Photo by Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 3

3 Comments

What a mess.

Half of the Premier League’s teams — yes, 10 of them — have 1-1-1 records after three match days, though not all are created equal.

For example, baffling VAR decisions. Manchester United can feel righteously aggrieved to not have at least six points. Spurs got huge VAR help to draw Man City but could’ve snared a point from Newcastle (yeah, that happened) should a penalty decision have went their way.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

Sheffield United and Bournemouth drew each other and beat poor sides at home.

And what in the world do you make of Wolves, who have three draws but have been clobbered by early season qualifying rounds of the Europa League.

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low


20. Watford — The Pozzo family doesn’t mind changing bosses and, fair or not (it isn’t), Javi Gracia may find himself unemployed without a win at Newcastle next week. Fortunately, they are playing Newcastle.
Last week: 19
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-3 v. West Ham
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Newcastle United

19. Newcastle United — Beat Tottenham and only move up one spot? Unfortunately, while the Magpies were gritty against Spurs and the win should not be discounted entirely, they hemorrhaged possession aside from the 15-pass sequence that led to Joelinton‘s first goal for the Toon. A fine moment for embattled Steve Bruce, but still so much work to do.
Last week: 20
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 1-0 at Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Watford

18. Crystal Palace — Credit that wonderful play at the end of the match for a remarkable and historic win over Manchester United, but Palace is still getting little out of Wilfried Zaha and probably should’ve lost by 3 or 4 goals before David De Gea fumbled away a point for the hosts. And we can’t jump them above a Sheffield United side which dominated them in Week 2.
Last week: 18
Season high: 18
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 2-1 at Manchester United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Aston Villa

17. Bournemouth — Probably better than their 17th place status, but the Cherries have a draw against Sheffield United and a win over Aston Villa in which they were controlled after a wobbly opening. Too good to stay this low, but justifiably 17th.
Last week: 14
Season high: 14
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 3-1 v. Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Leicester City

Joshua King  (Photo by Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images)

16. Sheffield United — The scrappy Blades are following the Sean Dyche at Burnley model, and weren’t able to get a point at home despite a brave effort against Leicester.
Last week: 13
Season high: 13
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 1-2 v. Leicester City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Chelsea

15. Norwich City — Daniel Farke‘s men are going to bring us entertainment, and we’ll get another clue of their place in the league when they visit dangerous but another dangerous attack in West Ham.
Last week: 12
Season high: 12
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 2-3 v. Chelsea
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at West Ham United

14. Brighton and Hove Albion — We gave the Seagulls a mulligan for the West Ham draw, but cannot look past this week’s loss to Southampton. Saints are a good side, but a 2-0 loss at home and a reckless red card do not make friends amongst the power rankers.
Last week: 6
Season high: 5

Season low: 14
Last match: Lost 0-2 v. Southampton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Man City

13. Southampton — A Danny Ings flick away from giving us 11 teams with a 1-1-1-1 record, Saints earned this week’s win and will relish it coming via a nice showing from Moussa Djenepo.
Last week: 16
Season high: 13

Season low: 19
Last match: Won 2-0 at Brighton
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Manchester United

12. West Ham United — Sebastien Haller looked every bit the versatile star center forward, able to set-up, hold-up, and finish. We already knew Felipe Anderson was the truth. Now can Manuel Pellegrini find consistency in this bunch?
Last week: 17
Season high: 12

Season low: 18
Last match: Won 3-1 at Watford
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Norwich City

11. Everton — The performance at Villa is the kind that has been taking Everton out of the Top Six discussion during the Marco Silva era (and well before it, really). Huge test Sunday before an international break which could find Silva feeling plenty hot under the collar.
Last week: 8
Season high: 8

Season low: 11
Last match: Lost 0-2 at Aston Villa
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves

10. Aston Villa — The Villans are looking more like a side which never left the Premier League than a newly-promoted one. Dean Smith deserves PL Manager of the Month honors if he’s able to get a result at Palace and skate into the break at a mid table pace.
Last week: 15
Season high: 8

Season low: 15
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Everton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Crystal Palace

Aston Villa’s Wesley (center) with Trezeguet (left) and John McGinn  (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)

9. Chelsea — Just not buying it yet, are we? Mason Mount looks a legit force, Tammy Abraham is showing flashes, and Christian Pulisic is doing well enough, but who is the star that will consistently make the difference, let alone against the big boys?
Last week: 12
Season high: 9

Season low: 12
Last match: Won 3-2 at Norwich City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Sheffield United

8. Wolves — Three draws from three matches, and just barely got a point off of Burnley, but the performances have come while waylaid with Europa League duties including an unfriendly match against Torino on Thursday (Who they absolutely handled). Nuno’s got it simmering.
Last week: 7
Season high: 7

Season low: 9
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Burnley
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Everton

7. Spurs — Dominant again against Newcastle despite an injury to key man Tanguy Ndombele, and simply unfortunate to not get a point, but there are so many questions for Mauricio Pochettino. If you’re going to risk Christian Eriksen, why not start him? If you don’t have an answer at right back, why not play a back three instead of keeping Jan flipping Vertonghen on the bench?
Last week: 2
Season high: 2

Season low: 7
Last match: Lost 0-1 v. Newcastle United
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Arsenal

6. Man Utd — We watched the Palace loss, and still can’t quite believe our eyes. The Red Devils are so much better than 1-1-1, but that and a friendly pour at the pub will give you a headache and a 1-1-1 record. Now start Juan Mata over Jesse Lingard and thank me later.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2

Season low: 6
Last match: Lost 1-2 v. Crystal Palace
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Southampton

5. Burnley — They aren’t doing this again, are they? The Clarets struggled last season with Europa League schedule congestion, but finished in the Top Seven the last time they only had to focus on the league. A silly Erik Pieters challenge away from third place in our rankings.
Last week: 9
Season high: 5

Season low: 9
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Wolves
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Liverpool

4. Arsenal — Don’t give them too much credit for producing three terrific chances against Liverpool — that’s what’s keeping Liverpool out of 1st this week. The questions about the defense remain real, but Nicolas Pepe is going to be a delight once he finds his finishing boots.
Last week: 4
Season high: 4

Season low: 7
Last match: Lost 1-3 at Liverpool
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Tottenham

3. Leicester City — There’s a bit of “by default” to this ranking, but the Foxes have drawn Wolves and picked up a point away to Chelsea. The win at Sheffield United wasn’t a ballot-box stuffer by any means, but Brendan Rodgers‘ men did what Manchester United sand Spurs could not this weekend in beating a probable relegation scrapper.

Last week: 10
Season high: 3

Season low: 10
Last match: Won 2-1 at Sheffield United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth

2. Liverpool — The Reds are 3-0, champions of Europe, and a pleasure for the eyes. Their defense remains a problem, and Jurgen Klopp‘s crew has given up more big chances from open play than anyone would deem functional for a title squad.
Last week: 3
Season high: 2

Season low: 3
Last match: Won 3-1 v. Arsenal
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Burnley

  1. Manchester City — The only way to score on City is through set pieces, and the only way to stop them is locking them out of the stadium.
    Last week: 1
    Season high: 1

    Season low: 1
    Last match: Won 3-1 at Bournemouth
    Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Brighton

Adams: RB Leipzig ‘really, really excited’ to face PSG in UCL semifinal

Tyler Adams RB Leipzig
Photo by Julian Finney - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig hero? The 21-year-old American midfielder wasn’t the hero RB Leipzig fans — or U.S. men’s national team fans, even — expected to celebrate on Thursday, but that’s the reality after he scored an 88th-minute winner (WATCH HERE) to knock off Atletico Madrid in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

[ MORE: Transfer news: Man City want Thiago; Man Utd still chasing Sancho ]

The victory sends Leipzig to its first-ever UCL semifinal appearance, where they’ll face French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday. Adams didn’t start the game — he came on as a 72nd-minute substitute — and while he found that a bit disappointing at first, the New York Red Bulls academy product played his part and provided a far greater impact than anyone could have expected — quotes from CBS Sports (video below):

“It was very difficult. For the first 70 minutes, it was a close game so when I came on I wanted to bring energy and help the team in any way possible. Getting your first goal is unexpected for me — I’m not a typical goalscorer — but I’m happy that I could help the team.”

“Coming into this game, I was told that I wasn’t going to start but I needed to be ready to come off the bench and make an impact. I had to get myself in the right mindset to help the team in any way possible. We had a great game plan and everybody gave everything that they had. Not everybody is necessarily 90-minutes fit right now after a three-week holiday, so we had to be prepared and we were.”

“We’re really, really excited. We know that Paris are a great team, we saw what they did against Atalanta yesterday and they’ve got really good players. Now it’s about recovering in the right way, getting ourselves right mentally and working on the game plan. We’re confident in ourselves, you saw that today.”

USMNT’s Tyler Adams’ goal sends RB Leipzig to UCL semifinal (video)

Tyler Adams goal
Photo by Lluis Gene/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tyler Adams goal: The American scored an 88th-minute goal, which proved to be the game-winner, to send RB Leipzig to its first-ever UEFA Champions League semifinal appearance on Thursday, knocking off Atletico Madrid 2-1 in the process.

[ MORE: Champions League predictions ]

All three goals were scored in the second half after a forgettable first half was short on scoring chances, and it was Adams, who came into the game as a 72nd-minute substitute who delivered the decisive blow.

Atleti’s first chance of the game came in the 10th minute. Stefan Savic rose above the crowd to get his head to Renan Lodi’s floated free kick, but Peter Gulacsi managed to get both hands on the ball and keep it from crossing the goal line despite backpedaling and falling to the ground.

Atleti’s best chance of the first half came when Yannick Carrasco went dangerously close to putting Atleti ahead in the 13th minute, but Gulacsi was quick to cover his near post and palm the ball wide. After starting brightly, it was virtual radio silence from Los Rojiblancos after that.

To be fair to Atleti, it wasn’t any better for Leipzig — in fact, it was worse in the opening 45 minutes. To illustrate their inability to create scoring chances, let alone shots, a stat: despite holding more than 62 percent of possession at halftime, their four shots were taken by their defensive midfielder (1), a center back (1) and another center back (2).

[ LIVE: Champions League schedule ]

Leipzig’s first shot taken by an attacking player came in the 51st minute, and it resulted in the game’s opening goal. It began with a prolonged period of possession to free Marcel Sabitzer down the right side of Atleti’s penatly area. The Austrian cross into the box floated ever so dangerously toward the penalty spot, and Dani Olmo arrive just in the nick of time to glance it past Jan Oblak.

Atleti were handed a lifeline in the 70th minute, though, as Lukas Klostermann was badly beaten by Joao Felix as he made a diagonal run into the penalty area and received the ball near the penalty spot. Klostermann cut him down from behind and gave away a penalty kick. It was Felix, who only entered the game as a substitute in the 58th minute who stepped up and converted past Gulacsi, with ice in his veins.

Coincidentally enough, it was Felix’s introduction — and immediate impact on the game — which appeared to necessitate Adams’ introduction to stifle the Portuguese’s threat. The rest, as they say, is history.

Up next for Leipzig is a semifinal clash with Paris Saint-Germain, who needed a stoppage-time comeback to knock off Atalanta and advance from Thursday’s quarterfinal.

Transfer news: Man City want Thiago; Man Utd still chasing Sancho

Man City Thiago
Photo by M. Donato/FC Bayern via Getty Images
Leave a comment

In the latest transfer news, Man City have entered the race to sign Thiago Alcantara, Manchester United aren’t giving up on Jadon Sancho, and an entire squad has been put up for sale…

[ MORE: World Cup winner Matuidi reunites with Beckham at Inter Miami ]

Man City enter race for Thiago

On Wednesday, Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick endorsed Thiago’s heavily rumored move to the Premier League after negotiations over a new contract had reportedly reached an impasse. That seemed to pave the way for Thiago, who’ll be out of contract next summer, to move to Liverpool, the most commonly reported destination in recent weeks. Not so fast, according to a report out of Germany, as Manchester City and Pep Guardiola, who worked with Thiago while at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, have reportedly entered the race. Liverpool are reportedly only willing to pay $35 million for the free agent-to-be.

Man United still chasing Sancho

Despite Borussia Dortmund’s increasing annoyance over a lack of progress in negotiations for winger Sancho, Manchester United continue to pursue the 20-year-old Englishman and have reportedly put all other transfer business on hold while doing so. According to another report, the contract Man United offered to Sancho would have resulted in the player taking a pay cut upon completing the move.

[ MORE: Thiago to Liverpool: Bayern boss urges Premier League move ]

Lacazette to Juventus

According to a report out of Italy, Juventus have made initial contact with Arsenal over a possible deal for forward Alexandre Lacazette. The 29-year-old has two years remaining on his contract, but the thinking here seems to be that Lacazette is quite clearly the no. 2 forward behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Juve are prepared to offer the Frenchman a chance to be more of a star man.

Fire sale at Valencia

Valencia have put their entire squad, with the lone exception of Jose Gaya, up for sale in an attempt to balance their financial books. The La Liga side’s desperate need for funds comes as a result of missing out on all European competitions after finishing ninth in the league, combined with the financial hardships brought about by COVID-19. Clubs all around Europe have been alerted to Valencia’s fire-sale approach. It remains to be seen how much of a “deal” can be had, or if Valencia can squeeze maximum value out of each player with so little leverage.

Key battles in Champions League quarterfinals

Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images
Leave a comment

The UEFA Champions League quarterfinals take center stage this week and we’re going to select one key battle which should determine the outcome of all four games.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ] 

With Manchester City the favorites against Lyon, a massive clash between Barcelona and Bayern Munich, plus an intriguing tie between RB Leipzig v. Atletico Madrid, the final few games in the 2019-20 Champions League campaign will be so tight to call.

[ MORE: Man City beat Real Madrid ]

In the next few days the Champions League quarterfinals will excite as the mini tournament in Portugal begins.

Man City beat Real Madrid 4-2 on aggregate to reach the last eight and Pep Guardiola’s boys will be confident but wary after Lyon dumped out Juventus in the Round of 16. Bayern v. Barcelona should be all-out attack, while Atletico v. Leipzig will be full of grit.

Lisbon, Portugal will host the Champions League games from the quarterfinal stage onwards, and there will be one heck of a show over the next few days.

Below is a look at the key battles, as well as how to watch and follow all of the Champions League quarterfinal fixtures in the USA.


How to watch, stream Champions League quarterfinals

Dates: August 5-23
Location: Quarterfinals onwards in Lisbon
How to watch: CBS Sports
Live updates: UCL here at NBCSports.com & Europa League here at NBCSports.com


Team news

Diego Simeone has gone extremely defensive — even for him — by selecting defensive midfielder Marcos Llorente as a second striker alongside Diego Costa. Meanwhile for Leipzig, U.S. men’s national team youngster Tyler Adams is on the bench.


Key battles

RB Leipzig – Atletico Madrid: Dayot Upamecano v.Diego Costa

This should be an epic head-to-head. Costa loves the one-on-one scraps and Upamecano is among the finest center backs in Europe right now. The young Frenchman doesn’t get bullied often but Costa will have a good go. Costa has hardly been prolific in his second spell at Atletico but he so often sets the tone for their scrappy displays under Diego Simeone. Leipzig like to play a back three at times and that could leave space for Costa to run at Upamecano. This will be intriguing. Watch out for Costa to put down his marker early on with elbows and everything else flying at Upamecano.

Barcelona – Bayern Munich: Lionel Messi v. David Alaba

Barcelona - Bayern
Getty Images

Okay, so, we know how Jerome Boateng v. Lionel Messi went before. Somewhere, somebody is still using that gif of Boateng tangling his own legs like spaghetti as Messi bamboozled him to score at the Nou Camp. So it’s probably best if versatile Austrian star David Alaba goes up against Messi. It’s likely that Alaba will play at the back but he should basically mark Messi, and when (or if, because this is Messi) he gets the ball back he has the quality to start attacks. Bayern and Barcelona both score plenty of goals but defensively they have to improve if they’re going to win the Champions League this season.

Manchester City – Lyon: Aymeric Laporte v. Memphis Depay

Everyone is tipping Man City to beat Lyon easily, but that’s what everyone said about Lyon against Juventus. Memphis Depay is a real threat up top and Lyon usually do very well against Man City. Pep Guardiola needs Aymeric Laporte to be at his very best and it is likely he and Fernandinho will again line up together at center back. Laporte will line up on the left and Memphis will start on the right side of Lyon’s central strikers, so this will be a battle to look out for. Laporte has class but his pace is sometimes questioned and if City leave him exposed on the break, Memphis can take advantage of those situations.

Atalanta – PSG: Marten de Roon v. Ander Herrera

Yes, that Marten de Roon from Middlesbrough. The Dutch midfielder has been a sensation at Atalanta and does most of the dirty work for Gomez, Zapata et al. to score boat loads of goals. His battle in the engine room against Ander Herrera will be crucial. Marco Verratti is out injured and that is a big blow, especially with Kylian Mbappe and Angel di Maria out too for PSG. Neymar and Icardi will be looking for the midfield to give them the ball as much as possible and if that happens, PSG could run riot. That said, if De Roon can win that battle with Herrera, Atalanta’s attackers can cause PSG’s defense big problems. Whoever wins the midfield battle will win this game. It should be tight and full of goals. Enjoy.