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2015-16 Premier League Power Rankings, Vol. II: Manchester-heavy top of the pops

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We haven’t checked in with the Premier League Power Rankings since Aug. 26, and plenty has changed.

What hasn’t changed, though, is that Chelsea is still shockingly low while Claudio Ranieiri’s Leicester City Foxes continue to defy the odds.

[ Archive: Premier League Power Rankings ]

Looking forward, it’ll be late October before we see teams No. 1 and 2 in the new rankings meet… and we expect both sides will remain at or near the top of the table.

Let’s stop yammering, and start ranking. As is the case with MLS, we won’t do these every week in order to limit overreactions from a single result.

source: 1 Manchester City: The Citizens stay atop the charts despite their loss to West Ham United, due mostly to their spate of injuries on the back end. Perhaps West Ham doesn’t find its advantage without City playing midweek in the Champions League and Kompany, Clichy and Zabaleta available.
source: 2 UP 1 Manchester United: Anthony Martial continues to look legit, snaring Premier League Player of the Week honors after helping to slip United past Southampton. Now can their European fortunes improve? Or League Cup?
source: 3  UP 1 Leicester City: The Foxes continue to show their mettle. Still feels a little high for Leicester, which has yet to face a true Top 4 test.
source: 4 UP 2 Arsenal: Cheated pretty harshly in the Chelsea defeat, and still nearly found a point out of it. Yeah, Gabriel Paulista needs to be smarter and Arsene Wenger should’ve bought a striker, but the Gunners are okay (though Wenger’s criticism of the Martial deal could start to look silly. Who has the Monaco connection again?). By the way, Gabriel is really good, too.
source: 5 UP 12 West Ham United: Big Sam Allardyce seems to disagree, but Slaven Bilic’s side is thriving despite the absence of Enner Valencia and the health struggles of Andy Carroll. If they can get to January in good enough shape to viably add to their back line? Look out.
source: 6 UP 2 Everton: A horrific slate of fixtures to start the season has been well-navigated, but isn’t over. After brief relief with West Brom, the Toffees get Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal.
source: 7 DOWN 2 Swansea City: If Garry Monk‘s side can stop playing down to its opponents on occasion, it can live up to its Top Six aims. Must make sure the Watford loss is the exception, not the rule.
source: 8 UP 4 Tottenham Hotspur: After a tough bunch of matches to start the year, Spurs have won a pair and are unbeaten in five. Good to see Son get a hot start, and give Harry Kane some help.
source: 9 Crystal Palace: Back-to-back losses to Spurs and Man City show “Pardiola” has a ways to go, but there’s no doubting they are carrying over the mid-table form from the second half of last season.
source: 10 UP 4 Watford: Quique Flores’ club rarely looks rattled. Back-to-back wins come after their sole loss this season, which was to mighty Man City.
source: 11 DOWN 4 Chelsea: The Diego Costa antics and Doctor Caneiro treatment make us want to drop the struggling Blues a bit lower, but Kurt Zouma, Nemanja Matic and Eden Hazard make us feel good about their future.
source: 12 UP 1 Southampton: Having a maddening time keeping up with their congested schedule, but we have a hard time dropping Saints too low at this point.
source: 13 DOWN 3 Stoke City: Yes, they have just three points, but their run deals with a difficult bunch of opponents and some bizarre obstacles — like nearly snatching a draw from a 9-man battle against 11-man West Brom — and leaves us far from a freak-out.
14 UP 1 Norwich City: The Liverpool draw gives the Canaries hope, but it’s not like the Reds are flying right now. Carrow Road can feel better about its chances with a win over someone not named Bournemouth or Sunderland.
source: 15 UP 1 Bournemouth: Seven points from 10 matches have the Cherries feeling better than their season’s open. Can they string together more points and move up?
16 UP 3 West Bromwich Albion: Nice to see Saido Berahino producing, but their three-match unbeaten streak feels a bit wonky. Let’s see some more points before we move the Baggies any higher.
source: 17 DOWN 15 Liverpool:  Just awful to watch. Nice to see Danny Ings on the scoresheet, but Brendan Rodgers needs to be getting more points from a very talented lineup (even with Christian Benteke injured). Bad form, Reds. Is the planned anti-Rodgers, pro-Klopp protest from the fans worse?
source: 18 DOWN 7 Newcastle United: Only bailed out by a toughish batch of matches and insipid play by the clubs below them.
source: 19 DOWN 1 Aston Villa:  Tactics Tim has four points — three from Bournemouth and one from Sunderland. How tactical.
source: 20 Sunderland: There are no words.

Daniel Levy calls for all players, clubs to cut wages

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Tottenham chairman has called for Premier League players and staff to take wage cuts to help clubs cope with the suspension during the coronavirus pandemic.

Levy revealed 550 off-pitch staff at Tottenham have taken pay cuts as he pointed to the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich as their players and officials had taken wage cuts in order to make sure every individual at the club was paid and costs did not spiral out of control during the suspension of leagues.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Levy confirmed that the “club’s operations have effectively ceased” and “has an annual cost base running into hundreds of millions of pounds” before adding that clubs and players should do their part as clubs, leagues and players’ unions meet on Wednesday in England to work out a way forward.

“We hope the current discussions between the Premier League, PFA and LMA will result in players and coaches doing their bit for the football eco system,” Levy said.

Tottenham’s chairman also explained exactly what Spurs are doing to help them deal with the new financial reality all soccer clubs are facing, as the UK government is paying 80 percent of wages of staff who have been furloughed (basically told they still have a job but aren’t needed right now) by their employers.

“We have seen some of the biggest clubs in the world such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus take steps to reduce their costs. Yesterday, having already taken steps to reduce costs, we ourselves made the difficult decision – in order to protect jobs – to reduce the remuneration of all 550 non-playing directors and employees for April and May by 20 per cent utilising, where appropriate, the Government’s furlough scheme. We shall continue to review this position,” Levy added.

Soccer will of course have to adjust to its new reality and the longer the suspension goes on, tougher decisions will have to be made about players and staff taking significant pay cuts to help keep costs down with no matchday revenue coming in. Tottenham’s stadium is being used to help prepare food for vulnerable people in the local and it has been offered to the NHS to be used any way it can help.

Plenty of clubs across the Premier League have vowed to pay temporary staff used on matchdays but many are making use of government help with wages and many are doing plenty for their local communities too. These are unprecedented times and players and clubs are stepping up to make sure the most vulnerable are looked after.

Benzema: ‘I’m F1’ quality compared to ‘go-kart’ Giroud

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It would appear that Karim Benzema lives for exactly two things in life: scoring goals and creating/participating in very public drama.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Benzema, who hasn’t feature for France’s national team since he was allegedly involved in a scandal to blackmail teammate Mathieu Valbuena with a sex tape in 2015, slammed compatriot forward Olivier Giroud as the “go-karting” alternative to his own “F1” quality.

His main gripe with Giroud doesn’t appear to actually be with the player himself, but the fact the two get compared to one another so frequently. In Benzema’s absence from Les Bleus, Giroud has been the main beneficiary, leading many to wonder if the team could have reached greater heights with Benzmea in the team instead — quotes from Sky Sports:

“You shouldn’t confuse F1 and go karting and that’s me being kind. On to the next topic. I’m not talking about him [Giroud] anymore. I just know that I’m F1.

“He has his career, he does what he wants and scores the goals that he wants to score. He’s in his corner and I’m in mine, I’m not thinking about him. If we’re talking about playing style, his suits France well.

“It’s good because there are fast players like (Kylian) Mbappe and (Antoine) Griezmann who play out wide or feed off the centre-forward. When Giroud is up front, he’s a handful for defenses, which gives the other two plenty of space to show what they can do.

“He occupies defenders and it works. It might not be brilliant to watch and you won’t say, ‘Wow, that was incredible.’ Does everyone like that style of play? I don’t know, but it suits France well.”

Giroud: 39 goals (third-highest) in 97 appearances for France. Benzema: 27 goals in 81 appearances.

Guardiola: ‘We will come back stronger, kinder … and a bit fatter’

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Through all of the innumerable challenges and tragedies the world is currently facing during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is doing his best to not only help the fight back in his native Spain, but also give everyone a chance to smile and laugh at their own expense.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Guardiola, who last week donated $1.1 million to fight the virus in Catalonia, released a video message of encouragement and hope on Monday — encouraging everyone to stay inside, and hopeful of returning to a sense of normalcy in short order:

“We miss football. We miss the life that we had a few days ago but now is the time to listen, to follow our scientists, doctors and nurses.

“You are my football family and we are going to do everything possible to make you feel better. We’ll come back from this stronger, better, kinder … and a little bit fatter. Stay inside, stay safe.”

Germany’s UCL clubs pledge support for cash-strapped clubs

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DUSSELDORF, Germany — Four German soccer clubs have pledged a combined $21.9 million to support other teams struggling to stay afloat after games in the country were suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen will forgo $13.7 million in as-yet undistributed TV money and add another $8.2 million from their own funds. All four clubs played in the Champions League this season, giving them extra income.

The German Football League, which oversees the top two divisions, will decide how the money is distributed. The league has previously said it fears many clubs could face financial collapse if games can’t resume.

“In these difficult times, it’s important that the stronger shoulders support the weaker shoulders,” Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on Thursday.

It’s the latest in a string of gestures to help those in need in German soccer. Players at clubs including Bayern, Borussia Monchengladbach and second-tier Karlsruhe have agreed to voluntary pay cuts to help other staff.

[ MORE: Tottenham offer stadium to help with coronavirus effort ]

Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said clubs had a responsibility to keep other teams running in what could be a long period without income from ticket sales and sponsors.

“We have always said that we would show solidarity if clubs, through no fault of their own, should run into difficulties that they can no longer overcome themselves,” Watzke said in a statement.

“BVB is currently having a major impact on society through a wide range of initiatives. And naturally we are prepared to help out other professional football clubs if it is ultimately a matter of cushioning the financial effects of the pandemic.”