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Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 12

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We told you this weekend could provide big tumult in the power rankings, as several clubs in close proximity tangled in the Premier League, and the matches delivered in a big way.

[ ARCHIVE: Premier League club power rankings ]


20. Fulham — Much better against Liverpool than recent opposition, but still on pace to break the Premier League record for goals allowed.
Last week: 20
Season high: 11
Season low: 20

19. Huddersfield Town — A nice point against West Ham, but it’s difficult to look at the match and think the Terriers would’ve managed a point from performances of that ilk more than once in a great while.
Last week: 19
Season high: 18
Season low: 20

18. Burnley — Still capable of solid performances, but the attack looks like a relegation candidate more often than not.
Last week: 15
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

17. Crystal Palace *New season low* — A victim of the schedule? Sure, but there’s little to like about the attack as even Wilfried Zaha appears shaken in confidence.
Last week: 14
Season high: 6
Season low: 17

Zaha (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

16. Cardiff City — Aided in a big way by Dale Stephens red card, but the Bluebirds are looking less and less like the automatic relegation team of early weeks.
Last week: 16
Season high: 16
Season low: 20

15. Southampton — Probably deserved all three points against Watford, but looking ready to take the next step despite a miserly start points-wise.
Last week: 17
Season high: 13
Season low: 17

14. Newcastle United — Rafa Benitez‘s men are the pound-for-pound defensive champions of the league. Only six teams have allowed fewer goals, and only one is lower than 7th on the table (Wolves, 11th).
Last week: 16
Season high: 13
Season low: 19

13. Brighton and Hove Albion — Two-straight losses following the 2-1 defeat at Cardiff, in what draws Bournemouth as the top disappointments of the week.
Last week: 10
Season high: 9
Season low: 19

12. West Ham — Manuel Pellegrini‘s men had to work hard to get a point from Huddersfield Town, and is hoping Samir Nasri can help fill the hole left by Andriy Yarmolenko‘s injury. A big ask?
Last week: 13
Season high: 9
Season low: 20

11. Watford — Hornets looking more and more like early over-performers. 
Last week: 12
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

10. Wolves — Gave Arsenal all it could handle, but fans should be demanding more from a club which thrives against big clubs but has not performed against several seemingly lesser sides.
Last week: 13
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Ruben Neves. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

9. Leicester City — To take four of six points with a trip to their owner’s funeral in Thailand sandwiched in between is a serious achievement.
Last week: 9
Season high: 7
Season low: 13

8. Bournemouth — Eddie Howe will be raging with his Cherries for their performance at Newcastle United, a lost chance to sit a point back of Arsenal.
Last week: 8
Season high: 6
Season low: 12

7. Manchester United — Count our own Joe Prince-Wright among those tired of the excuses for Jose Mourinho’s struggles at Old Trafford. The gulf between his men and Man City is huge.
Last week: 6
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

6. Everton — Two weeks to prepare for a visit from Cardiff, and then the away Merseyside Derby. If the Toffees manage a draw at Liverpool, it’s not unreasonable to think they should nab 10 from their next 12 points.
Last week: 7
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

5. Arsenal — Beat Everton in September, and that will keep the Gunners ahead of the impressive Toffees… for now.
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 9

4. Chelsea — Surely the draw vs. Everton is a case of a decent opponent and Europa League lag, but championship winners generally find a way to get the winner at home.
Last week: 3
Season high: 1
Season low: 5

3. Liverpool — It seems unrealistic to expect blowouts each week, but the Reds’ 2-0 win over a defensively-weak Fulham was tepid at best.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 4

2. Spurs *New season high*Despite injury and form problems for pretty much all of its biggest stars, Spurs sit three points back of second, are two rounds from the League Cup final, and aren’t dead in the Champions League. Yes, Spurs were by far second-best in a Sept. 15 home loss to the Reds, but it’s been two months.

Their next two league matches are home to Chelsea and away to Arsenal, so the heights could be brief, but what Spurs have done in the face of wild injuries is impressive.
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 8

1. Man City — For everyone mentioning the absence of Paul Pogba for United in the derby, City was missing Kevin De Bruyne. This team is hearkening back to Pep’s best Barcelona teams, without a Lionel Messi in the bunch.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 2

LAFC’s Adama Diomande voluntarily enters MLS’s health program

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Los Angeles FC forward Adama Diomande has entered Major League Soccer’s substance abuse and behavioral health program.

[ Premier League Previews: Leicester City v. Tottenham | Man City v. Watford ]

MLS announced Diomande’s voluntary decision Friday.

Diomande won’t play for LAFC at least until the program’s doctors complete their evaluation and he is cleared by program officials.

The 29-year-old Norwegian scorer has eight goals and seven assists in 25 appearances this season, including 15 starts. He has played a valuable complementary offensive role alongside MLS scoring leader Carlos Vela.

[ MORE: Report: Netherlands FA to meet with Sergiño Dest ]

Diomande is in his second MLS season after joining LAFC from Hull City. He also previously played under LAFC coach Bob Bradley in Norway.

LAFC (19-4-7) has clinched the Western Conference title, and it leads the overall MLS table by seven points despite a four-game winless streak.

Premier League Preview: Newcastle v. Brighton

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  • Early-season relegation battlers meet on Saturday
  • 18th-place Newcastle to host 16th-place Brighton
  • Brighton won at Newcastle, drew at home last season

Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion, a pair of Premier League sides with just two wins from the first five weeks of the season between them, will meet at St. James’ Park on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com) for what could prove to be a retrospective relegation six-pointer when May rolls around.

Each side replaced its manager — Steve Bruce for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle; Graham Potter for Chris Hughton at Bright — in the summer and neither of the new bosses has had a particularly enjoyable start to the 2019-20 campaign. Brighton won on the opening day of the season, but have taken just two points from the following four games. Newcastle lost their first two games, won their third, and have drawn and lost again since. It’s the kind of form that’ll see both sides stuck in the high-teens of the PL table if they don’t find their footing in the coming weeks.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

Things are particularly worrying for Newcastle, who didn’t they’d be without Benitez until the end of June and didn’t appoint Bruce until mid-July. Key players had already left the club and reinforcements for few and far between. Forward Joelinton joined for $50 million and is one of four players with a single goal scored thus far.

Last week was nearly fruitful for the Seagulls, until the conceded a stoppage-time equalizer and settle for a point at home against Burnley. Summer signing Neal Maupay bagged his second goal for Brighton earlier in the game, giving Potter a potential trump card over a handful of other relegation-threatened sides without a consistent goalscorer.

Injuries/suspensions

Newcastle: OUT – Matt Ritchie (ankle), Florian Lejeune (knee), Dwight Gayle (calf); QUESTIONABLE – DeAndre Yedlin (groin)

Brighton: OUT – Leandro Trossard (groin), Jose Izquierdo (knee), Ezequiel Schelotto (knee)


Projected lineups

Newcastle: Dubravka – Krafth, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Willems – Almiron, Hayden, Shelvey, Atsu – Joelinton

Brighton: Ryan – Duffy, Dunk, Webster – March, Stephens, Propper, Burn – Gross, Maupay, Murray


What they’re saying

Joelinton, on Andy Carroll: “It’s always great to have experienced players in the group, and he’s one of them. He can help the club, he can help the young players. Andy Carroll has scored a lot of goals in the Premier League, and it’s great to be playing alongside him. He’s a calm guy. I still haven’t spoken to him a lot because my English isn’t great! But every day he’s trying to help. He’ll help me before the games, he’ll give me positional advice and suggest what I’ve done both good and bad.”

Graham Potter, on the trip to Newcastle: “Newcastle away is a tough game just like all the others. We don’t target particular matches — it’s about what we need to do to get a positive result. They have an experienced manager who I came across last year and he’s someone I have a lot of respect for. They have good quality players and we know it can be a hostile environment, it’s a big club and we know we have to play well to get something.  Steve has a lot of games under his belt – he’s had a lot of success and he’ll understand the challenge that lies ahead.


Prediction

Newcastle haven’t scored multiple goals in a game yet this season, and they’ve conceded twice as many as they’ve scored (four). It’s hard to trust them to be anything resembling consistent from game to game. It wouldn’t be surprising if they battled to a boring 0-0 draw, or conceding three times before halftime. It’ll probably be closer to the former, a 1-1 stalemate.

AC Milan announces internal anti-racism task force

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MILAN (AP) AC Milan has announced it will establish an internal task force to address racism in Italian football.

[ Premier League Previews: Leicester City v. Tottenham | Man City v. Watford ]

The club says the task force will be supported by “an external consultancy” and “develop a program of activities to increase awareness, monitor and address racist behavior on social media and in the stadium, and drive the adoption of global best practices on diversity and inclusion.”

The move comes after reports of racist chants directed at Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, who is black, during a match at Hellas Verona last weekend.

Milan says the anti-racism initiative will be launched during Saturday’s derby against Inter Milan.

[ MORE: Premier League TV, streaming schedule ]

Inter striker Romelu Lukaku was subjected to racist chants in a match at Cagliari this month.

Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis, who is South African, says: “Italian football needs to wake up and take a strong stance against racist behaviors. AC Milan will take a leadership position on this issue. . We believe that we have a moral obligation to do everything we can to address this issue.”

Slow start dooms Southampton again: ‘We lost the game in first half’

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Slow starts are, ironically, quickly becoming the story of Southampton’s Premier League season. It happened again on Friday, resulting in a 3-1 home defeat to Bournemouth in the Premier League‘s budding south coast rivalry

[ Premier League Previews: Leicester City v. Tottenham | Man City v. Watford ]

Through six games, Saints have conceded the first goal four times. In those four games, they have taken just one point. When scoring the game’s first goal, they have two wins and two clean sheets.

It would appear that Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side is set up to play one way, and one way only. Speaking after Friday’s defeat, Hasenhuttl lamented his side’s slow start, conceding that the game was all but lost when they fell 2-0 behind in the 35 minutes — quotes from the BBC:

“The finish was not important anymore. If you lose 2-1 or 3-1 it does not make too much difference. We lost the game in the first half.

“In the second half, we were sharp. Had about 26 shots to six from Bournemouth but the most important stat is the goals. They scored three, we scored once.

“We weren’t aggressive enough and too easy in the first half. It is not easy to be 1-0 down after 10 minutes. We had a lot of blocked shots and misses near the post. It was a good performance in the second half but without a result.

“For the second goal was had a lot of players in our attacking box so it was not easy to defend.

“We showed a good reaction because we knew we needed to be brave. We changed our shape and were aggressive for the second ball. It gave us 64% possession and we had a lot of shots. Maybe we didn’t deserve to take something because of our first half.”

Southampton’s next chance to start a game quickly will come in an away bout with Tottenham Hotspur next Saturday.