The Premier League season is three weeks old. It’s time to see which squads have come flying out of the traps.
Already there have been plenty of shocks and surprises, as the young season promises to be yet another PL campaign chock full of excitement. That being said, we’ve missed our old pal the PL during the international week and at PST we are delighted the action will come back thick and fast this weekend. Hurrah! Some teams have punched well above their weight early on. Can they carry that on after the international break?
Each week 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!
Chelsea: The Blues demolished Everton 6-3 last time out and look sooo good going forward. Diego Costa is lethal with four goals in three, plus Cesc Fabregas is a man on a mission. Mourinho’s boys face in-form Swansea this weekend at Stamford Bridge. (3-0-0)
Swansea City: Swan. Swan. Swan. Sorry, got carried away there. But Swansea are up to second in our rankings and aside from Chelsea, they are they only side with a 100% record. They battered WBA 3-0 last time out. Can they stun Chelsea? (3-0-0)
Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers’ boys are back, with a bang. Mario Balotelli looked solid on his debut, Sterling and Sturridge are ripping teams apart, plus they smashed Spurs 3-0. Liverpool host high-flying Villa at Anfield on Saturday. (2-0-1)
Aston Villa: Talk of the devil… Villa fans, you’re getting a nose bleed. This is their highest ever position in our rankings and well deserved after going three games unbeaten. Enjoy it while it lasts though. Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal coming up in the next three. Ouch. (2-1-0)
Arsenal: The Gunners have had a slightly disjointed start to the season due to injuries and the UCL playoff. They are still unbeaten and with Welbeck on board, they will fancy their chances vs. Man City in the game of the weekend at the Emirates. (1-2-0)
Stoke City: Go on the Potters! Stoke recorded their first-ever win away in Manchester in the PL as they shocked City 1-0. Mama Diouf looks like a good buy up top and Mark Hughes’ men look solid as a rock. Leicester at home this week. Three more points? (1-1-1)
Manchester City: The Citizens suffered a shock defeat to Stoke City at home and looked a little sluggish going forward. Pellegrini’s men had some growing pains early on last season but they must shrug that off on Saturday away at Arsenal. Give David Silva the rock and let him roll. (2-0-1)
Southampton: Saints recorded their first win of the season in impressive fashion away at West Ham. Ronald Koeman’s men are looking stronger at the end of the window than they did at the start. Great wheeling and dealing. Next up: Newcastle at home. (1-1-1)
Tottenham: Pochettino’s revolution came shuddering to a halt last time out as they were outclassed by Liverpool at WHL. Sunderland away is a tricky place to go and will be a good test for this talented group of players. (2-0-1)
Sunderland: The Black Cats were pretty poor against QPR at Loftus Road. They lost 1-0 and Gus Poyet will look for a reaction at home vs. Spurs. He brought in some great buys on Deadline Day, Coates and Alvarez, so let’s see how they fit in. (0-2-1)
Newcastle: Still without a win this season, but at least Alan Pardew’s men scored a few goals. A thrilling 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace saw them clawed back late on and Pardew’s new boys are starting too find their feet. They never seem to do well away at Southampton. (0-2-1)
Leicester City: The Foxes are looking every bit a PL team after holding Arsenal to a 1-1 draw. Couple that with a bright display at Chelsea and a home draw to Everton, not bad at all. Away at Stoke provides them with a chance to nab all three points. (0-2-1)
Everton: Roberto Martinez’s men played their part in a truly stunning game vs. Chelsea. However, still no wins for the Toffees. Let’s not press the panic button just yet though, it’s early days. Some of the defending though… oof! West Brom away this weekend. (0-2-1)
Hull City: A real mixed bag so far for the Tigers who lost to Villa last time out. A strong Deadline Day means they got Gaston Ramirez, Abel Hernandez and Hatem Ben Arfa on board, but will that be enough? The clubs Egyptian owner could be selling up, too. (1-1-1)
Crystal Palace: The Eagles have had their wings clipped but showed plenty of spirit against Newcastle. Neil Warnock’s appointment is seen as the safe option, but does he have the pedigree to keep Palace up? A home game vs. Burnley simply has to be a win. (0-1-2)
Manchester United: … Where United will be hoping to record their first win of Louis van Gaal’s reign. Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Radamel Falcao could all make their Red Devils debuts as the new-look team starts to take shape. Only a win will do. (0-2-1)
Burnley: The Clarets picked up their first point by drawing 0-0 vs. Man United last time out. A tough trip down to Palace awaits for Sean Dyche’s men but they will fancy their chances to pick up a W. (0-1-2)
West Ham: The Hammers were, well, hammered by Saints before the break and even the acquisition of Alex Song may not improve their fortunes. Sam Allardyce’s side have a lot of issues and lack creativity. Massively. If they lose away at Hull on Monday… (1-0-2)
West Brom: Much of the same could be said for the Baggies, who were embarrassed by Swansea last time out. Alan Irvine’s new signings are taking a while to gel. Can they figure it out and get firing at home to Everton? (0-2-1)
Ukraine to join Spain-Portugal host bid for 2030 World Cup
NYON, Switzerland — Hosting World Cup matches in 2030 would be “the dream of people who survived the horrors of war,” Ukrainian soccer federation president Andriy Pavelko said Wednesday after his country launched a joint bid with Spain and Portugal.
The leaders of the three soccer federations joined together at UEFA headquarters to present a campaign they hope will connect people beyond the world of sports.
“This is the dream of millions of Ukrainian fans,” Pavelko said at a news conference, “the dream of people who survived the horrors of war or are still in the occupied territories and over whom the Ukrainian flag will surely fly soon.”
Pavelko said the project is backed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The expected Spain-Portugal bid, which has been in the works for more than three years, previously was made UEFA’s preferred candidate. FIFA will vote on the host in 2024.
“Now it’s not the Iberian bid, it’s the European bid,” Spain soccer federation president Luis Rubiales said at the launch. “Together we represent the power of transformation football has in society.”
No details were given about how many games at the 48-team World Cup would be staged in Ukraine or in which cities. The Olympic Stadium in Kyiv hosted the finals of the 2012 European Championship and the 2018 Champions League.
The European bid is expected to face a South American candidacy with co-hosts Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Saudi Arabia, which has built close ties to FIFA and its president, Gianni Infantino, has been preparing a multi-continent bid potentially including Egypt and Greece. It is unclear how Greece would be approved by UEFA to be part of that.
How to watch Crystal Palace vs Leeds live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 9am ET, Sunday TV Channel: USA Network Online:Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
Palace has given up 11 goals this season and expected goals say that perhaps it should be worse for the Eagles, who have received four of their seven goals from one man: Wilfried Zaha.
Leeds won’t have Luis Sinisterra, who was sent off last week, but Brenden Aaronson and Rodrigo have been producing plenty of attacking moments. Finish has to come next, although Leeds’ 10 goals puts it middle of the pack. Perhaps Patrick Bamford is ready to deliver the goods?
Crystal Palace team news, injuries, lineup options
QUESTIONABLE: Joachim Andersen (calf). OUT: Nathan Ferguson (ankle), Nathaniel Clyne (ankle), Jack Butland (wrist), James McArthur (groin).
Leeds team news, injuries, lineup options
QUESTIONABLE: Adam Forshaw (ankle). OUT: Stuart Dallas (thigh), Archie Gray (toe), Luis Sinisterra (suspension).
How to watch Newcastle vs Brentford live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday TV Channel: USA Network Online:Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
Exciting forward Allan Saint-Maximin could return for Newcastle, making an already cohesive unit more dangerous. The 25-year-old has a goal and two assists in four appearances this season and scored in this fixture, a 3-3 draw, last season.
Brentford has scored the fifth-most goals in the Premier League this season — quite good — but only six teams have conceded more than the Bees. Goalkeeper David Raya has made 30 saves, tied for third in the Premier League with… Nick Pope. So perhaps it’s time to expect fireworks.
Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options
QUESTIONABLE: Allan Saint-Maximin (thigh). OUT: Karl Darlow (ankle), Alexander Isak (thigh), Jonjo Shelvey (thigh), Matt Ritchie (calf), Emil Krafth (knee).
For those tempted to write off Erling Haaland’s historically-hot start to life as a Premier League striker, we get it: There’s something rather dull about not wondering the identity of the 2022 Golden Boot winner, but just the number of his final tally.
Haaland’s Premier League-leading 14 goals from eight games has him seven goals clear of the next closest challenger: Tottenham’s Harry Kane.
His third hat trick of the season, joined by three Phil Foden goals in Man City’s 6-3 derby win over United, keeps him on pace for more than 60 goals this season, a mark that would
And even though Haaland is currently overperforming his expected goals total, it’s already becoming clear that projecting him for the Premier League record is not farfetched at all.
Take a look at these digits. Haaland isn’t just punching in goals; He’s made an almost seamless transition to Pep Guardiola’s system, producing chances for others in addition to his powerful self-positioning.
Haaland is unlikely to hit even 50 goals given the schedule congestion to come for Man City, but the Premier League record is very well under assault
Mohamed Salah holds the 38-game season record with his 32 goals scored for Liverpool during the 2017-18 season, while Newcastle’s Andy Cole and Blackburn’s Alan Shearer bagged 34 during 42-game seasons in the 20th century’s final decade.
Haaland also could topple the record for goal involvements (goals plus assists) in a single season, including beating the 42-game record. Alan Shearer put up 47 over 42, while Thierry Henry holds the 38-game record with 44.
Other records that Haaland could legitimately tie or topple:
30 goals in a first Premier League season (Kevin Phillips, Sunderland, 1999-2000)
Goals in 24 different Premier League matches (Salah, Liverpool, 2017-18)
Most goals in a Premier League match (Five tied with five)
11-straight Premier League games with a goal (Jamie Vardy, Leicester, 2014-15)
Read on to see the latest Premier League goal totals for the 2022-23 season, as Haaland looks to claim a Golden Boot in his first PL season.