The final PL Power Rankings of 2013 have arrived, and surprise, surprise Arsenal sit atop the table just like they have for most of the season.
However the gap is certainly closing on the Gunners as Manchester City and Chelsea are hot on their heels as the New Year begins in earnest.
At the halfway point of the PL season things couldn’t be closer at the top and bottom of the standings. There’s been so many changes in the rankings this week, as some teams excelled while other flummoxed over the festive period of matches.
By now you should know the drill. We put our neck on the line to analyze the strength of each Premier League team, forget about the official league standings (here they are in case you actually do want them) that doesn’t mean squat.
The Power Rankings take into account the strength of schedule, injuries, suspensions, playing well but still losing and plenty of other variables. The W-D-L bracket shows each PL team’s current record and you can now see how many spots each team has moved, up or down, from week-to-week.
Let’s get to it!
Arsenal: Over the festive period, Arsenal’s strength in-depth is there for all to see. Despite a bad loss to Man City, when they actually played quite well, a draw against Chelsea and wins over West Ham and Newcastle prove they’re a force. Easy home win vs. Cardiff this weekend. (13-3-3-)
Manchester City: Pellegrini’s men came up with two big wins over Arsenal and Liverpool before and after Christmas and are in full flow. Their incredible home record remains intact, as City sit just one point off top spot. A tricky trip to Swansea awaits. (13-2-4)
Chelsea: The Blues beat Liverpool on the 28th 2-1 and were good value for their win. Jose Mourinho’s men seem much more solid and a good defensive display away at Arsenal proved that. Can they keep it going away at Southampton? (12-4-3)
Everton: What an incredible season so far for the Toffees, who sit in the Champions League spots at the halfway point. Robert Martinez has done a fabulous job, as they’ve lost just twice in 19 PL games. Can they kick on with Lukaku leading the way? Stoke away brings in the New Year. (10-7-2)
Liverpool: Those two defeats to City and Chelsea in their past two games shows that the Reds aren’t too far away but they are just lacking that extra bit of class. When Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard return, Liverpool will kick on again. Luis Suarez can’t do it on his own. (11-3-5)
Tottenham: Spurs have a new look under Tim Sherwood and it’ll take a while for them to adjust. But they’re staying in touch with the big boys after some good wins, Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado are forming a good partnership. Next up: Man United away. (10-4-5)
Manchester United: So, a tough game at home against Spurs is coming up, but the festive season has ushered in a mini-revival from the Red Devils. Can they keep it going? Strangely without RVP up front they look more balanced, as Rooney, Welbeck, Valencia and Januzaj have dazzled in six-straight wins in all competitions. (10-4-5)
Newcastle: It’s been a great campaign for Alan Pardew’s Magpies as St. James’ Park has been a fortress and their wealth of French talent has produced some stunning goals. A win away at West Brom could see them back in the top five. (10-3-6)
Southampton: The Saints are still playing well, but injuries and a rough stretch of games has seen them slip down the table in recent weeks. They’ve been unlucky vs. Spurs and Everton while their young English core has performed admirably. Bright future, but tough game vs. Chelsea. (7-6-6)
Swansea City: An up and down season for Michael Laudrup’s Swans so far, as they’re currently without a win in five matches. But the talent is their to kick on in the second half of the season, they just need a bit of luck. (5-6-8)
Hull City: Great first half of the season for the Tigers, as Steve Bruce’s men are looking comfy back in the PL. A massive 6-0 win over Fulham saw them round the year off in style. It’s all about getting to that magic 40-point marker ASAP now. (6-5-8)
Norwich City: A tough season so far for Chris Hughton and the Canaries as their inability to score goals as hit the Norfolk club hard. Although a spirited display against United should have yielded a point and better defensive solidity is promising. (5-4-10)
Aston Villa: Villa could well be lower than this, as an underwhelming first half of the season leaves them in yet another relegation battle. Paul Lambert’s time is running out at Villa Park. Christian Benteke needs to get back to form, quickly. (5-5-9)
Crystal Palace: What a finish to 2013 for the Eagles, as Tony Pulis’ appointment has brought a breath of fresh air to Selhurst Park. A valiant display away at Man City and a win away at Villa over the festive season shows how far they’ve come. Massive home game vs. Norwich this week. (5-1-13)
Stoke City: The Potters imploded a little over the last few games, as big defeats to Newcastle and Spurs away saw them ship eight goals in two games. That doesn’t tell the whole story as Mark Hughes’ men had red card and penalty decisions go against them. Must do better in second half of the season. (5-6-8)
West Brom: Managerless West Brom have picked up two good draws on the road against Spurs and West Ham. Who will come in to manage the Baggies? Uncertainty remains around the Hawthorns, but the players are putting up a fight. (3-9-7)
Cardiff City: Owner Vincent Tan has made the Bluebirds a laughing stock, and after Malky Mackay was sacked after a 3-0 defeat to Southampton, Cardiff threw away a 2-0 lead vs. Sunderland and Tan was seen booing his own players. Who will be the next manager? (4-6-9)
West Ham: Sam Allardyce’s side are putting up a fight but no win in six sees them at the wrong end of the table an fighting for their lives. Recent defeats to Arsenal and Man United highlighted their weaknesses. (3-6-10)
Fuham: The Cottagers were battered by Hull, after picking up a big three points at Norwich on the road. They’re a Jekyll and Hyde team who need big reinforcements in January. Will that happen? (5-1-13)