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Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 5

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A weekend of tumult in all parts of our table, as Norwich City’s shocking win over Man City and Chelsea’s win at Wolves make us reassess previous results this season.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

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


20. Watford — Absolutely dominant against Arsenal despite the early Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang-inspired deficit. Still, two points from five matches and a lot of work remains for Quique Sanchez Flores.
Last week: 20
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Arsenal
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Man City

19. Newcastle United — Credit to Steve Bruce for a disciplined system against Liverpool. The Magpies get a must-win home visit from Brighton ahead of matches with Leicester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea.
Last week: 19
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-1 at Liverpool
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Brighton

18. Brighton — The late concession against Burnley is an eyebrow raiser and ranking lowerer. Brighton deserved better and would’ve been counting the three points as relegation insurance. At least Neal Maupay‘s goal was a beauty.
Last week: 16
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Newcastle United

Brighton and Hove Albion’s Neal Maupay (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)

17. Wolves — Excuses are running low, even with a Europa League match on Thursday leading into a Sunday match. At some point, Wolves will have to rise above congestion.
Last week: 10
Season high: 7
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 5-2 v. Chelsea
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Palace

16. Crystal Palace — A lot of teams get waxed by Tottenham in North London.
Last week: 14
Season high: 14
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 4-0 at Spurs
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves

15. Burnley — Never rule out Sean Dyche, as the Clarets got a point despite being dominated at Brighton, but maybe we were foolish to think they had the quality to sustain another mid-table run.
Last week: 8
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Brighton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Norwich City

14. Sheffield United — Chris Wilder‘s men play a furious game, which cost them a late red card in their spirited tussle with Saints.
Last week: 11
Season high: 11
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Southampton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Everton

13. Southampton — Moussa Djenepo‘s got skills, team, and he may be the latest bargain from a Saints side which endured a bit of a cold streak in the transfer market following their wondrous run earlier this decade.
Last week: 13
Season high: 13
Season low: 19
Last match: Won 1-0 at Sheffield United
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Friday v. Bournemouth

12. Everton — Maddeningly inconsistent, the Toffees defending versus Bournemouth was pathetic. And they are wasting a fixture list which smiled broadly on their hopes of building an early season cushion in the race of seventh or better.
Last week: 5
Season high: 5
Season low: 12
Last match: Lost 3-1 at Bournemouth
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Sheffield United

11. Aston Villa — Solid, but is there another gear here once the pieces gel a bit more?
Last week: 12
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. West Ham United
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Arsenal

10. Norwich City — Take a bow, Daniel Farke. Your injured squad had no business doing that to the reigning champs.
Last week: 18
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 3-2 v. Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Burnley

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

9. Bournemouth — Looking comfortably mid-table
Last week: 17
Season high: 9
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 3-1 v. Everton
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Friday at Southampton

8. Manchester United — A nice win to feel a bit better about themselves, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s men will look like a bonafide member of the muddled middle if they fail to perform at West Ham.
Last week: 15
Season high: 2
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Leicester City
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at West Ham United

7. Arsenal — The Watford draw should’ve been a loss, and maybe by more than one goal. Bernd Leno is the sneaky MVP of Arsenal’s early season, and he may not get the respect he deserves if the Gunners keep hemorrhaging gilt-edged chances to their opponens.
Last week: 4
Season high: 4
Season low: 7
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Watford
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Aston Villa

6. West Ham United — An off day for Sebastien Haller and goofy red card from Arthur Masuaku cost the Irons at Villa. Next week brings a chance to instill some bonafide hope in the supporter base.
Last week: 6
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Aston Villa
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Manchester United

5. Leicester City — Deserved at least a point from Old Trafford, and now heads to North London for a tougher test.
Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 10
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Manchester United
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Tottenham Hotspur

4. Chelsea — Looking back at their schedule, the draw with Leicester and tough win over Norwich look better than they first appeared. How will Frank Lampard utilize his depth and overcome injuries with midweek UCL and Liverpool this week.
Last week: 9
Season high: 4
Season low: 12
Last match: Won 5-2 at Wolves
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Liverpool

(Photo by Chelsea Football Club/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

3. Man City — At the risk of my Twitter mentions, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi basically welcomed Fernandinho into competition for first pairing minutes after an insipid display in a game the offense played well enough to win. Turns out losing one of the best center backs in the world isn’t ideal.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Lost 3-2 at Norwich City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Watford

2. Spurs — Beating Palace soundly isn’t a banner-raising moment, but it still shows “re-focus” and Spurs still haven’t gotten full-fledged Harry Kane. A healthy Tanguy Ndombele will help a lot, too.
Last week: 7
Season high: 2 
Season low: 7
Last match: Won 4-0 v. Crystal Palace
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Leicester City

  1. Liverpool — Fine-tuned, and their only competition right now is their nerve. This year, it seems, that might not be the problem it’s been in previous pursuits of a Premier League title. Depth will be tested for the Reds and their Sunday foes after UCL midweek action.
    Last week: 1
    Season high: 1
    Season low: 3
    Last match: Won 3-1 v. Newcastle United
    Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Chelsea

Atletico Madrid stunned by Cultural Leonessa in Copa del Rey

Atletico Madrid upset in Copa del Rey
Photo by CESAR MANSO/AFP via Getty Images
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A day after UD Ibiza and Barcelona threatened to provide a signature upset in the Copa del Rey, Cultural Leonessa and Atletico Madrid did the darn thing.

Joao Felix set up Angel Correa for an early goal as a strong Atleti took a lead over their third-tier hosts into the final throes of the match.

That’s when Julen Castenada Nuin scored to force extra time, where 20-year-old Sergio Benito sent the Estadio Reino de León into ecstasy with a winner.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Atleti has made it to 19 finals, winning 10. Diego Simeone’s men go out in the Round of 32 this season.

Several La Liga sides bowed out this round, and two to third-tier sides on Thursday after Badajoz beat Eibar. Also eliminated were Mallorca, Levante, Valladolid, Espanyol, Celta Vigo, and Real Betis.

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Klopp: Liverpool “worked their socks off” in late win

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Jurgen Klopp is loving life after Liverpool gutted out another three points in a thrilling if shaky 2-1 win over Wolves at the Molineux on Thursday.

Klopp gave full marks to Nuno Espirito Santo‘s Wolves, who pushed Liverpool to the brink.

The Reds got a series of fine interventions from Alisson Becker after Wolves equalized through Raul Jimenez in the second half.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

That allowed Liverpool’s Brazilian center forward to deliver the match-winning goal.

Klopp didn’t love the performance, but he enjoyed the resolve.

“The genius moment of Bobby Firmino can help us,” Klopp said. “We won the game, incredibly difficult but who cares?”

“We didn’t panic but it was not like we we completely in the mood I wanted us to be in when we went 1-0 up. You saw then a couple of balls we played into their feet it makes no sense. It’s completely normal. It’s the most difficult thing in football. You start with a complex plan but the development of the game has influence on each individual on the pitch. One sees a chance, sees the space, are not exactly in the same mindset.

“So much to improve for us but knowing if we defend really well like we did in the third system we played tonight. Defending in a 4-4-2, offensively in a 4-3-3. Sadio off doesn’t help. Finishing the game in a 4-5-1. … Everybody worked their socks off. I’m so proud of the boys. It’s incredible.”

Cue more questions about Liverpool’s inevitable first Premier League title and a possible unbeaten season.

“It’s over when it’s over, not before. So why should we really think about it? Let’s carry on. It’s difficult enough. We have to find solutions for the different games then we will see.”

Liverpool visits Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup on Saturday, then heads to West Ham United on Wednesday before hosting Saints on Feb. 1. The congested schedule won’t ease up unless the Reds get knocked out of some competitions, and you wouldn’t want to bet on that right now.

Tranmere upends Watford in FA Cup; Hosts Man Utd on Sunday

Tranmere upsets Watford in FA Cup
Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images)
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Paul Mullin scored in extra time to lift League One side Tranmere Rovers over a much-weakened Watford in a FA Cup replay at Prenton Park on Thursday.

Tranmere runs out a 2-1 winner and gets a lucrative home date against struggling Manchester United on Sunday.

The pitch condition still wasn’t great nine days after heavy rains caused a postponement of the tie.

Watford didn’t have many familiar faces on the pitch due to the match being its third match in six days. Jose Holebas, Andre Gray, and Christian Kabasele did start the contest.

Tranmere out-attempted Watford 20-11 and had nearly 60 percent of the ball.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Kaylen Hinds scored for Watford, his first goal coming in his first match since 2017/18 when the ex-Arsenal academy man was with… Greuther Furth II.

Tranmere took the lead after Manny Monthe swept a ball home after a half-clearance from the box (Can anything be a half-clearance? Self-reporting to the language police).

Manager Nigel Pearson playing a bevy of youth players. The first team will now get nine more days off before a Feb. 1 visit from Everton.

Of course, they would’ve featured Sunday versus Manchester United in the fourth round.

 

Watford leveled the score on a grimy goal in the 18, but Mullin delivered the goods in the 104th minute.

Liverpool overcomes Wolves challenge to win 14th-straight

Wolves v. Liverpool match recap and video highlights
Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
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If this ends up being an unbeaten Premier League season for Liverpool, this one may be called “The Alisson Game.”

Liverpool’s star goalkeeper kept the Reds quest for legendary status alive long enoiugh for Roberto Firmino to supply the winner in a 2-1 defeat of Wolves at the Molineux on Thursday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Jordan Henderson might like the game’s title role, too, scoring a goal and assisting the 84th minute winner.

Raul Jimenez leveled the score after halftime for Wolves, who stay seventh with 34 points.

Liverpool increases its table lead to 16 points with a match-in-hand on the field.


Three things we learned

1. Alisson’s smart goalkeeping keeps dream alive: Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men have gone behind in eight matches this season, claiming a win in three of them. That would’ve been four if Alisson Becker wasn’t between the sticks for Liverpool. The Brazilian was calm at the back despite being put in several predicaments, his positioning exquisite with plenty of high claims and parries.

2. Henderson has himself a day: Liverpool’s favorite Mackem brings plenty of grit to the side, and his crunching Traore at least thrice in the first 21 minutes shows his tactical duty. But don’t let that take away from his nose for goal. Henderson made sure to back up his motivational “business as usual” post-match interview after beating Manchester United by thundering into the mix to head a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner home after just eight minutes at the Molineux. His alert assist after Salah was dispossessed was plenty pretty, too.

3. Traore puts Reds off balance: As stated above, Jurgen Klopp clearly had a plan for handling Traore when he was in the center of the park. The winger, however, was a much bigger ask for Andy Robertson out wide. Traore blazed down the left to deliver an assist after Robertson’s failed challenge on Jimenez, then won a free kick off Robertson minutes later (Alisson saved the danger).

Man of the Match: Traore. Perfect on contested dribbles and nearly so on 50-50 challenges. A proper menace.


Henderson opened the score when he rose at the near post to head Alexander-Arnold’s cross off Rui Patricio’s hand and into the side netting.

Two of the game’s more lethal finishers were stymied in tight in the 17th and 18th minutes, with Virgil Van Dijk defying Raul Jimenez and Wolves smothered a Mohamed Salah drive.

Sadio Mane limped off with an injury, allowing Takumi Minamino to make a Premier League debut, and Van Dijk was slowed by a 50-50 challenge with Adama Traore before halftime.

Salah drove by two Wolves in stioppage time, but is shot deflected into the air and was corraled by Patricio.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The Egyptian picked up where he left off in the 47th, stripping Traore and forcing a save out of Patricio.

Salah raced back upfield moments later to block a Pedro Neto shot after Wolves led a promising charge.

Wolves made it 1-1 with a bit of lightning down the right, as Traore raced onto a through ball and crossed for Jimenez to head past Alisson Becker.

Traore then won a free kick and a yellow card for a poor sliding challenge on Traore, but Wolves couldn’t deliver a second goal in five minutes.

Liverpool answered, Firmino pumping a shot into the keeper despite a half-emptty net at the hour mark.

Alisson then made a fine save on a Traore drive in the 65th, blocking a Jimenez shot two minutes later.

That’s not to say the Reds weren’t busy, and Rui Patricio made a fine low save on Firmino in the 82nd minute.

Firmino got his goal in a flash, taking a pass frorm an alert Henderson and burying a shot past Patricio.

Diogo Jota blew a point blank chance to make it 2-2 in the second minute of stoppage after Traore and Jimenez set him atop the six.