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Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 10

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Tottenham Hotspur, we’re angry with you.

No, not because you’ve floundered after we had you pegged as the team best able to provide a third entrant to the Premier League title race, but, well…

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

…You’re making our power rankings way too difficult.

Spurs, on one hand, have drawn last place Watford, barely beat Southampton, and lost to Newcastle and Brighton.

On the other, they’ve hung tight enough with Liverpool, Leicester City, and Man City, drawn Arsenal, and bashed decent-looking Villa and Palace.

It doesn’t just make it challenging to place Spurs on this table, it makes it challenging to evaluate the quality of other teams’ results against them!

Alas, we’ll try. Because it’s our job. That’s why.

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


20. Southampton — Nine goals allowed at home. Which repercussion was more harsh on Saints, the players and staff donating their wages to charity, or consecutive matches away to Man City.
Last week: 16
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 9-0 v. Leicester City
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Man City

19. Norwich City — Their seven losses are the most in the league, and they need to find something from two-straight winnable matches (Brighton, Watford).
Last week: 19
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 3-1 v. Manchester United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Brighton

18. Watford — Improving, to be sure, but probably looking past a Chelsea visit to next week’s trip to Norwich City.
Last week: 20
Season high: 18
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Bournemouth
Up next: 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Chelsea

17. Newcastle United — Losing Sean Longstaff to a red card against a West Ham midfield which can handle itself at home is a problem.
Last week: 17
Season high: 15
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Wolves
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at West Ham


16. Everton — A proper contender against contenders, but Marco Silva‘s men bring significantly less focus and intensity when the opposition is lesser.
Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 16
Last match: Lost 3-2 at Brighton
Up next:  11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Spurs

15. Brighton and Hove Albion — A very nice VAR-aided win over Everton, and Graham Potter‘s men will hope to ride momentum to another three points.
Last week: 18
Season high: 6
Season low:18
Last match: Won 3-2 v. Everton
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Norwich City

(Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

14. West Ham United — Winless since the defeat of Man Utd (five matches), Manuel Pellegrini has to get Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson back to their best.
Last week: 15
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Sheffield United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Newcastle United

13. Bournemouth — Also winless in four with a stiff incoming test.
Last week: 9
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Watford
Up next: 8:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Manchester United

12. Burnley — Into a four-match run which demands results (Sheff Utd, West Ham, Watford, Palace) if this is going to be a second top half season in three attempts.
Last week: 11
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Lost 4-2 v. Chelsea
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Sheffield United

11. Wolves — Deserved more than a point against Newcastle, but there have been too many matches like that for Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men this season. Willy Boly‘s injury is extremely challenging. Saturday at the Emirates could be a barnburner.
Last week: 10
Season high: 7
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Newcastle United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Arsenal

10. Tottenham Hotspur — Tricky little run ahead, starting at inconsistent before a trip to Serbia and visit from Sheffield United. We’ll soon know if the slump has truly been addressed.
Last week: 13
Season high: 2
Season low: 13
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Liverpool
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Everton

9. Aston Villa — Rebounded from the loss at Man City to advance in the League Cup, but gets a well-rested Liverpool at Villa Park.
Last week: 8
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Lost 3-0 at Man City
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Liverpool

8. Arsenal — A mess, but a fun one.
Last week: 7
Season high: 4
Season low: 8
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Crystal Palace
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Wolves

7. Manchester United — Massively improved, though the Paul Pogba question hangs over Old Trafford as the club gets results without him.
Last week: 12
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 3-1 at Norwich City
Up next: 8:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Bournemouth
(Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

6. Sheffield United — Not a bad point in London.
Last week: 5
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 1-1 at West Ham United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Burnley

5. Crystal Palace — Looks like we were wrong about the Eagles, who have been truly impressive and steady thanks to Luka Milivojevic and James McArthur.
Last week: 6
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Arsenal
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Leicester City

4. Leicester City — The way the Foxes reacted to the blood in the water at St. Mary’s tells you all you need about the attitude at King Power.
Last week: 4
Season high: 3
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 9-0 at Southampton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Crystal Palace

3. Manchester City — The injuries are mounting up, but a visit from Saints should be pretty straight-forward. The four match stretch that follows (Atalanta and Liverpool away, Chelsea and Shakhtar at home) is far from it.
Last week: 3
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 3-0 v. Aston Villa
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Southampton

2. Chelsea — Saturday’s visitors are stingier these days, but Chelsea’s league win streak should continue at Vicarage Road.
Last week: 2
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Won 4-2 at Burnley
Up next: 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Watford

1. Liverpool —  How many times have the Reds been the better rested team in a PL match? Klopp’s gamble of playing the kids versus Arsenal looking doubly fortunate now.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Tottenham Hotspur
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Aston Villa

Van Dijk: Liverpool proved ‘everyone is ready’ for decisive December, January

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Liverpool will play as many as 13 more games between now and the end of January — a period which is sure to go a long way toward deciding the fate of their season, including the Premier League title — and superstar defender Virgil Van Dijk insists that Wednesday’s 5-2 thrashing of rivals Everton proved “everyone is ready” to step up and do their part.

[ MORE: Lampard: Pulisic can reach “top level of world football” ]

Manager Jurgen Klopp made five changes to the team that faced Everton, matching the number of goals his side scored. According to Van Dijk, that level of squad rotation was only a preview of what’s the come over the next eight weeks — quotes from the Guardian:

“The players who came into the team don’t play regularly at all. Look at Divock [Origi], [Xherdan] Shaqiri, they did fantastic. We played Adam [Lallana], Milly [James Milner]; everyone is contributing and we need everyone. That is the key message and it is good. The season is very long. This month is very long — January as well — so we need everyone to be ready.

“We have a big squad and everyone is part of what is going on at the moment. Everyone is happy with the situation we are in. And everyone is also feeling responsible as well, ready to play or if you are on the bench. Everyone is part of the success we have and that is the message to everyone and so far, so good.”

Liverpool’s schedule for December and January breaks down as follows: eight games in the PL, one each in the UEFA Champions League, FA Cup and EFL Cup, and up to two in the FIFA Club World Cup. The Reds’ PL fixture against West Ham United was also rescheduled due to their participation in the Club World Cup.

Through 15 games in the PL, Liverpool hold an eight-point lead on second-place Leicester City and an 11-point advantage on third-place and two-time defending champions Manchester City.

Italian newspaper condemned for “Black Friday” headline featuring Lukaku, Smalling

Photo credit: Corriere dello Sport
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Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport has been widely condemned after printing the headline “Black Friday” on top of photos of Inter Milan forward Romelu Lukaku and Roma defender Chris Smalling, former Manchester United teammates set to face one another in Serie A action on Friday.

[ MORE: Lampard: Pulisic can reach “top level of world football” ]

The sub-headline went on to read: “Lukaku and Smalling, former teammates at Manchester United and today idols at Inter and Roma, this is the battle within the battle tomorrow with the scudetto and a Champions League place at stake.”

Both clubs were quick to put out statements condemning the newspaper’s coverage.

[ MORE: Ole gushes over “the best performance Rashford has had under me” ]

Per the Guardian, an excerpt of the article which appeared to attempt to highlight Serie A’s problem with racism, saying, “We are all trying to tackle the issue of racism in Italian football,” before making a racially insensitive statement of its own:

“In the faces of those idiots who boo, tomorrow everyone must instead go ‘oooh’ like children. It will be a Black Friday, but this is not an end-of-season sale.” It went on to describe Lukaku and Smalling as “two giants of color.”

This comes less than a week after Serie A’s 20 clubs put out a joint statement “acknowledging a serious problem with racism” in the Italian game, while providing little or no concrete plan for action to rid the game of the very racism they acknowledged.

Lukaku has scored 10 goals in 14 league games since joining Inter this summer and Smalling has become a mainstay for Roma in recent months, scoring twice and leading the defense to a much improved record of goals conceded and five victories in six games.

Orlando City tabs Pareja as new coach

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Oscar Pareja is returning to Major League Soccer for a third stint.

The former Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas coach will now be plying his trade for Orlando City SC, leading Nani and Dom Dwyer as the fourth full-time coach in six MLS seasons.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

A longtime Dallas player and assistant, Pareja led the Rapids to the playoffs in 2013 before leaving for the head job at his former club.

FCD won the Supporters’ Shield and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup under his watch before he left for Club Tijuana in 2018, where he went 23W-4D-21L.

Here’s Pareja, via OrlandoCitySC.com:

“The future of this Club is extremely bright, with so many opportunities to grow and succeed at all levels of the Club – from the new training facility to the world-class stadium and from the Development Academy all the way to the MLS side. Orlando is an incredible soccer city, with an especially passionate and dedicated fan base. I can’t wait to get started.”

Pareja should be a huge asset in developing the club’s top young talents into professionals, but he’s got a lot of work to do in building a competitive roster. Orlando finished eight points out of the playoffs in a league in which making the playoffs isn’t that difficult of a proposition.

PL preview: Arsenal-Brighton; Blades-Newcastle

Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images
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The Premier League’s midweek fixture list has two more on the docket, with mid-table positioning at play in South Yorkshire and London.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Both host sides can advance into sixth with wins, while the visitors will also be dreaming of the top half of the table.

Arsenal v. Brighton and Hove Albion — 3:15 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Freddie Ljungberg will have his hands full at home, as Graham Potter‘s Seagulls have been anything but a walkover even in a three-match losing skid versus Manchester United, Leicester City, and Liverpool.

Arsenal, meanwhile, saw its winless run reach eight matches in all competitions with a weekend draw at Norwich City. The Gunners only outshot the Canaries by a 16-15 margin, something that will have Potter daydreaming of ways to break down the sloppy Arsenal defense.

Will Ljungberg finally start Nicolas Pepe?

“Nico is someone who is a very, very good player but sometimes when you come from a different league it takes time to adapt; off the pitch and on the pitch. But Nico is someone I plan on talking to. I’m going to have a little chat with him about what I expect and how I want to play.”

Sounds like no, which is good news for Brighton. #FreeNicolasPepe.

Sheffield United v. Newcastle United — 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold

Chris Wilder‘s remarkable Blades haven’t lost since September, and will like their chances against a Newcastle side which likes to cede possession.

The Magpies are coming off a remarkable 2-2 draw against Man City, though don’t expect Steve Bruce to keep things the same. He has hinted he’ll ring in the changes and trust his squad depth, with Florian Lejeune, Emil Krafth, and Yoshinori Muto among those tipped for opportunity.

“We are going to have to,” Bruce said. “When you look at the games it is a ridiculous schedule. We will have to adapt and need a bit of freshness.”

Newcastle can join its hosts on 19 points with a win, but would likely accept a draw to take them three points clear of 18th place Everton.