Premier League Grades: Cristiano Ronaldo leads Manchester United to the head of class in week four

Premier League Matchday 4 produced plenty of goals, a couple surprising results and the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, who lit up the pitch at Old Trafford in a comfortable win for Manchester United. In all, the first nine games produced over two goals per game with only one scoreless match.

Here are our grades for all 20 clubs based on their games this past weekend:

Crystal Palace 3, Tottenham 0 (Expected Goals: 3.00-0.07)

Crystal Palace
That was quite the impressive debut for Odsonne Edouard, scoring twice in a six-minute cameo to give Palace their first win of the league season. Now they need to keep it going and continue to play quick and attack in numbers. The defense wasn’t tested, especially after a second half Spurs red card, so they’ll need to stay ready.
Grade: A

Boy, that was an atrocious attacking display. Their chances of getting anything from this match was gone after the silly red card from Japhet Tanganga. After such an encouraging start to the campaign, this was a dud that was as uninspiring as one can remember. For a team with such attacking talent, Spurs haven’t scored multiple goals in a single game this season.
Grade: F

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Arsenal 1, Norwich 0 (xG: 2.86-0.56)

They’ll take the win, but they barely got it. Don’t let this result hide the fact that they still feel largely disconnected on the pitch and are struggling a lot in the attacking third to put away good chances. At least the chances were there this week, which is an improvement,, but the sharpness wasn’t. Mikel Arteta still has to be feeling the pressure. 
Grade: C+

It feels like, through four games, that relegation is likely. They can’t create, the defense is conceding more than two goals a game and they lack a positive vibe and cohesion, and they’ve done absolutely nothing that would make you think they are capable of staying up. On the plus side, they’ve had a brutal schedule to start. But they better start getting points next weekend vs. Watford.
Grade: D

Brighton 1, Brentford 0 (xG: 0.23-0.53)

Well, they scrapped that one out. A 90th-minute winner from Leandro Trossard was the difference in a match that screamed draw for 89 minutes. They really didn’t do much to deserve the win, though the winner was brilliant, but this victory now has them flirting with the top four and feeling good. Grinding out results and looking like a sure bet to stay up at an absolute minimum.
Grade: B+

A cruel ending. Looked to have done enough to earn a point, but it wasn’t meant to be. They still continue to impress defensively and are going to be a tough out for most. They may start to feel some pressure to add to their attack in the winter though as they’ve scored under a goal a game.
Grade: C-

Manchester City 1, Leicester City 0 (xG: 2.76-0.71)

Manchester City
Just too much in the end. They had 19 more shots than Leicester, and it really shouldn’t have been this close. With so much buzz around Chelsea and Manchester United, it just feels like this striker-less City isn’t being talked about all that much. But expect them to continue to rack up points and sit atop the table before long. Just too much quality.
Grade: A

Leicester City
They didn’t have enough of the ball (39 percent) to do what they wanted. They mustered just one shot on goal and were forced to defend for much of the 90 minutes. Time to turn the page and get ready for Europa League. They’ll be just fine. 
Grade: C

Manchester United 4, Newcastle 1 (xG: 2.49-0.57)

Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo is back, and he’s back with a bang. Two goals in his return to Old Trafford has the Red Devils atop the table and feeling like the league is theirs for the taking. His ability to be in the right spot at the right time could make all the difference, as could his ability to just make defenders look silly and punish with a timely goal.
Grade: A

Yeah, there was no way they were getting something from this one. Miguel Almiron continues to look quite sharp, but without Callum Wilson, it was always going to be hard to even keep it close. Don’t look now, but Newcastle are on pace to lose 28 of 38 matches thanks to the league’s worst defense statistically.
Grade: D

Southampton 0, West Ham 0 (xG: 0.62-0.73)

They’ll take it. A point is a point at this stage when you are facing teams also playing in Europe. They still haven’t won a game, and a relegation battle may be on the horizon, but if they can continue to keep these close, I think they’ll pull out enough if they can find a goal scorer in attack.
Grade: C

West Ham
Just be thankful you didn’t watch this one. If you did, I feel for you. A draw where each team lacked accuracy when it mattered most. Michail Antonio’s late red card is a big blow ahead of hosting Manchester United next weekend.
Grade: B-

Wolves 2, Watford 0 (xG: 2.53-0.22)

This was the same Wolves we’ve seen to start the season … except with them actually finishing … sort of. It’s an impressive style of soccer that is entertaining to watch, and this was fully deserved, but the attack still isn’t sharp enough, needing an own goal and a tap in. Raul Jimenez continues to get into dangerous areas, and the goals will follow. They should be just fine moving forward. 
Grade: A

Woof. A horrible own goal and next to nothing in attack resulted in 90 minutes of misery for their fans. Just played off the pitch, poor when the passes needed to be crisp, and two many self-inflicted wounds to get anything from this game. The lack of ability in the attacking is getting to a concerning level.
Grade: D-

Chelsea 3, Aston Villa 0 (xG: 1.37-1.39)

Two goals from Romelu Lukaku and a convincing win thanks to their display in attack. The defense gave up a bit too many good looks though, and they were fortunate not to concede. But, hey, a win is a win and they are on fire now. As for Lukaku, we could be looking at a 30-goal campaign for the Belgian superstar. Did you see his goals? Just incredible. 
Grade: A

Aston Villa
That was unfortunate. They did enough to keep this competitive early, but the defense was torn apart by Lukaku and Chelsea’s passing, and then they gave a goal to Mateo Kovacic thanks to Tyrone Mings’ inexcusable back pass. Tricky stretch coming up that will show if they are a team that can compete with the big boys or if another relegation battle is looming.
Grade: C

Liverpool 3, Leeds United 0 (xG: 4.12-0.89)

You just knew they were going to score multiple goals against Leeds, and that would put them in a great spot, but they produced so many fantastic chances that the 3-0 score was borderline kind. Mohamed Salah continues to be a menace down the right, Diogo Jota is effective when he isn’t selfish, and the defense was able to recover after a slow start. Harvey Elliot’s serious injury cast a shadow over the match, but the result is just another extremely positive one for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Grade: A

Leeds United
The Marcelo Bielsa honeymoon isn’t close to being over, but the results need to start coming soon. Had Rodrigo converted a golden chance in the box early, this could have been different. But the attack was wasteful in the early going and then couldn’t create enough to get back into it. As for the defense, it played to its standard. Oh, that’s low by the way.
Grade: D

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