Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 4

Leave a comment

Everyone knows you can look at the table to see where clubs stand in a given season, but we do power rankings because we like to have fun with our beloved games and aren’t a wet paper towel on the shoe of sports.

A few grains of salt — or 300 — are always recommended when dealing with power rankings, and our Premier League club power rankings are intended to be a show of how the clubs look in both form and forecast at a moment in time.

[ MORE: No more away goals rule? ]

20. West Ham United — This is a bit ceremonial, as West Ham United is too talented to finish this low on the table or, probably, even in the Bottom Three. But right now, the Irons are 0-4 and have found unusual ways to lose games (WYD, Carlos Sanchez?!?). Manuel Pellegrini is reportedly safe, which is wise.
Last week: 18
Season high: 17
Season low: 20

19. Cardiff City — Plenty of spunk from Neil Warnock‘s men this week and a pair of goals against Arsenal, but there are so many questions regarding how the Bluebirds will stack up when they need … that … goal. Two total shots on target both producing goals won’t happen every week.
Last week: 19
Season high: 19
Season low: 20

18. Huddersfield Town — The gutsy draw against Everton is a step in the right direction, but there’s still so little danger coming out of David Wagner‘s Terriers.
Last week: 19
Season high: 18
Season low: 20

17. Newcastle United — Rafa Benitez‘s men probably would’ve been justified with a point against either Chelsea or Man City, but one-goal losses limited plenty of damage. If they can escape this awful run to start the season by getting a point against Arsenal, life will feel better.
Last week: 16
Season high: 13
Season low: 17

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

16. Burnley — The excuses are over now that Europa League congestion has finished for the season, and Burnley’s lack of threat against 10-man Manchester United was a real cry for help.
Last week: 15
Season high: 15
Season low: 16

15. Crystal Palace — Wilfried Zaha was out last week, so Palace lost. It’s been that simple in the last 10 matches without the Ivorian, and three losses in four is moving toward alarm.
Last week: 13
Season high: 6
Season low: 13

14. Fulham — The Cottagers need to settle into a groove and find consistency in defense, but my goodness are they a fun team to watch.
Last week: 12
Season high: 11
Season low: 17

13. Southampton — Danny Ings‘ return to regular playing time and the score sheet is one of the solid early stories of the season.
Last week: 17
Season high: 13
Season low: 17

12. Bournemouth — Weren’t poor against Chelsea in a 2-0 loss, and will get a true litmus test after the international break when Leicester City visits the Vitality Stadium.
Last week: 10
Season high: 10
Season low: 12

11. Brighton and Hove Albion — Chris Hughton‘s men came back from a late 2-0 deficit thanks to wily Glenn Murray‘s two goals in 17 minutes. The Gulls have looked decent after an Opening Day stumble.
Last week: 9
Season high: 9
Season low: 19

10. Leicester City — Probably deserved a point against Liverpool, but paid for allowing Roberto Firmino to double the Reds advantage just before halftime of a 2-1 loss.
Last week: 8
Season high: 8
Season low: 11

9. Manchester United — A convincing win against Burnley with style in spades.
Last week: 14
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

8. Wolves — Ruben Neves is a star, and his turning over of Carlos Sanchez to cue the stoppage time goal that beat West Ham was a moment that showed his complete repertoire.
Last week: 11
Season high: 8
Season low: 13

(Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

7. Arsenal — A visit to Newcastle could provide three wins in-a-row for Unai Emery after his 0-2 start as Arsenal boss.
Last week: 7
Season high: 7
Season low: 9

6. Everton — Still unbeaten, but the 1-1 draw against Huddersfield Town leaves the Toffees with no one to blame but themselves.
Last week: 5
Season high: 5
Season low: 8

5. Spurs — Watford is going really well, but Sunday’s loss to the Hornets felt a whole lot more like a Spurs loss we’ve seen five times a year for three seasons.
Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 5

4. Watford — Give manager Javi Gracia his due — and Abdoulaye Doucoure, too — Watford looks very much like a Top Seven contender in opening the season 4-0. A visit from Manchester United is next.
Last week: 5
Season high: 4
Season low: 7

3. Chelsea — Enjoying a down run on the fixture list ahead of a circled Sept. 29 date against Liverpool.
Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 4

2. Man City — Handled Newcastle without Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane (what’s going on there?) but need to find their finishing boots with only one more match to go before Liverpool.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 2

1. Liverpool — Chelsea (Sept. 29) and Man City (Oct. 7) in back-to-back weeks will give us a true reading on whether the Reds are simply skating on early season scheduling or a true threat to the throne, but Spurs are first and just as dangerous.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 2

Carlos Vela scored a celestial goal. We are blessed to have seen it

Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Carlos Vela is making all other spectacular individual MLS seasons look run of the mill.

I mean, look at the gumption on this guy.

[ VIDEO: Rooney sent off, Kamara scores golazo ]

The Cancun-born playmaker left the San Jose Earthquakes back line on the beach with a soft shoe routine to give LAFC its third goal in a 4-0 win on Thursday

Vela, 30, now has 25 goals and 11 assists in 25 league matches for LAFC this season. He added two goals and an assist in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play.

But this one, yeah, this one takes the cake.

First, there’s Vela’s non-chalant dummy before picking up the pass.

Then, there’s Florian Jungwirth’s body language during and after his being cooked with a nutmeg. That’s an entire mood.

Next, Vela dribbles around the keeper and allows a slide tackler so glide past him before finishing with aplomb, the magic touch his going near post as if to say, “Can I beat this guy a second time, or do I have to use the easier route?”

Diego Rossi also had a goal and an assist, while Mark-Anthony Kaye continued his strong season with an assist to ex-Fiorentina prospect Joshua Perez. It’s a first MLS goal for the California-born Perez, now 21.

WATCH: Rooney sees red for forearm shiver, Kamara scores golazo

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
Leave a comment

Midweek MLS provided plenty to talk about on Wednesday, with two red cards and a golazo in one match alone.

The two main talking points from the New York Red Bulls’ 2-1 win over DC United weren’t really part of what led the victors to three points.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

How? Well, one of the world’s marquee names earned a red card via VAR and a returning star scores an absolute stunner, that’s how.

Here’s Ola Kamara’s debut marker for the Black-and-Red, adding to a record which included 49 goals in 97 matches between Columbus and the LA Galaxy before moving to the Chinese Super League for a wildly disappointing time with Shenzhen FC.

All of that is forgotten.

As for the Rooney incident, the Red Bulls already led 1-0 when DC’s star striker went forearm shiver on Cristian Casseres Jr.

It’s the second red of the season for Rooney, who is set for Derby County in January.

Amro Tarek was later sent off for the Red Bulls, who moved ahead of DC in the standings. Kaku and Daniel Royer had RBNY’s goals.

Newcastle takeover could be back on if in holiday relegation battle

Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images
Leave a comment

How much do Newcastle United supporters dislike their owner Mike Ashley right now?

Enough that this report is likely to condemn many to hoping their favorite club in the world is in the Bottom 3 come Christmas.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

The Chronicle’s Mark Douglas speculates that Ashley will lower his asking price for the club if it is in a relegation fight come December — something that looks certain after the Steve Bruce-led Magpies got bossed around by promoted Norwich City.

Nothing But Newcastle transcribed Douglas’ chatter from his podcast, in which he says,

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we hear more in December because there are still people sniffing around that football club and if the team are in the bottom three, there’ll be people thinking they can get a bargain out of Mike Ashley again. … He will probably more open to listening to lower offers in January and December which is what happened last December. He was basically saying ‘take it off my hands, you now have to take the risk’'”

This is notable for two reasons. First: the social experiment of wondering how many fans could see themselves rooting for their team to take a major and perilous back step just to see the back of a man they perceive is at the root of their failures (and that perception is widespread in this case).

But second, we can see if this rumor comes true because it’s difficult to imagine Newcastle as comfortably mid table by Christmas.

Fan protests and anger are nothing new, but here’s an effort to show how wobbly Ashley’s reputation is on Tyneside: Fans have taken to selling a black and white striped shirt with player name and number but no sponsor just so they can have a Newcastle jersey that doesn’t put money into Ashley’s pockets. And this is after he broke the club’s transfer record twice in one year.

If we’ve learned anything from the past few seasons, though, it’s that boycotts and anger will spur Ashley into insisting that he’s willing to sell and just conveniently enough it will be before the January transfer window. He “won’t be able to buy any players” with the takeover in play, and talks will hit a wall come late January, when they’ll loan a couple young players from Top Six sides.

Yes he spent significant money on Joelinton, Allen Saint-Maximin, and others this summer, but one decent window doesn’t make a culture. Count us amongst the skeptical, for now.

Messi back in training, could be fit for Betis

Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images
Leave a comment

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Lionel Messi was back in full training again on Wednesday and may be fit to face Real Betis in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Messi had been training separately from the squad since injuring his right calf in the preseason.

He missed the team’s 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the league opener on Friday.

Barcelona has not said how long it expects Messi to be sidelined.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

Coach Ernesto Valverde is also dealing with injuries to forwards Luiz Suarez and Ousmane Dembele.

Dembele is certain to miss Sunday’s match at the Camp Nou because of a left thigh injury that should keep him out for about five weeks.

Suarez also isn’t likely to play this weekend because of a muscle injury sustained before halftime of Friday’s game in Bilbao.

Two-time defending champion Barcelona hadn’t loss a league opener in 10 seasons.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports