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Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 24 + Deadline Day

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ProSoccerTalk’s Club Power Rankings are meant to reflect both a club’s status in the table but also their form in relation to what lies ahead.

[ ARCHIVE: Premier League club power rankings ]

So it stands to reasons we should see some shake-ups following Week 24, which was followed by the end of the January transfer window on Thursday.


20. Huddersfield Town — Basically as hopeless as it gets. Jan Siewert is building to lead this team back to the Premier League, not keep them in it.
Last week: 20
Season high: 16
Season low: 20

19. Cardiff City — It seems cruel to slight a side given their record signing Emiliano Sala’s flight disappearing at sea late in the transfer window, but the Bluebirds will only be a sentimental man’s hopeful in the fight for avoid relegation.
Last week: 18
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

18. Fulham — Havard Nordtveit will help the back line, but they needed much more aid in defense. Ryan Babel looks lively enough to give some hope to the team and freedom to Aleksandar Mitrovic. Can Lazar Markovic quickly find form after not making meaningful minutes since May at Anderlecht?
Last week: 19
Season high: 11
Season low: 20

17. Burnley — The performances have improved and the Peter Crouch for Sam Vokes swap makes sense — Vokes wanted regular time, Crouch a return to the PL — but the Clarets added nothing else. That’s playing with fire.
Last week: 16
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

16. Southampton — Ralph Hasenhuttl has proven himself adept at managing Saints’ talent, but the lack of January additions accompanying a number of veteran departures may hurt “Ralphampton.”
Last week: 14
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

15. Newcastle United — Beating Man City and signing both Miguel Almiron and a potential upgrade on Paul Dummett was enough to pull the Magpies even higher, but then Everton held onto Idrissa Gana Gueye and Palace landed Michy Batshuayi on loan. Now what’s fair to expect from Almiron?
Last week: 17
Season high: 13
Season low: 19

14. Everton — Holding onto Gana keeps Marco Silva‘s men just ahead of a slide down our rankings. In fact, they move up a spot thanks to Saints’ disappointment in the market and versus Palace.
Last week: 15
Season high: 5
Season low: 15

13. Brighton and Hove Albion — The loss at Fulham was bad, and the Seagulls failed to show January ambition to meet their Top Seven potential. Maybe that’s a reflection of the true expectations on the roster, but Chris Hughton probably wanted a bit more. That said, a return to health for Alireza Jahanbakhsh could be the elixir needed if he finds his attacking form and some Premier League comfort.
Last week: 12
Season high: 9
Season low: 19

12. Crystal Palace — How impactful might the addition of Michy Batshuayi be to the Palace strike corps? It will allow Roy Hodgson to both use him in isolation but also running off of Christian Benteke if the fellow Belgian finds his form. Even if Batshuayi doesn’t discover the form he had on loan at Borussia Dortmund last season, he should rejuvenated at home in London (and his wingers are a bit more like the BVB fellas than the ones Valencia proffered him).
Last week: 13
Season high: 6
Season low: 17

11. West Ham United — Can Marko Arnautovic re-earn his teammates’ trust now that he’s staying at the London Stadium? Because the club’s performance against Wolves was… not good.
Last week: 9
Season high: 6
Season low: 20

10. Leicester City — A well-earned point against Liverpool, even if the Foxes should’ve probably been done one via penalty. Youri Tielemans is the right kind of risk, on loan no less, for the window and Leicester’s needs. Claude Puel might just hand Tielemans his mojo back.
Last week: 10
Season high: 7
Season low: 13

9. Bournemouth — Beating Hammering Chelsea to end a transfer window which included adding Nathaniel Clyne from Liverpool — again, why, Jurgen? — and holding onto Callum Wilson is reason enough to celebrate: The Cherries have finally beaten one of the big boys this season.
Last week: 10
Season high: 6
Season low: 14

8. Watford — Falling apart late at Spurs wasn’t ideal, especially given Tottenham’s injuries. Keeping Abdoulaye Doucoure is very much ideal.
Last week: 8
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

7. Wolves — Probably not chasing down Manchester United, Chelsea, or Arsenal, but in clear pole position to finish seventh and dance from the Championship into the Europa League.
Last week: 7
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

6. Chelsea — Put us in the camp backing Maurizio Sarri over his crew of three-manager quitters, but that won’t drag him back into his players’ good graces. Look for Gonzalo Higuain to pay dividends soon.
Last week: 6
Season high: 1
Season low: 6

5. Arsenal — Denis Suarez was a nice get, especially if Unai Emery can re-inspire the Spaniard back to his Sevilla and Villarreal best. That said, the defense is playing with fire.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 9

4. Manchester United — The fightback to draw Burnley was nice, but we knew United had that in them. It will be very intriguing to see if the Red Devils have a Champions League run in them with Neymar missing for PSG, but are you expecting them to handle Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani at the same time? Anthony Martial re-signing was a solid move on the final day of the window, but do they have enough cover at center back?
Last week: 5
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

3. Man City — We still expect City to rise above Spurs and keep second place on lock, but the loss to Newcastle was their fourth in nine PL outings. And adding a center midfielder in addition to Fernandinho would’ve given them depth and a jumpstart on next season’s title run.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 3

2. Tottenham Hotspur — Would’ve been nice to see another Lucas Moura-like signing this month. Breaking down Watford for a comeback win amongst a forgiving run of fixtures gives hope to a Top Three finish.
Last week: 3
Season high: 2
Season low: 8

1. Liverpool — The Reds will have to choke even worse than their last title effort to lose the title given their fixture list, but Jurgen Klopp did his side no favors in loaning Nathaniel Clyne (and not starting Fabinho against Leicester City. How does he remain unconvinced by the ex-Monaco man?).
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 4

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.

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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.