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Premier League Power Rankings: Settling into a groove

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At this point in the season, power rankings begin to feel a lot closer to the actual table than an experiment in form.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

After all, teams in bad position are playing with mounds of pressure on their shoulders and not always picking up big results. And solid teams might have a poor result here or there, but usually nothing shocking.

Well, besides Swansea City and Liverpool.

[ ARCHIVE: All of PST’s Power Rankings ]

Here are this week’s rankings.

TEAM RANKING
source: 20 (20) Sunderland: The loss at West Brom just further proof of a lack of inspiration in the squad.
source: 19 (19) Crystal Palace: Now in the drop zone, Big Sam needs Wilfried Zaha back from AFCON in a big way.
Hull City logo 18 (17) Hull City: Zero shame in losing at Chelsea, but it doesn’t get easier as Manchester United, Liverpool, and Arsenal are next.
source: 17 (18) Swansea City: The win at Liverpool is the type that can change a season.
source: 16 (16) Watford: The Hornets have not won a league game since Dec. 10, its only PL win since mid-November.
200px-Middlesbrough_crest 15 (15) Middlesbrough: Jese would be nice.
Leicester City logo 14 (13) Leicester City: AFCON was always going to be a problem with Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani on the books.
source: 13 (12) Bournemouth: The Watford draw somehow feels like a loss for Eddie Howe‘s bunch.
source: 12 (14) Southampton: Usually we don’t account for Cup momentum in the PRs, but with Wembley on the minds and a big win over Leicester City, Saints feel a lot better this week.
source: 11 (10) Stoke City: No shame in drawing Manchester United.
source: 10 (11) West Ham United: We are almost convinced that the Irons have turned the corner. Healthy Andy Carroll is almost unstoppable.
burnley fc crest 9 (8) Burnley: Forget the controversial ending, the Clarets showed us a bit about their mettle in the 2-1 loss to Arsenal.
source: 8 (9) West Bromwich Albion: Easy win over Sunderland.
Logo_Manchester_City 7 (7) Manchester City: Same place, and were tempted to move them up considering referee and not player error may’ve cost them a win versus Tottenham.
Source: Everton FC 6 (6) Everton: Was a lot of work beating Palace.
source: 5 (4) Liverpool: We can talk AFCON absences, but the Reds didn’t lose to Swansea for lack of attack.
source: 4 (3) Manchester United: Stoke draw really needed to be a win, not that the Red Devils didn’t deserve all three points.
source: 3 (4) Arsenal: Good mettle to hold off Burnley. All wins are wins (it’s science).
source: 2 (2) Tottenham Hotspur: Fortunate not to lose versus Man City, but fortune is needed in a title push. Ask Leicester.
source: 1 (1) Chelsea: Really good team. Really. Let’s hope to see Nathan Ake get his chance to shine.

AT HALF: Rooney’s beauty leads entertaining 1-1 vs. Arsenal

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The first 10 minutes of Arsenal’s visit to Everton may’ve well been subtitled, “Alexandre Lacazette versus Jordan Pickford,” but Wayne Rooney changed that.

The Everton hero, two days shy of his 32nd birthday, buried his 15th career goal against Arsenal by picking up the ball after a 50-50 scrap opened the ball into his path.

[ STREAM: Everton vs. Arsenal ]

What a hit.

Unfortunately for Everton, Nacho Monreal hit back just before the break to level the score.

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Report: Takeover bid would put $660m in Newcastle transfer kitty

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When the summer transfer window closed, there were rumors that Rafa Benitez, furious with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s refusal to live up to his war chest promises, would leave the Northeast regardless of what it meant for his checkbook.

Now, Benitez may get a huge pay-off and stay at Newcastle United.

[ RECAP: Newcastle 1-0 Palace ]

Ashley has reportedly put the Premier League club up for sale, and one of the biggest names mentioned is Amanda Staveley. She’s helped organized takeover bids for Manchester City and Liverpool and, like most prospective owners, has plenty of money.

And, as if to get the Magpies support even more excited at the prospect of new blood in the ownership seats… From The Express:

While Staveley who controls around £30 billion of capital through her PCP Capital Partners firm also advised a group Dubai-based investors during a bid to buy Liverpool.

And Benitez will be given substantial funds on new players as much as £500 million in the next two transfer windows to turn Newcastle into title contenders.
Putting those figures into dollars lends an interesting perspective to how much money and prestige there is in football, in particular the Premier League. Staveley is said to have a hold on $40 billion — for an American angle, that’s more than 13 times the president’s net worth — and is ready to provide almost $660 million in investiture.

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Watch Live: Everton vs. Arsenal

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Arsene Wenger celebrates his 68th birthday with a trip to Merseyside, as Arsenal visits Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez both start underneath Alexandre Lacazette for Wenger.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin starts up top for Everton and under fire manager Ronald Koeman, while Jonjoe Kenny starts at right back.

LINEUPS

Everton: Pickford, Kenny, Baines, Williams, Jagielka (c), Keane, Gana Gueye, Vlasic, Sigurdsson, Rooney, Calvert-Lewin. SubsJoel, Mirallas, Martina, Niasse, Klaassen, Davies, Lookman.

Arsenal: Cech, Monreal, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Ramsey, Bellerin, Sanchez, Ozil, Lacazette. Subs: Macey, Holding, Coquelin, Wilshere, Iwobi, Walcott, Giroud.

Klopp: Liverpool “not 500 miles away” from Man City’s standard

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Jurgen Klopp remains bullish on his Liverpool’s credentials as one of the Premier League’s top-four sides title challengers this season.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup | Sunday preview — Spurs vs. Liverpool ]

While everyone else might be writing off the Reds due to their propensity for defensive disasters on an every-game basis, Klopp refuses to concede that a gap of “500 miles” exists between his side and Manchester City, the early-days runaway leaders of the 2017-18 season — quotes from the Guardian:

“I don’t compare City with us, but I think everyone can see we are not 500 miles away. But they fly. It was a very decisive day when we lost 5-0. Dealing with a 5-0 defeat is not the easiest thing. We didn’t lose confidence but we were not that fluent afterwards and it was not like we could close our eyes and finish [thinking about it]. They did exactly the opposite. I saw the Stoke goals, you see the shot from Fernandinho and you think, ‘If it works, it works even like this.’ They are a fantastic team and we don’t have to compare, but it starts so early again with us having to apologize for the season so far because one team is flying.”

“Their way of football I would say is not something we are too far away from but to be as clinical as they have been so far? We weren’t.

“That’s the thing. We are still in the race, not with City in the moment because they have I don’t how many points, and I don’t say already that we should only fight for a top-four place. Performance-wise we are a team that should be there but now we have to get the results.”

[ TACTICS SESSION: Inside the brilliant mind of Kevin De Bruyne ]

All due respect to Klopp and Liverpool, the league table says City currently have 25 points (having played one game more), while Liverpool have 13. That’s not a difference of 500 points, but taking into account not only results but performances, it might as well be.