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Premier League Power Rankings — Week 13

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Three points are all that separate four teams at the top of the Premier League table.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Five points are all that separate seven teams, including the defending champions, at the bottom of the table.

[ MORE: PST’s PL Players Power Rankings for Week 13 ]

It’s been a strange ride through 13 weeks of the 2016-17 season, and it’s only going to get wilder as the calendar turns to December. Check out the latest batch of power rankings ahead of Matchday 14.


TEAM RANKING
source: 20 (20) Sunderland: At what point do we rename 20th spot “the Sunderland spot?” Back-to-back wins over Bournemouth and Hull saw them climb out of the cellar, but they’re right back down there with a single win by Swansea.
source: 19 (13) Crystal Palace: Six straight league games without a win, and Alan Pardew is hanging by a thread. If not for their strong-ish start, they’d find themselves in the bottom-three today. As it stands, they’re safe on goal differential.
Hull City logo 18 (19) Hull City: One win in their last 11 games. If not for Sunderland’s perennial bottom-feeding, and Pardew’s impending pink slip, the Tigers would be languishing on the bottom.
source:
17 (18) Swansea City: The good news — Bob Bradley got his first win in the PL. The not-as-good news — he’s going to need a lot more of them to keep the Swans up this season. The defense is still a problem, because they won’t score five goals against many sides not named Palace.
source: 16 (17) West Ham United: Winless in their last four games, and perhaps even more detrimental to their power-rankings stock, the Hammers are abysmal from an entertainment perspective. Last season seems long, long, long ago.
burnley fc crest 15 (15) Burnley: Two stats on Burnley — 1) only Hull have scored fewer goals (11) than the Clarets (12) through 13 games; 2) they are the worst road team in the PL (1 point, -12 GD from five games away from Turf Moor). That’ll get you relegated nine out of 10 times. 
200px-Middlesbrough_crest 14 (14) Middlesbrough: Boro are one of two other sides (Sunderland being the third) with just a dozen goals to their name. Home against Hull on Monday would be an awfully perfect time to rectify that.
source: 13 (8) Leicester City: The Foxes’ bounce-back is coming any day now. Any. Day. Now. With Champions League progression secured — more importantly, a trip to Sunderland on the horizon — better days might not be far off.
source: 12 (9) Bournemouth: Nearly halfway to the requisite 40 points necessary to avoid relegation, Eddie Howe has done well to consolidate and stabilize during his first 18 months in the PL, even if they’ve won just one of their last five.
source: 11 (7) Everton: Remember when some of us thought Everton were top-four contenders? That seems a long time ago. It wasn’t. One win in eight games will make you feel that way.
source: 10 (6) Southampton: Sunday’s win over Everton (and Ronald Koeman) snapped a four-game winless skid that began all the way back in October. Claude Puel has assembled one of the PL’s best defenses (12 goals conceded), but also a lifeless attack (13 goals).
source: 9 (11) Watford: Liverpool’s 6-1 destruction aside, Watford haven’t conceded multiple goals in a game since Oct. 1. Not a coincidence: the Hornets have picked up 10 of 18 possible points since then.
source: 8 (16)
West Brom: Don’t look now, but the Baggies are a top-seven side over the last month and a half. Unbeaten in three, they could end up as high as seventh in the table with a win over Watford on Saturday.
source: 7 (12) Stoke City: The early-season struggles have gone, and Stoke find themselves exactly where they strive to be: right in the middle of the table, after just one defeat from their last eight games.
source: 6 (10) Manchester United: In the formula that converts dollars spent into entertainment value on the field, no one has lit more money on fire these last four years than the Red Devils. Not even Jose Mourinho wants to watch them anymore.
source: 5 (5) Tottenham: The unbeaten start to the season covered up a lot of blemishes, and is finally no more. With just one win in their last six, another title challenge looks a very, very, very long shot as of Dec. 1.
source: 4 (4) Arsenal: Much like Spurs struggled mightily with Harry Kane out injured, it must be terrifying for an Arsenal fan to imagine what will happen when Alexis Sanchez inevitably misses a month this winter.
Logo_Manchester_City 3 (3) Manchester City: After a pair of late wins against Palace and Burnley, City sit third in the table, behind Liverpool on goal differential. They’re far and away the best road team in the PL (18 points from 7 games), but alarmingly average at home (12 points from 6 games).
source: 2 (2) Liverpool: Philippe Coutinho is out for a month, while Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana are all dealing with injuries of their own. The Reds will continue their league-leading pace of 2.5 goals per game anyway.
source: 1 (1) Chelsea: After putting to bed Spurs’ unbeaten start, the Blues have won seven in a row, by a combined score of 19-1, since Antonio Conte switched to three at the back. Their 10 goals conceded are joint-fewest in the PL (Spurs), and Eden Hazard and Diego Costa look unstoppable together once again.

Lippi leads China over SKorea 1-0 in World Cup qualifier

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Marcello Lippi earned his biggest victory since taking over as coach of China’s national soccer team, leading his squad to a 1-0 victory over South Korea on Thursday in a World Cup qualifier.

[ MORE: Shorthanded USMNT hosts Honduras as WCQ resumes ]

The coach, who led his native Italy to the World Cup title in 2006, was hired by China in October.

Yu Dabao scored the lone goal at Helong Stadium in Changsha with a header in the 34th minute, giving China only its second victory over South Korea in 32 matches.

China spent much of the second half defending with the visitors piling on the pressure. Ki Seung-yeung and Ji Dong-won both went close for South Korea but could not find a way past China goalkeeper Zeng Cheng.

South Korea has 10 points from six matches in Group A and is still on course to qualify for the World Cup in Russia. China, which last qualified for the World Cup in 2002, has five points.

Only the top two teams from the six-nation group qualify automatically. The third-place team will head to the playoffs.

CONMEBOL wrap: Brazil routs Uruguay, Messi guides Argentina past Chile

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A roundup of Thursday’s action from around CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying…

[ MORE: USMNT looks to build momentum against Honduras in WCQ ]

Paulinho‘s hat-trick helped bring Brazil back from an early deficit as the Selecao topped Uruguay, 4-1. Edinson Cavani put the hosts ahead after nine minutes from the penalty spot, but it was Paulinho that answered 10 minutes later for his first of the night. Neymar also tallied for the Brazilians, who continue to lead CONMEBOL qualifying with 30 points.

Lionel Messi scored in the first half to help lift Argentina over Chile, 1-0. The Barcelona attacker scored after 16 minutes when Angel di Maria was taken down inside the Chilean area by José Fuenzalida. Chile was held to just one shot on target throughout, and the loss leaves the reigning Copa America winners on the outside looking in at the top five.

James Rodriguez rescued Colombia on Thursday as the Real Madrid winger capitalized off of his penalty-kick rebound to give Los Cafeteros a 1-0 win over Bolivia. Goalkeeper Carlos Lampe did his best to preserve a draw for the visitors, recording six saves on the afternoon, however, it wasn’t enough to tame Colombia.

Meanwhile, Paraguay knocked off Ecuador, 2-1, behind goals from Bruno Valdez and Junior Alonso. The visitors pulled a goal back in the 70th minute when Felipe Caicedo converted from the penalty spot, but it wasn’t enough for Ecuador.

Peru battled back with two second-half goals to preserve a 2-2 draw against Venezuela on the road. The hosts got out to a 2-0 advantage before halftime when Mikel Villanueva and Romulu Otero scored for Venezuela, however, the Peruvians struck back in the second stanza to knick a point. Andre Carrillo and Paolo Guerrero scored in the 46th and 64th minutes, respectively, for Peru.


Thursday’s results

Colombia 1-0 Bolivia
Paraguay 2-1 Ecuador
Uruguay 1-4 Brazil
Argentina 1-0 Chile
Venezuela 2-2 Peru


Updated CONMEBOL table

  1. Brazil — 9-3-1 — 30 pts.
  2. Uruguay — 7-2-4 — 23 pts.
  3. Argentina — 6-4-3 — 22 pts.
  4. Colombia — 6-3-4 — 21 pts.
  5. Ecuador — 6-2-4 — 20 pts.
  6. Chile — 6-2-5 — 20 pts.
  7. Paraguay — 5-3-5 — 18 pts.
  8. Peru — 4-3-6 — 15 pts.
  9. Bolivia — 2-1-9 — 7 pts.
  10. Venezuela — 1-3-9 — 6 pts.

Ex-Disney CEO Eisner eyes English soccer club Portsmouth

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PORTSMOUTH, England (AP) Michael Eisner, the former chief executive of The Walt Disney Co., is in talks to buy English soccer club Portsmouth.

The fourth-tier club says it has entered into a 70-day exclusivity agreement with Eisner for takeover talks to take place.

Eisner wrote on Twitter: “Exciting times! Looking forward to coming over and meeting you all. Good luck against Newport County on Saturday!!”

Portsmouth, which is based on the south coast, spent beyond its means in the pursuit of glory. The team endured financial turmoil in the years following its 2008 FA Cup win, sinking from the Premier League to the fourth tier.

After entering bankruptcy protection, Portsmouth was rescued by the fans through a trust in 2013.

CONCACAF: USMNT, Trinidad & Tobago seek first points of Hexagonal

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Through two rounds of play in the Hexagonal, everything has gone according to plan for Mexico and Costa Rica.

Not so much though for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

[ MORE: Shorthanded USMNT hosts Honduras as WCQ resumes ]

While Los Ticos and El Tri currently sit in the top two positions of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, the U.S. is left at the bottom and faces a difficult match against Honduras when play resumes on Friday night.

[ MORE: Five questions for USMNT ahead of Honduras match ]

Mexico and Costa Rica will face off at the Estadio Azteca in the second of Friday’s three slated qualifiers, and while both nations surely expect to reach the World Cup in Russia, both CONCACAF heavyweights have the opportunity to put their stamp on the group.

For Costa Rica, a victory could potentially open up a five-point gap over El Tri, while a win for Mexico would bring Juan Carlos Osorio’s side the opportunity leap over their Central American foes.

Friday’s action will kick off at 7 p.m. though when third place Panama travels to Trinidad & Tobago, who seeks its first points of the Hex. Trinidad will be led by captain Kenwyne Jones of Atlanta United as well as Minnesota United midfielder Kevin Molino, with the duo scoring a combined 39 international goals for the Soca Warriors.

Below is the schedule and current table ahead of Friday’s CONCACAF matches as the region turns its attention to Matchday 3 of the Hexagonal.


Trinidad & Tobago vs. Panama — 7 p.m. ET

Mexico vs. Costa Rica — 9:50 p.m. ET

USMNT vs. Honduras — 10:30 p.m. ET (PREVIEW)


1. Costa Rica — 2-0-0 — 6 pts.
2. Mexico — 1-1-0 — 4 pts.
3. Panama — 1-1-0 — 4 pts.
4. Honduras — 1-0-1 — 3 pts.
5. Trinidad & Tobago — 0-0-2 — 0 pts.
6. USMNT — 0-0-2 — 0 pts.