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Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 6

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Two teams in claret are leaping up our table as the Premier League eyes up a tasty weekend with matches at both ends of the table.

[ MORE: League Cup wrap ]

Chelsea will host Liverpool in a bid to knock off the Reds for a second time in four days, while Cardiff City hopes Burnley will be waylaid by a shock loss to Burton Albion in the League Cup.

To the rankings!

20. Huddersfield Town — Both Cardiff and Huddersfield will be looking for each other on the schedule, only to realize that’s where both acquired one of their measly two points.
Last week: 18
Season high: 18
Season low: 20

19. Cardiff City — Neil Warnock‘s Bluebirds get to sit above Huddersfield on account of their last three matches, all losses, coming against Arsenal, Chelsea, and Man City.
Last week: 19
Season high: 19
Season low: 20

18. Newcastle United — Celebrated the end of a tough early season run of fixtures by nearly losing to Palace and scrambling to find any notion of offense in the scoreless draw. Rafa Benitez clearly has little trust for his strikers.
Last week: 17
Season high: 13
Season low: 18

17. Burnley — Celebrate! The Clarets absolutely crushed Bournemouth at Turf Moor to ring in some good times and climb out of our, and the real table’s, Bottom Three.
Last week: 20
Season high: 15
Season low: 20

16. Southampton — Not being able to use Danny Ings against his parent club had three points in Liverpool’s side of the board before the match began at Anfield.
Last week: 14
Season high: 13
Season low: 17

15. Fulham — The Cottagers only loss in four matches was against Man City. The question is whether Fulham has enough defense to limit goals. The club has not kept a clean sheet and has only allowed one goal on one occasion.
Last week: 15
Season high: 11
Season low: 17

14. Brighton and Hove Albion — A rainy visit from Spurs ended 2-1 in favor of Tottenham, but there was reason to believe the Seagulls could’ve managed a third successive 2-2 draw.
Last week: 12
Season high: 9
Season low: 19

13. Everton — Having Richarlison back in encouraging, but not much else about the 2-0 loss at Arsenal is giving us hope about Everton rising too high up the table.
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 11

12. Crystal Palace — Mamadou Sakho‘s missed sitter at the back post is going to be one of the things we look back on if Palace fails to finish top half.
Last week: 11
Season high: 6
Season low: 13

11. West Ham United — We know this is a terrific jump for a club who lost its first four matches of the season, but Manuel Pellegrini‘s side was always too talented and too high-powered to be a Bottom Three candidate.
Last week: 16
Season high: 16
Season low: 20

(Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

10. Leicester City — If Claude Puel‘s men are for real, they’ll do a job against Newcastle United this week.
Last week: 13
Season high: 8
Season low: 13

9. Bournemouth — A mighty shot back to Earth for the Cherries, though admittedly the 4-0 loss at Burnley wasn’t reflective of their performance.
Last week: 6
Season high: 6
Season low: 12

8. Watford — Fourth in the table, but failing to get more than a point at home to Fulham has the feel of sheep in wolves’ clothing (or at least less vicious dogs in wolves’ clothing).
Last week: 5
Season high: 4
Season low: 8

7. Manchester United — If the off-field subplots weren’t running so rampant, the draw against Wolves would be easily forgiven. Instead, they’ve run into a League Cup upset at the hands of Derby County. Beware the match-up with West Ham early Saturday (Watch live at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Last week: 7
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

6. Tottenham Hotspur — The win against Brighton failed to inspire, but Erik Lamela is rounding into form. Dele Alli‘s midweek League Cup goal could be the jolt his season needed at Stadium MK.
Last week: 8
Season high: 3
Season low: 8

5. Wolves — Fun to watch, and have drawn both Manchester clubs (including United away). Nuno Espirito Santo‘s on hallowed ground.
Last week: 8
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Joao Moutinho (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

4. Arsenal — Winners of four-straight in league play, a defeat of Watford at the weekend would show signs of true contention.
Last week: 4
Season high: 4
Season low: 9

3. Chelsea — The draw against West Ham was unlucky, but Maurizio Sarri‘s men will be serious title fighters if either Olivier Giroud or Alvaro Morata can find their in-form finishing boots.
Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 4

2. Manchester City — Just another ho-hum 5-0 win. Avoiding a slip-up at Brighton in a classic trap game before trips to Hoffenheim and Liverpool will be paramount to their title hopes.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 2

  1. Liverpool — The perfect season was lost in a home defeat to Chelsea at midweek. Now can they flip the script when the same two teams switch venues and put all their stars on show in London on Saturday?
    Last week: 1
    Season high: 1
    Season low: 2

Pogba reportedly ready to leave Man Utd; But where would he go?

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Paul Pogba doesn’t intend to be long for Manchester United, according to a report from L’Equipe.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s best player has reportedly told some teammates that he plans to leave the Old Trafford this summer, three years removed from his spectacular return from Juventus.

[ MORE: Solskjaer, Pep trade jabs ]

Rumors of a connection with Real Madrid have persisted, and Pep Guardiola was asked earlier Tuesday about an offer extended the way of Man City (Guardiola vehemently denied it).

Perhaps United does want to move on from the 26-year-old. We’ll play along. Here are a few sensational moves that could make some sense for both player and United.

Real Madrid: Remember 2009? That’s when an aging Real Madrid lost La Liga to Barcelona by nine points, led in scoring by Raul (aged 32), Ruud van Nistelrooy (32), and Gonzalo Higuain (21). They turned to Manchester United for a splashy buy of Cristiano Ronaldo, assuming he had higher levels to reach in his career.

Equating Pogba to one of the greatest players of all-time is silly at this stage, but Real will make some massive splashes this summer (perhaps Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, and Pogba?). Imagine that trio combining with a healthy Vinicius Junior.

Real could part ways with Raphael Varane, who seems to want to taste the Premier League, and maybe Gareth Bale could also return to the league.

PSG: You though Alexis Sanchez for Henrikh Mkhitaryan was a sexy swap?The fun of such deals continues with one for the ages. Heading to Paris would be French World Cup hero Pogba. Going to United: former rumor mill darling Neymar. To borrow a phrase from Twitter trade prognosticators: Who says no?

Juventus: Given the way teams in Italy tend to extend stars vitality and careers, Pogba’s essentially a baby by their standards. Cristiano Ronaldo has committed to The Old Lady and the club’s fan base is essentially yawning at scudetti. Pogba could form an incredible midfield under Ronaldo, teaming with Miralem Pjanic and Emre Can. The challenge here is the sum of money Juve would have to unload for Pogba, presuming it doesn’t part ways with Paulo Dybala (though Moise Kean is ready for prime time).

Promoter sues USSF over proposed Ecuador match in Florida

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NEW YORK (AP) A promoter has sued the U.S. Soccer Federation, asking a court to order the governing body to sanction an Ecuador league match in Florida.

Relevent Sports filed suit Monday in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, alleging the USSF illegally denied its application to have Ecuador’s Barcelona and Guayaquil clubs play on May 5 at Miami Gardens, Florida.

[ MORE: Manchester Derby preview ]

The lawsuit quotes USSF policy as stating the governing body’s secretary general “shall grant such sanction unless it is decided by clear and convincing evidence that holding or sponsoring the international soccer competition would be detrimental to the best interest of the sport.”

In a letter sent Monday to Relevent, USSF chief legal officer Lydia Wahlke wrote FIFA “remains opposed to playing official league matches outside the territory of the member association(s) to which the relevant league belongs.”

The USSF issued a statement Tuesday saying it treated the request as a normal application and it asked Ecuador and South American soccer’s governing body about the proposal and never heard back. The USSF pointed out Relevent sued even before the USSF denied the application.

Relevent attempted to stage the first Spanish La Liga match in the U.S., between Barcelona and Girona, at Miami Gardens on Jan. 26. That effort fell through following opposition from the governing body of Spanish soccer, the Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol, and the players’ union, the Asociacion de Futbolistas Espanoles.

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

Eintracht director: Real will probably get Jovic if they want him

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Eintracht Frankfurt director Fredi Bobic is worried he has little hope of keeping his 21-year-old star striker if Real Madrid really wants him.

Luka Jovic is scoring goal after goal in the Bundesliga and Europa League, the Serbian’s loan from Benfica made permanent by a paltry $8 million exercised in April.

[ MORE: Solskjaer, Pep trade jabs ]

He has 25 goals and seven assists across all competitions, scoring against Inter Milan, Benfica, Marseille, Lazio, Inter Milan, and Borussia Dortmund. He also bagged five goals against Fortuna Dusseldorf, which is pretty good.

So the links to Real Madrid make sense, especially with Zinedine Zidane in search of the next Karim Benzema. Here’s Bobic, from Marca:

“I hope and want him to stay here at Eintracht, but I’m also realistic and know that if a big club like Real Madrid want him then we haven’t got a chance of keeping him.”

The quotes come on the same day that Bayern Munich’s interest in the striker was reportedly mooted, and certainly Eintracht would rather sell to a La Liga club than the Bundesliga stalwarts.

Chelsea fans will get an up-close look at Jovic in the Europa League semifinals early next month. Will the Blues, or anyone else, proffer the sort of money that would allow them to rival Real for Jovic’s affection?

PL Preview: Manchester Derby, Wolves-Arsenal

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All Premier League clubs will have played 35 matches this season following the conclusion of two beautiful Wednesday outings in England.

[ MORE: Watford draws Saints ]


Manchester United v. Manchester City — 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer poked the bear, and got a response.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Manchester Derby at Old Trafford, Solskjaer claimed Man City “will snap at your ankles and heels and kick you” upon giving up the ball to opponents ready to counterattack.

City boss Pep Guardiola was not pleased with the comments. From The Manchester Evening News:

“I don’t like it. I don’t like it. No. My team is not built to think and create for that, not at all,” he said, later adding, “Maybe tomorrow in the press conference after the game you can ask him again about that.”

Solskjaer is hoping he won’t spend a second successive post-match ruminating over a grievous loss, as he did following a 4-0 beatdown from Everton on Sunday.

And if responding to its UEFA Champions League exit with a Saturday win over Tottenham Hotspur was satisfying for Guardiola, imagine how revved up he’ll be to reclaim hold on the Premier League crown while completing a season sweep of its local rivals for the first time since 2013-14.

City beat United 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium earlier this season, and is looking to avoid its first league loss at Old Trafford in four tries.

Wolves v. Arsenal — 2:45 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold [ STREAM ]

Unai Emery‘s Arsenal heads to the Molineux Stadium hoping its away support is better than the perceived harsh treatment handed to his Gunners in a 3-2 home loss to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

“I say to our supporters, ‘Help our players.’ Because I want every player to have big confidence,” Emery said. “I know there are reactions, and the first reaction is strong. First, when we win they are telling us we are the best, we have a record, we have a possibility to be third in the table – that is good.”

Arsenal would move into the Top Four with a win, but Nuno Espirito Santo‘s Wolves are fighting for a place in Europe themselves. That’s true on two fronts, though it must be said they could have sewn up seventh place with better play in recent weeks.

Wolves have claimed just five of their last 15 available points, including a draw with Brighton and losses to Burnley and Southampton. Even one more win would have them seventh heading into Tuesday.

“There’s no reference to the table, the reference is to grow, to improve game by game,” said Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo. “Every game is a chance to improve. We have a fantastic opportunity to become a better team, trying new things, but at the same time trying to make players grow on the idea that we want regarding the future. This is what we focus on until the end, there’s no thinking about the summer or next season, it’s a game by game process.”