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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.

Miguel Almiron knew nothing about MLS, everything about Tata

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Miguel Almiron’s future is going to be a big part of the story for as long as he’s in Atlanta United, but his past is in focus following another cool post in The Players’ Tribune.

It’s a cool read, for sure, to examine Almiron’s rise from “too skinny” kid without a club to one of the top prospects this side of the Atlantic Ocean, but the story of why he came to Atlanta is an argument for the “big name” manager (Tata Martino in this case).

[ MORE: Liverpool fan trouble in Sevilla ]

Before the Paraguayan youngster was the talk of the transfer market, MLS Newcomer of the Year, and the No. 1 jersey sale in the league, he was being recruited to the Georgian expansion outlet.

“I didn’t know much about MLS. I didn’t know where Atlanta was. I didn’t know anything. But Tata was manager, and that was all I needed to know.”

Given that Martino arrived not too long before Almiron, the following Tweet makes the point I’ve been trying to make as well as anyone:

Sevilla manager reportedly told team of cancer diagnosis at half

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When it comes to locker room tales, few compare to this one.

Any big comeback, especially one as high profile as Sevilla’s stunning second half against Liverpool, inspires the question, “What was said in the team room at halftime?!?”

Down 3-0 at halftime and in danger of bowing out of the UEFA Champions League, Sevilla manager Eduardo Berizzo gave his team some very serious news.

[ MORE: Liverpool fan trouble in Sevilla ]

According to Spanish reports relayed by The Telegraph, Berizzo informed his players of his prostate cancer diagnosis.

Sevilla confirmed that Berizzo is battling adenocarcinoma, saying, “Future medical tests will determine a course of treatment. Sevilla FC wants to show maximum support to its manager in these moments and wishes him a prompt recovery.”

It adds extra weight to Ever Banega’s postgame comments:

“We have to go out there with that attitude, for the fans that always back us and for the coach who has turned this around. He is the most important of all of us, he has us on the right path and we are with him to the hilt.”

Our best to Berizzo, and — sorry Reds supporters — it’s pretty cool Sevilla was able to rally after such stunning news.

Liverpool releases statement after Sevilla stadium supporter outcry

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Liverpool has proffered a strong and cautionary statement regarding its supporters’ treatment at Sevilla on Tuesday.

Claims of police punching a woman in the back and throwing her “political” flag at her, a Liverbird with the word “Defiance” on it, are just the tip of the iceberg.

[ REPORT: Palace to get new digs ]

Fans claim that many were either delayed or denied in entry to the stadium, with “police in riot gear not letting you get to your seat” in some cases.

The Reds have released a statement, from LiverpoolFC.com:

Following detailed and troubling accounts given by Liverpool supporters attending the match against Sevilla last night, the club is seeking to establish the facts regarding their treatment at the hands of the host stewards and local police force.
The safety and security of our supporters is our paramount concern and we intend to gather all the relevant information before responding further.

Supporter treatment away from home is deservedly a hot button issue, and especially at Liverpool given the horrible Hillsborough disaster that killed 96 and wounded almost 800 more in 1989.

As for the match, the Reds squandered a 3-0 lead at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, drawing 3-3.

Sounders in firm control after Leg 1

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The game in 100 words (or less): The Seattle Sounders took full control of the Western Conference finals with a resounding 2-0 win over ten-man Houston. The Sounders already had hit first in the 11th minute through Gustav Svensson but the red card to Jalil Anibaba changed the game. Houston had some chances later but fatigue meant the focus and control was off. Former Dynamo striker Will Bruin’s goal may have put the tie to bed.

Three moments that mattered

11′ — Gustav Svensson Goal — The Sounders wanted to set the tone early and they picked up an early goal off a corner kick, as Svensson redirected a header past Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis. The goal changed the complexion of the game to that point, until our next big moment.

28′ — Jalil Anibaba red card — Joevin Jones was a menace to deal with tonight and after getting past Anibaba, the latter pulled Jones down and as it appeared to be denial of a goal-scoring opportunity, Anibaba was given his marching orders. Suddenly, Houston, down a goal and down a man, had a lot more to do to stay in the tie. Nicolas Lodeiro missed the subsequent penalty kick but Will Bruin picked Lodeiro up later.

42′ — Will Bruin goal — The former Dynamo man scored a massive goal against his former club on a great cross from Jones on the left wing. While the tie isn’t over, the Sounders are in firm control and look set to repeat as Western Conference playoffs champions.

Man of the Match: Joevin Jones