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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

Pearson: ‘I was semi-retired’ before Watford came calling

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Nigel Pearson had come to terms with the fact he would never again manage in the Premier League — or any league, perhaps — before Watford came calling out of sheer desperation last month.

[ MORE: Chelsea’s Lampard prepared to go without January signings ]

“I was semi-retired, more or less,” Pearson admitted on Friday. He had been out of work for nearly 10 months following an 18-month spell at Belgian side Leuven. That came on the heels of a disastrous five months at EFL Championship side Derby, where he compiled a win percentage of just 21.4 percent — quotes from the Guardian:

“I wouldn’t have been thinking it was possible, of course I wouldn’t. It really is a situation that’s come out of nothing. I was semi-retired, more or less.”

“I’ve been asked whether I was worried about getting a reputation as a ‘firefighter’ and it doesn’t bother me. If that’s how people want to look at it, fine. From my own perspective, coming into a situation like this, it’s just a good opportunity to work back in a league I didn’t think I’d be working in again. In terms of risk to my reputation or anything like that, I’m not bothered about those things. I wouldn’t have taken on the challenge if I didn’t think we had a realistic chance of succeeding.

“It’s just one of those situations where clearly there was a need for something different. So far it’s going OK. I’m pleased with how we’ve started to turn things around but I’m also experienced enough to know that it’s still going to be a tough job to maintain the standards we’ve set and push on again.”

Now at Watford, and back in the PL for the first time since 2015 (Leicester City), Pearson has guided the Hornets to four wins in his first seven games, including five straight without a defeat, and a 17th-place standing ahead of the weekend’s round of fixtures. When he took over, Watford sat 20th out of 20 teams with eight points from 15 games. Less than a month later, they sit a point outside the relegation zone with 22 to their name.

USWNT: Olympic qualifying roster minus five from World Cup team

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The United States’ roster for the upcoming CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament will look very similar to the one that won the Women’s World Cup in France, with notable exceptions.

Alex Morgan, Mallory Pugh, Allie Long, Morgan Brian and Tierna Davidson were on the title team but were left off the 20-player CONCACAF tournament roster announced Friday.

Morgan is expecting her first child with husband Servando Carrasco. Coach Vlatko Andonovski said that Davidson is still recovering from an ankle injury that sidelined her during January camp.

Pugh, a young forward who has shown promise, was one of the most surprising omissions. Andonovski said she has been invited to train with the team even though she didn’t make the roster.

“It was competitive and she did well,” Andonovski said. “But there were other players that I believe that performed better than Mal. Now, I just want to be clear that she is very good, very talented player and she performed well. She has a big future in front of her. So I’m really sure that if she keeps on developing going forward, she will be on this roster.”

The roster includes 18 players who were on the World Cup squad. Newcomers include midfielder Andi Sullivan and forward Lynn Williams.

Sullivan, a former standout at Stanford who plays for the Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League, has 13 appearances with the national team. Williams, who plays for reigning NWSL champion North Carolina, has made 21 appearances with the national team since 2016, scoring six goals.

Carli Lloyd, who will turn 38 before the Tokyo Games, is the oldest player on the roster. Lloyd scored three goals in the 2015 World Cup final against Japan, but last year in France started in just one game as she took on more of a reserve role.

Andonovski, who was named coach of the team last October after Jill Ellis stepped down, praised Lloyd’s work ethic and said that if she continues to play well, he sees “no reason for her not to be a starter.”

Andonovski said Megan Rapinoe, the Ballon d’Or winner who scored six goals in the World Cup, was also nursing minor injuries during January camp.

“In the end, the ones that I believe will give it the best chance to be successful, that will give us the best chance to win the games and qualify for the Olympics, are the ones that made the roster,” he said.

The United States opens qualifying on Jan. 28 in Houston with a match against Haiti. The top two finishers in the eight-team tournament’s two groups advance to the semifinals in Carson, California, on Feb. 7. The final is in Carson on Feb. 9.

Two berths in the Tokyo Games this summer are up for grabs. The United States has made the field for every Olympic tournament since women’s soccer was added to the Games in 1996 and has won four gold medals.

FULL USWNT ROSTER

Goalkeepers: Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).

Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals), Emily Sonnett (Orlando Pride).

Midfielders: Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit).

Forwards: Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue), Jessica McDonald (North Carolina Courage), Christen Press (Utah Royals), Megan Rapinoe (Reign), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage).

Bundesliga: Schalke spoils Gladbach’s chance to go top

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GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) Michael Gregoritsch scored one goal and set up another as Schalke dealt a blow to Borussia Monchengladbach’s Bundesliga title hopes in a 2-0 win on Friday.

In the Bundesliga’s first game of 2020 after the winter break, Gladbach’s defense was frequently overwhelmed by host Schalke’s rapid team moves, especially on the counterattack.

After a string of first-half saves by Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer kept the score 0-0 at the break, Schalke scored twice early in the second half to secure the win.

Gregoritsch took the ball out to the left flank in the 48th minute, stretching the Gladbach defense and opening up space in the middle. He then passed for Suat Serdar to charge through the gap in Gladbach’s back line and score from the edge of the penalty area.

Ten minutes later it was Gregoritsch’s turn to score, finishing off a counterattack which ran almost the length of the field, with a lay-off pass from Benito Raman.

“We had trouble the whole game with Schalke’s movement. They put a lot of pressure on us and it was hard to play the ball out too. We gave them too much room,” Sommer said in televised comments. “We had chances in the first half when we could have scored a goal, but in general we were not good enough today.”

As well as his key role in attack, Gregoritsch also made a key intervention in defense, clearing Marcus Thuram’s header off the line in the 38th in what proved to be one of Gladbach’s best chances.

“When it works like this, it’s really great,” Gregoritsch said, crediting Schalke’s home crowd for the win. “We’re at home and we can hit the gas pedal a bit more with the 12th man here.”

Starting in goal for Schalke due to a suspension for first-choice Alexander Nubel, Markus Schubert made a good reaction stop to deny Gladbach’s Patrick Herrmann just before the break.

Gladbach stays two points behind leader Leipzig and can be overtaken by third-place Bayern Munich on Sunday if Bayern beats Hertha Berlin.

Gladbach was the surprise leader earlier in the season as its fans started to dream of a first German title since 1977, but it’s started to stall, having won just one of its last five games in all competitions.

Schalke moves up one place to fourth, overtaking its fierce rival Borussia Dortmund, which visits Augsburg on Saturday.

Chelsea’s Lampard prepared to go without January signings

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Frank Lampard is not only prepared for, but almost seems to prefer that, Chelsea make no new signings this month despite the club’s transfer ban being reduced to allow the Blues to sign players in January.

[ MORE: Report: Bruno Fernandes to Man United after Lisbon Derby ]

It’s not that Lampard believes he has the perfect squad, but he fears upsetting the balance and good vibes for a young group of players who have performed admirably thus far. Signing players for the sake of signing players would be “a knee-jerk reaction,” according to Lampard — quotes from the Guardian:

“I don’t want to comment on those deals because I think it’s easy with hindsight. … I think the idea of January being a time to buy players, it’s difficult for everybody: for players coming in — especially if they’re coming from a different league — for the club and for the settlement of the group. I think that’s why we have to think ultra-carefully.

“I don’t want to make some knee-jerk reaction to say: ‘Here’s my first big signing’ because we couldn’t sign anyone in the summer. No, I want to do the right thing for the club. That’s why if I do it I’ll try to consider all things. Hopefully it’s the best thing for us. Whether that’s more of a short-term option or a long-term option, we’ll also have to consider.”

As for potential outgoing players, West Ham United reportedly made a bid to take midfielder Ross Barkley on loan, but Chelsea rejected the offer and have no intention of letting the player leave Stamford Bridge this month.