to see what he can do, having arrived in March to oversee a big improvement.

Millwall 6 (YT) 6 (PL) 5 (CS) 5 (AS) 5 (JT) 5 (BP) = 32

Still somehow looking more than the sum of their parts, the Lions can look back on another campaign where they punched above their weight under Gary Rowett. They finished ninth, thanks to another solid home record, though top six always looked a stretch. Benik Afobe had a decent run, bagging 12 league goals, but he was the only one into double figures in the Championship. Tom Bradshaw managed only nine. It was another ever-present season for the evergreen Bartosz Bialkowski, who stood behind a typically resolute defence.

QPR 5 (YT) 6 (PL) 6 (CS) 5.5 (AS) 6 (JT) 7 (BP) = 30.5

The season began so promisingly, but faded away, with Mark Warburton and the R’s parting company at the end of it all. They will return next month to a stadium once again reverting to the name of Loftus Road, but with a feeling of a much-reduced standing these days in the venerable old edifice as all their neighbours have moved on. It has been especially galling to see their place in the west London pecking order usurped by the upstarts from Hounslow and new boss Michael Beale will need to forge a team quickly around some of the young talents to emerge last season like Chris Willock and Jimmy Dunne. Ilias Chair was still a fine creator on his day but Rangers failed to make the most of their group of experienced strikers – Andre Gray, Lyndon Dykes and Charlie Austin.

Sutton United 6 (YT) 7 (PL) 7 (CS) 7 (JT) 5 (AS) 6 (BP) = 38

It could hardly have gone better for the Ambers. They defied the harbingers of doom who predicted a quick return to the National League, finding their feet well enough to stay on the coat tails of the promotion pace-setters for most of the campaign. They did not quite make the play-offs, finishing eighth, just a point adrift of sixth-placed Swindon, but that is probably no bad thing. Going up so soon might well have proved too much and now they have a chance to bed down further under the guidance of Matt Gray. Home form was very consistent. The one thing they did lack was real frontline striker. No-one reached double figures as the goals were shared around.

Tottenham 7 (YT) 8 (PL) 7 (CS) 7 (JT) 7.5 (AS) 8 (BP) = 44.5

Keeping hold of Harry Kane looked to have come at a price early in the campaign as the England striker looked miffed in the extreme at having been denied a dream move to Man City. In the event, he managed to rekindle his love affair with Heung-Min Son, and the club and is now blessed with a serious coach in Antonio Conte, who transformed the mood at the TH Stadium. They finished fourth and some astute summer purchases suggest another advance is more than possible this season. It’s been a long wait for a trophy of any kind, but if anyone can make it happen, Antonio can.

Watford 1 (YT) 4 (PL) 3 (CS) 4 (JT) 3 (AS) 2 (BP) = 17

Where to begin after such a horrendous season. Some might say even a score of one is generous after a truly dreadful few months, which saw defeat after defeat at Vicarage Road and the usual merry-go-round of managers. Even for the Hornets, having three different men in charge over the course of a campaign is quite a lot. Anyone who saw the thrilling opening day win against Villa would have been left totally misled. A total of 15 home defeats in 19 outings with 46 conceded told its own tale. Not even Roy Hodgson could do much about the plummet. The defence and midfield were a mess. Ismailia Sarr’s form dipped alarmingly. Only Emmauel Dennis offered hope. Big rebuild is needed under Rob Edwards.

West Ham United 7 (YT) 8 (PL) 6 (CS) 9 (JT) 7.5 (AS) 8 (BP) = 45.5

It ended a little disappointingly, with that semi-final loss to Eintracht Frankfurt, but the London Stadium finally came alive during a thrilling Europa League campaign. For the first time since leaving Upton Park, it felt like home. Declan Rice grew in stature and Jarrod Bowen became so good that he earned an England call-up. There were some brilliant moments in the league campaign too, which briefly made a top-four finish seem possible. Those 3-2 home wins against Chelsea and Liverpool. The draws against Man City in cup and league. David Moyes was one of the mangers of the season.

Wimbledon 3 (YT) 4 (PL) 3 (CS) 5 (JT) 3 (AS) 3 (BP) = 21

Just when it seemed the Dons had turned something of a corner and found an upwardly-mobile trajectory under Mark Robinson, the wheels came off and annual the flirtation with relegation became inevitable. A dreadful run of 28 games without a win, as the goals dried up, condemned the club to a return to League Two after just one full season in the third tier at their new stadium back at Plough Lane. And with just two home wins in the league out of 23 played, it is a wonder they finished only three points adrift of safety. But they are home and they have their sense of place once more. New boss Johnnie Jackson will need a good start to shift the gloom of the campaign just ended, though.


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