Every Premier League team's 2015/16 season ranked - because winning isn't everything
Because the league table never tells the whole story, we've come up with our own ranking of how the Premier League teams got on this season.
It's not all about results - this is to do with how well they performed compared to expectations, how much they entertained us and what they brought to the season in general.
20. Aston Villa
Villa finished last in pretty much every category imaginable. If being relegated from the Premier League for the first time was not bad enough they were gripped by so many off-field issues that any hope of bouncing straight back will need considerable work done. Villa fans had probably seen this season coming, the club has been doing no more than treading water in the past few seasons, and finally it all became too much.
Relegation is never easy to stomach, but being sent down by your fiercest rivals makes this season a bad season even more unpalatable. Bringing in Steve McClaren claerly did not work and the length of time it took to sack him proved critical as Rafael Benitez was left with too little time to get a firm grip on the escape act that was required by the time he was appointed. Heavy spending in January proved ineffective too.
The worst Premier League title defence ever. No-one saw that coming. Chelsea ran away with the title last season, but were barely competitive this season. When Jose Mourinho got sacked after a tumultuous couple of month the Blues were flirting with relegation and while the safe hands of interim replacement Guus Hiddink brought some much-needed stability but not much else. Over to you Antonio...
A second relegation in three years and the Canaries are taking over the yo-yo tag that plagued West Brom. They were the third-lowest goalscorer in the league and finding a consistent striker has been their Achilles heel in both of their recent short Premier League stays...anyone remember Ricky van Wolfswinkel? In Alex Neil they have a bright young manager to offer belief they'll yo-yo right back.
16. West Brom
West Brom had a typical Tony Pulis type of season. They were never in any real danger of relegation, but they were never in any danger of entertaining anyone either. They bubbled along picking up good home wins against Arsenal and Manchester United before delivering a hammer blow to Tottenham's title ambitions with a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane. In between time speculation about Sadio Berahino's future was about the only notable news coming out of the Hawthorns.
There was so much for Everton fans to look forward to at the start of the season as the club revealed its ambition by turning down four bids from Chelsea for John Stones. A squad packed with talents such as Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley and Seamus Coleman might have been expected to push for Europe but instead they just never got going. Everton did progress to the semi-finals of both domestic cup competitions, but Roberto Martinez paid for failing to get any sort of consistency out of one of the best squads seen at Goodison Park in recent times.
14. Crystal Palace
Palace were level with Tottenham and Manchester United on Christmas Day. A dramatic slide followed as they failed to score in their next five games and didn't win in the league until April. Somehow they put that woeful form behind them to progress to the FA Cup final for just the second time in the club's history. Beating Manchester United at Wembley would arguably represent the club's best season ever and erase memories of their league form after Christmas.
At one point during the season it looked like Swansea might implode as they flirted with the relegation zone and then made the unpopular decision to blame it on manager Garry Monk and give him the boot. It took the club over a month to find a replacement, which turned out to be time well spent as Francesco Guidolin steered them comfortably clear of the bottom three. A 1-0 win at Arsenal was a highlight.
Sam Allardyce just doesn't do relegation and with a combination of Jermain Defoe banging in the goals and some astute January signings the Black Cats stayed up. When they lost 2-0 at home to Leicester in April things looked bad but they bounced back with a crucial 3-0 win at Norwich, which sparked a five-game unbeaten run that was enough to stay safe, and relegate rival Newcastle with a game in hand. In the ends the Sunderland fans will look back fondly on this season.
11. Manchester United
United negotiated the season in fits and starts that, if nothing else, was enough to keep boss Louis van Gaal in the job until the end of the season despite widespread speculation Jose Mourinho was being lined up to take over. The Dutchman still seemingly faces a fight to keep his job over the summer, even if they win the FA Cup, with their failure to qualify for the Champions League a clear issue. Going out of the Europa League to Liverpool didn't go down too well with the fans either.
When Tony Pulis left Stoke a few seasons ago there was a lingering thought that, after establishing themselves in the Premier League, they might pay for wanting to promote a more ambitious style. How wrong we all were. The Potters remain a steady Premier League club, but they are now also playing an attractive brand of football too. Marko Arnautovic, Bojan Krkic, Ibrahim Afellay and Xherdan Shakiri epitomise the 'new' Stoke and having a goalkeeper of Jack Butland's quality in goal doesn't hurt.
It's been a season where the feat of simply surviving in the Premier League has been underwhelming given what's happened elsewhere, but Watford achieved it with aplomb. So good was Watford's form up until Christmas that their ultimate position appeared enough of a failure for the board to kick Quique Sanchez Flores out - and for the fans to be happy about it. Let's hope for their sake it's not a case of "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone".
8. Manchester City
It's hard to remember too many times a major team's season has turned so much on an injury to one player. With Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City were on course for another title challenge - without him, they fell apart. Progress in the Champions League at least partially made up for their woes in the league, but their best moment of the season came off the field - the acquisition of Pep Guardiola to take over as manager from next season.
This is the 12th straight season Arsenal have finished in the top four without winning the title, but with Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City all far from their best it's surely the most disappointing. Champions League qualification can't really be considered a failure but this really should have been their year. Pipping Tottenham for second place on the final day of the season will bring smiles to Gunners fans - it was also their highest finish since 2004/5 - but the missed opportunity was significant and there appears to be more weight behind the "Wenger Out" brigade.
6. West Ham
They would have been the surprise package of the season had it not been for Leicester, but West Ham's owners have now seen what a difference a popular manager can make in the shape of Slaven Bilic. With set-piece superstar Dimitri Payet bossing things in midfield and a move to the Olympic Stadium coming up, the Hammers are very well positioned.
Again Southampton lost key players in the shape of Morgan Schneiderlin, Nathaniel Clyne and Toby Alderweireld, and again they found a way to stay competitive. You can't help but admire the job Ronald Koeman is doing.
It's hard to judge Liverpool's season until after the Europa League final - should they win and qualify for next season's Champions League it will have been a more or less unqualified success. But they've been thrilling to watch at times and the arrival of Jurgen Klopp was the story of the season until Leicester took over - and his side have shown enough improvement to allow Reds fans to feel very confident for the coming years whatever happens.
Tottenham's late-season fade-out should not disguise a season that has created a sense of optimism around White Hart Lane that Spurs fans haven't felt in a long while. For now they will have to stomach the fact that they not only fell out of the title race but also gave up second place to arch-rivals Arsenal on the final day after they were thumped 5-1 at Newcastle. If that stings knowing Champions League football is returning next season and having bright young talents like Dele Alli and Harry Kane should adequately soothe any short-term frustration.
Nobody expected Bournemouth to survive, especially after they picked up injuries to so many key players, but not only did Eddie Howe lead his team to Premier League safety with relative comfort, he also did it without compromising his footballing beliefs.
Who else could it have been? Leicester have been not only the story of the season, but one of the most amazing footballing stories anyone can remember. If this list included every team in Europe, Leicester would still be top.