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Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 30

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Little has changed at the top, or the bottom, of the Premier League, but the middle of the table — and power rankings — is as tight as could be…

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20. Huddersfield Town — This is a side that is only still a PL club on a procedural technicality. Just give it time.
Last week: 19
Season high: 16
Season low: 20

19. Fulham — See above: Town, Huddersfield.
Last week: 20
Season high: 11
Season low: 20

18. Burnley — Now the eight-game unbeaten run (five wins) is over, it’s been three straight defeats. The Clarets are now just two points clear of the relegation zone (again).
Last week: 17
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

17. Cardiff City — The third side currently occupying a relegation place. The Bluebirds won last weekend, so they get a slight bump in power rankings. It wasn’t, however, enough to move them up in the real-life table.
Last week: 18
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

16. Southampton — Maintained a gap — two points — between themselves and Cardiff by coming back to beating third-place Tottenham.
Last week: 16
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

15. Crystal Palace — Recent form has been decent enough, but a loss to Brighton means they must sit at least one place below the Seagulls in this week’s power rankings.
Last week: 11
Season high: 6
Season low: 17

14. Brighton and Hove Albion — Indeed, Brighton sit one place above Palace. Following back-to-back wins, Chris Hughton‘s side is now five points clear of the drop zone.
Last week: 15
Season high: 9
Season low: 19

13. Bournemouth — Took the free space on their bingo card by beating Huddersfield, snapping a five-game unbeaten run (four losses) in the process.
Last week: 12
Season high: 6
Season low: 14

12. Everton — Just one win in their last six league games (four losses), and the Toffees are teetering on the brink of a freefall (down the power rankings, at least).
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 15

11. Newcastle United — Returned to winning ways by knocking off Everton and have won three of four. Remember when we were talking about the Magpies and relegation in the same breath? Well, not us, but everyone else?
Last week: 14
Season high: 11
Season low: 19

10. Leicester City — 10th in the real-life table, 10th in the power rankings. Similarly to Bournemouth, beating Fulham isn’t anything to write home about.
Last week: 13
Season high: 7
Season low: 13

9. West Ham United — With the two sides directly in front of them in the table dropping points last week, the Hammers could have gained ground on 8th and 7th. Instead, they lost 2-0 to a relegation battler.
Last week: 8
Season high: 6
Season low: 20

8. Wolves — Results have turned poor(er) in recent weeks — just one win from their last five games — but maintaining early- and mid-season form for an entire campaign was never that likely to begin with.
Last week: 9
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

7. Watford — Hard to punish anyone for losing away to Man City in their current form, and it required some… uh… extenuating circumstances at that.
Last week: 7
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

6. Spurs — Panic-button time at White Hart Lane Wembley Stadium the soon-to-be new White Hart Lane. Zero wins from their last four (three losses), and their 10-point lead on Arsenal and Manchester United is now just one and three points, respectively. As it turns out, signing no new players and proceeding to run the current players into the ground all season is a bad strategy.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 8

5. Chelsea — Things have stabilized a bit since the embarrassing defeat to Man City, but the Blues still sit sixth in the real-life table, three points out of the Champions League places.
Last week: 4
Season high: 1
Season low: 7

4. Manchester United — The defeat to Arsenal was the first PL setback under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but it was a big one.
Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 14

3. Arsenal — Have the Gunners turned the corner under Unai Emery? They don’t have a single top-six side between now and the end of the season.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 9

2. Liverpool — Back to winning ways against Burnley, but the one point by which they trail Man City looms large.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 4

1. Manchester City — Six straight victories. Just one defeat in their last 11 league games. This is the record-setting, title-winning side of a year ago. They’ve clearly left themselves a thin margin for error, but make no mistake: they are the favorites once again.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 3

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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

Inter, Man Utd yet to find wage agreement for Alexis loan

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How close are we to an Alexis Sanchez-Romelu Lukaku reunion in Italy?

Depends if you think about $236,000 a week is a reasonable amount of money to pay a guy to not work for you.

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Inter Milan is ready to offer that figure — half Alexis Sanchez’s salary — per week to take the Chilean on loan from Manchester United, but the Red Devils don’t really like the idea of paying the player that much.

We wouldn’t be surprised if Inter wouldn’t want to go much higher than that, and that’s a weight United needs to bear considering they greenlit the wild wages when they sent Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Arsenal in exchange for Sanchez.

The 30-year-old entered the summer with the sixth-highest salary in football. Only Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Paul Pogba, and Andres Iniesta make more.

Put in perspective further, Lukaku’s new deal at Inter is reportedly close to $309,000 a week.