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Manchester City lead Premier League transfer grades after brilliant summer

As the transfer window shuts, the ESPN FC panel take a look back at Arsenal and Manchester United's inability to secure a marquee signing, Chelsea's new additions, Kevin De Bruyne joining Manchester City to bolster Manuel Pellegrini's attack and much more

With the summer transfer window finally done and dusted, ESPN FC grades all 20 Premier League clubs based on how they fared in their dealings.

Manchester City - A+

Winners of the window and, consequently, now strong favourites to be winners of the title. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho spoke recently of how City "reacted" to his team winning the league in the way the London side itself did last season, but it was more than that.

This was more than a reaction. It was precise and rational business,...

Sunderland take a deserved point at Aston Villa but badly need squad depth

Goal! Aston Villa 2, Sunderland 2. Jeremain Lens (Sunderland) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ola Toivonen.
English Premier League: Scott Sinclair scores a goal off of a counterattack. (41') Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland
English Premier League: Scott Sinclair scores a penalty after being fouled by Cattermole (11') Aston Villa 1-1 Sunderland
English Premier League: Lee Cattermole fouls Scott Sinclair and concedes penalty (10') Aston Villa 0-1 Sunderland

Dick Advocaat left Villa Park with a useful point from a 2-2 draw on Saturday and, perhaps even more usefully, clues about the strengths and alarming weaknesses of his Sunderland squad.

Despite an ideal start, with Yann M'Vila scoring with a splendidly taken free kick after eight minutes, Sunderland again played poorly for much of the game. They will be a good deal happier than Villa with the draw. The game could very easily have turned into a comfortable home win once that early lead was quickly...

Dick Advocaat future and Sunderland's dodgy defence has fans concerned

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti does not feel Dick Advocaat's job should be under question just yet.

Sunderland travel to Aston Villa on Saturday wearing the look of a club suffering inner turmoil as manager Dick Advocaat seeks a first Premier League victory of the season.

Persistent reports tell of the Dutchman's dismay at the club's failure to make the strengthening needed to avoid yet another scramble for safety.

Even Advocaat's own position seems capable of sharp fluctuation. This week he has publicly offered support to Sunderland's owner, Ellis Short, in the row over former skipper Michael...

Sunderland show character and Defoe strikes but Advocaat needs a win

Jermain Defoe scored an equaliser as Sunderland claimed their first point of the season following a draw with Swansea.

A vastly improved performance from Sunderland earned Dick Advocaat's beleaguered side a first point of the season on Saturday following a 1-1 draw against Garry Monk's dangerous Swansea City.

While it is hard to see one point from nine as anything other than a dreadful start to the season, there was enough commitment and urgency to offer hope the rise from the bottom of the Premier League table has begun.

Both goals in the match came from two pieces of clinical finishing, with Swansea's excellent...

Why can't Sunderland emulate Swansea's Premier League success?

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti does not feel Dick Advocaat's job should be under question just yet following their two consecutive defeats.

For a lesson in how to succeed and fail in the Premier League, compare the recent records of Sunderland and their opponents at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, Swansea City.

It is a match Dick Advocaat's side can hardly afford to lose. But the way the season has started, it has aroused barely concealed glee among Swansea supporters and tangible fear on Wearside.

After shipping seven goals in their first two games, ending with comfortable wins for Leicester City and Norwich City, Sunderland start...

Woeful Sunderland look set for yet another relegation battle

In a postmatch press conference, Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat says there is no logical reason for his team's failure to produce on the pitch other than that they do not play like a team.

A truly shocking 3-1 defeat at home to Norwich City on Saturday extended a calamitous start to Sunderland's season and suggested, early as it might be, that there are now only two relegation places left to avoid for the rest of the Premier League.

Duncan Watmore's consolation goal on his debut as a second-half substitute was heartening, but only for him and any hope Sunderland supporters might hold for the future.

Norwich CityNorwich City
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Manager Dick Advocaat is now mired in much the same position occupied in the past...