Doing just enough for victory after the introduction of a young French forward and marking the departure of an established player to Manchester City. How very, very Arsenal...
You fools, Manchester City, you fools. If you'd played your best football at the end of the season, everybody would have adored you. Why did you go and waste it in the middle? Now nobody remembers and everybody's a bit underwhelmed.
Grade: B, down from a B+ because Vincent Kompany is annoying
Liverpool Football Club
It's not easy, pleasing everyone, but Liverpool found a way. First they played deliriously brilliant football, galloped to the top of the league, and looked pretty much nailed on to stay there. This pleased their fans, many journalists, and (in the writers' personal experience) precisely one neutral who wasn't actually that bothered. Then Steven Gerrard fell over and Dwight Gayle didn't, and everybody else was pleased as well.
Everybody! Everybody! At the back! Can you hear me! Right! An announcement! Please speak quietly! Very quietly! Do not shout! Jose Mourinho has a headache! A really bad headache! Right between the eyes! So speak quietly! Don't bang your steps! Try not to drop that large stack of dishes ... oh. Oh dear.
Fun and flawed, Everton looked at times like a brilliant side that were on the verge of making the European Cup, and at other times like a bit of a mess. Pretty much what might happen if you gave that bloke who used to manage Wigan a collection of better players. Whatever happened to him?
Grade: A, for services rendered to comprehensively trashing the notion of necessary periods of transition, and in the process making their former manager look quite silly, and also of services rendered to the cause of conspiratorial nonsense, after making their neighbours froth in the aftermath of the City defeat
Despite being managed for half a season by a manager that seems to be allergic to the Premier League, and for the other half by a character so cliched that Little Britain would have passed; despite spending a fortune on loads of player who have been so forgettable that we've forgotten about them; despite seemingly never playing well, ever ... Tottenham have finished with just three points fewer than last season. The league table may not lie, but it seriously stretches the truth at times.
Grade: Mild cheddar, obviously
Well, that didn't go very well now, did it?
Grade: Cat litter
Attractive football, local youngsters blended with canny purchases, the emerging spine of the England teams of the future ... it's going to be sad watching this team get torn apart over the course of the next transfer window.
Grade: Tempting, plump, marbled
To make a Serious Football Point for a second, it was entirely possible that Stoke's decision to change manager, made on the grounds of aesthetics and the seven-year itch, could have gone hilariously and messily wrong. Stoke were a side constructed to play football in a certain way, and manking about with such things is always risky. So kudos to Mark Hughes and his players for having an almost entirely unremarkable season.
It's hard getting booked for dissent these days, since referees are apparently inured to the majority of the grown-up language that gets thrown their way. It's even harder to get booked twice for dissent, because referees are generally loath to hand out the second yellow for anything short of a near-red. But to get booked twice for dissent between conceding a goal and taking the restart? You have to say that's magnificent.
Grade: Shola Ameobi gets an A for swearing, everybody else gets detention for not swearing
WOOP WOOP! IT'S THE SOUND OF THE PULIS!
Grade: Pete the Eagle's sunglasses
Any season in which a club is forced to deny reports that one player threatened another, and specifically to deny that one player threatened another with a brick, has to be counted as a success.
West Ham United
We'll be honest, it's mid-table where this concept for a column starts to get a bit weary. What is there to say about West Ham? They survived, comfortably, they played terrible football, and Sam Allardyce continued along the path of all angry men, slowly becoming ever more himself.
Grade: Grade: Grade: Grade: Grade: Grade:
Regular readers will know that the Diary has little love for Gus Poyet. However, our love for Wesley Brown knows no boundaries, so that balances things out nicely. Seem to have had more fun than most of the clubs above them, which is what a trip to Wembley can do for people. Take heed, O ye cup-deriding managers; take heed.
Grade: Personalised snood.
End-of-season controversy engulfed Villa, as the players were seen drinking beer on the coach after their last game. Beer! Drinking! Beer! Grown men! Beer! This is the most interesting thing that Villa have done all season, unless you count Gabby Agbonlahor's occasional gestures towards a moustache, which we don't. Oh, and they're for sale.
Grade: ABV, yeah you know me
A certainty to go down, they said. Staying up and getting to an FA Cup final and beating Liverpool at home and being saved from themselves by the FA and resurrecting the career of Nikica Jelavic, they never said, because it's a terribly punctuated sentence that needs a couple of commas before anybody should even think of trying to say it.
Grade: Breaded ham
West Bromwich Albion
Weirdly, Steve Clarke and Pepe Mel look nothing like one another, yet both look like geography teachers going through a rough patch at home. From this we can conclude that geography teachers going through a rough patch at home is an image of variety and deserves more respect in the lazy lookalikes game. West Brom were toss, mind.
Grade: Put that quenelle down, Nicolas
We asked Twitter to name the opposite of mustard. The replies included "ketchup", "custard", "lemon sorbet", "custard" again, "mint sauce", "Elton Welsby", "honey", "cauliflower", "custard" again, and "mustnotard".
Grade: "it's tough to joke about mustard"
Er ... has anybody seen Kostas Mitroglou?
Grade: Miserable, in quite a funny way
The cautionary tale of Cardiff City: if you're going to comprehensively trash the symbolic history of a football club, make sure you don't sack the manager that's going to keep you in the Premier League. Because that would look ridiculous.
Grade: Miserable, in a part-funny, part-sad way
Andi Thomas and Alexander Netherton