Premier League Power Rankings: Six weeks in, we’re still in a state of flux

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After six games of the season, we now have a pretty good idea what each team has to offer… that doesn’t stop the Power Rankings from fluctuating though!

We still have teams moving up and down by six spots here and there as the unpredictability of the Premier League continues.

[Archive: Premier League Power Rankings]

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!

RANKING
Up/Down

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1 Chelsea: The Blues cruised past Villa as they are dismantling the teams they need to. Huge London derby vs. Arsenal this Sunday, great litmus test to see just how good Mourinho’s men are. (5-1-0)
source:  2 Southampton: No surprise here, anymore. Pelle scored a goal of the season contender as Saints beat QPR for their fourth-straight win. Remarkable start. Next up: Tottenham away and their old manager Pochettino. (4-1-1)
source:  3  – Arsenal: A labored draw vs. Spurs was down to 3 key injuries in midfield during the match. With Welbeck bagging a hat trick midweek in UCL action, they will push Chelsea all the way in the battle of the unbeaten teams. (2-4-0)
source:  4 UP 1 Manchester City: Eliaquim Mangala had a nightmare after City went 2-0 up away at Hull but they dug deep to get the win. An uninspiring draw vs. Roma in UCL could see them deflated. Tough test away at Villa this weekend. They lost at Villa Park last term. (3-2-1)

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5 UP 3  Crystal Palace: The Eagles are on a roll with two wins on the spin and are four unbeaten since Warnock turned up. Solid. Steady. Superb. Hull away is a good chance for three wins in a row. (2-2-2)
source:  6 Swansea City: Garry Monk’s men grabbed a point on the road at Sunderland with 10-men. Good result. They host Newcastle at the Liberty on Saturday and are the big favorites. (3-1-2)
source:  7 UP 6 Manchester United: Rooney’s red card aside, that was much better from United. A 2-1 win over West Ham isn’t amazing but it was much needed. Falcao and RVP look deadly up top as they welcome Everton to town on Sunday. (2-2-2)
source:  8 DOWN 1 Aston Villa: The Villains barely threatened going forward vs. Chelsea and were taught a lesson in finishing. Paul Lambert’s men will fancy themselves at home to City on NBC (12:30pm ET) on Saturday. (3-1-2)
source:  9 UP 3 Stoke City: Peter Crouch’s header, then an awesome crab/tweety bird dance, gave Stoke the win against Newcastle. They head to Sunderland in what should be a bruising game. Steady start for the Potters. (2-2-2)
source:  10 DOWN 6 Leicester City: Still early days for the Foxes who were undone by two set pieces at Palace. Nigel Pearson won’t be happy with that but his side will be the favs vs. Burnley on Saturday. (2-2-2)
source:  11 TottenhamSpurs looked to have a North London derby win in the bag as they put in a professional display at the Emirates. The Ox nicked a point for Arsenal but Pochettino’s men will be happy with that. Can they stop high-flying Saints at the Lane? (2-2-2)
source:  12 DOWN 3 Liverpool: Phil Jagielka’s last-gasp equalizer would have been a dagger into the heart of Liverpool fans. Add on top of that a poor display away in Basel in a 1-0 defeat, and it’s not been a good week. Gerrard is having a go at his teammates. Will it work vs. WBA? (2-1-3)
source:  13 DOWN 3 West Ham: The Hammers gave United a scare at Old Trafford and played well against 10-men. They host QPR in a London derby as Redknapp returns to Upton Park. Big Sam needs another big home win. (2-1-3)
source:  14 UP 1 Everton: Roberto Martinez’s men aren’t playing well but they are grinding out draws. Two 1-1 ties vs. Liverpool and then Krasnodar in the Europa League prove their struggling, but getting by. Can they beat United for the third-time running? (1-3-2)
source:  15 UP 3 West Brom: Boing, boing, baggies, baggies! Two wins on the spin and WBA are flying. New boss Alan Irvine has got his team playing and don’t be too surprised if they shock Liverpool at Anfield. Boing, boing… (2-2-2)
source:  16 Sunderland:  As it stands, Gus Poyet’s team could break the PL record for most draws in a season. Wowza. A dour 0-0 tie with Swansea wasn’t ideal and they badly need to beat Stoke to get some momentum going. (0-5-1)
source:  17 Hull City: Still without a win since the opening day of the season, Steve Bruce will be concerned his team keep leaking goals. That’s eight in their last three games now. Can they bag a first home win of the season v Palace? (1-3-2)
source:  18 DOWN 4 QPR: Three away games have resulted in three defeats this season for Rangers. They gave Saints a run for their money but several new players are failing to bed in quickly. HUGE London derby this weekend. ‘Arry would love a win. (1-1-4)
 source:  19 Newcastle: Quite how Alan Pardew is still in a job is beyond me, but he is. The Magpies lost 1-0 away at Stoke and Jack Colback somehow hit the bar from six-yards out late on. It’s been that type of season. A win this weekend is a must… right? (0-2-4)
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20 Burnley: Poor old Burnley. They were battered 4-0 at WBA and have now failed to score since the opening day of the season. Sean Dyche should just go with four up front this weekend at Leicester and hope for the best. (0-3-3)

Report: Luiz Suarez to Atletico Madrid

Luis Suarez to Atletico Madrid
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Luis Suarez to Atletico Madrid seems just about the perfect fit between a club, player and manager.

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Diego Simeone roaring from the sidelines as Luis Suarez scores a last minute winner for Atletico Madrid at Real Madrid. You can see it now too, right?

A report from our partners at Sky Sport in Italy states that Suarez has already agreed a contract at Atletico and will leave Barcelona as a free agent as RAC 1 claim he will tear up his contract which still has one year left on it.

New Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has told Suarez he was not part of his plans and was free to move on. That decision was said to be one of the big reasons why Lionel Messi wanted to leave Barcelona, as he is close friends with Suarez.

Suarez, 33, suffered with injuries last season but since he left Liverpool in the summer of 2014 he’s been a star at the Nou Camp, scoring 198 goals in 283 games in all competitions for Barcelona.

Per the report, Suarez’s arrival means that Alvaro Morata will be free to depart Atletico Madrid as his former club Juventus want to sign the Spanish international. Suarez had been linked with a move to Juventus but that is now not happening as Suarez would have had a delay in obtaining an Italian passport to make the move easier.

Will Suarez be a hit at Atletico? Well, they have a habit of squeezing extra juice out of star veteran strikers. See: Forlan, Diego. Villa, David. Costa, Diego.

Suarez working for Simeone is perfect. He may not start every game, but he will probably share the workload with Diego Costa and could partner him too. Imagine those two up top together?

With Inter Miami CF going for Gonzalo Higuain as their final DP and Edinson Cavani still a free agent, there are plenty of ageing superstar strikers out there but Suarez is the best one available. If he can regain full fitness then you can expect him to score 20-25 goals in La Liga this season.

El Cholo and El Pistolero firing Atletico Madrid past Real Madrid and Barcelona is a very real possibility, and I’m here for it. Grab your popcorn, folks.

Leyton Orient announce COVID-19 positives, stadium closure before Tottenham game

Leyton Orient
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Leyton Orient have issued a statement after multiple first team players tested positive for COVID-19 and they’ve been forced to shut their training ground and stadium just one day before they were due to host Premier League giants Tottenham.

The fourth-tier club were due to play Tottenham in the League Cup third round on Tuesday but that game is now in severe doubt and the east London club (located 11 miles from Tottenham’s home stadium) said they will be announcing more details in due course about what will happen.

Here is the Leyton Orient statement in full about their current situation:

“Following our game on Saturday 19th September, COVID-19 testing was conducted on all of our first team playing squad. Today (Monday 21st) we received formal confirmation which shows that a number of our first-team squad have tested positive for COVID-19. We have informed the EFL and Tottenham Hotspur and will make a further announcement regarding Tuesday’s match shortly.

“We have also informed Mansfield Town, Plymouth Argyle and Oldham Athletic, our three most recent opponents, prior to the public release of this information. Leyton Orient’s priority is the health and well-being of its players and staff. Those who have tested positive will now strictly follow government self-isolation guidelines. The Breyer Group Stadium and training ground facilities will be closed until further notice. At this time, the club will make no further comment.”

The problem here is that Tottenham don’t have any other available dates to play this game.

With their Premier League and UEFA Europa League qualifying commitments, Tottenham are already stretched to the limits and this game at Leyton Orient is one of four games in seven days for Jose Mourinho’s side.

The rules also state that if a team cannot fulfil the fixture due to COVID-19 positive tests, they will have to forfeit and Tottenham will move on. Leyton Orient are a small team who Harry Kane, a former loanee, has helped raised money for and there’s a very good relationship between the two clubs. This game was also due to be broadcast on TV in the UK and would have helped Leyton Orient out financially at a time when fans still aren’t allowed into stadiums in large numbers. These positive tests have now put all of that in doubt.

Lower league teams will run into similar issues like this when it comes to the FA Cup too, as testing is less prevalent and regulated lower down the professional pyramid in England. EFL clubs are only mandated to test their players during every international break and have stopped testing players twice a week. That has led to Premier League clubs paying for their lower-league League Cup opponents to be tested before games. In this case, multiple Leyton Orient players have tested positive.

Mourinho: Bale could return from injury quicker due to desire

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Bale injury update: So, Tottenham fans would be hoping that a Gareth Bale injury update wouldn’t be coming soon but he is nursing a knee injury he picked up on international duty earlier this month.

Judging by their 5-2 win at Southampton on Sunday, Tottenham will be just fine in attack without the Welsh star they’ve signed on loan from Real Madrid for the 2019-20 season. There is no reason for him to rush back, especially considering his recent history with injuries.

That said, Mourinho is hopeful that Bale can return from injury quicker due to that trust remedy: desire.

“I don’t know when Gareth can be back,” Mourinho said on a Bale injury update. “The only thing that I know is that the motivation is high, he is so happy to be with a club of his heart, he is so happy to play for us and when a player has this motivation, many, many times you can shorten the period of recovering and shorten the period of getting fit and ready to play and we want to help him. So when he is available to train with the team, we are more than happy to have him and to be back to a level that [is] maybe one of the best players in the world.”

This is textbook Mourinho.

It has been noted many, many times that he hates players missing games due to injury and is less than sympathetic when someone is in the treatment room.

This seems like a challenge to Bale, 31, to prove just how much he wants to be back at Tottenham after spending the last seven seasons at Real Madrid. ‘Oh, you want to be back here? Prove it. Patch yourself up and be ready for next week.’ That will definitely probably be Mourinho’s chat with Bale next week.

There is no reason to risk Bale right now but when he is fit, having him play alongside Harry Kane and Heung-min Son in attack is a mouthwatering prospect for Mourinho and Tottenham. Their counterattacking prowess was clear for all to see in the second half at Southampton on Sunday and a fired up and fit Bale will add a lot to this attack.

Hurry up and get that dose of desire rubbed onto your knee, Gareth…

Leicester impressive again in 4-2 win over Burnley

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Leicester – Burnley saw Leicester City flex a bit of muscle en route to a mostly comfortable, yet somewhat thrilling, 4-2 victory at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.

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Harvey Barnes, Dennis Praet and James Justin scored the goals for Leicester, plus an own goal from Erik Pieters, as Brendan Rodgers’ side made it two wins from two games to start their 2020-21 Premier League campaign.


3 things we learned: Leicester – Burnley

1. Leicester back for another crack at top-four: It’s only two games, admittedly, but Leicester have the look of a side out to prove that their late-season collapse, which saw them fall from third to fifth in the final five games of the 2019-20 season, was very much an aberration. Rodgers’ men hardly ever looked worried as they cruised to a win against last season’s 10th-place finishers.

2. Foxes firepower: Leicester managed to score four goals without a single one of them coming from Jamie Vardy, who bagged 23 last season. James Maddison only made his return from injury on Sunday as well, lending credence to the notion this is far from a one-man team as has, to a degree, been an issue in the past. They might not actually finish inside the top-four this season, but they have the look of a side with plenty of staying power.

3. Burnley crying out for reinforcements: Sean Dyche had some rather critical thoughts about Burnley’s ongoing inability — or, perhaps, refusal — to move in a more timely manner to sign new players and improve the squad. Until such a change occurs, Dyche’s words are probably worth revisiting regularly.


Wood got the scoring started in Leicester – Burnley after just 10 minutes, with equal parts brute force and delicate touch. Charlie Taylor floated a cross to the back post, where Wood was waiting and battling for positioning with a defender. He managed to create a half-yard of space to allow for chest control and a quick, but difficult, finish from the corner of the six-yard box.

Jamie Vardy was instrumental in Leicester’s equalizer 10 minutes later, though hardly the typical manner in which he contributes to goals scored. Vardy latched onto a forward ball in an attempt to split the center backs, but was ultimately forced wide and to hold the ball up. He cut it back to Castagne, who played it on to Barnes for the far-post finish.

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Leicester’s second goal was more a product on constant pressure than exquisite, incisive chance creation, but the ball hitting the back of the net counts all the same. Castagne overlapped down the right flank and hit a cross for Vardy as he streaked past the penalty spot. Erik Pieters wasn’t tight enough to Castagne to deny the cross, only to redirect it past the wrong-footed Nick Pope.

The Foxes’ third goal, however, was the result of a free-flowing attack involving a handful of blue shirts along the way. It ended with Ayoze Perez playing the ball across the penalty area and left back James Justin slotting home for his first PL goal in the 61st minute.

It was Justin who was beaten by Jimmy Dunne as he rose highest to bag a goal on his PL debut 12 minutes later, giving Burnley a brief glimmer of hope. 

It didn’t last long, though, as Dennis Praet bagged a stunning fourth goal for Leicester in the 79th minute. Barnes picked up the assist to go with his earlier goal, but it was Praet’s powerful finish that will get all of the headlines, and deservedly so.

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