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)

Mexico 1-0 Honduras: Pizarro strikes early to put El Tri in Gold Cup semifinals

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Mexico had little trouble dispatching Honduras as El Tri won 1-0 in Glendale, AZ and eased into the Gold Cup semifinals.

Just four minutes into the game, Mexico took the lead as they got Honduras on its heels, with Rodolfo Pizarro sticking the ball in at the far post at the end of a scramble. Jesus Duenas carved a ball through the defense, and while Elias Hernandez whiffed on the tap-in, Pizarro was right behind him to finish the chance.

Mexico settled in after scoring, while Honduras tried to out-muscle El Tri, with the latter receiving a pair of yellow cards in the first 45 minutes. There were precious few other chances throughout the first half, with Honduras completely incapable of creating anything in the attacking half.

Mexico continued to dominate out of the halftime break, but they lost Monterrey midfielder Jesus Molina in the 65th minute with discomfort, replaced by Chaka Rodriguez. The best moment for Honduras as they chased the game late came in the 78th minute as Jose Corona made a spectacular save when substitute Alexander Lopez nearly scored directly from a corner. They came close again in stoppage time after a set-piece as Alfredo Mejia scuffed a shot agonizingly wide.

Honduras ended their Gold Cup without a single goal scored. They technically defeated French Guyana 3-0 in the group stage, but that came on the typical forfeit scoreline, whereas the actual game played ended in a 0-0 draw.

Meanwhile, Mexico will take on Jamaica in the semifinal in a rematch of last tournament’s final.

Manchester United beats City 2-0 in preseason Derby

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Manchester is Red, at least for the preseason.

Manchester United used quickfire first-half goals from Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford to topple Manchester City 2-0 in Houston as part of the International Champions Cup.

The first half-hour saw plenty of action, but nothing in terms of goals. New Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker made a great run to cut down Rashford before he could shoot, while goalkeeper Ederson was required to keep out Paul Pogba.

On the other end, Chris Smalling was active often, nearly conceding a penalty with a pull on the shirt of Patrick Roberts, while also cleaning up after a high City press caught United in their own defensive third.

[ MORE: West Ham signs Chicharito ]

Just before halftime, United went in front thanks to their prized new striker. Pogba launched an absolutely brilliant long-ball, and Lukaku streaked to meet it, heading past a charging Ederson before cutting from a tight angle into the empty net before defenders could recover.

Immediately after, Rashford put United 2-0 up on a cool finish from the right with space after a ball from Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The score is Rashford’s third goal of the United States tour.

After a host of changes at halftime that saw City keep just four players on the field, it didn’t help as United kept on the pressure. Rashford almost scored an accidental long-range chip as his long-ball to the far post nearly went in, but Ederson tipped it over. Moments later, Lukaku thundered a howitzer into the crossbar.

United made a host of changes past the hour mark, and they nearly had another if not for the offside flag raising on Phil Jones after a double-save by Ederson. City had a big chance in the final 10 minutes, as a great ball from Samir Nasri found Gabriel Jesus, but the Brazilian put it well over.

Ederson had a solid game in net for Manchester City despite the loss, while Kyle Walker and 17-year-old City youth product Brahim Diaz also stood out. For United, Henrikh Mkhitaryan was bright as were Paul Pogba and goalscorer Marcus Rashford.

LINEUPS

Manchester United: De Gea (Romero 45′); Valencia (Fosu-Mensah 77′), Lindelöf (Bailly 45′), Smalling (Jones 45′), Blind (Darmian 45′); Herrera (Fellaini 62′), Pogba; Rashford (Martial 62′), Mkhitaryan (Carrick 62′), Lingard (Pereira 78′); Lukaku.

Manchester City: Ederson; Adarabioyo (Otamendi 45′), Kompany (Mangala 45′), Fernandinho, Yaya Toure (Sane 45′), Walker, Foden (Zinchenko 74′), De Bruyne (Diaz 45′), Sterling (Jesus 45′), Aguero (Stones 45′), Roberts (Nasri 45′).

Kei Kamara goes on epic rant about MLS fine

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Kei Kamara threw Major League Soccer, the MLS Players’ Union, and fellow soccer stars in an epic rant on social media about a fine he received for not adhering to the dress code.

MLS has a strict dress code, made even more harsh by the league’s partnership with Adidas. Therefore, players are forbidden from sporting other non-Adidas brands.

The New England Revolution striker received a $1,250 fine from the league for wearing Trusox, a sock that helps keep feet dry and improve grip. Obviously, as that sock is not an Adidas product, Major League Soccer sent Kamara the notice that he must pay up for his insolence.

So what did Kamara do? He first went to the Players’ Union, but when that got him nowhere (“thanks for having my back, right?”) he took to social media. Kamara explained that he has a doctor’s note describing his need for the socks. The 32-year-old said that when he asked the Players’ Union for help, their response was that he is a “high-profile player” and therefore has a few extra set of eyes watching him. To debunk that claim, he brought pictures to show Toronto FC stars Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore wearing the same socks Kamara was fined for.

Have a look at the entire rant:

There’s no telling whether Bradley or Altidore have been fined for wearing TruSox, as uniform fines are not made public. It’s possible that the two have decided that wearing the special socks are worth quietly paying the fines, especially given their inflated salaries. Meanwhile, Kamara makes about one-eighth the salary of Altidore or Bradley, and the fine means much more to him.

If Kamara does indeed have a doctor’s note explaining his need for the sock, it’s surprising that Major League Soccer would fine him anyways.

Nevertheless, it’s likely that Kamara will end up with a fine for complaining about a fine, but to him it seems worth it to expose what he believes to be malpractice.

Follow Live: Mexico looks to hold off Honduras

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Mexico is looking to begin its Gold Cup title defense in earnest as El Tri takes on Honduras at 10:30 p.m. ET in Glendale, AZ in the 2017 Gold Cup quarterfinals.

With Jamaica already through with a 2-1 win over Canada, the winner of this match will take on the Reggae Boyz in the semifinal opposite the United States and Costa Rica.

[ LIVE: Gold Cup scoreboard ]

Honduras has yet to score a single goal in Gold Cup 2017 competition, but their defensive prowess kept them around to the knockout stage thanks to their forfeit win over French Guyana (technically a 3-0 victory) and a 0-0 draw against Canada.

Mexico, meanwhile, won Group C handily, conceding just once throughout the group stage. However, El Tri has brought a youth squad, and they showed weaknesses in the group stage despite the solid record on paper. They have spread out the scoring among five different goalscorers, but lean on Elias Hernandez for much of the creative duties.

LINEUPS

Mexico: Corona, Pereira, Ayala, Molina, Alvarez, Pineda, E. Hernandez, Pizarro, Gallardo, Sepulveda, Duenas.

Honduras: Lopez, Crisanto, M. Figueroa, H. Figueroa, Alvarado, Acosta, Mejia, Quioto, Lanza, Elis, Sanchez.