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PL Club Power Rankings: Week 6

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Is there anything more challenging in the Premier League than picking the sides capable of sustaining a run that can challenge for the Top Six?

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

Leicester City did it out of nowhere in 2015/16 and it’s the most remarkable example, but look at the others to have slid into the Top Six’s DMs in the past decade: Saints (6th) the same season as Leicester. Everton in 2012/13 and 2013/14 was predictable, but Newcastle in 2011/12? Please.

The point is: It’s way more difficult these days to estimate the table. Last year, Watford v. Wolves was a massive fixture. This year, so far, it’s an after thought.

Saturday’s tilt between Bournemouth and West Ham on the other hand? Now we’re talking…

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


20. Watford — Six months ago, a match-up between the Hornets and Wolves was for seventh-place in the Premier League. It’s a reminder of how quickly things can change, but also an inspiration for both sides because, well, how quickly things can change…
Last week: 20
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 8-0 at Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Wolves

19. Newcastle United — The Magpies midfield against Brighton was about as disorganized as a unit can look, both before and after Steve Bruce switched up the formation. Maybe they should just throw Joelinton, Andy Carroll, Miguel Almiron, and Allan Saint-Maximin together in a front four and roll with six defenders and four forwards. Relegation quality right now.
Last week: 19
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Brighton
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Leicester City

18. Brighton and Hove Albion — As poor as Newcastle played, the Seagulls didn’t convert any of their myriad chances. Also relegation quality right now.
Last week: 18
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Newcastle
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Chelsea

(Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)

17. Wolverhampton Wanderers — Something’s gotta give, and Wolves better hope it’s the reappearance of old foes Watford on the docket.
Last week: 17
Season high: 7
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Crystal Palace
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Watford

16. Southampton — Hard to read, and a match-up with mercurial old mate Mauricio Pochettino on the horizon.
Last week: 13
Season high: 13
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 3-1 v. Bournemouth
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Spurs

15. Crystal Palace — Wilfried Zaha‘s 475-minute start to the season without a goal or assist is his longest drought since February 2018. Bad news for the Canaries?
Last week: 16
Season high: 14
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Wolves
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Norwich City

14. Everton — Have taken an amazing start of fixtures to start the season and managed a whopping seven points and the joint third-worst goal different in the league. Remarkably disappointing, but there are some encouraging stat lines. For one thing, only Man City is allowing fewer shots per match. Now if the Toffees could stop the few shots they do allow from being pure gifts to the opposition, or start to get some big moments out of the 15th-ranked goalkeeper in the Premier League, they’d be onto something.
Last week: 12
Season high: 5
Season low: 14
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Sheffield United
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Man City

13. Norwich City — Back to Earth after the remarkable Man City win, and possibly back in the Bottom Three if they can’t do work on Saturday at Selhurst Park.
Last week: 10
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Burnley
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Crystal Palace

12. Burnley — An all-claret tussle with Villa this week will tell us a bit about whether the Clarets are relegation fodder or not.
Last week: 15
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Norwich City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Aston Villa

11. Aston Villa — Dean Smith‘s men should’ve found a way to hold on for a point against 10-man Arsenal, but bad things happen to first-year teams. Big chance to re-assert strength when Burnley visits on Saturday.
Last week: 11
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Lost 3-2 at Arsenal
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Burnley

10. Sheffield United — The Southampton loss is the only score on their season list that looks bad. Otherwise, Chris Wilder‘s men are holding their own with some in-form teams.
Last week: 14
Season high: 10
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 2-0 at Everton
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Liverpool

(Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)

9. Manchester United — Asking us to drop them lower, but the returns of Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial should make Monday a beauty.
Last week: 8
Season high: 2
Season low: 15
Last match: Lost 2-0 at West Ham
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Monday v. Arsenal

8. Tottenham Hotspur — This week has felt a lot like last season’s three-loss week against West Ham, Ajax, and Bournemouth. The good news is that that turned out alright in the end. A visit from Southampton should help things, but will it? A refreshed Harry Kane should arrive on Saturday.
Last week: 2
Season high: 2
Season low: 8
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Leicester
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Saints

7. Chelsea — Probably not as far off the pack as you think, and should’ve almost certainly had a point against Liverpool. Brighton should be concerned about this week’s trip to the Bridge.
Last week: 4
Season high: 4
Season low: 12
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Liverpool
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Brighton

6. Bournemouth — Flying. Eddie Howe‘s men have us daydreaming again, but they let us down last year after inspiring similar thoughts. Monumental litmus test when the Irons visit on Saturday in what’s one of the matches of the weekend.
Last week: 9
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 3-1 at Southampton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. West Ham United

5. West Ham United — Beat Bournemouth on Saturday and we’ll be thinking legitimately about a Top Six finish for Manuel Pellegrini‘s guys.
Last week: 6
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Man Utd
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Bournemouth

Andriy Yarmolenko celebrates with teammates Felipe Anderson and Declan Rice  (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

4. Arsenal — Another team whose mercurial performances — Watford, anyone? — probably betrays how much promise they’ve shown overall. Let’s see how Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney, and Rob Holding reshape the defense.
Last week: 7
Season high: 4
Season low: 7
Last match: Won 3-2 v. Aston Villa
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Monday at Manchester United

3. Leicester City — The real deal, with real depth. Brendan Rodgers has dealt well with the departure of Harry Maguire, and the Foxes should run cleanly through the Magpies to a meeting with ol’ pals Liverpool at Anfield on Oct. 5.
Last week: 5
Season high: 3
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Spurs
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Newcastle

2. Manchester City — Pep Guardiola didn’t know the Premier League single season record for goals was 8. Now he does. Food for thought.
Last week: 3
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 8-0 v. Watford
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Everton

1. Liverpool — Look, we realize this team won the Champions League last season and that it looks even better in attack and is even more refined in its system.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 at Chelsea
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Sheffield United

 

The 2 Robbies podcast: Liverpool, Chelsea through to UCL knockouts

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle on Liverpool’s nervy 2-0 win against Red Bull Salzburg to take first place in Group E of the Champions League (1:55), Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Lille to secure a place in the Round of 16 (13:15) and who is the current favorite to win it all (20:45).

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Plus, what Arsenal’s come-from-behind 3-1 win at West Ham means for both London clubs (29:10) and the Robbies discuss what they’re looking forward to most at the next Live Premier League Mornings Fan Fest in Miami Beach (46:05).

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

PL Club Power Rankings: Week 16

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The Premier League didn’t issue too many surprises at the bottom of the table this week, but two top-tier sides didn’t behave as such and shook up our rankings.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Chelsea and Man City have dipped low, and Bournemouth’s skid doesn’t have it sinking lower (yet) because of the teams beneath it.

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

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]


20. Watford — Liverpool and Manchester United are next, and it’s looking a long way back to safety.
Last week: 20
Season high: 17
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Crystal Palace
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Liverpool

19. Norwich City — Outshot, out-passed, our possessed Sheffield United at home and still lost. Bad vibes, man.
Last week: 18
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Sheffield United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Leicester City

18. West Ham United — Just feels like there’s something lurking below the surface here. Doesn’t smell right given the Irons talent.
Last week: 17
Season high: 5
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-1 v. Arsenal
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Southampton

17. Bournemouth — Losing to Liverpool is no shame, but it’s almost officially time to worry.
Last week: 16
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 3-0 v. Liverpool
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Chelsea

16. Aston Villa — Tom Heaton is a heck of a goalkeeper but he can’t be expected to save four A-plus danger chances per game.
Last week: 14
Season high: 8
Season low: 16
Last match: Lost 4-1 v. Leicester City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Sheffield United

15. Southampton — West Ham and Villa back-to-back have to provide four points if Saints revival is to be believed.
Last week: 15
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Newcastle United
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. West Ham United

14. Everton — Duncan Ferguson gives the Toffees board reason enough to be patient with their managerial hire, and then Napoli goes and fires Carlo Ancelotti.
Last week: 19
Season high: 5
Season low: 19
Last match: Won 3-1 v. Chelsea
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Manchester United

13. Burnley — The defending against Spurs — we know, Spurs are good — was enough to drop them far lower than four spots. Abject stuff from a Sean Dyche side.
Last week: 9
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Lost 5-0 at Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Newcastle

12. Arsenal — Freddie Ljungberg started Nicolas Pepe, and Nicholas Pepe was his best player. Stunning stuff, really. Look at the assist below.
Last week: 13
Season high: 4
Season low: 12
Last match: Won 3-1 at West Ham
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Man City

11. Crystal Palace — I want to believe, but am holding out for something more. A derby win versus Brighton would suffice.
Last week: 7
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Watford
Up next: 2:45 p.m. ET Monday v. Brighton

10. Newcastle United — Again, Steve Bruce‘s men are getting tremendous Fortune and he’s pushing almost all the right buttons (It takes guts to start Andy Carroll over the struggling record signing Joelinton). This could be a sign of the Geordie Apocalypse.
Last week: 11
Season high: 11
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Southampton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Burnley

9. Sheffield United — A little wobbly lately, but still a good comeback at Carrow Road.
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 2-1 at Norwich City
Up next: 10 a.m ET Saturday v. Aston Villa

8. Brighton and Hove Albion — Doesn’t it say something that a country who starves for young, strong English coaches had one sitting in Sweden for eight years? Graham Potter is legit.
Last week: 12
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 2-1 at Arsenal
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves

7. Chelsea — Some of those young guys who’ve played so well, so early, are looking a little ragged. It’s a shame Frank Lampard is still waiting on Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who will really help things take another step.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Lost 3-1 at Everton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth

6. Manchester City — It probably has nothing to do with the system, and a lot to do with not having Aymeric Laporte, Sergio Aguero, Leroy Sane… Still, it needs to be better than a home derby loss to a Paul Pogba-less United.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 6
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Manchester United
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Arsenal

5. Tottenham Hotspur — We’re gonna need multiple screens on Sunday morning, as Wolves-Spurs and Man Utd-Everton are both must-monitor.
Last week: 8
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 5-0 v. Burnley
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Wolves

4. Manchester United — Ole’s at the wheel, and still doesn’t feel like Lewis Hamilton or anything but we’re not worried about heading off a cliff.
Last week: 6
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 2-1 at Man City
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Everton

3. Wolves — Beat Spurs on Sunday and I’ll go ahead and bet on them as a Top Four finisher, even after the Brighton draw failed to deliver the goods.
Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Brighton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Spurs

2. Leicester City — Wow.
Last week: 2
Season high: 2
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 4-1 at Aston Villa
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Norwich City

1. Liverpool — Wow, only atop the table.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 3-0 at Bournemouth
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Watford

Champions League Weds. preview: Two spots remain

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Only two spots remain in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds, and those will be settled Wednesday afternoon.

In Group C, hosts Shakhtar Donetsk need to beat Atalanta to go through, while the visitors can also go through with a win if Dinamo Zagreb fails to defeat Man City.

[ MORE: Ancelotti reportedly speaking w/ Everton ]

In Group D, Atletico Madrid is through with a win over Lokomotiv Moscow, though Bayer Leverkusen can complete a remarkable comeback from an 0-3 start to the group stage if they beat already-qualified Juve and Atleti loses to their Russian visitors.

You certainly wouldn’t be against Diego Simeone there, though.

“Tomorrow is a great opportunity, every day that you wear the Atletico shirt is,” Simeone said, via Marca. “I believe in my team, in the humility that they have at the moment. The results will come based on what they are demonstrating on the field.”

Premier League sides Man City and Tottenham Hotspur both have their fortunes settled, with City having won Group C and Spurs settled into Group B’s second spot, but they still have plenty to figure out on Tuesday.

Jose Mourinho’s Spurs are going up against a Bayern team that walloped them at home, while City is living an unusual 2W-3D-2L lull in form.

Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League action

12:55 p.m. ET
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Atalanta
Dinamo Zagreb v. Man City

3 p.m. ET
Club Brugge v. Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid v. Lokomotiv Moscow
Bayer Leverkusen v. Juventus
Paris Saint-Germain v. Galatasaray
Olympiacos v. Red Star Belgrade
Bayern Munich v. Tottenham Hotspur

Ancelotti fired by Napoli as Everton, Arsenal lurk

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Carlo Ancelotti won a place in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds, then lost his job.

The Napoli’s boss strained relationship with club president Aurelio De Laurentiis came to a head, with the Neapolitan side advancing in Europe to end a nine-match winless run.

[ MORE: Sporting KC adds Liga MX top scorer ]

That run may’ve included seven draws, but it also saw Napoli dip into seventh on the Serie A table. They are seven points back of sixth and 17 points behind leaders Juventus.

A strained relationship got worse when Ancelotti refused to take the team on a De Laurentiis-ordered “team retreat” following a draw against Salzburg in early November.

Gennaro Gattuso is rumored as Ancelotti’s replacement, and the fired coach himself is being mentioned as an immediate target for Arsenal and Everton.

In fact, the Toffees are in discussions with the Italian legend already, according to Sky Sports. Football Italia claims Arsenal is in on the action, too.

Ancelotti has won the Champions League with AC Milan twice and a third time with Real Madrid. He’s claimed domestic titles in five of Europe’s top leagues, with silverware at Chelsea, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid.