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Premier League Power Rankings: Arsenal, Stoke City stumbling

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With just six to eight more games left for every team, time to revisit the Premier League power rankings.

[ MORE: PL Player Power Rankings archive ]

Stoke City is dropping down the table like a rock, while Hull City and Crystal Palace made huge strides towards saving their Premier League status. Who are the big gainers and biggest losers over the last month? Take a look.


TEAM RANKING
source:
20 (20) Sunderland: It’s all but over for the Black Cats, and now David Moyes is likely managing for his career.
200px-Middlesbrough_crest 19 (19) Middlesbrough: No wins since December 17th. Goalless draws can only get you so far.
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18 (17) Swansea City: You thought Paul Clement had the Premier League figured out? They’re back in the relegation zone after picking up 1 point in matches against Hull, Bournemouth, West Ham, and Middlesbrough. Sound the alarm bells.
source: 17 (9) Stoke City: It’s all gone wrong for Mark Hughes, and while they seem quite safe, if the Potters can’t turn around their miserable form, they could be the team that gets sucked towards the bottom late. 3 of their 4 straight losses came by 1 goal; they should be able to turn it around.
Hull City logo
16 (11) Hull City: They’re out of the relegation zone thanks to a perfectly timed uptick in form.
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15 (13) West Ham United: The Hammers would do well to stick with Slaven Bilic through this tough period, and a win over Swansea last time out will buoy one of the Premier League’s unluckiest teams.

14 (14) Burnley: Conceded twice in their last four – but scored just one. Burnley’s defense should keep them afloat as it always does, but things might get nervy.
source: 13 (12) Bournemouth: The Cherries continue to give top teams a hard time, and just when it looked to be spiraling downwards, they scrap out 9 points before losing to Chelsea in a hard-fought match. Eddie Howe deserves a chance at a top managerial job. Arsenal?
source: 12 (15) Crystal Palace: A blistering run has likely saved their Premier League status. They beat Chelsea, Arsenal, and West Brom, and six 6 points clear of the drop. Well done, Big Sam.
source: 11 (16) Watford: Beating up on lower teams, getting beat up by the top teams. Been that kind of year for Watford, which they’ll take. 2 wins in their last 3 have seen them touch the top half again.
10 (11) Leicester City: Beaten for the first time under Craig Shakespeare and then padlocked by Atletico Madrid, it seems this roller coaster might finally be settling to a base level where they belong. Not great, not bad.
source: 9 (7) West Brom: The Baggies had a great January and February, but they’ve lost 4 of 6 to mid-table opposition and are mired in obscurity again. Still a positive season overall.
source: 8 (8) Arsenal: Unlike Pep at City, the wheels have come off for Arsene Wenger, and the axels are next. A tough remaining schedule means Champions League has likely slipped away.
source: 7 (10) Southampton: With an outside shot at Europe, the recent form has been good. Unfortunately, they have Arsenal, Man United, Man City, Chelsea, and Liverpool all left on the schedule.
Logo_Manchester_City 6 (4) Manchester City: The wheels haven’t fallen off, but the more Pep Guardiola bungles results, the more chances Manchester United have to slip into the top 4. The defending has been appalling.
5 (5) Everton: Just two losses since Christmas, but they’ve come back down to Earth after it looked like they would have a go at a Champions League place.
source: 4 (6) Liverpool: Have weathered the injury storm well so far, with 4 wins in their last 6. Their stretch run is easy, with 8th placed West Brom their highest ranked remaining team on the schedule.
source: 3 (3) Manchester United: Still have not lost in league play since October 23rd. Still plagued by draws.
source: 2 (2) Tottenham Hotspur: The best recent form in the league, 6 straight wins and 13 of their last 16 means they’re ready if Chelsea slip.
source: 1 (1) Chelsea: They haven’t secured the title yet, but it’s hard to see anyone else catching them.

MLS Snapshots: Manneh inspires Crew SC; Philly, Atlanta win at home

AP Photo/Jay LaPrete
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Columbus Crew SC 4-1 Montreal Impact

Three moments that mattered

17′ — Higuain’s free kick beats Bush — Aided by a slight deflection off the top of the wall, Higuain put a free kick past Evan Bush to give the home side an early lead.

70′ — Manneh makes an immediate impact — The initial ball from Higuain is what you came here for, but the elementary defending by three Montreal defenders is what’ll keep you glued until the very end.

72′ — Manneh sets up Kamara for 3-1 — Kekuta Manneh had been on the field for all of three minutes, and he put a goal and an assist to his name. Most importantly, three points to that of Crew SC.

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Man of the match: Federico Higuain

Goalscorers: Higuain (17′, 88′), Jackson-Hamel (19′), Manneh (70′), Kamara (72′)


 

Philadelphia Union 1-0 D.C. United

Three moments that mattered

28′ — Blake gets down to deny Harkes from distance — Ian Harkes had picked out a spot just inside the far post, but Andre Blake was well up to the task of denying DCU’s homegrown rookie.

31′ — Picault slams Bedoya’s cross — Alejandro Bedoya’s cross has some serious loft on it, which it makes it so tough to keep the ensuing shot low and to hit it with such power. Fantastic finish from Picault.

70′ — Blake stone-walls Neagle from the spot — It’s a pretty poor penalty from Lamar Neagle, but it’s a massive moment so badly needed by Andre Blake who’s been well off his own standard this season. Don’t be surprised if it’s a season-turning save for the talented Jamaican.

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Man of the match: Andre Blake

Goalscorers: Picault (31′)


 

Atlanta United 1-0 Colorado Rapids

Three One moment that mattered

67′ — Martinez turns and beats Howard for the game’s only goal — You can’t give Josef Martinez this kind of space, and this kind of time, around the six-yard box. He’s shown us seven times already this season (in just seven games) how deadly he is from there.

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Man of the match: Josef Martinez

Goalscorers: Martinez (67′)

VIDEO: Accam’s slick backheel puts Chicago ahead

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For the last two years, David Accam has been, in my estimation, the best player in MLS that no one talked about.

[ MORE: NYCFC run rampant on Red Bulls, win NY derby 2-0 ]

Understandably so, of course, given the 26-year-old Ghanaian international and the Chicago Fire been rooted to the bottom of the league table for two years running. All of that has changed in 2017, though, as Accam finally has a forward (Nemanja Nikolic) who can not only put chances away, but create space and chances for his teammates, and a solid midfield base which allows him to cherry-pick counter-attacks just that little bit more.

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Entering Saturday’s game against Orlando City SC, Chicago sat second in the Eastern Conference, just four points back of Toronto FC, and Accam’s 9 goals and 5 assists (in 15 games) were a huge part of the why and the how. It didn’t take Accam long — two minutes, in fact, to put Chicago ahead of Orlando with a ridiculous backheel finish to Matt Polster’s cross.

 

Bravo fit again, but will he start Chile’s Confed Cup group finale?

Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images
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MOSCOW (AP) Claudio Bravo is fit again and could start in goal against Australia at the Confederations Cup on Sunday, Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said Saturday.

Bravo – who is Chile’s joint most-capped player with Alexis Sanchez – hasn’t played since April 27, when he injured his calf for Manchester City in a derby game with Manchester United.

“Claudio is fit, he’s managed to train the last couple of days just like his other teammates,” Pizzi said. “He’s ready and available to play.”

Pizzi brushed off concerns about a lack of match fitness, saying that “quite obviously we take into account that factor” but players like Bravo are “are of such good quality that it isn’t that important they haven’t played in the last couple of months.”

Stand-in Johnny Herrera played in Chile’s 2-0 group stage win over Cameroon and Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Germany.

Gary Medel was substituted with a minor injury while playing in defense for Chile against Germany. Teammate Francisco Silva said Saturday that Medel had complained of “a very small muscle contraction issue” but was now fit.

Pizzi said he will aim to tire out Australia with Chile’s trademark all-action style, even though his team struggled for energy in the latter stages against Germany.

“This energy drop we had in the second half didn’t damage us too much because the opposing team couldn’t maintain a high pace because of the demands we’d imposed on them,” Pizzi said of the Germany game.

“We’re going to try to get (the Australians) tired as well and use this to beat our opponent, and we hope this is going to translate into goals.”

USMNT’s Wood extends Hamburg contract through 2021

Photo credit: Hamburg / Twitter: @HSV
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HAMBURG, Germany (AP) American forward Bobby Wood extended his contract with Bundesliga side Hamburger SV on Saturday to 2021.

Wood, who joined Hamburg from second-tier Union Berlin, scored five goals and set up two more in 28 Bundesliga games. He had 17 goals in 31 second-division games for Union the season before.

“Not only his goals count for us, but his readiness to run and challenge,” Hamburg sporting director Jens Todt said. “Bobby is a key player for our offense and a real team player.”

Wood has eight goals in 32 appearances for the United States.