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Premier League Power Rankings: Week 29

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If any club is going to catch Chelsea at the top of the Premier League, they better start their trek towards the top now.

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With 10 matches remaining for most teams, the Blues currently hold a 10-point advantage over second place Tottenham, and Antonio Conte‘s side has shown no signs of slowing down.

[ MORE: PST’s Player Power Rankings for Weeks 17 ]

Meanwhile, we’ve got a hearty battle at the bottom as four teams sit within six points of one another. Sunderland has occupied the basement position for much of 2016/17, but can the Black Cats pull off some magic as the season winds down?

TEAM RANKING
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20 (20) Sunderland: With 50 goals conceded and nobody other than Jermain Jones bagging goals for the Black Cats, Sunderland can only wait for its plummet to the Championship.
200px-Middlesbrough_crest 19 (19) Middlesbrough: 19 goals in 27 matches doesn’t spell success for the Boro, who sit 19 in the table.
Hull City logo 18 (18) Hull City: The Tigers have fought valiantly, and their recent victory over Swansea could be what the team needs to propel itself out of the bottom three.
source: 17 (17) Bournemouth: It’s been a rough second half for the Cherries but at least they should survive for another season.
source: 16 (16) Crystal Palace: Winners of back-to-back matches, Palace may have found its form again as the relegation battle heats up.
source: 15 (15) Swansea City: The Swans have risen under Paul Clement, and it might be just enough to keep them in England’s top flight come 2017/18.
burnley fc crest 14 (13) Burnley: The Clarets haven’t won since the tail end of January, and although they sit 12th, only seven points separate Burnley from 18th place.
source: 13 (14) Leicester City: A UCL quarterfinal and a recent lift in form under Craig Shakespeare. It looks like the Cinderella story is back on!
logo_westham
12 (9) West Ham United: The Hammers haven’t won since Feb. 4, but a top 10 finish could still be in the cards.
source: 11 (12) Watford: Only one win in five for the Hornets, and they must be wary of how tight the bottom of the table is.
source: 10 (11) Southampton: The Saints have benefitted from other teams struggling, and with two matches in hand a top 10 finish is very possible once again.
source: 9 (10) West Bromwich Albion: Two straight losses for the Baggies has put a damper on the team’s already bleak hopes of finishing top six.
source: 8 (8)
Stoke City: If Stoke could start picking up wins as opposed to draws, Stoke would have a shot at finishing top eight. Goals have been hard to come by for this club though.
source: 7 (4) Manchester United: Three straight winless in all competitions pretty much sums up United’s season. The Red Devils have been good but not great under Jose Mourinho.
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6 (5) Everton: The Toffees have quietly gone unbeaten in 10 of their last 11 and moved within two points of six place. If Ronald Koeman can get them there, could he be considered for Manager of the Year? 
source: 5 (7) Arsenal: The Gunners no longer have Champions League aspirations for this season after being pummeled by Bayern, and their PL title hopes are gone as well. All Arsene Wenger can hope for is to extend his team’s streak of top four finishes.
Logo_Manchester_City 4 (3) Manchester City: Take City’s Champions League collapse out of it. Pep Guardiola‘s side will likely finish top four and possibly top two.
source: 3 (6) Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp‘s backline continues to be this team’s Achilles’ heal and that showed recently with losses at Hull and Leicester. Top three is surely possible but the Reds attack has to continue to shine.
source: 2 (2) Tottenham: Any other season Spurs would go on to win the title, but Chelsea has had their say. Still a tremendous showing thus far from Tottenham.
source: 1 (1) Chelsea: Unbeaten in seven and closing in on the PL crown, the Blues can’t lose the top spot, right?

FIFA force pace on $25B Club World Cup, global league plan

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GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.

FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Walcott strike ]

The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.

UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.

FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”

Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.

Video: De Rossi, Roma make classy visit to Hillsborough memorial

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On many occasions there are instances where teams and individuals exemplify the fact that real-life occurrences are more meaningful than sports.

Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting, Italian giants AS Roma visited Anfield –where they will face Liverpool in the competition’s semifinals.

After walking around the venue where the two sides will compete in less than 24 hours, Roma captain Daniele de Rossi and the rest of the Roma squad visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 victims lost in the 1989 event that rocked the entire country.

De Rossi was seen laying a floral arrangement on the site, along with a note from the club that read, “In memoria delle vittime di Hillsborough AS Rome.”

Liverpool, Roma ride major emotions into the UCL semifinals

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Four clubs remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition, and while two of the teams have been considered heavy dogs in the fight all year long the other two sides look to continue on their storybook run.

Liverpool, Roma, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have found themselves in the semifinals of this season’s UCL, creating a strong mix of storylines as the tournament heads towards its most critical point.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Theo Walcott’s strike ]

Anfield will be the site for Tuesday’s first leg between Liverpool and Roma, with both sides still riding major highs from their victories in the last round.

The Reds enter the final four after having disposed of fellow Premier League side Manchester City in relatively dominating fashion. Meanwhile, Roma completed a seemingly impossible comeback against Barcelona to progress in the competition.

Liverpool is led by three of the year’s top goalscorers, including Mohamed Salah — who has scored eight goals in the UCL and 41 across all competitions.

For Roma, much of the side’s success has been predicated on finding defensive strength at the right moments throughout the tournament.

Despite falling behind 4-1 in their first leg defeat to Barca in the previous round, Edin Dzeko and Co. rallied for a 3-0 win at the Stade Olimpico to stun the Catalan club by holding Lionel Messi and his side in check.

Manager Eusebio Di Francesco will have to find creative ways to halt the Liverpool attack though over the course of two legs, with the Reds boasting the top attack in this year’s UCL.

Liverpool has scored 33 goals in 10 UCL matches, while only conceding seven in the process.

Keeper Ederson hopeful he can score this season for Man City

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The prospects for a goalkeeper scoring during a match are usually uncommon, but that hasn’t halted Manchester City’s number one choice from aiming to break the trend this season.

Ederson — who has moved into the starting role at the Etihad Stadium with relative ease in 2017/18 — has dreamt of scoring a goal of his own for the Premier League champions in waiting.

“I heard the fans chanting my name, asking me to take the penalty but Gabriel went there,” Ederson said. “Unfortunately he missed it and Bernardo happily scored. But if the manager have asked me to go there, definitely I’d score.

“I’m not sure if I would be able to do set-pieces, but I’m good at penalties, either using power or technique on shooting it. But City have [their] regular penalty-takers and we are well-served.

Citizen supporters chanted for the goalkeeper to take a penalty kick over the weekend in the team’s 5-0 win over Swansea City.

However, Gabriel Jesus was the man selected for the opportunity, but had his attempt saved by Lukasz Fabianski before Bernardo Silva was in the right spot to score the game’s fifth goal.

“If Pep asks me to take it, I’m there,” Ederson said of the penalty kick. “Hopefully it will happen [before the end of the season], I’d like to score.”

This isn’t the first time Ederson has discussed exploring opportunities outside of the net, though.

The Brazilian shot-stopper has long been a fan of former Brazil international goalkeeper Rogero Ceni — who scored 65 goals for club side Sao Paolo.

Earlier this season, the 24-year-old joked around with the media, saying that he’d be more than happy to fill a role in the midfield when City was experiencing some injury issues within the squad.