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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

 

Burnley – Southampton: How to watch, start time, team news, odds

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Burnley – Southampton: Two committed and hard-working clubs clash at Turf Moor on Saturday (Watch live at 3pm ET online via Peacock) as both teams are aiming for their first points of the season.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Sean Dyche’s Burnley lost at Leicester in their opening game of the season last weekend, while Ralph Hasenhuttl saw his Southampton side hammered 5-2 at home by Tottenham are losing at Crystal Palace on the opening day.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

These clubs are evenly-matched as Burnley finished 10th and Saints 11th last season, but both clubs know they have increasing competition to finish in midtable.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of what should be an extremely physical early-season clash.


Team news: Burnley – Southampton (INJURY REPORT)

Dale Stephens goes right into the mix for Burnley, who are without a host of players as Jay Rodriguez suffered an injury in the midweek League Cup win at Millwall and joins Ben Mee, James Tarkowski, Robbie Brady, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Jack Cork and Ashley Barnes in the treatment room.

Southampton only have one player missing through injury, Nathan Redmond, while Mohammed Salisu isn’t quite up to full speed following his arrival this summer.

 


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

With all of their injuries Burnley (+220) are the underdogs but Southampton (+135) have never fared well at Burnley and last won at Turf Moor in 2007 when both teams were in the second tier.

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Burnley – Southampton prediction

This is a real clash of style as Hasenhuttl’s Saints will press high and look to force the issue, while Burnley will sit back and soak up the pressure and look to go direct. Burnley always seem to catch Saints out on the break or from set pieces and I think that will be the case here too, but with all of the Clarets’ injuries I think Southampton will come away with something. Burnley 1-1 Southampton.


How to watch Burnley – Southampton stream and start time

Kickoff: 3pm ET Saturday
TV Channel: Peacock
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Everton stays perfect in energetic win over Crystal Palace

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Crystal Palace – Everton: Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison scored as Everton won a battle of unbeatens with Crystal Palace on Saturday at Selhurst Park.

The Toffees claimed a 2-1 win to go 3-0 on the young Premier League season, handing Palace their first loss.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]   

Palace’s goal came from a Cheikhou Kouyate header.


3 things we learned: Crystal Palace – Everton

1. Ancelotti pushing the right buttons, especially with James: Carlo Ancelotti’s first full season guiding the Toffees could hardly be going better, with away wins at Palace and Spurs and a home blowout of 10-man West Brom. Yes, Everton got penalty luck on a similar play that was deemed not an offense when Palace took a shot, but few would argue that the visitors didn’t do enough anyway for a win. James Rodriguez remains on another level when playing under the Italian, which is reason enough to celebrate the relationship.

2. Palace a bit unlucky in losing perfect mark: Roy Hodgson’s men will feel they should’ve had a point when Calvert-Lewin’s half-torso, half-arm block in the 18 was not given to Palace as a chance to level from the spot, especially with Ward’s handball being awarded as a pen. With Guaita getting a piece of Calvert-Lewin’s opening goal and Palace having a strong late run of possession, these were fine margins even if Everton likely deserved no less than the point.

3. Is goalkeeping an issue for Everton? Jordan Pickford is being questioned again, days after a silly giveaway cost Everton a goal. Maybe we’re not talking about the goalkeeper’s inability to get a hand on Kouyate’s hammered header if not for the midweek moment, but the goal was Palace’s only shot on target. Pickford hasn’t been great since the season

Man of the Match:

Seamus Coleman. It’s difficult to choose who was better in attack between Calvert-Lewin and Rodriguez, but the Irish right back was dynamic at both ends in setting up the first goal and making three tackles, an interception, and a blocked shot.


Crystal Palace – Everton recap

The Toffees are playing really good football and the opening goal exemplified their attacking prowess as Seamus Coleman started a move with Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez which returned to the Irishman for a pass inside the box that Calvert-Lewin put off Vicente Guaita and into the goal.

Palace found a leveler off a set piece, Andros Townsend’s corner kick finding the leaping Kouyate for a header through the flailing arms of Jordan Pickford.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Joel Ward had two close-range handball penalty shouts reviewed by VAR. The second was just a bit closer to the real deal and VAR awarded Richarlison his chance from the spot. 2-1, 40′.

VAR did not give Palace a chance to level from the spot when Calvert-Lewin blocked a shot inside the box with a combination of his arm and torso, the appendage squeezed close to his side but

‘Not the bad guy’: Koeman hits back on Suarez exit at Barcelona

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman is not worried about the commitment of Lionel Messi to the team despite his ongoing conflicts with the club leadership.

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Koeman said Saturday that he cared about the efforts of Messi on the field – and not his criticisms of the board for stopping him from leaving Barcelona while pushing out teammate and friend Luis Suarez.

“It is normal that a player is sad when a friend leaves,” Koeman said in a conciliatory tone toward Messi, a day after the star forward went to social media to complain that Barcelona’s board had not given Suarez the exit he “deserved.”

“But the most important thing for me is how Leo has trained. He has been an example for the rest in practice and in the (preseason) matches,” Koeman said a day before his official debut as Barcelona’s coach against Villarreal.

Suarez learned of the club’s decision to get rid of him through a call from Koeman, who was hired after the team lost 8-2 to Bayern Munich to end last season. After probing a transfer with Juventus in Italy, Barcelona ended up sending Suarez to Spanish league rival Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

Koeman, however, made clear that he did not want to be considered solely responsible for the departure of the 33-year-old Suarez, who left Barcelona as its third all-time leading scorer.

“I must say that I look like the bad guy … That is not true,” Koeman said. “It was a decision of the club. The club, before I had become its coach, took some decisions. This was not my sole decision as coach; it was also the decision of the club. It is an effort to change the team. Younger players will have more opportunities.”

Those younger players include new signings Francisco Trincao and Pedri, and 17-year-old Ansu Fati.

“Ansu is a great talent,” Koeman said about the striker who became Spain’s youngest all-time scorer on his debut earlier this month.

“There are few players who have shown they can play for Barca. He is a player of the future.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

West Brom – Chelsea: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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West Brom – Chelsea: The Blues are in desperate need of a strong rebound when they visit The Hawthorns on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 pm ET, on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

WEST BROM – CHELSEA STREAM LIVE

The Baggies, on the other hand, are simply hoping to collect their first point of the season after suffering a 3-0 defeat to Leicester City on the opening day of the 2020-21 season and following that up with a 5-2 beatdown at the hands of Everton last weekend.

As far as favorable matchups go, facing the 20th-place side a week after losing to defending champions Liverpool is quite timely for Chelsea, who is still a week or two away from seeing Christian Pulisic in a match.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of West Brom – Chelsea this Saturday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: West Brom – Chelsea (INJURY REPORT)

Hal Robson-Kanu’s leg is not a problem after a good midweek in the League Cup and he’ll start on the bench.

Christian Pulisic is out for Chelsea but Cesar Azpilicueta is fit to see the bench.


What they’re saying: West Brom – Chelsea

West Brom manager Slaven Bilic, on struggling to sign players: “We don’t have a huge budget, that is why we are trying to be creative and lucky. That’s not easy but we are trying. … We have to do it to maintain a good chance.”

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, on Thiago Silva: “It is exciting for us because he has had just over a week training with us. It was a perfect 60 minutes for him tonight. He will show the qualities he has. Of course, he will get fitter and better. He also gave us something for me on the night in the dressing room and on the pitch of a leader with authority in terms of his demands on others. He can’t speak the language but at the minute that’s not even a problem because his presence and the way he commands people around him is already showing that to me in training and in our game tonight.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

West Brom (+750) represent one of the biggest underdogs — or, opportunities, depending on how you look at it — of the still-young PL season. There’s not much to be won by betting on Chelsea (-280). Even the draw (+400) is pretty far out there.

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Prediction: West Brom – Chelsea

Barring some unforeseen circumstances — for example, a 12th-minute red card — it’s virtually impossible to see West Brom getting anything from this game. They’ve been incredibly poor defensively through two games, and they’re yet to face a side with anything close to the firepower which the Blues possess. West Brom 1-3 Chelsea.


How to watch West Brom – Chelsea stream and start time

Kickoff: 12:30 pm ET Saturday
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com