It ’ south going pretty much how most liverpool fans expected : we ’ re up at the top and we cruised through the Champions League group stage to the knockouts. We ’ ra playing some brilliant football and we ’ re a rejoice to watch. We ’ ve had our bad names back from injury, which has boosted confidence, and, when we do go behind, the belief is there that we ’ ll score and score again, and normally go on to win. 9/10 Stars/flops Mo Salah is the obvious standout performer and remains on another level to anyone else in the league. It ’ s a bang and privilege to watch him play every week. We ’ rhenium finally seeing how brainy Thiago is and raw sign Konaté is already proving he ’ ll go on to be a major player. A password, excessively, for unseasoned Tyler Morton who has been eased into the team and truly shown his electric potential. As for flops ? I seem to have been saying this for some clock but we in truth don ’ t have any. Happy with the manager? He has elevated us to Europe ’ s most reverence and fear team. He makes us smile in our play and his actions. We could have no better party boss. 10/10

We will finish … 1st. Funniest moment in 2021? During the games against Atlético Madrid, seeing Diego Simeone reduced from touchline hard case to panto villain. Oh, and Fred lunge at a laughing Konaté at Old Trafford, sending himself viral. Steph JonesFred Fred volt Konaté, October. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Manchester City

I don ’ triiodothyronine think it could have gone much better. We ’ rhenium top of the tree at Christmas, three points clearly of Liverpool, topped our Champions League group ( ahead of PSG ) and have managed our team actually well. The only real disappointment therefore far was getting knocked out of our beloved Carabao. 9.5/10 Stars/flops Plenty of stars. But the standout, without doubt, has been Bernardo Silva. He and Salah are comfortably the best players in the league this season. He ’ randomness always been a one-man pressing machine, a hypnotic dribbler, and able of dictating the pace of a game on his own, but this season he ’ mho lend goals and assists. He can literally do everything. Cancelo and Rodri decidedly deserve mentions besides. Both have taken their games to another level. Happy with the manager? Of course. Pep has proven yet again that he ’ s the best in the business. Klopp is a conclusion second and Liverpool ’ randomness revival is mightily impressive, but Pep ’ south consistency and relentlessness is matchless. I thought the miss of a striker would hamper us – Pep in truth wanted a No 9 and I thought he ’ d conflict to keep the striker-less system fresh – but he ’ s done it. He has us absolutely positioned going into 2022. 10/10. We will finish … 1st. Funniest moment in 2021? Ole being at the wheel. I think I speak on behalf of all City fans when I say I ’ megabyte gutted that era is over. It was a great joke. Oh, and people seriously tipping United for the championship in August. Lloyd Scragg ; @ lloyd_scraggBernardo Silva Bernardo silva : unstoppable. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

Manchester United

It ’ south been terribly. many of us expected to be legitimate title challengers after finishing moment death season and adding Varane, Sancho and Ronaldo. Going crown after Ronaldo ’ s second introduction against Newcastle added to that sense. So what followed beggar belief. The 5-0 get the better of to Liverpool was the worst, most demeaning loss in living memory. It was clear for a while that the players had stopped playing for the director : Ole should have walked then quite than wait for promote defeats to City and, embarrassingly, Watford. 2/10 Stars/flops We ’ ve become over-reliant on Ronaldo but Greenwood and a rejuvenated De Gea have been the best out of a poor people bunch. Varane ’ s injury was a blow : he steadied a roll defense bereaved of any confidence. Flops ? Bruno has been direction below his usual standard but his average performances are nothing compared with the pathetic fare served up by Wan Bissaka and captain Maguire. Both systematically woebegone. Happy with the manager? It ’ s besides early to rate him but he talks a good game. I admired his comments about players not wanting to be at the club, and him saying : “ I don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate convey with agents via the media and press. ” I hope he clears the decks of the wage thieves and will address the lack of timbre in the midfield. We will finish … 4th. Funniest moment in 2021? The reaction of rivals when we re-signed Ronaldo on that Friday afternoon in August. It truly lifted our spirits in what seems otherwise like a actually drab 12 months of football. Shaun O’DonnellCristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo : necessity. Photograph: Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images


One succeed in 18, black champion, decayed luck and some troubling refereeing … it ’ randomness been a nightmare, even by our standards. But Ashley ’ mho passing and Eddie Howe ’ south date lifted the mood. Home matches no longer reek of toxicity and, at times, the air has been electric. Yes, the short-run prognosis is desperate and it ’ ll take a long time to emerge from Ashley ’ second trace, but the future looks brighter than it has in years – whether we are relegated or not. There is hope. 2/10 Stars/flops Callum Wilson is a true Newcastle No 9 : vital to the cause. But our erring defenders – particularly Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark – are threatening our Premier League status and, sadly, Joe Willock hasn ’ thyroxine lived up to his predict. In truth, after years of neglect, we ’ rhenium deficient in real quality all over the pitch. There are excessively many Championship flat players in the stream team. Happy with the manager? Howe “ gets ” Newcastle and has the obedience of our fans. The team expect fit and more plus going forward … and he seems to have turned the much-maligned Joelinton into a world beater… At 4-0 down against Man City, we were singing “ Eddie Howe ’ south black and white army ”, which says it all. 7/10. As for Steve Bruce, we ’ re surprised he didn ’ t get the Manchester United job, given the respect the football intelligentsia seem to hold him in… 2/10 We will finish … 17th. That ’ s with huge investment in January, and a heaven-sent turnaround. Funniest moment in 2021? Local chap Sam Fender ’ s hungover appearance on BBC Breakfast the good morning after the takeover was completed. Fair dally, he did well to get through it. David and Richard HolmesEddie Howe banner. Fans welcome Eddie Howe. Photograph: George Wood/Getty Images


We ’ ra bottom, we ’ ve been there for most of the season, we ’ ve scored eight goals and have been ridiculed by everyone from the MotD crowd to that chap on Twitter who reckons we should declare and hand back our Premier League cash. It ’ mho been grim, basically. As is constantly the case when we breathe in this refined atmosphere, we ’ ve struggled to compete. It seems our “ self-funding ” model, however desirable, is incompatible with being competitive at this level. 3/10 Stars/flops Mathias Normann – a summer lend sign from Rostov – has been the pick of the bunch but in distinctive Norwich fashion managed to pick up a pelvic injury precisely when he ’ d in truth started to make a remainder. Ditto Milot Rashica who, after a dull begin, found a full-bodied vein of mannequin before, you guessed it, picking up an injury that ruled him out for all of December. Happy with the manager? Dean Smith has an unenviable task but, armed with a squad that is merely not good enough, has made a decent enough begin. 6/10. Daniel Farke was brilliant at getting us promoted but ineffective to work his charming in the Premier League. We will finish … 20th. Funniest moment in 2021? Laughs have been limited in Norfolk, so my thanks to Leeds fans who, while watching their team getting pumped by Arsenal, found it in their hearts to speak for the nation with a sung about Boris Johnson. not repeatable but it was both amuse and spot-on. Gary Gowers ; @ Gary_Gowers ; @ MFW_NCFCMathias Normann Mathias Normann : blame of the crowd.

Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Images


Performances have largely been fine but instinctively it feels that results haven ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate quite matched them – despite taking seven more points compared with the corresponding games last season. That ’ s probably a result of the ever-growing but ever-tedious “ points dropped from winning positions ” statistic. If we could hold on to a lead we ’ vitamin d be well in the top one-half and very glad with life. 6/10 Stars/flops Mohammed Salisu and Tino Livramento have stood out in a defense that has much struggled as a collective. Armando Broja has scored some crucial goals at the other end in a relatively unproductive attack, while Che Adams ’ displays have been better than his goal render would suggest. On the flipside, Jan Bednarek has regressed and captain James Ward-Prowse – following a bumper new compress in September – hasn ’ t been up to his usual high standards. Happy with the manager? sanely. He even makes some baffling selections and can still be besides decelerate to react to opposition changes, but we are reasonably well-drilled. He ’ south besides immediately the longest-serving Saints director since Chris Nichol in the 80s, which says quite a fortune – not much of it positive – about the baseball club over the last 30 years or indeed. 6.5/10 We will finish … 12th. Funniest moment in 2021? I was a boastful winnow of the whole England setup winding up the Conservative party during the Euros, and the politics flailing desperately to row back on the criticism as we progressed further in the tournament. Funny in many aspects but besides a sad indictment on modern life and administration, I guess. Steve Grant ; @ SteveGrant1983Mohammed Salisu Mohammed Salisu : solid. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA


The Tottenham rollercoaster. You have no choice but to get on it and no way of getting off it. From Kane in Disneyland to the ill-conceived date of “ courteous guy ” Nuno to then finally getting our man. No, not Mauricio ; Antonio. Conte is the jolt Spurs have been desperate for. With games in hand we ’ re in contention for the top four – even in crisis, we however find a room to potentially gatecrash. Conte will fix us but it will take time. 8/10 for Spursyness, 6/10 for the fix we ’ ve allowed Antonio to inherit. Stars/flops Eric Dier, Ben Davies and Oliver Skipp have excelled : proof that Conte can reboot players. Tanguy Ndombele continues to be benched, not because he lacks endowment, but because, like Dele Alli, he doesn ’ t quite burst. Unless they excessively are rebooted. future acquisitions need to blend into the blueprint. Happy with the manager? Nuno was a cursed placeholder. 4/10 is the most diplomatic score I can offer him. Conte ? We are blessed. His obsessional mentality is what we need : a culture-defining date. 9/10 for plainly getting him in our colours. We will finish … 4th, because I wear my kernel on my sleeve. I ’ m a romantic fritter. Covid, postponements and the shock on training make it improbable that we ’ ll find the momentum, but … well, this is THFC. We often do the face-to-face of what everyone expects. Funniest moment in 2021? Getting beaten by Zagreb, whose coach was in prison, was a glorious here and now of dark comedy. A very special moment indeed, would you agree, José ? Spooky ; ; @ spooky23Antonio Conte: culture definer. Antonio Conte : culture definer. Photograph: Paul Childs/Action Images/Reuters


Some things haven ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate gone well, some things haven ’ t worked and perspective is constantly shaped by the most recent events … sol, overall “ could have been a lot better, could have been worse ” sums it up. 5/10 Stars/flops Emmanuel Dennis has grown from being an occasionally effective irritant to systematically top class. besides Moussa Sissoko, more captainy with every game, is dominant in a rework midfield. Less successful have been Danny Rose, who has been identical adequate sometimes but less than decent besides much, and William Troost-Ekong, who has suffered a crisis of confidence in our volatile defense. Happy with the manager? Results seaport ’ thymine in truth improved but that disguises the blunt line between the relatively docile opening to the season and a daunting ladder more recently, at fair the indicate when a regenerate side under Ranieri might have picked up some momentum. We recorded our foremost succeed at Everton, thrashed United, scared Chelsea and limited a rampant Man City to 3-1. We nowadays have a presentable, credible side with a couple of things that aren ’ triiodothyronine quite working. Progress. 7/10 We will finish … 14th. Funniest moment in 2021? Bournemouth ’ s break down was enjoyed and celebrated far and wide. And Tyrone Mings ’ own finish on the opening day – via a perversely doomed deflection – besides had a tint of karma about it. Two years ago he somehow escaped a loss calling card against us at Villa Park before unwittingly scoring a last-minute winner when Ezri Konsa ’ s shot deflected in off his buttocks. Matt Rowson ; @ mattrowsonEmmanuel Dennis Emmanuel Dennis : exceed class. Photograph: Ian Stephen/ProSports/Shutterstock

West Ham

There ’ s been a little slump recently but we ’ ve progressed with surprise ease in the Europa League and been challenging for the top four. With fans back, the London Stadium has last started to feel more like home and West Ham have at times been massive ( everywhere we go ), beating Spurs, Man United, Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea, which is unprecedented. The alone downside is that the team is nowadays looking stretched. 8/10 Stars/flops Declan Rice has looked the league ’ second best defensive midfielder, gliding through matches and adding a great turn of pace. He ’ mho besides had a social media hit with Rice Baby. Credit besides to Jarrod Bowen, who ’ s on arouse and, erm, dating Dani Dyer, Antonio, Fornals, Benrahma, Johnson and the obscure Craig Dawson. Relative flops have been Soucek, who looks very bore, and new signings Vlasic and Kral, though it ’ south early days. Happy with the manager? He has transformed the clubhouse, taking us from relegation fodder to contenders for a Champions League set. We very rarely have two good seasons in a row, but so far Moyes has bucked that course. Should he get us to a cup final the party could rival one of Boris ’ randomness. But as he says, having set high standards, the players have to keep them up. The only gripe is Moyes ’ failure to secure a back-up striker in the summer. 8/10 We will finish … 7th. The blackmail on our humble police squad is likely to tell with Zouma and Ogbonna out, and having Antonio as our entirely striker. Funniest moment in 2021? Arthur Masuaku proving that he actually is better than Lukaku with that late achiever against Chelsea. Don ’ thymine be fooled by Arthur ’ s false modesty – he decidedly saw Mendy off his line and scored with a sublime Messi-like chip. Pete May Author, Goodbye to Boleyn ;


Better than expected. I was worried about Nuno being replaced by a new bus with little reputation, and by only minor surgery to a police squad that limped home concluding season. But Lage has proved an astute tactician, the modern players have done well and we ’ ve been a highly competitive equip. not besides moth-eaten at all. 8/10 Stars/flops Max Kilman has graduated from squad filler to first-team regular and looks like a top Premier League defender. Behind him José Sá had big boots to fill replacing Rui Patrício but has been an upgrade in about every deference. It ’ randomness harsh to call them flops but Traoré, Trincão and Podence seaport ’ t managed a single league finish between them and our attack output has been poor. Happy with the manager? 9/10. You precisely have to look at the group of players he ’ s working with and the charge of competition. He ’ s done about angstrom well as anyone could expect. He wants to be progressive in possession but is besides judicious adequate to know he has to play to the team ’ s strengths. We will finish … 9th. I ’ ve seen enough to believe we can hold our own in the mid-table scrap but Europe will credibly be out of strive unless we make some adequate additions in January. Historically, we don ’ metric ton do much so I ’ meter not holding my breath. Funniest moment in 2021? Raúl ’ s viral failed Rabona gave me a chortle. His rejoinder has been one of football ’ s feelgood stories this class and he ’ south looked like he ’ second very enjoying his football – possibly a piece excessively a lot on that occasion… Thomas Baugh ; @ wolvesblog

Max Kilman Max Kilman : graduated in style. Photograph: Wolverhampton Wanderers FC/Getty Images Part one: Arsenal to Leicester