Premier League Power Rankings: Chelsea climb, Tottenham plummet – Week 12

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It’s been a real mixed bag over the past week, as plenty of sides chasing the top four gave up valuable points.

Tottenham were hammered 6-0 by Man City as Spurs’ continue their dramatic slide down our rankings, while Manchester United let a late lead slip away at newly-promoted Cardiff City much to the annoyance of manager David Moyes.

Arsenal and Chelsea both won and at the bottom Crystal Palace and Stoke both recorded much needed wins. Factor in all of that and there was plenty of chopping and changing going on in Week 12.

(MORE: Premier League Power Rankings archive)

By now you should know the drill. We put our neck on the line to analyze the strength of each Premier League team, forget about the official league standings (here they are in case you actually do want them) that doesn’t mean squat.

The Power Rankings take into account the strength of schedule, injuries, suspensions, playing well but still losing and plenty of other variables. The W-D-L bracket shows each PL team’s current record and you can now see how many spots each team has moved, up or down, from week-to-week.

Let’s get to it!

RANKING
Up/Down

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1
Arsenal: The Gunners did what they needed to against Southampton as the away side imploded and made some huge errors. Jack Wilshere dazzled midweek in the UCL and looks back to full fitness. A tricky trip to Cardiff awaits this weekend, as both Manchester clubs have already faltered in the Welsh capital. Will Aaron Ramsey dominate on his homecoming? (9-1-2)
source:  2 UP 1
Chelsea: Mourinho’s men have had a mixed-week as they battered West Ham 3-0 last weekend with Frank Lampard bagging two goals and Oscar shining. But a midweek UCL defeat to Basel left everyone scratching their heads again, why the inconsistency? Saints at home isn’t easy live on NBCSN this Sunday. (7-3-2)
source:  3 UP 1
Manchester City: 6-0 winners against Spurs and it could’ve been more, City’s six straight wins at home to open the season is sublime. Pellegrini’s attackers devoured Tottenham’s defense which had previously been the league’s best. Now the Citizens have to improve their away form, then they’re back in the title race. (7-1-4)
source:  4 DOWN 2 Liverpool: They snatched a dramatic late point at Everton but Liverpool’s defending was woeful at times. Yes it was a Merseyside derby but under pressure they have to be tighter and do better from set pieces. A trip to Hull will be ugly but Rodgers’ men should get back to winning ways. (7-3-2)

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5
Manchester United: Moyes’ men missed their chance to creep back into the top four as Kim Bo-Kyung’s late equalizer broke Red Devils hearts in South Wales. United didn’t really deserve to win but how often did they churn our three points last season when they shouldn’t have? Massive trip to struggling Spurs on Sunday. Will RVP return to partner Rooney? (6-3-3)
source:  6 UP 2
Everton: Roberto Martinez’ men were poor in the first half of the derby vs. Liverpool but came roaring back impressively. Romelu Lukaku has carried them this season, what an inspired loan signing he has been. A home game vs. Stoke should present the Toffees with a chance to move into the top three. (5-6-1)
source:  7 Southampton: The Saints shot themselves in the foot against Arsenal as they hung in with the Gunners for most of the game but were undone by a terrible blunder from Boruc and Fonte’s silly challenge in the box. That said they know they can mix it up with the big boys and a trip to Stamford Bridge awaits on Sunday. Rickie Lambert and Daniel Osvaldo are key if they’re going to stun Chelsea. (6-4-2)
source:  8 DOWN 2
Tottenham: What is going on at Tottenham? No goals in their last 3 games and Spurs are unraveling quickly. I worry for AVB’s future as he’s suddenly a villain at White Hart Lane after the embarrassing 6-0 loss at City. They need to beat Man Utd at home on Sunday it not it could be curtains for Villas-Boas which is crazy but Spurs’ fans are running out of patience already. (6-2-4)
source:  9

Newcastle United: The Magpies keep on rolling but they did labor to a win over Norwich. Pardew’s men were 2-0 up at HT but almost threw it away late on… a wins a win as they say. Remy is on fire up front and a home game vs. West Brom live on NBC at 12:30pm ET on Saturday presents the St. James’ faithful with a chance to see their side climb into the top 4. (6-2-4)
source:  10 UP 1
Swansea City: The Swans hit back after a barren spell by beating lowly Fulham 2-1 at the Cottage. Jonjo Shelvey came off the bench to net the winner with a beauty and Swansea are back in the top 10. They face a daunting trip to Man City this weekend but their attractive style of play could suit a trip to the Etihad. (4-3-5)
source:  11 DOWN 1
Hull City: Steve Bruce’s men disappointed against Crystal Palace and suffered their second-straight defeat. A home game against Liverpool on Sunday isn’t exactly what the doctor ordered. Defensively they always look solid but they need to find a way to score more goals. (4-2-6)
source:  12 West Brom: Great start from the Baggies in the Midlands derby vs. Villa but they ran out of steam big time after the break. 2-0 up is always a dangerous scoreline but Steve Clarke will be upset his side didn’t grab a win. Newcastle away is always hard but WBA are a resilient bunch, so that Villa comeback won’t get them down in the dumps. Hopefully for them Shane Long’s hot streak continues. (3-6-3)

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13 Aston Villa: Paul Lambert will be ecstatic with the 2nd half comeback away from home in the derby with WBA but shocked at the poor defending that put his side on the back foot. Last season they hammered Sunderland 6-1 at Villa Park, can they repeat that on Saturday? Christian Benteke’s lack of goals is a worry. (4-3-5)
source:  14 UP 1 Cardiff City: The Bluebirds have that key ingredient which every newly promoted side needs: resolve. Trailing Man Utd late in the game Kim’s header sent Cardiff’s fans nuts and they deserved to nick a point in another great home display. They welcome Arsenal this weekend, can they take another big scalp? (3-4-5)
source:  15 DOWN 1
Norwich City: Up and down like a yo-yo this season, Norwich put in a lackluster display away at Newcastle which resulted in another away defeat. Gary Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel need to start banging in the goals. Palace at home presents the perfect opportunity for those two to get amongst the goals. (3-2-7)
source:  16 UP 1
Stoke City: Boy did the Potters make hard work of that win over Sunderland. Even when the Black Cats were controversially reduced to 10-men, Stoke struggled to break them down and Nzonzi’s late goal finally sealed their first home win since August. A trip to Everton this week will test their defensive solidity, can Hughes’ men get on a roll? (2-1-8)
source:  17 DOWN 1
Sunderland: Brave effort after Wes Brown was bizarrely sent off, the Mackems gave it a good go. Jozy Altidore hasn’t started in the last three games, should he be worried about that? Absolutely. A trip to Villa Park will bring back bad memories but Poyet’s men are battlers who can dig out a point from this game. (2-1-9)
source:  18 UP 2
Crystal Palace: Tony Pulis joins Palace at the perfect time after they beat Hull last week and play Norwich, West Ham and Cardiff in the next 3 games. A second away win on the bounce would do wonders for morale. Expect direct soccer and better results down at Selhurst Park, Pulis will give Eagles fans hope of extending their stay in the PL… they’re only 3 points off safety. (2-1-9)
source:  19 DOWN 1
West Ham: Outclassed and outworked, the Hammers were dismal in a resounding 3-0 home defeat vs. Chelsea. Sam Allardyce continues to play without a forward and West Ham’s fans are getting increasingly worried that this season will turn into a relegation battle. Tense times at Upton Park as Fulham come to town this weekend. Massive London derby between two strugglers. (2-4-6)
source:  20 DOWN 1
Fulham: As we just mentioned Fulham travel from West to East London this weekend to face West Ham in a game already being described as a six-pointer. Both sides are out of form and out of luck as the Cottagers went down to Swansea after Aaron Hughes own goal and some poor finishing. How much longer will Martin Jol get to turn things around? (3-1-8)

Premier League preview: Man United vs. Newcastle United

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  • Red Devils unbeaten in 31 of last 32 home fixtures vs. Newcastle
  • Newcastle winless in its last six PL matches
  • Lukaku hasn’t scored in United’s last seven games

Manchester United hosts Newcastle United on Saturday from Old Trafford (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBC and NBCSports.com) as the Red Devils could potentially welcome back several of it biggest stars for the match.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Marcos Rojo could return for Jose Mourinho’s side this weekend, as Man United looks to bounce back from its 1-0 defeat to Chelsea on Nov. 5.

The ex-Sweden international Ibrahimovic hasn’t appeared in a match since April 2017, after being United’s top goalscorer a season ago.

The Red Devils will have to deal with the absence of Phil Jones at the back, though, as the England international misses out on the match with a thigh injury.

Newcastle will be without Christian Atsu and Jamaal Lascelles, which certainly hurts the squad’s attack, while Mikel Merino and Paul Dummett remain sidelined with respective injuries.

What they’re saying

Jose Mourinho, on Paul Pogba’s status:  “I can say now because he’s back – I don’t like to speak while he’s injured – you can clearly see there is a Manchester United this season before Paul’s injury and after Paul’s injury. There are qualities in our football, qualities that influence our approach in matches, with Pogba and without Pogba. Simple as that.”

Rafa Benitez, on growing pains of being a young side“We are a newly-promoted club that has to settle down in the Premier League. We have a young squad, so it’s a learning process for everyone and losing some games is part of the process. Hopefully we can stop that this weekend, but we know it has to be like this. We have to think that the target is to stay in the Premier League, then after try to go as high as we can in the table.”

Prediction

Newcastle has had its share of struggles this season, and running into a Man United side that is gaining full fitness is a dangerous task. The Red Devils are a tough squad to beat at home, so Rafa Benitez and Co. have their hands full. Man United 2-0 Newcastle

Luiz back in Chelsea squad after being dropped by Conte

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David Luiz‘s pair of stints at Chelsea have been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride of emotions — joyous highs and painful lows.

[ MORE: Pogba, Zlatan back form injuries; available this weekend ]

After returning to the club for a second time in the summer of 2016, Luiz instantly slotted into Antonio Conte‘s three-man backline and was a pivotal part of the Blues’ title-winning team last season.

Much like the second half of his first four seasons at Chelsea, Luiz’s second season (the second time around) has started so hotly. After playing eight of the first 10 games during Chelsea’s ongoing title defense, Luiz was unexpectedly dropped from the squad for the victory over Manchester United.

Now, two weeks later, Conte has announced that Luiz has rejoined the squad and is available for selection when his side visits West Brom on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold) — quotes from the Guardian:

“David Luiz is in the squad, yes. [His exclusion] was a technical decision. When it’s a technical decision every player has to react well and accept my decision. It’s normal, this.

“I like to speak about the team and the next game that we have to pay attention to. This is the most important thing, not speaking about a single player. I repeat: I don’t like to speak about a single player.”

Pogba, Zlatan, Rojo return from injuries for Man Utd-Newcastle

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The only saving grace when it comes to injuries is that, eventually (usually), players recover from them and return to the team.

[ MORE: 2018 World Cup Power Rankings — who comes out on top? ]

It’s been a long seven months for the soccer world to be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic (torn ACL on April 20), just as it’s been a painfully long 10 weeks for Manchester United fans following Paul Pogba‘s hamstring injury on Sept. 12. Man United have dropped eight points during the latter’s absence and now coincidentally sit eight points behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

A bit of good news on this Friday: United manager Jose Mourinho announced today that the dynamic duo, along with defender Marcos Rojo (knee ligament damage on April 20) have returned to full fitness and will be available for selection during Saturday’s home clash with Newcastle United (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBC and NBCSports.com) — quotes from ManUtd.com:

“The players that stayed here and [were] recovering from injuries, even the ones that are recovering from big injuries, they are ready to play — Pogba, Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo.”

“[Ibrahimovic] made a full recovery. Now you cannot expect him to be ready to play 90 minutes or to be ready to play consecutive matches like he did all his career.

“Now he needs time to be back to his level, his fitness, his confidence, his sharpness, his everything. But, from the clinical point of view, to be good and ready is fantastic.”

2018 World Cup Power Rankings — 7 months B.W.C.

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209 days — that’s how long the world is still being made to wait for the opening game of the 2018 World Cup. It’s close, in that all 32 berths have been secured, but still so far, in that the draw is still two weeks away.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s 2018 World Cup coverage | USMNT | Premier League ]

Perhaps then, and only then, will it begin to feel really real.

According to our esteemed panelists — Joe Prince-Wright, Nicholas Mendola, Kyle Bonn, Matt Reed, Dan Karell and yours truly — four clear-cut favorites for the semifinals have separated themselves from the rest of the pack, followed by another six or eight sides with one half of their squad firing on all cylinders but some serious kinks to work out elsewhere.

[ MORE: Round 1 of the WC power rankings | Round 2 ]

Finally, the latest edition of PST’s 2018 World Cup Power Rankings, now featuring all 32 teams qualified for Russia…

Team Points Best Worst
1 (1) Germany 189 1 2
2 (2) Brazil 188 1 3
3 (4) Spain 177 3 5
4 (3) France 176 3 5
5 (8) Argentina 158 4 10
6 (5) Belgium 156 4 10
7 (7) Portugal 153 6 10
8 (11) England 150 5 12
9 (6) Uruguay 141 6 14
10 (9) Colombia 140 7 12
11 (10) Mexico 129 8 14
12 (12) Poland 125 10 14
13 (20) Croatia 118 7 20
14 (17) Switzerland 115 12 16
15 (NR) Sweden 92 16 19
16 (NR) Denmark 86 13 23
17 (NR) Serbia 83 9 28
18 (NR) Peru 80 15 25
19 (15) Iceland 79 15 24
20 (16) Japan 71 16 27
21 (NR) Egypt 66 18 27
22 (NR) South Korea 64 13 32
23 (NR) Senegal 63 17 26
24 (18) Nigeria 58 15 27
25 (19) Costa Rica 57 14 29
26 (NR) Morocco 48 18 29
27 (NR) Australia 45 22 30
28 (NR) Russia 36 20 32
29 (NR) Iran 34 22 31
30 (NR) Tunisia 30 23 31
31 (NR) Panama 19 28 32
32 (NR) Saudi Arabia 9 31 32