Martin Lipton's team by team grades
Working towards: A top-four place – the “third trophy” according to the manager.
Overall effort: Poor concentration and inconsistent work. Missing Van Persie quality up front.
Head boy: Santi Cazorla
Bottom of the class: Gervinho
Must do better: No more excuse-making from Wenger. Sorting out the contracts of Wilshere, Jenkinson, Ramsey, Gibbs and Oxlade-Chamberlain was a good sign, but Walcott needs to be locked up too. They must make the top four.
Working towards: Mid-table – although maybe it's survival now.
Overall effort: Poor start, good middle and horrible end to first half-term.
Head boy: Christian Benteke
Bottom of the class: Gabby Agbonlahor
Must do better: Paul Lambert has put a lot of faith in his young side but their miserable Christmas could become a real problem. January recruitment of a couple of experienced leaders might help.
Working towards: Top spot is Chelsea’s target and looks a long way distant.
Overall effort: Plunge from heroes to zeroes in the space of six weeks spelled the end for Roberto Di Matteo. Some must take responsibility.
Head boy: Juan Mata
Bottom of the class: Marko Marin
Must do better: Rafa Benitez has stabilised things at the Bridge even if Blues fans will not accept him. Imminent departures of Lampard and Cole have not helped. Torres needs some January striking support.
Working towards: A Champions League slot would be further evidence of manager David Moyes’ talents.
Overall effort: A team greater than the sum of their parts, but may be short of bodies.
Head boy: Marouane Fellaini
Bottom of the class: Johnny Heitinga
Must do better: All about continuing with what they have done and more. Still a massive ask for the Goodison side to make the top four and will require Fellaini and Jelavic to keep scoring and the midfield to contribute more.
Working towards: Mid-table respectability.
Overall effort: Boss Martin Jol may be disappointed with the way things have tailed off over past two months.
Head boy: Dimitar Berbatov
Must do better: In danger of slipping into a relegation fight, which they should be well clear of. Jol will want to add a bit more talent at both ends of the pitch next month but has to ensure more solidity.
Working towards: A top-six finish and more Europa League football.
Overall effort: Mixed. Recovered from worst ever Premier League start but are a case of two steps forward, one step back.
Head boy: Luiz Suarez
Bottom of the class: Stewart Downing
Must do better: Reliance on Suarez is too great, although the imminent arrival of Daniel Sturridge should help. Brendan Rodgers’ principles are right but it might be argued he is too inflexible. Needs to develop options.
Working towards: Back-to-back titles – but struggling to attain that target.
Overall effort: Leaving it too late, too often, and are suddenly losing games as a result.
Head boy: Sergio Aguero
Bottom of the class: Mario Balotelli
Must do better: European failure means Roberto Mancini can concentrate his efforts on the domestic baubles, but that seven-point gap is dangerous. Mancini knows that he is under pressure to deliver.
Working towards: Winning back the Premier League and in pole position.
Overall effort: Have been doing it the hard way all season but have been bailed out by strike-force.
Head boy: Robin van Persie
Must do better: Defend. Properly. A constant high-wire act at the back has its effect on the nerves over time and makes opponents believe United are vulnerable. Fergie might want an extra midfield option as well, although he is not short of goals.
Working towards: Europe – but now only likely on their summer holidays.
Overall effort: Disappointing, even given the injuries that have hurt Alan Pardew’s side so much.
Head boy: Demba Ba
Bottom of the class: Cheick Tiote
Must do better: Stop the losing streak to prevent things spiraling out of control. Make a decision on Ba's future swiftly, rather than letting things drift on through January. Work out if there is a training ground-related reason for all the injuries.
Working towards: Comfortable survival in mid-table.
Overall effort: No Canary fan can be unhappy with Chris Hughton’s men, especially after their dodgy start.
Head boy: Bradley Johnson
Bottom of the class: Steve Morison
Must do better: Not much, really. An excellent first half of the campaign with the side building on what they achieved under Paul Lambert last season. Clear the players have bought into Hughton’s approach and planning.
Queens Park Rangers
Working towards: Still playing Premier League football next term. But you wouldn’t put your shirt on them.
Overall effort: Utterly unacceptable, from start to finish. Embarrassing position for the club to be in.
Head boy: Jamie Mackie
Bottom of the class: Jose Bosingwa
Must do better: Everywhere – and even that might not be enough for Harry Redknapp to pull this one off. Mark Hughes bought a squad but not, it seems, a team. Redknapp’s arrival has only stemmed the flow of blood, not stopped it.
Working towards: Survival, by hook, crook or however.
Overall effort: Nobody could question the application. The quality though...
Head boy: Adam Le Fondre
Bottom of the class: Pavel Pogrebnyak
Working towards: Fourth from bottom or above – and recent results suggest they can achieve it.
Overall effort: Looked like a slow-motion car crash in the autumn but have now found their feet. May have enough.
Head boy: Gaston Ramirez
Bottom of the class: Jay Rodriguez
Must do better: Find extra support for Rickie Lambert, who has proved he is a Premier League striker. Settle on a first-choice keeper – boss Adkins has used three so far. And keep on picking up points at St Mary’s. Do all that and safety beckons.
Working towards: More stability and a top-half finish.
Overall effort: A team evolving in the right way but not losing any of their combative streak.
Head boy: Steven Nzonzi
Bottom of the class: Cameron Jerome
Must do better: Keep adding quality to the basic building blocks that Tony Pulis has put in place. The Welshman uses the criticism to gird his players’ loins and nobody relishes a trip to the Britannia. Far more than a “rugby team”.
Working towards: Solid mid-table certainty – and some more flair.
Overall effort: Strong finish to the year came just when Martin O’Neill needed it.
Head boy: Steven Fletcher
Bottom of the class: Lee Cattermole
Must do better: Fletcher has scored eight of their 19 league goals, which shows where the biggest problem is. O’Neill demands players put themselves on the line for him and there were doubts six weeks ago about that commitment. Cannot afford to have a bad January.
Working towards: A top-half finish – and looking set to achieve that.
Overall effort: Adapted superbly to life under their new Head, Michael Laudrup, with a terrific win at Arsenal the highlight so far.
Head boy: Michu
Bottom of the class: Danny Graham
Must do better: More of the same, really, although if Michu’s Boxing Day injury means a lengthy break it would be a dagger in Swansea hearts. Laudrup has built on what he inherited from Brendan Rodgers, and this team still loves to have the ball.
Working towards: Another Champions League campaign. Up to them whether they can make it.
Overall effort: Took a while to adapt to Andre Villas-Boas and there were some learning pains but signs are more positive now.
Head boy: Jermain Defoe
Bottom of the class: Gylfi Sigurdsson
Must do better: Too many goals conceded in the last 10 minutes of matches have cost Spurs the chance to be genuine title contenders. Imminent returns of Kaboul and Assou-Ekotto add to squad but they need a No 10 and one more striker to stay in the top four.
Working towards: The aim was a top 10 finish. Now it must be the Europa League
Overall effort: Cannot be faulted for commitment and work-rate. Rookie boss Steve Clarke excelling.
Head boy: Claudio Yacob
Bottom of the class: Goran Popov
Must do better: Strengthen Clarke’s hand by giving him some resources to use in the January window. If Chelsea recall loanee Lukaku, it would be a blow. Odemwingie and Long must continue performing when asked. Not the same defensively without Foster in goal.
Working towards: The safety of 12th or 13th place and another crack next year.
Overall effort: Outstanding at times, awful at others, but are about where Hammers fans would have wanted them to be.
Head boy: Kevin Nolan
Bottom of the class: Andy Carroll
Working towards: The same as normal - another year in the Big Time.
Overall effort: Roberto Martinez may feel he has been ill-served by fortune and officialdom. But you make your own luck.
Head boy: Ali Al-Habsi
Bottom of the class: Franco Di Santo
Must do better: Replicate last season’s end-of-campaign run to safety. Injuries have hurt Martinez as much as some poor calls by referees, but Wigan have not scored enough goals and have conceded too many. Need to alter both if they are to defy the economics of the game once more.