Wilfried Bony

PL Playback: Opening Power Rankings

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Now seems like the perfect time for the first set of Premier League Power Rankings for the 2017-18 season, right?

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

With seven games gone and the two week international break upon us, it is time to focus on who has impressed and who has struggled in the opening months of the campaign.

So much has happened in August and September and now it is time to take stock.

[ MORE: PL standings | schedule

Here it goes.


#1 Manchester City: Imperious. Kevin De Bruyne is running the show. Even with Aguero, Mendy and Kompany out injured Pep’s men have found a way to blow opponents away with 22 goals scored. Marquee wins over Chelsea and Liverpool showcase the current mood of invincibility around them and they’ve also won both games in the Champions League. Guardiola has so many attacking options and Ederson has finally solved his problem in goal. The title favorites have delivered early on, once again. Now, can they keep it up?

#2 Manchester United: Jose Mourinho is building this thing his way. It’s working. Romelu Lukaku has seven goals in seven games and although Paul Pogba has gone down injured so many others are stepping up. Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and even Marouane Fellaini are chipping in with goals and in true Mourinho fashion they look as solid as a rock at the back with Nemanja Matic shielding the defense. United have won both of their Champions League games too and Mourinho is exuding confidence with 21 goals in seven games.

#3 Burnley: What. A. Start. Sean Dyche’s men are unbeaten away from home and have won at Chelsea and Everton and drawn at Liverpool and Tottenham. Not bad, especially after selling two stars over the summer. The Clarets are establishing themselves as a true contender to finish in the top 10 and have flown under the radar all summer. No surprise there but with captain and star goalkeeper Tom Heaton out long-term, their positive away results are even more impressive.

#4 Watford: Marco Silva’s side are dynamic going forward and have a solid base to build from. Their counters catch out opponents and in Richarlison they’ve found a gem. Losing Nathaniel Chalobah is a blow but they have a deeper squad than in recent years. Silva’s reputation as one of the best young managers in the game is undoubted and the Portuguese coach has Watford’s fans dreaming of challenging for a Europa League spot. Why not?

#5 Tottenham Hotspur: Mauricio Pochettino’s side have put aside their Wembley woes (they still haven’t won at home in the PL) to win four times on the spin on the road to start the season. The last time that happened they won the league and cup double in 160-61. Just saying. Harry Kane scored 13 goals in eight games for club and country in September and is on fire. Spurs will challenge for the title again and they’ve also won their opening two Champions League games. Wembley aside, a fine start.

#6 Newcastle United: Rafael Benitez is working his magic at Newcastle. The Magpies are hard to beat and at home they can take on anyone. Joselu could be the man to score the goals they need to not only survive in the Premier League after promotion but also push for a top 10 finish. Some fans are dreaming of a challenge for Europe but that seems a little far-fetched. Still, the newly-promoted Magpies will be satisfied with their start.

#7 Arsenal: After a tough start with defeats at Stoke and Liverpool, Arsene Wenger has steadied the ship with four-straight clean sheets in the Premier League. Suddenly Arsenal look a much better defensive unit and Alexandre Lacazette is looking like a great buy up top. Alexis Sanchez is also starting to return to his best form which suggests the Gunners will be challenging for a top four spot, even though they have the rigors of the Europa League to overcome. We’ve been here before with Arsenal but they seem to be more robust than in recent campaigns.

#8 Chelsea: A real topsy-turvy start for the reigning champs. After a tumultuous summer due to the Diego Costa situation and Antonio Conte seemingly unhappy with a lack of transfers, they lost to Arsenal in the Community Shield and to Burnley in their PL opener. They followed that up by beating Tottenham away and put in impressive displays against Everton, Leicester and Stoke. Alvaro Morata has hit the ground running in the PL and Eden Hazard is back to his best but the defeat to Man City was a reality check. Still, two wins from two in Europe and a great win at Atletico Madrid shows what they’re truly capable of. Back-to-back titles seems like a big ask and there are still question marks over Conte’s long-term future.

#9 Huddersfield Town: Opening up the season with two wins was perfection for David Wagner and his side, and their fans, have captured the minds of the Premier League. A 4-0 hammering at home against Tottenham in their first real test showed them how ruthless the league can be but if they can press midtable teams throughout the season as they have in the early weeks then they will be just fine. The Terriers have kept four clean sheets in seven and will be tough to beat and if Steve Mounie and Laurent Depoitre can strike up a partnership then maybe they can push for more than just staying up in their debut PL campaign.

#10 Stoke City: The Potters have had a really solid, albeit slightly bizarre, start to the season. A win against Arsenal and draw against Manchester United at home proved they can mix it with the big boys but defeats at Everton and Newcastle in tight games proved they can still improve defensively although having Jack Butland back fit is a huge bonus. Defensive injuries have been hard to deal with for Mark Hughes’ men but new signings Jese Rodriguez and Eric Choupo-Moting have added something extra in attack.

#11 Brighton & Hove Albion: Chris Hughton’s men are pragmatic and likeable but you wonder where the goals will come from on a consistent basis. Pascal Gross and Anthony Knockaert are both talented playmakers but if Tomer Hemed goes down injured they are struggling big time. If they can make it to January above the relegation zone then surely owner Tony Bloom will make plenty of funds available for a new striker, or two. A very commendable start to their first-ever Premier League campaign with home wins against West Brom and Newcastle.

#12 Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp’s side are already seven points off the PL leaders and the same old defensive issues are hampering their progress. Philippe Coutinho is back scoring stunners and the pace of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah has been ripping teams apart without much reward. Two draws to open up Champions League play have been frustrating and despite dominating games missed chances have been costly. The standout display was the 4-0 hammering of Arsenal but that seems like a long time ago. Is the Klopp-effect wearing off?

#13 West Bromwich Albion: Tony Pulis’ men won their first two games of the season but haven’t won since. They were unlucky to lose away at Arsenal but threw away a two-goal lead in their most recent game at home against Watford. That’s incredibly unlike a Pulis side and you get the sense another big slump like the one they suffered in the second half of last season isn’t far off.

#14 Southampton: New season, same problem for Southampton. Mauricio Pellegrino’s side have dominated most of the games they’ve played in, even against Manchester United, but have scored just five goals in the first seven games of the season. Two of those were penalty kicks in the same game. Virgil Van Dijk is back on board but Saints feel a little bit like a team who has plenty of talent but are missing a ruthless streak. That’s incredibly dangerous and talk of a relegation battle is being whispered, perhaps incorrectly, by some fans.

#15 West Ham United: Slaven Bilic is under serious pressure despite the Hammers battling back in several games and grinding out two home wins. Javier Hernandez has, as expected, delivered goals, but it doesn’t seem like West Ham’s players are with the manager. Bilic’s contract runs out at the end of this season and he is unlikely to get a new deal. That’s creating all kinds of instability. The Hammers look set for another season in midtable, at best.

#16 Swansea City: The main problem for Paul Clement’s team is scoring goals. That’s what happens when you sell your two leading goalscorers from last season over the summer. Wilfried Bony has yet to get firing and Tammy Abraham is doing his best to chip in when he can. The Swans have ground out plenty of clean sheets on the road and surely their luck in front of goal will eventually change. The big problem for Clement is that they don’t look like scoring in most games.

#17 Bournemouth: Eddie Howe’s side lost five of their opening six games and naivety is creeping into their game once again. They led against Manchester City and Everton but ended up losing both games. The Cherries did seem more free-flowing in the final third against Leicester and should have won easily, so maybe things have finally clicked. A worrying start but whenever people have written them off over the past two seasons in the PL they always seem to have an answer. Now is the time for experienced campaigners Jermain Defoe and Asmir Begovic to step up.

#18 Leicester City: Plenty of people are worried about the Foxes, and rightly so. Craig Shakespeare’s side have had a tough start, schedule wise. They lost to Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool and then drew games at Huddersfield and Bournemouth which they should be winning. One win so far says it all and Shakespeare should perhaps start thinking about well and truly breaking up the title-winning team, apart from Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki. Leicester could be in a relegation battle.

#19 Everton: Awful. Dreadful. Disappointing. The Toffees are in real trouble and all because of one thing: their failure to replace Romelu Lukaku. The pressure is mounting on Ronald Koeman already after he brought in three No.10s in Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen but failed to address his biggest need. Hammerings by Chelsea and Tottenham, plus at Atalanta in the Europa League, were amplified by a worrying home defeat to Burnley in the PL. The surprise package of the season so far. And not in a good way. They would be bottom of our rankings if it wasn’t for the record-breaking exploits of our next team…

#20 Crystal Palace: The worst start in top-flight history says it all. Seven defeats on the spin. Zero goals score. Frank De Boer fired after four games and Roy Hodgson hired to try and steady the ship. Well, the ship is taking on water at an alarming rate and the Eagles could soon be cut adrift. Christian Benteke’s injury hasn’t helped matters and the period between November to December will truly decide if they can save themselves. Terrible times at Selhurst Park but they are only five points from safety.

Premier League Playback comes out every week as PST’s Lead Writer and Editor takes an alternative look at all the action from the weekend. Read the full archive, here

West Ham 1-0 Swansea City: Sakho scores late

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  • Subs Sakho, Masuaku combine
  • Swans into drop zone
  • Irons win shots 9-6

Diafra Sakho‘s 90th minute goal lifted West Ham United out of the drop zone with a 1-0 win over Swansea City at the London Stadium on Saturday.

West Ham is 15th with seven points, while Swans drop into 18th with five.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

There was plenty to like in the first half. For Swans, it was new boy Renato Sanches lively all over the midfield and Wilfried Bony cranked a shot at Joe Hart.

For the Irons, Andy Carroll mishit a promising chance from just outside 18 yards and Michail Antonio saw a bounding shot stopped by Lukasz Fabianski.

Carroll had another opportunity in the second half, but couldn’t quite get his boot to Antonio’s cross.

The late goal from substitute Sakho from fellow sub Arthur Masuaku then added to the below statistic.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

PL AT HALF: Mata, Fellaini punishing Palace; Stoke, West Brom lead (video)

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We’ve had a saved penalty, and several unheeded shouts for others as the Premier League rolls through five mid-morning matches on Saturday.

[ MORE: Spurs run riot at Huddersfield ]


Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace – NBCSN [STREAM]

It took 145 seconds for the Red Devils to seize the advantage when Marcus Rashford set up Juan Mata for a goal, and Ashley Young cued up Marouane Fellaini for United’s second.

Stoke City 1-0 Southampton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM

Virgil Van Dijk gave away a penalty to Saido Berahino, but Fraser Forster saved it and kept the damage limited to Mame Biram Diouf’s opener.

West Ham United 0-0 Swansea City  – NBC Sports Gold  [STREAM]

Wilfried Bony and Andy Carroll had chances, but neither converted at the London Stadium.

Bournemouth 0-0 Leicester City  – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Eddie Howe‘s Cherries look the better money for a break through, but the Foxes have held firm so far on the road.

West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Watford – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Salomon Rondon and Jonny Evans lifted the Baggies into a multi-goal lead before Abdoulaye Doucoure pulled one back for the Hornets.

Swansea City 1-2 Watford: Hornets win away again

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  • Richarlison scores late winner
  • Gray gave Watford the lead
  • Watford have three-straight away wins 

Watford beat Swansea City in the final minute at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday with Richarlison netting a late winner for Marco Silva‘s men.

Andre Gray gave Watford the lead but Swansea equalized through Tammy Abraham and then Richarlison snatched all three points late on as the Hornets won 2-1 in South Wales.

With the victory Marco Silva’s men move on to 11 points for the season after winning all three of their away games, while Swansea stay on four points and haven’t won at home this season.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]  

The Hornets took the lead through Gray, his first goal for Watford, as the former Burnley striker made the most of a bad mistake from Wilfried Bony.

A poor back pass was picked up by Gray who played it wide to Andre Carrillo and his cross was half cleared but the ball fell to Gray who swept home to make it 1-0.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Swansea struggled throughout the first half with plenty of misplaced passes and Alfie Mawson gave the ball away cheaply in a poor area but Gray couldn’t grab his and Watford’s second of the game.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

After making two half time subs with Roque Mesa and Abraham coming on, Swansea rallied at the start of the second half and they equalized through Abraham.

Bony’s effort was saved by Heurelho Gomes but half time sub Abraham poked the ball home to make it 1-1.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

Swansea improved dramatically after the equalizer with Mesa going close as the Welsh side pushed hard for the winner late on.

However Watford won it in the 89th minute as Richarlison made the most of mistakes from Mesa and Mawson and sent a shot over Lukasz Fabianski and in.

Swansea 0-1 Newcastle: Lascelles the hero

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  • Lascelles heads home winner
  • Fabianski denies Joselu, Perez
  • Lascelles cleared off line from Abraham
  • Two-straight wins for Newcastle

Newcastle beat Swansea City 1-0 at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday as the Magpies battled to victory without manager Rafael Benitez.

The Spanish coach was watching on from home as he recovers from surgery and his skipper Jamaal Lascelles stepped up to thunder a late header home to give Newcastle all three points.

Swansea went close through Tammy Abraham but Lascelles cleared off the line at the other end as their new signings Renato Sanches and Wilfried Bony struggled to have an impact.

With the win Newcastle now have six points on the board, while Swansea remain on four points and Paul Clement‘s men have failed to score in three of their first four games of the season.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

An even start to the game saw Swansea have more possession but Newcastle looked dangerous on the break.

Jacob Murphy hooked a shot over the bar after Federico Fernandez was caught out of position defensively as Newcastle’s direct approach started to cause Swansea problems.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Before the break Newcastle pushed forward for the opener and Joselu’s header was brilliantly saved by Lukasz Fabianski at full stretch. Mikel Merino then went down in the box under a challenge but referee Craig Pawson correctly waved away the penalty kick calls.

Swansea then had two good chances as Jordan Ayew broke free but Rob Elliot tipped his show wide and from the resulting corner Alfie Mawson sent his free header inches wide.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Ritchie was then lucky as his raised foot almost caught Alfie Mawson in the face (a la Sadio Mane vs. Ederson) but Mawson ducked the challenge and Ritchie escaped with a yellow card.

The game then opened up as Swansea went close through Tom Carroll as his near-post effort was palmed away by Elliot after Kyle Naughton‘s drilled effort was half cleared.

Moments later the Swans looked certain to take the lead as Tammy Abraham latched onto Leroy Fer‘s through ball, rounded Elliot and then knocked the ball towards the empty net but Newcastle’s skipper Lascelles slid in to clear superbly off the line.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

Swansea brought on Wilfried Bony as they tried to push for the winner but at the other end Ayoze Perez broke free in the box but his low drive was saved by Fabianski.

Lascelles then popped up with the game-winner as he headed home Ritchie’s corner powerfully. 1-0 to Newcastle as their fans sung Rafael Benitez’s name with glee.

They will do that the whole back to Newcastle on their 350-mile journey.