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Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 25

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To drop, or not to drop, that is the question.

Liverpool has drawn back-to-back matches in the Premier League to allow Manchester City to pull into a tie for the league lead on 62 points (City has played one more match).

[ MORE: Sala body identified ]

The Reds are 2-2-2 in their last six matches across all competitions, and while this is the Premier League club power rankings, there’s little question that they’ve lost some mojo.

Man City has been pretty good despite a loss to Newcastle, and Spurs have gone about their business despite missing Harry Kane and Dele Alli (for a relatively soft patch of schedule).

So is this enough to sink Liverpool below Man City (or Spurs), given that Liverpool is just a win in its match-in-hand from reclaiming the league lead?

Read on (Or just scroll down real quick. We’re kidding. Read every word. Twice).

20. Huddersfield Town — It’s been 417 league minutes since the Terriers scored a goal. They have one point in league play since the calendar turned to December 2018.
Last week: 20
Season high: 16
Season low: 20

19. Fulham — The two goals allowed against Palace make it 12 conceded in Fulham’s last five matches.
Last week: 18
Season high: 11
Season low: 20

18. Burnley — The point gained at Manchester United is almost offset by the two dropped at home to Southampton. The Clarets’ run-in is tricky, and they simply have to find wins more often than not when they are not facing the big boys.
Last week: 17
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

17. Cardiff City — Whether you’re a Neil Warnock fan or not, the reaction he’s provoked from his men after a 3-0 loss to Newcastle and the disappearance of Emiliano Sala’s flight is impressive. A close loss to Arsenal followed by a defeat of Bournemouth sits well with all.
Last week: 19
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

16. Southampton — A point earned at Burnley is fine, especially considering the club’s luck in not conceding an early penalty.
Last week: 16
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

15. Brighton and Hove Albion — Failed to rebound from the loss Fulham loss; The Seagulls looked flat in a home draw with Watford.
Last week: 12
Season high: 9
Season low: 19

14. Newcastle United — Solid resolve against Spurs; The goalkeeper is part of the team, yeah, but the Magpies deserved better than the loss resulting from a very rare Martin Dubravka error. Probably too stubborn to go down now.
Last week: 15
Season high: 13
Season low: 19

13. Everton — The home loss to Wolves was disconcerting, but a close contest at Goodison Park versus Man City was encouraging enough to proffer some hope; Everton deserved a point against the champions.
Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 15

12. Crystal Palace — Did what it needed to do at home to Roy Hodgson‘s old club Fulham. How will Hodgson deal with no Wilfried Zaha for two matches?
Last week: 12
Season high: 6
Season low: 17

(Nick Potts/PA via AP)

11. Bournemouth — Just when the Cherries had claimed three points against one of the big boys (in their eighth try), they fail to deal with a charged-up Cardiff City and lose 2-0.
Last week: 9
Season high: 6
Season low: 14

10. Leicester City — Jamie Vardy was just a shade off his game, and it cost the Foxes a point against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s Red Devils.
Last week: 10
Season high: 7
Season low: 13

9. West Ham United — A plucky point versus Liverpool sends the Irons above a Leicester side which couldn’t get their plucky point at home to Manchester United.
Last week: 11
Season high: 6
Season low: 20

8. Watford — A huge match ahead against former boss Marco Silva‘s Everton.
Last week: 8
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

7. Arsenal — We wouldn’t want to be Huddersfield Town this weekend, even if the desperate Terriers are at home.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 9

6. Wolves — If Liverpool fails to win the league, Nuno Espirito Santo should be Premier League Manager of the Year.
Last week: 7
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

5. Chelsea — Yes, it was against Huddersfield Town, but if the Eden Hazard-Gonzalo Higuain brace-bagging performance was a sign of what’s to come, well, maybe Maurizio Sarri is playing with a stacked deck.
Last week: 6
Season high: 1
Season low: 6

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

4. Manchester United — The most odd thing about United’s unconvincing win over Leicester City is how encouraging it is to see the Red Devils win when it really isn’t that deserved. Ole’s unbeaten streak goes forward, and should reach PSG.
Last week: 4
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

3. Spurs — Not Mauricio Pochettino‘s fault Man City got to play twice while we only saw Spurs slip past Newcastle. One spot back.
Last week: 2
Season high: 2
Season low: 8

2. Liverpool — The best thing Liverpool has going for it right now is that they’d have to lose a game in order to fall from the title fight’s driver seat, and they are picking up points even while looking quite average (for a Top Four team).
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 4

1. Man City — Similar to their neighbors, City’s defeat of Everton showed some resolve while on the back foot. And that win over Arsenal, aside from the set piece goal, well, c’est magnifique.
Last week: 3
Season high: 1
Season low: 3

Juventus goalkeeper Szczesny to have offseason knee surgery

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Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny will undergo knee surgery this offseason, but he will be available for the final match of the season against Sampdoria, manager Massimiliano Allegri confirmed on Saturday.

The Polish international has been the first-choice goalkeeper for much of the year for Juve, but has occasionally ceded time to 26-year-old Mattia Perin.

Allegri said that Szczesny will need “keyhole surgery,” likely another term for an arthroscopy, lending belief that he is either struggling with a torn meniscus or just generally needs his knee cleaned out. Given that speculation, it’s unlikely the surgery will cause him to miss any time at the start of next season. The 29-year-old has been a warrior for most of his career, staying clear of serious injuries throughout his time with both Arsenal and Juventus.

Juve has already confirmed its ninth straight Serie A title, but the club has limped down the stretch of the season, without a win over its last four matches. Prior to the late-season slide, Szczesny had been the goalkeeper to secure the best results, with Perin between the sticks for both of Juve’s two losses on the year and Szczesny dropping just four points all season, but the Polish international has been the one in goal for the four-game slide that includes three draws and a loss.

Allegri also announced that Cristiano Ronaldo will be held out of the season finale on Sunday and will not make the trip with the squad for the road game, instead resting for international duty this summer. “It is right for others to play now,” Allegri said.

“After that, we can all go to the beach, I’ve been told to put sun cream on my head. Now let’s go for a drink,” Allegri said, joking about his extremely short hair to end the press conference.

PSG extends manager Thomas Tuchel through 2021

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No wonder Thomas Tuchel was in such a jovial mood regarding his job security yesterday.

Paris Saint-Germain announced on Saturday that it has handed manager Thomas Tuchel a one-year contract extension, pushing the expiration of his contract to the summer of 2021. The addition extends his initial two-year deal he signed last summer when he joined the club after leaving Borussia Dortmund.

The news is somewhat surprising given that Tuchel had come under fire for PSG’s struggles down the stretch of the season, first with the club’s elimination from the Champions League in the Round of 16, and then for the failures down the stretch of the domestic campaign. It took weeks to formally clinch the league title as the team skidded through April, and the club fell to Stade Rennes in the final of the Coupe de France. Still, according to a number of reports, the deal was signed back in March making the end to the season irrelevant.

The German boss was able to joke about his future after PSG’s season-ending defeat to Stade de Reims on Friday, laughing at reporters who asked about his job security heading into the summer, “Honestly, I am worried… I get the impression that everybody knows something that I do not!”

Less than 24 hours later, news of his extension was official. “The entire Paris Saint-Germain family is delighted to see Thomas Tuchel extend his contract ,” said PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi. “For a year now, Thomas has been bringing fantastic energy every day, not only to players, but to the entire club.”

Ultimately, PSG won the Ligue 1 crown handily, ending the season with a 16-point cushion. The first half of the season was an unmitigated success, starting the league season on a 14-match winning streak and not suffering a single loss until early February. They also performed well in the Champions League, losing just once in a very difficult Group C that featured Liverpool, Napoli, and Red Star Belgrade. The costly slip came against Manchester United where they fell 3-1 in the second leg at home despite a 2-1 first-leg advantage.

Tuchel’s extension also comes with its head-scratchers, as the German was critical of club hierarchy after Friday’s defeat. He hit out at the front office for allowing Neymar to leave the club early to join up with the Brazilian national team, with the 27-year-old suspended for the final match of the year. “No, Neymar has not been released,” Tuchel said when asked about Neymar’s absence from the squad. “In any case, he has not by me. It is not a sporting thing, so I do not know. You will have to ask the club.”

“Correct, this season has had its problems,” Tuchel continued later. “The goal moving forward has to be to stay more focused. That goes for the team, as well as the club. We must be stricter and pull in the same direction to achieve our goals.”

RSL’s Savarino downs Atlanta United in 94th minute

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Atlanta United dropped its second straight match, this time in gut-wrenching fashion, as Jefferson Savarino scored a 94th minute winner to hand Real Salt Lake a 2-1 win over Frank De Boer‘s bunch.

Josef Martinez appeared to have rescued Atlanta with his 78th minute equalizer, cancelling out Sebastian Saucedo’s first-half opener, but Savarino struck a blistering stunner from outside the box with the minimum three minutes of added time already passed. Savarino used straight muscle to shield a charging Leandro Gonzalez Pires off the ball, and the strike punished Brad Guzan for creeping just inches too far towards his near post.

The late winner redeemed a Real Salt Lake defense that fell asleep just a fraction too early on Martinez’s goal, as a low cross from Franco Escobar should have been easily dealt with, but the Venezuelan waited for the right moment and pounced in front of a snoozing Justin Glad to poke home the delivery.

While the two sides split the possession, RSL out-shot Atlanta and held the lead most of the way after Bofo put them in front just past the half-hour mark. The 22-year-old was given way too much space just outside the top of the box and placed a curler past Guzan for the opener for his second goal in two weeks.

The win gave RSL its third straight victory in what has become a streaky season. The campaign so far features two winning streaks and two losing streaks through 13 matches, with just one draw among the group. For Atlanta, the second straight loss leaves them stuck in fourth, squandering the chance to pass third-placed Montreal who sits a just point ahead.

LA Galaxy moves third in West with 1-0 win over Orlando

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A Jonathan dos Santos howitzer was enough to give the LA Galaxy a 1-0 win over Orlando City at home to move them into third place in the Western Conference standings.

The win not only boosted the Galaxy back up the standings but also stopped a brutal four-game losing skid that had threatened to erase the fabulous winning start to the season. It marks the club’s first clean sheet since a 0-0 draw with Minnesota United in late April.

The winner came in the 19th minute, a blast for his second goal of the season and first since mid March.

The clean sheet did not come easily. Dave Bingham stopped a Nani penalty in the 32nd minute after dos Santos tackled Sebastian Mendez in the area. Perry Kitchen – off the bench for his 2019 debut – was on hand to clear off the line after Bingham whiffed on a 68th minute Sacha Kljestan cross, while Bingham came up big three minutes later to stop a header by Chris Mueller off a corner.

Los Angeles’s victory moves them to 25 points, one behind Seattle who has a game in hand, and two ahead of Houston who has played three fewer games. For Orlando, they remain on 15 points, good for 10th in the East.