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Premier League Power Rankings: In tiers

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Liverpool has knocked Manchester City from the Champions League, but sits 19 points behind the leaders and City has a match-in-hand.

Manchester United beat City just weeks ago, but was bounced from the UCL even earlier. The Red Devils also took four of six points from Liverpool.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

Spurs are fourth in the table but also took four of six from Liverpool and could be level on points with the Reds by winning its match-in-hand.

So the question remains, who’s the best team in the Premier League right now? That’s why we’re revisiting our Premier League Power Rankings for the first time in a while, since City was the unquestioned No. 1 for months.

Will it change anything? Spoiler alert: Probably not.

Spots 20-14: Not safe yet

20. West Bromwich Albion: The Baggies are going down, but Darren Moore has at least instilled some life into a moribund bunch which was saddled with the dour and unsuccessful tactics of Tony Pulis before moving onto the peppy and hard-to-understand tactics of Alan Pardew.

19. Stoke City — The Paul Lambert jump has faded, and the Potters’ inferior goal differential and one more match played than both Southampton and Swansea City feel like a death knell.

18. Southampton — Yes, the Bottom Three is the same as the table, but Saints are a New South Coast Derby win away from sitting three points back of pulling Palace and perhaps Huddersfield Town and West Ham United back into the picture.

17. Huddersfield Town — If David Wagner cannot lead the Terriers past Everton this weekend, his side finishes at Man City, at Chelsea, and home to Arsenal. That’s a recipe for watching a six-point advantage on the drop zone melt away.

16. Swansea City — Still four points clear of the drop zone, Swans have the cup half-full of facing Saints and Stoke City. The two sides aren’t very good, but also the only teams to worry about when it comes to their Premier League lives.

15. Crystal Palace — Given their turnaround from the beginning of the season, it feels dirty to have them so low. But of the three clubs sitting six points clear of 18th, the Eagles are the one to have three matches left and not four.

14. West Ham United — A brutal schedule featuring two of David Moyes‘ old sides — Everton and Manchester United — means the Irons cannot breathe safely yet (especially with Swans, Saints, and Stoke set to take points off each other).


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13. Watford — Javi Gracia may have Watford safe, and that was his charge, but the Hornets look like the same team they did under previous bosses. The Hornets have two points from their last six, and would be much further down the table if they weren’t essentially safe.

12. Bournemouth — Eddie Howe is probably wondering how that Arsenal chair would feel right about now, as the Cherries have probably reached a glass ceiling. Now a derby against Saints can define the run-in to the season.

11. Brighton and Hove Albion — Perhaps satiated by a five-match unbeaten run that featured a win over Arsenal and beat downs of Swansea and West Ham, Chris Hughton‘s Gulls have two points in five matches including a derby loss to Palace.

10. Everton — Sam Allardyce‘s men nicked a win off of Newcastle last weekend, and it was about as satisfying as moribund draws against Liverpool’s B Team and Swansea City. There’s a lot of unrest at Goodison Park, and Sam Allardyce has to go. Because of the relative positive vibes at lower table sides Leicester and Newcastle, Everton sinks beneath them.

9. Leicester City — A fun team which has had infuriating lapses at the back. Jamie Vardy‘s as reliable as ever, and there’s a real question what they’ll do without Riyad Mahrez (allegedly) in the future. Wilfred Ndidi, Demarai Gray, and Fousseni Diabate look a big part of said future, but it’s a bit alarming that the Foxes haven’t been able to take advantage of the relatively open door to seventh since Claude Puel righted Craig Shakespeare‘s sinking ship.

8. Newcastle United — The Magpies saw their win streak snapped by Everton, but Rafa Benitez is playing with house money after coaxed a midtable season out of a Championship squad. A healthy Islam Slimani has moved Dwight Gayle to his rightful role as a spark plug off the bench, but don’t sleep on the wonders Benitez has worked in turning Mo Diame, DeAndre Yedlin, and Paul Dummett into serviceable Premier League players. The future is bright if Mike Ashley sells the team or at least opens his purse strings to make one of the longest road trips in the PL even harder for visitors to St. James’ Park.


Spot 7: One of the best stories in Premier League history

7. Burnley — A loss to Chelsea and draw with Stoke has sunk Sean Dyche‘s excitement, we’re sure, but Southampton’s departure from the FA Cup means seventh place means Europa League. It’s Burnley in Europe: Yes, for real!


Spots 6-4: The bargaining stage of grief

6. Chelsea — The Blues have won two-straight in the league and reached an FA Cup Final against old pal Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, but there’s as much uncertainty at Stamford Bridge as there is at the Emirates. The difference? We know Roman Abramovich will spend more to try to fix it.

5. Arsenal — The danger of slipping behind Burnley and into seventh on the table has passed, but the Arsene Wenger goodbye tour is focused firmly on the Gunners’ fate versus Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Europa League and the quite decent form of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as well as a resurgent and healthy Aaron Ramsey. Defenders need improving in a big way and there’s a lot of uncertainty regarding Wenger’s replacement. Don’t know what you’ve got til its gone?

4. Spurs — No trophy again this season, and there’s a very good chance Tottenham will miss out on third place by virtue of goal difference when all is said and done; When all’s said and done, Mauricio Pochettino‘s men will have drawn 1-1 or 0-0 against West Brom, Swansea, Watford, West Ham, Saints, and Brighton. That’ll render a decent record against top foes less impressive.


Spots 3-1: Power trio

3. Manchester United — The Red Devils are better than almost everyone thinks despite precious few standout seasons from its players (David De Gea, Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard are among the pardoned). When it comes to talking progress, however, second place won’t cut it: Mourinho needs that FA Cup win over Chelsea, a trophy United hasn’t won since (checks his notes) oh, two seasons ago.

2. Liverpool — The Reds looked incredible in dicing up Roma for 80 minutes, but allowed Roma a sliver of hope. Moreover, the last four goals Liverpool has allowed have come in the 79th, 88th, 81st, and 85th minutes. Why won’t we put them ahead of City? Well, let me clarify: it’s not PST, it’s me. I’ll own this: As brilliant as Liverpool was against City, they were out-chanced 31-14 over two legs. Give me that scenario 100 times, and I’m betting on the 31 about 85-90 times. The Reds are almost there, and Naby Keita over Jordan Henderson would be a huge upgrade (especially if this success convinces Emre Can to stick around). Next year, yeah. This year, just no.

  1. Manchester City — The records continue to fall, and it’s funny to consider that should City had lost the first Manchester Derby and been knocked out of the UCL a round earlier — yes, even by Liverpool in the same manner — no one would be arguing for anyone other than City at No. 1.

Newcastle United 1-0 Huddersfield: Dominant Magpies break through

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  • Magpies miss myriad chances before Perez finishes late
  • Town remains in relegation trouble
  • Magpies’ third-straight home shutout

Ayoze Perez’s late goal sent Newcastle United seven points clear of the drop zone with a 1-0 win over visiting Huddersfield Town at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Town is just three points clear of the drop after the win, with David Wagner‘s men outclassed aside from a late push.

Chelsea loanee Kenedy now has two goals and two assists in seven matches for Rafa Benitez.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Town’s Aaron Mooy gave away a dangerous set piece and picked up a yellow card for a two-footed takedown of Ayoze Perez, and Newcastle presided over a 25-yard free kick just left of center. Jonjo Shelvey‘s effort was partially blocked by the wall.

The Magpies were buzzing, with Dwight Gayle having a bicycle kick blocked and Shelvey just missing the far post with his rebound bid.

Jonas Lossl slid to deny Matt Ritchie in the 16th minute, the visitors alive despite the early frenzy.

Shelvey used a quick free start to send Gayle 1v1 with Lossl, but the English striker’s cheeky chip was wayward. And Gayle lifted a DeAndre Yedlin cross over the bar in the 33rd. Messy.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

There was more Newcastle as the second half began, and the hard-tackling Magpies had the Terriers on the ground a few times over the first five minutes.

Newcastle was finally rewarded, with substitutes Christian Atsu and Islam Slimani (on debut) making an impact. Perez found Atsu on the right, and Slimani challenged Lossl for the cross before the ball fell to Kenedy. The Brazilian squared the ball to Perez for the finish.

Slimani won an 85th minute free kick, and Shelvey rocketed it over the bar.

Premier League Preview: Huddersfield Town vs. Crystal Palace

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  • Town beat Palace 3-0 on Aug. 12
  • Palace knocked Town out of League Cup
  • CPFC leads all-time 13W-17D-12L

Crystal Palace hopes it can climb out of the drop zone by pulling host Huddersfield Town to within its grasp with a visit to the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: Arsenal avoids Atleti ]

Palace opens the weekend in 18th place with 27 points, four behind 15th place Town.

Huddersfield has only lost once in its last four matches, to Tottenham, but was frustrated last week when it couldn’t find a goal despite almost 80 minutes up a man at home to Swansea City.

Palace has lost four-straight in the league, but three of the opponents were Spurs, Manchester United, and Chelsea and all were one-goal losses.

 

What they’re saying

Huddersfield boss David Wagner on his side: “We have the momentum we always wanted to have at this stage of the season, seven points out of the last four and one was Tottenham away. All the other teams were around us and we’ve collected points and beaten them. We played a good game against Birmingham in the Emirates FA Cup as well. The players are in a positive mood. They have shown performances which can give them all the confidence they need, but they know tomorrow is a new game and we have to be on it again.”

Palace striker Alexander Sorloth on the trip to the John Smith’s Stadium“It is an optimistic mood and we are looking forward to the game on Saturday that we will be looking to get three points in, especially because we have a lot of players who are back from injury which has given us some optimism in the squad. … You always want to win but the stakes are a little bit higher for this game because Huddersfield are close to us in the table but every player in our squad has had experience with this kind of situation.”

Prediction

Neither side feels rewarded as both grab a point in a 1-1 draw.

USMNT, Huddersfield’s Williams undergoes surgery

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American midfielder Danny Williams will miss the remainder of the Premier League season and an indefinite time with the USMNT after breaking his fibula.

[ MORE: JPW with Danny Williams ]

Williams was injured in Huddersfield Town training, with surgery scheduled for today (Friday).

Town boss David Wagner, who brought Williams to the Premier League after facing him in the Championship when the midfielder was at Reading, offering glowing praise for Williams:

“He’s adapted well to football in the Premier League and has been in some great form for us recently.

“He’s a big character in the dressing room too and I have no doubt that he will be determined to come back fitter and stronger than before.

“In his absence, we will do everything we can to make sure Danny is back playing Premier League football with Huddersfield Town next season.”

Town has four consecutive winnable matches with Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Brighton, and Watford before a trip to Chelsea.

PL Sunday preview: Van Dijk, Liverpool visit St. Mary’s, Man United in action

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Liverpool and Southampton sit in considerably different positions, but a former player’s return to St. Mary’s will garner much of the attention on Sunday when the two clubs collide.

Meanwhile, three sides firmly in the relegation race aim to pull away from the bottom three with strong performances.

[ MORE: Saturday PL roundup — Citizens crack 70 points, Spurs win NLD ]

Here’s a look at Sunday’s three PL matches.

Huddersfield Town vs. Bournemouth — 7 a.m. ET on CNBC

When these sides last met in November, the Cherries came away with a convincing 4-0 defeat. That leaves Huddersfield boss David Wagner with some tough decisions at home.

Jonathan Hogg is expected to be reintroduced to the Huddersfield lineup on Sunday, while Christopher Schindler and Laurent Depoitre could feature after the pair came off of foot injuries recently.

The Terriers have had a terrible time scoring as of late, scoring just once in their last 620 league minutes, while Bournemouth has gone unbeaten in its last seven fixtures.

Bournemouth has seen a solid improvement since the Christmas period, with the club boasting 15 points in that span — which is second to only Liverpool’s 16 points.

Newcastle vs. Manchester United — 9:15 a.m. ET on NBCSN

In 28 career PL meetings, Newcastle has won just twice against the English giants — which doesn’t bode well for Rafa Benitez and Co. The club’s last victory against the Red Devils came back in 2012.

With loan signing Islam Slimani still yet to play a match for the Magpies, Benitez will be desperately hoping for the Algerian to be fit in time for Sunday’s clash. The side will benefit from Ciaran Clark‘s return though, who is coming back from a knee injury.

Meanwhile, United has clamped down recently on the defensive side, boasting five shutouts in its last six matches.

Southampton vs. Liverpool — 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN

The biggest story on the day will be Van Dijk’s return to his former club, however, four other current Liverpool players have previously played a role for Southampton.

The Saints have had success recently against Liverpool, with the hosts unbeaten in their last three home fixtures against Jurgen Klopp‘s group.

Klopp and Co. have been through a tumultuous period since their confidence-boosting win over table-toppers Manchester City, with the Reds winning just one of their last four fixtures.