PL Club Power Rankings: Week 7

Leave a comment

The theme of this week’s power rankings is statistics, and we’ve included some quality nuggets in our descriptions of why teams are rising and falling on our list.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

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


20. Newcastle United — Possibly the least effective midfield, or tactical deployment of one, we’ve seen in some time. Maybe Fabian Schar is the answer, but 37.6 percent possession over the course of a season is abysmal.
Last week: 19
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 5-0 at Leicester City
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET v. Manchester United

19. Watford — Moving up only because Newcastle was that bad against Leicester, but look below to see some serious hope for the Hornets. They just aren’t finishing, but are producing more key passes than everyone besides Man City, Chelsea, and Liverpool. Those will turn into goals, you’d think.
Last week: 20
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Wolves
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Sheffield United

whoscored.com

18. Brighton and Hove Albion — Aaron Mooy has looked a lot better in his last two starts. Can the former Huddersfield Town midfielder be the one to unlock the Seagulls attack?
Last week: 18
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Chelsea
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Spurs

17. Norwich City — Something to monitor as the weather gets colder and the pitch compacted: The Canaries are only attacking directly through the middle of the pitch on 17 percent of plays.
Last week: 13
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Crystal Palace
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Aston Villa

16. Wolves — And exhale. Wolves finally get their win and not a moment too soon with a Man City trip ahead of them. With two days less rest than the reigning champs, Sunday could be a long day.
Last week: 17
Season high: 7
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Watford
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Man City

15. Aston Villa — Why do I believe Villa is ultimately going to emerge from the fire into another Premier League season? Dean Smith‘s men lead the league in shots blocked and crosses blocked per game. While that means they are giving up a lot of attempts, that full-blooded desperation is going to pay off (or break an arm).
Last week: 11
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Burnley
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Norwich City

14. Everton — A much better looking side against City, but that’s kinda the frustrating life for Everton supporters. Sure, you got up for the big boys. Can you get up for a trip to Burnley? Also, to answer trivia from the Palace ranking, Seamus Coleman (!!) is second in the Premier League in successful dribbles this season.
Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 14
Last match: Lost 3-1 v. Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Burnley

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

13. Southampton — Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s men move from a near miss against Spurs to a match with in-form but potentially weary Chelsea. Shock on the cards at St. Mary’s?
Last week: 16
Season high: 13
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Spurs
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Chelsea

12. Burnley — Completing 64.2 percent of its passes, Burnley continues to defy the laws of logic, statistics, everything. Chris Wood is big.
Last week: 12
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Aston Villa
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Everton

11. Sheffield United — We just love that Chris Wilder wasn’t content that his side deserved a point against the leaders. Can likely move two wins clear of the drop zone with a win at Vicarage Road.
Last week: 10
Season high: 10
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Liverpool
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Watford

10. Crystal Palace — Wilfried Zaha‘s 32 successful dribbles are the most in the Premier League. Non-Palace fun fact. I’ll give you 50 chances to guess who’s second and like my odds (but the answer is in this post).
Last week: 15
Season high: 10
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Norwich City
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at West Ham United

9. Manchester United — Please, for all of our sakes, get Anthony Martial healthy.
Last week: 9
Season high: 2
Season low: 15
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Arsenal
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Newcastle United

Martial has been out since Aug. 24 (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

8. Tottenham Hotspur — A team in no man’s land, where several players need to be axed and the manager probably wants a new experience. The fullback corps is a mess.
Last week: 8
Season high: 2
Season low: 8
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Saints
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Brighton

7. Arsenal — How about this stat: Arsenal is spending 33 percent of every match in its own third, the third-highest percentage in the league. That’s not legendary when your defense is so leaky.
Last week: 4
Season high: 4
Season low: 7
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Manchester United
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Bournemouth

6. Bournemouth — Six is a good number for the Cherries, who’ve scored half of their 12 goals from set pieces. Probably deserved a win over West Ham, but probably doesn’t move you up the table.
Last week: 6
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. West Ham
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Arsenal

5. West Ham United — The Irons move from week-to-week with different tests of mettle. This week, it’s whether they can go about their business and handle a decent Palace team at home.
Last week: 5
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Bournemouth
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Crystal Palace

4. Chelsea — Is this week the Blues climb back into the Top Four?
Last week: 7
Season high: 4
Season low: 12
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Brighton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Southampton

3. Leicester City — Brendan Rodgers has his men playing on fire (in a good way). Wilfred Ndidi and Ricardo Pereira rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the Premier League in tackles this season. Ndidi is also leading the league in interceptions (23) and is performing on an N’Golo Kante level so far this season. Huge match on Saturday.
Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 5-0 v. Newcastle United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Liverpool

Ndidi  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

2. Manchester City — On pace to score 146 Premier League goals this season. Take out the 8-star performance against Watford, and it’s a 120-goal pace. That’s 14 more than their record.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 3-1 at Everton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves

1. Liverpool — Since the Reds are getting the job done and look a complete team, how about a seemingly ugly stat that shows how important fullbacks are to Liverpool’s attack? Trent Alexander-Arnold has lost possession a league-best 184 times, 28 more than second place Lucas Digne. Andrew Robertson is 7th with 136.

Obviously, this is because they have the ball a lot and are counted on tactically to put the ball into danger areas — look at where they rank in terms of accurate opposition half passes, stunning stuff — but wow.

https://www.sofascore.com/tournament/football/england/premier-league/17

Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 1-0 at Sheffield United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Leicester City

Christian Pulisic named USMNT Player of the Year

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Who else could it be? Christian Pulisic has been named the USMNT player of the year for 2019.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The Chelsea star, 21, excelled for club and country over the past 12 months and after taking a few months to settle into life in England, he’s now taking the Premier League by storm on a weekly basis.

Pulisic has now won this award for a second time after first winning it in 2017 and he becomes the youngest player in U.S. men’s national team history to win the award twice.

His achievements over the last 12 months are numerous, as he dragged a struggling USMNT to the 2019 Gold Cup final and also became the youngest player to reach double figures in goals for the USMNT.

MLS veteran Sacha Kljestan signs with hometown LA Galaxy

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Carson, Calif. (AP) Veteran midfielder Sacha Kljestan has signed with the LA Galaxy as a free agent.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The 34-year-old U.S. national team contributor officially returned to his native Southern California on Wednesday.

Kljestan has scored 49 goals over 10 MLS seasons in a career that began as the fifth overall pick by defunct Chivas USA, the Galaxy’s former stadium partners. After a successful five-year stint with Belgium’s Anderlecht, he spent the past five seasons with New York Red Bulls and Orlando City.

The Huntington Beach native also has made 51 appearances for the U.S. team, playing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Kljestan will provide veteran leadership for a Galaxy roster in transition after the departures of its top two goal-scorers: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Uriel Antuna.

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

Liverpool in talks to activate Minamino’s release clause

Getty Images
Leave a comment

On the face of it, this move makes perfect sense for everyone concerned. Especially Liverpool, who get a bargain.

Multiple reports state that the Premier League leaders are in advanced talks to sign Japanese winger Takumi Minamino from RB Salzburg.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Minamino, 24, has a release clause of just $9.5 million and it has been reported that he will move to Liverpool in January with talks going well over a five-year contract.

RB Salzburg sporting director Christoph Freund confirmed talks are ongoing about the transfer, with Bayern Munich and Marseille also said to be interested in signing the tricky winger.

“I can confirm that there are talks with Liverpool at the moment. It is an honor [for us] to see the caliber of clubs who are interested in our players.”

Minamino’s goals, pace and trickery pushed Salzburg to within one game of reaching the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds and he impressed against Liverpool in both games in the UCL group stage as he scored at Anfield and gave their defense plenty of problems in the return game. His skillset would perfectly suit the way Liverpool play with his direct running, pace and nose for goal seemingly perfect for Jurgen Klopp‘s side.

With Klopp and his RB Salzburg counterpart Jesse Marsch hugging on the sidelines after Liverpool’s win in Austria on Tuesday, plus Klopp’s kind words on the job the American coach is doing at Salzburg, it’s safe to say there’s a strong connection between the two teams and their styles of play are very similar.

That’s an even better reason for Minamino to head to Liverpool as the Japanese star would slot in seamlessly and he would become the third former RB Salzburg player at the Reds alongside Naby Keita and Sadio Mane.

From the style of play of both player and the club, to the small transfer fee, this works out very well for everyone involved. Even Salzburg will be happy to become known as a feeder club to Liverpool and Europe’s other big boys as that will help them with their future recruitment.

Raul Jimenez’s future at Wolves uncertain

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Raul Jimenez has been talking about playing for one of Spain’s big boys.

That sound you can hear is Wolves fans everywhere sobbing.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

The Mexican striker was quoted by Spanish outlet Marca saying that he would one day like to return to Spain and play for one of the La Liga giants.

“I would never rule out returning to Spain. I have good memories, and I would like to go back at some point,” Jimenez said. “I want to try out LaLiga once more, as I didn’t get to play much the previous time. Returning is not off the agenda. I have played at the Nou Camp and the Bernabeu.”

Jimenez, 28, previously played for Atletico Madrid before moving to Benfica who loaned him to Wolves in the summer of 2018, and he has since made the switch to the West Midlands permanent for $40 million.

However, his manager Nuno Espirito Santo has moved to calm down fears the El Tri star will move at the end of this season.

“What he is doing is amazing – every day of his life is dedicated to Wolves so we are delighted with it,” Santo said. “Being ambitious and dreaming is something all of us have. But our present is very good with Raul here.”

The powerful Mexican striker has been superb over the past two seasons and has proved to be a phenomenal target man in the Premier League. He’s scored 32 goals in 71 appearances in all competitions for Wolves, leading them to an FA Cup semifinal appearance and seventh-place PL finish last season and his goals this campaign (15 in 27 appearances in total) have catapulted them into the top six and the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League. Aside from his goals Jimenez’s hold-up play has been vital to Wolves’ success.

It is worth pointing out that Jimenez revealed he is very happy at Wolves but the fact he is so ambitious and fancies moving on to either Real Madrid and Barcelona is a good thing for the club. This means Jimenez is striving to improve and do all he can to take his game to the next level.

Yes, Wolves will be desperate to keep hold of the Mexican star who is a fans favorite at Molineux. But if he continues to score goals and one of Spain’s big boys, or a title-chasing team in the PL, were to come calling, can they stand in his way?