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Premier League Power Rankings

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After an exciting and eventful Premier League weekend, let’s take stock in the rise and fall of teams in the latest edition of the Premier League Power Rankings.

[ MORE: PL Power Rankings – 2017-18 ]

The last time we updated our rankings was in mid-January, and you can see the ranking of the clubs back then in the parenthesis after their club name in the list below.

We’ve had some fascinating movement, up and down.

Here is the latest batch of Premier League Power Rankings as we sort the 20 clubs based on their current form.

  1. Manchester United (4) — Not including the mid-week defeat at Tottenham, Manchester United has been incredibly consistent over the past few weeks, with four wins in its last five games. Paul Pogba has returned to sparkling form and Alexis Sanchez has added a new spark to the attack. And the defense with Matic holding in front of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and/or Marcos Rojo has remained strong and steady.
  2. Manchester City (3) — City has rebounded very nicely since the thrilling 4-3 defeat to Liverpool. Successive wins over Newcastle and West Bromwich Albion led up to a surprising 1-1 draw with Burnley, though had Raheem Sterling finished his gilt-edged chance, the result would have been different. Pep Guardiola‘s side is trending upwards, again.
  3. Tottenham (2) — Was it offside? Was it a penalty kick (both times)? Either way, Tottenham fought back at Anfield to earn a 2-2 draw, just a few days after smoking Man United at Wembley Stadium. It wasn’t Tottenham’s best performance, but they managed to get a point out of it, a sign of better things to come down the closing stretch of the season.
  4. Liverpool (1) — The Reds had a chance to stay at the top of the Power Rankings or near it had they held on to defeat Tottenham, but Jurgen Klopp‘s side let the game get away, regardless of the decisions by the officials. Up next for Liverpool. A return for Virgil Van Dijk to his former club, Southampton.
  5. Bournemouth (9)Eddie Howe is pushing all the right buttons for the Cherries. Since beating Arsenal, Bournemouth has built up a seven-game Premier League unbeaten run, with two straight wins over Chelsea and Stoke City, moving into the top 10 and seven points above the drop zone. If they keep up this form, with Callum Wilson‘s return, they’ll be squarely in mid-table by the season’s end.
  6. Arsenal (10)  After a deeply disappointing 3-1 defeat in Swansea, the Gunners completed the deadline-day transfer of Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang, reuniting him with former Dortmund teammate and new Arsenal signing Henrik Mkhitaryan. The two looked terrific in their debut as Arsenal romped to a 5-1 win over Everton. Is some light shining at the Emirates Stadium?
  7. Watford (15) — Watford has started off well under new manager Javi Gracia. The Hornets picked up a massive 4-1 win over the defending champions, Chelsea, with Gerard Deulofeu back to his best in the Premier League and Troy Deeney leading the line up top. Watford is definitely trending up.
  8. Chelsea (7) — It’s been a rough week for Chelsea, with defeats to both Watford and Bournemouth and reports that Antonio Conte‘s days as Chelsea manager could be numbered. Chelsea faces West Bromwich Albion this week, with a chance to regain momentum and stay in the Premier League’s top four. It’s crucial for Gary Cahill and the back three to return to their former level.
  9. Swansea City (12) — Carlos Carvalhal has made an amazing start with the Swans, which has beaten the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool while drawing Leicester City on the road. Amazingly, the latest run has moved Swansea City out of the relegation zone.
  10. Leicester City (8) — Leicester City has had a decent January, with just one defeat and two wins in the FA Cup. But the defeat was at struggling Everton and Claude Puel‘s side was unable to break down Swansea City in a 1-1 draw. Leicester are still 8th in the table, but Jamie Vardy isn’t getting any help in the scoring department the last few weeks.
  11. Brighton and Hove Albion (18) — The Seagulls picked up a crucial win over West Ham this week, with Jose Izquierdo scoring for just the third time this season. Sitting three points above the relegation zone, every win counts.
  12. Southampton (20) — The Saints ended the Premier League’s longest winless streak (12 games) with a road victory at West Bromwich Albion, pushing Southampton out of the relegation zone. Mauricio Pellegrino is still on the hot seat, but the win brightens the spirits for a little while. Unfortunately for the Saints, up next is Liverpool.
  13. Crystal Palace (5) Roy Hodgson‘s side has fallen down the Premier League standings with three-straight games without a win, scoring just three times and picking up two points. Palace needed a penalty kick to draw Newcastle last weekend and they’ll need a big performance from the squad at Everton on Saturday.
  14. Everton (14) — Speaking of Everton, it appeared to be trending upward under Sam Allardyce before the Toffees were hammered by Arsenal. But four points from two games prior to that helped propel the side into the top 10 of the Premier League, where they’ll likely stay the rest of the season.
  15. Burnley (19) Sean Dyche’s side’s winless streak has i to nine games, but a pair of 1-1 draws, including against Manchester City are keeping Burnley in the top 10.
  16. West Ham United (6)David Moyes has West Ham barely treading water over the relegation zone, but a tough past few weeks has thrown a wrench in his plans, including a defeat to Brighton and Hove last week. The Irons have a chance to move up against Watford this Saturday.
  17. Newcastle (13) — Winless in its last four, Newcastle failed to capitalize against Burnley and Crystal Palace in successive weeks as Rafa Benitez still struggles to put together wins with the squad he has.
  18. Stoke City (17)Paul Lambert picked up a big win over Huddersfield Town but it’s been same old Stoke City the last couple of games, a draw and defeat as the club remains in the relegation zone.
  19. West Bromwich Albion (11) — Ditto for West Bromwich, as the coaching change to Alan Pardew hasn’t delivered the results that other managers are receiving.
  20. Huddersfield Town (16)David Wagner‘s team is alive in the FA Cup but has lost five straight in the Premier League and is falling fast. No goals scored in its last three games either.

Mourinho: “Paul made a big effort”

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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho had fine words for Paul Pogba, but was tickled by the performance of 21-year-old Scott McTominay in the Red Devils scoreless draw with Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

[ RECAP: Sevilla 0-0 Man Utd ]

The visitors emerged unscathed, though without an away goal, and Mourinho raised eyebrows when he kept Pogba on the bench to start the match. The young McTominay started the match, and was paired with Pogba once Ander Herrera left the match with injury.

When a reporter asked Mourinho about McTominay after the match, the boss asked if he could give the reporter a hug before elaborating (via the BBC):

“In the press conference, the questions were about Paul [Pogba] but the question should be about the kid. He was fantastic. He did everything well. He put pressure on Ever Banega and stopped him playing, he’s their playmaker. I think Scott was brilliant.

“I think Paul made a big effort to try to give the team what I asked of him. Paul replaced Ander, he tried to bring to the game the same kind of qualities. He lost a couple of possessions but he also gave us stability because we had a good percentage of possession for the way we played.”

Mourinho was sure to include Nemanja Matic as a big part of the midfield trio.

The Pogba-Mourinho questions aren’t going to go away any time soon, though it should be noted — perhaps strongly — that the player was ill this weekend and United has to face Chelsea in Premier League play this weekend.

Still, he couldn’t help but mention how much he believes “Old Trafford has missed a big European night,” and how he’s looking forward to a potentially big win come March 13.

Nil-nil in Seville as De Gea stars

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  • English sides unbeaten vs. La Liga in UCL season (2-6)
  • Pogba subs into match for Herrera, 17′
  • De Gea with seven saves for United

David De Gea was the star as Manchester United escaped Sevilla with a scoreless draw in the first leg of the two sides’ UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Sevilla won a corner kick within 90 seconds, but the ball made its way through the 18 without finding a receiver.

Ander Herrera sprung Alexis Sanchez down the middle, but Jesus Navas cut across to catch the Chilean and thwart the United chance.

Navas then dragged a shot across goal and past a diving David De Gea but inches wide of the far post.

A Herrera injury — yes, another injury United supporters — meant Paul Pogba would join the fray after just 17 minutes with the key position in the 4-3-3.

Lukaku botched a terrific diagonal cross from Sanchez with a blast over the goal in the 25th minute.

The 38th minute saw Scott McTominay pump a ball right at Sergio Rico for the Sevilla backstop’s first save, and Angl Correa’s low shot was collected by De Gea for a third Red Devils save.

De Gea then made a leaping save on Steven N’Zonzi’s redirection of a bicycle kick just before halftime, and then slapped Luis Muriel’s header over the bar before the whistle.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

De Gea nabbed another save, his sixth in the contest, when Clement Lenglet got his head on an Ever Banega free kick in the 64th minute.

A Sanchez giveaway provided Sevilla the chance to counter, and Muriel couldn’t get the step back needed to power a header past De Gea.

United had a goal pulled back in the 83rd minute as the ball struck Lukaku’s arm in the build-up.

Fred’s vicious free kick leads Shakhtar over Roma

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Facundo Ferreyra and Fred scored second half goals to lead Shakhtar Donetsk past AS Roma 2-1 at the Donbass Arena in Wednesday’s first leg of the clubs’ UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.

Cendig Under scored his fifth goal in four matches as AS Roma did manage an away goal before the March 13 second leg in Rome.

Fred has been linked with a summer move to Man City, and the banger of a free kick showed part of the reason the Brazilian is in demand.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Roma is bidding to make its first UEFA Champions League quarterfinal since 2007-08 when they went out at the hands of Manchester United, while Shakhtar last made the quarters only to be dismissed by Barcelona in 2010-11.

Ukrainian backstop Andriy Pyatov had an early save on Edin Dzeko off a cross from Aleksandar Kolarov, two minutes after Kolarov mailed a free kick over the bar.

Kolarov and Dzeko remained big parts of the story line, though Pyatov and the Shakhtar defense stood tall.

Dzeko would wind up assisting the opener, and it was the in form Under who’d bury his chance.

Not soon after the break, though, Yaroslav Rakitskiy cued up Ferreyra for the equalizer.

And Fred but the hosts ahead with this outstanding free kick, what they’d call a “bar down bingo” in hockey.

Madrid beats Leganes 3-1 in game postponed from December

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MADRID (AP) Real Madrid overcame the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and other regular starters Wednesday, coming from behind to defeat Leganes 3-1 Wednesday in a Spanish league match postponed from last year.

The result allowed the defending champions to regain third place from Valencia, but it did little to put Zinedine Zidane’s team back in the title race as it still trails leader Barcelona by 14 points after 24 matches. Madrid is seven points behind second-place Atletico Madrid.

[ MORE: Messi defies Conte’s successful tactics ]

Less than a month ago, Leganes jolted Madrid into a crisis by eliminating the Spanish powerhouse from the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey.

The hosts from southern Madrid went ahead less than 10 minutes into the match on Wednesday, but Madrid answered with first-half goals by Lucas Vazquez and Casemiro. Sergio Ramos sealed the victory by converting a 90th-minute penalty kick.

The league match was rescheduled from the 16th round because of Madrid’s participation in the Club World Cup in December, a competition it won.

Only in its second season in the first division, Leganes had a promising start to the campaign but has struggled recently. It hasn’t won in six matches and has lost four straight, dropping to 13th with 29 points.

Madrid has won four in a row, including 3-1 against Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League last week.

Ronaldo, who scored twice against PSG and has 10 goals in his last six matches, was rested on Wednesday along with goalkeeper Keylor Navas. Marcelo, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are trying to recover from injuries in time for next month’s return match against PSG in Paris.

Leganes opened the scoring with a goal by Unai Bustinza six minutes into the match at Butarque Stadium. The defender dived in front of the ball as Madrid left back Theo Hernandez tried to clear it from near the goal line. The ball ricocheted off Bustinza’s head and shoulder and went into the net.

Madrid equalized five minutes later with Vazquez’s low shot into the far corner from inside the area after a through ball by Casemiro, and 20 minutes later it was the Brazilian defensive midfielder who found the net from close range after a pass by Vazquez.

Ramos scored from the penalty spot after Mateo Kovacic was pushed inside the area in the closing minutes.

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