Week 2: Premier League Power Rankings – Bluebirds rising

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One shock result stole all the headlines during Week 2 of the Premier League, as Cardiff City registered their first win in the top-flight for over 50 years against much fancied Manchester City.

A result like that will do wonders for your position in the Premier League Power Rankings. So find out where the side from the Welsh capital sit and which teams were the other big movers this time out.

Every Tuesday we will put our neck on the line each to analyze the strength of each Premier League team. Forget about the official league standings, that doesn’t mean squat.

(MORE: Premier League Power Rankings archive)

The Power Rankings take into account the strength of schedule, injuries, suspensions, playing well but still losing and plenty of other variables.

The W-L-D bracket shows each PL teams current record and we’ve added an extra factor as you can now see how many spots each team has moved, up or down, from week-to-week.

So please feel free to debate the Week 2 Power Rankings… that’s what they’re here for.

RANKING
source:  1 UP 1 Chelsea: They move up to the top of the rankings after easily shutting down United away from home. Okay, Chelsea had no real chances to score but they had a gameplan, and it worked a treat. Two home wins and a great point on the road. (2-0-1)

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2 DOWN 1 Manchester United: David Moyes’ side ran out of ideas against Chelsea. Sure they forced the issue, but you can you remember Rooney, RVP or Welbeck getting in behind the Blue wall? Rooney’s performance was the real highlight for United. (1-0-1)
source:  3  UP 1 Tottenham: Two games, two 1-0 wins, two PK game-winners from Roberto Soldado. Solid from Spurs against Swansea, a few kinks here and there. Life could be bright after Bale. (2-0-0)
source:  4  DOWN 1 Manchester City: A shock defeat at Cardiff exposed Manuel Pellegrini’s injury-hit defense, a bad day at the office. City have the perfect chance to recover next time out as Hull head to the Etihad. (1-1-0)

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5  – Liverpool:See Tottenham. Almost a mirror image of their opening day win against Stoke as the Reds beat Villa 1-0 thanks to a Daniel Sturridge goal. Another team built on defensive solidity. (2-0-0)
source:  6  – Arsenal: That’s more like it. The Gunners put in a great counter-attacking display vs. Fulham at a drenched Craven Cottage. Podolski grabbed two, Giroud looked sharp and Ramsey is finally delivering. Back on track but still work to do. (1-1-0)
source:  7  – Everton: Roberto Martinez’ side just couldn’t score against West Brom, they looked going forward and solid at the back. Solid start with two draws, but will they add a few creative players before the window slams shut? (0-0-2)
source:  8  UP 1 Southampton: The Saints should have comfortably beat Sunderland, but ended up grabbing a point late on. Mauricio Pochettino’s men had 64 percent of possession and numerous chances. Need to be more clinical going forward. (1-0-1)
source:  9 UP 1 West Ham: Sam Allardyce’s team haven’t conceded after two games played and went close to beating Newcastle away. On another day they could have scored 2 or 3 but the old adage “win your home game, get a point away” prevailed. (1-1-0)
source:  10  DOWN 2 Swansea: Two tough games to open up the season for the Swans and confidence must be low for Michael Laudrup’s men. They need to turn things around fast, they have the talent. All about mentality to get back on track. (0-2-0)
source:  11 Fulham: The Cottagers looked off the pace against a fired up Arsenal on Saturday. But they did dictate the play for large chunks and tried to force the issue. The Berbatov-Bent partnership looks promising. (1-1-0)
source:  12 Aston Villa: A tough week for Villa is over, as they faced Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in seven days. Two tight defeats and a win later, Paul Lambert’s men look dangerous on the break but still a little shaky at the back. (1-2-0)
source:  13 UP 3 Stoke: A real confidence boosting win at the Britannia in Mark Hughes’ first home game in charge. Palace took an early lead but the Potters had plenty of chances and rallied in the second half to turn things around. (1-1-0)
source:  14 DOWN 1 Norwich: The Canaries suffered a bad loss at Hull City and couldn’t score against the newly promoted team, despite having a one man advantage for over 60 minutes. Norwich’s attack need to fire next week against Southampton. (0-1-1)
source:  15
West Brom: The Baggies ground out a good point on the road at Everton, but they rode their luck as the Toffees struck the woodwork and threatened throughout. News of Ben Foster’s broken foot won’t help matters. (0-1-1)
source:  16  UP 3 Cardiff: What a win. The Bluebirds first ever victory in the Premier League came thanks to Fraizer Campbell’s heroics. A 3-2 win against Manchester City showed they could be here to stay.(1-1-0)
source:  17  DOWN 3 Newcastle: The Magpies didn’t lose against West Ham, but they didn’t really impress either. Alan Pardew may need to get a few new faces in this week, otherwise it will be a long, hard winter in the North East. (0-1-1)
source:  18 Hull: Steve Bruce’s team battled to a much-needed win at home against Norwich after being down to 10-men. Not much poise or creativity about this one, they ground out a result when it mattered. Great character. (1-1-0)
source:  19 DOWN 2
Sunderland: Paolo Di Canio’s men scored early against the Saints but didn’t kick on. They were content to protect their lead and offered nothing going forward. The Mackems still need to gel. (0-1-1)
source:  20  – Crystal Palace: Ian Holloway will be a busy man this week as he desperately searches for new players. Palace started well against Stoke and went into the break 1-0 up, but sloppy defending was their downfall. Pivotal week for Palace. (0-2-0)

PHOTOS: Tottenham’s stunning new stadium

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Tottenham Hotspur’s new $1 billion stadium is taking shape and it is looking magnificent.

The plan is for Spurs’ new home at White Hart Lane to be ready for the 2018/19 season, with reports stating that Mauricio Pochettino‘s men will play their first couple of games away from home next season in order to squeeze in a few more weeks for construction.

Spurs’ new  home will seat 62,062 fans and will be the second-largest stadium in the Premier League behind Manchester United’s Old Trafford.

Take a look at the photos below in the spring sunshine in London, with the largest single-tier stand in Europe looking sublime as the roof panels are going on and the stadium is really starting to come to life.


Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso handed three-game ban

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After being named in the PFA’s Premier League Team of the Year on Wednesday, it has been a mixed few days for Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso as he has received a three-game ban with immediate effect after being found guilty of violent conduct.

Alsono, 27, stamped on Shane Long‘s calf in Chelsea’s 3-2 comeback win at Southampton last time out but referee Mike Dean missed the incident completely.

Since then Alonso has received a retrospective charge from the English FA and although the Spanish left back appealed the decision and the length of the ban, it was upheld and he will now miss Chelsea’s next three games.

Alonso will miss the clash at Burnley on Thursday, the FA Cup semifinal against Southampton on Sunday and the trip to Swansea City on Apr. 28.

Who will come in for Alonso?

Antonio Conte has already stated that Emerson Palmeri, a January arrival from AS Roma, will start at Burnley on Thursday and if the Brazilian full back impresses then it is highly likely he will stand in for Alonso in the big FA Cup semifinal on Sunday against Saints. Other options would be Davide Zappacosta playing as the left wing-back or even Cesar Azpilicueta out there.

As for Saints, they feel hard done by after Dean didn’t spot Alonso’s foul even though he was standing yards away from the incident and looking straight at it. At the time of the incident they led 1-0 going into half time and their manager Mark Hughes believes it would have made a big difference as Alonso’s cross set up Olivier Giroud to make it 2-1 and the Spaniard made a big difference from left back in the incredible 3-2 comeback victory. Still, at least Saints won’t have to play against Alonso on Sunday with revenge in the air…

PHOTOS: Liverpool unveil new 2018/19 kit

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Liverpool have gone for a “pepper red” kit for the 2017/18 season.

[ LIVE: Stream every PL game ]

On Thursday the Anfield club released their new jersey for next season with New Balance once again their kit suppliers.

The key features of this new kit is a small collar, with a fresh white and red look throughout.

Check out the images and video below.


VAR decisions at World Cup to be explained on giant screens

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FLORENCE, Italy (AP) Fans attending World Cup matches in Russia won’t be left wondering about the reasons behind decisions of the video assistant referee.

After the VAR’s decision is made, replays will be shown on giant screens inside the stadiums accompanied by a written explanation.

It’s all part of the VAR information system that FIFA unveiled Wednesday .

[ MORE: Man Utd makes historic hire ]

FIFA will place someone in the VOR (video operations room) who will listen in to the VAR’s decisions and communicate them to both TV commentators and stadium personnel operating the giant screens.

“So we will have graphics on the giant screens, we will have replays after the decision on the giant screens, and we will also inform the fans about the outcome of a VAR incident and review,” said Sebastian Runge, group leader of football innovation at FIFA.

With the VAR making its tournament debut during the June 14-July 15 World Cup, FIFA is holding its final training camp this month for the 99 match officials – 36 referees and 63 assistants – who have been selected to go to Russia.

Thirteen VARs have been pre-selected and are being trained at Italy’s Coverciano complex, and FIFA referees chief Pierluigi Collina said more VARs and VAR assistants will be chosen from the 99 match officials.

Three of the 13 VARs come from Italy’s Serie A and two from Germany’s Bundesliga – elite competitions that already use video assistants.

The VAR can support the referee in four game-changing situations: goals and offenses leading up to a goal, penalty decisions and offenses leading up to a penalty, direct red card incidents and cases of mistaken identity.

Still, VARs in both Italy and Germany have received vehement criticism for long delays and bungled decisions this season.

On Monday, Mainz was awarded a penalty during halftime against a rival Freiburg side that had already left the pitch for the break – prompting the unusual scene of a team returning from the changing room to defend a penalty.

“Yesterday we had already discussed this incident here and gave match officials and VARs clear indication about what should be done if something similar in FIFA competition – specifically the World Cup – happens,” Collina said without providing further detail.

Collina added that the VAR should not be overused, adding that ideally it would intervene at all in a match.

“The goal of VAR is to avoid major mistakes,” Collina said. “The objective is not to have clear and obvious mistakes committed on the field of play. This is the target, the goal is not to re-referee the match using technology.

“There will continue to be incidents when a final answer will not be given and there will be different opinions,” Collina added.

Among other items involving the VAR:

MOSCOW CONTROL CENTER

FIFA will follow the Bundesliga model of a central control center for the VAR rather than using trucks outside stadiums.

“We will have all of the referees based in Moscow so there won’t be any stress in terms of travel,” Collina said.

For each match, Collina will select one VAR and three assistant VARs.

Training operation rooms presented to media included six monitors for the VARs and two more for technical assistants enabling the VARs to see requested replays.

There could be up to four technical assistants in the room for World Cup matches.

OFFSIDE CAMERAS

FIFA will install two extra cameras at matches to monitor offside decisions.

The cameras will be in addition to the 33 cameras used for broadcasters and they will be installed under stadium roofs.

Broadcasters will not have direct access to the cameras but if they are used by the VAR then broadcasters can show the video.

Runge added that three dimensional technology – considered the ultimate strategy for determining offside – is not ready for real-time access yet.

SWEAT AND STRESS

VARs will not officiate more than one match per day.

“It’s not like watching a match on the sofa sipping coffee,” Collina said.

Collina, who officiated Brazil’s 2-0 win over Germany in the 2002 World Cup final, explained why the VARs will wear track suits similar to referees’ on-pitch attire.

“The reason is at the end they sweat as much as someone on the field, because the tension is very high,” Collina said. “They can’t do two matches per day – it’s too stressful.”

COMMS AND HACKING

The Moscow control center will be connected to match officials via a fiber optic network.

If the network fails, the backup plan includes an old-fashioned land telephone line and a telephone stationed near the fourth referee for emergency use.

“Worst-case scenario includes a backup plan on site. That’s when the IBC is down – no power, no fiber network,” Runge said. “Then we have a plan in place where the fourth official would become the VAR and the fourth official would be replaced by the reserve referee.

“We have a cabin in the broadcast compound from where we send all of the feeds to the IBC anyway. That cabin can be turned into a smaller, light version of the VOR.”

Hacking has also been considered.

“We are aware that there might be something but our IT department put measurements in place that will protect us from that,” Runge said.

POST-MATCH BRIEFINGS

In extraordinary circumstances, FIFA will hold post-match briefings to explain decisions in greater detail.

“If something should happen that we think should properly and accurately be explained – and it doesn’t matter if it’s related to VAR or something different – if it is a matter to explain the background of a decision, as an exception certainly we will do it,” Collina said.

“But it won’t be a post-match press conference for every match, explaining every single decision taken during every single match.”

More AP soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/asdampf