PL Club Power Rankings: Week 12

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Wolves are rising, Gunners misfiring, and Spurs just linking self-inflicted wounds as the Premier League club power rankings head for Week 12.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

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


20. Norwich City — Just dreadful right now, and in dire need of healing over the break.
Last week: 20
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Watford
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Nov. 23 at Everton

19. Southampton — Minus-18 in goal difference, but that shrinks to minus-7 on the expected goals table, so perhaps just really unlucky right now?
Last week: 19
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Everton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Nov. 23 at Arsenal

18. West Ham United — It’s not talent. It’s not the manager. Something’s just foul in London.
Last week: 17
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 3-0 at Burnley
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Nov. 23 v. Spurs

17. Watford — Not out of danger, not even close, but playing like a club that will find its way to safety.
Last week: 18
Season high: 17
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 2-0 at Norwich City
Up next: 10 a.m. Nov. 23 v. Burnley

16. Spurs — Unlucky again this week — Heung-Min Son could’ve had three against Blades — but unlucky is not comforting at all considering the expectations and talent in North London.
Last week: 14
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Sheffield United
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Nov. 23 at West Ham

15. Aston Villa — Dean Smith has to be crushed that his overall decent performances have only equaled 11 points, just three more than 18th place.
Last week: 11
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Wolves
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Nov. 25 v. Newcastle United

14. Brighton and Hove Albion — A setback after a fine run, as the Seagulls were dominated by Manchester United. Mat Ryan was sensational in a losing effort.
Last week: 12
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 3-1 at Manchester United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Nov. 23 v. Leicester City

13. Bournemouth — Joshua King‘s missed header in stoppage at St. James’ Park was the story of their season. 4-4-4, and just not looking capable of being anything better than average.
Last week: 7
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Newcastle
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Nov. 23 v. Wolves

12. Newcastle United — Remember the name Allan Saint-Maximin. Newcastle is 4-2-2 when the 22-year-old dribble wizard makes an appearance, and has one point from four matches when he’s unused or unavailable. Like Miguel Almiron, he hasn’t been finishing his chances, but he’s a handful and Newcastle’s most dangerous player since Hatem Ben Arfa (and, so far, no signs of off-field drama).
Last week: 15
Season high: 12
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Bournemouth
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Nov. 25 at Aston Villa

11. Arsenal — Free Nicolas Pepe.
Last week: 8
Season high: 4
Season low: 11
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Leicester City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Nov. 23 v. Southampton

10. Crystal Palace — Consecutive understandable setbacks could turn to three with Liverpool coming to meet old pal Roy Hodgson at Selhurst Park.
Last week: 8
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Chelsea
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Nov. 22 v. Liverpool

9. Burnley — Never doubt Sean Dyche. We keep saying we won’t. Then we do. Then they produce a complete performance like the weekend’s 3-0 win versus struggling West Ham.
Last week: 16
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 3-0 v. West Ham
Up next: 10 a.m. Nov. 23 at Watford

8. Everton — As much as Marco Silva‘s men have wasted the table’s softness, the Toffees are right in the mix for the Top Six.
Last week: 13
Season high: 5
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 2-1 at Saints
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Nov. 23 v. Norwich City

 7. Manchester United — The walking boot is off Paul Pogba, who probably demanded its removal after United ran all over Brighton.
Last week: 9
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 3-1 v. Brighton
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Nov. 24 at Sheffield United

6. Wolves — Unbeaten in seven league outings, and a sneaky bet for the Top Four-Six.
Last week: 11
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Aston Villa
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Nov. 23 at Bournemouth

5. Sheffield United — Right now we’re just admiring the Blades, but a win at Old Trafford after the break will make us really take a look at what’s possible for the newly-promoted club.
Last week: 5
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Spurs
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Nov. 24 at Manchester United

4. Leicester City — Doing the little things that make the difference, and could be in line for 15 more points before meeting Man City and Liverpool in back-to-back outings.
Last week: 4
Season high: 3
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Arsenal
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Nov. 22 at Brighton and Hove Albion

3. Manchester City — Expected goals say City actually out-performed Liverpool on Sunday, but you have to finish your chances to win. Fine margins.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Lost 3-1 at Liverpool
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Nov. 23 v. Chelsea

2. Chelsea — Kante is back. Good luck with that, league rivals.
Last week: 3
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Crystal Palace
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Nov. 23 at Man City

1. Liverpool — How good was Fabinho‘s hit to open the scoring v. Man City? Add in the fact that the Brazilian’s expected goals total for the match was .05, and it’s even more humorous. What’s deadly serious? The midfielder’s presence on the pitch has him
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 3-1 v. Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Nov. 23 at Crystal Palace

Court date for USWNT’s law suit versus U.S. Soccer delayed

USWNT equal pay
Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images
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A court case that has dragged U.S. Soccer’s administration through the mud and led to a change of leadership may drag into the summer.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

A judge in California has delayed the May 5 trial of gender discrimination against the USSF until June 16 due in part to the coronavirus pandemic. A pretrial conference was also moved to June 1.

The federation is being sued by members of the two-time reigning World Cup champion USWNT under the Equal Pay Act.

The women are requesting more than $66 million in damages.

The extra month gives both parties more time to reach a settlement which could keep this ugly case away from trial. Given the uncertainty in our world, it could of course be delayed again.

The USSF has a new CEO in Will Wilson, who can make a major statement of change by stopping the trial from reaching court.

Handicapping the Final Four of Premier League March Madness

Premier League March Madness
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
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Our Premier League March Madness results have been as topsy-turvy as the 2019/20 on-field campaign before coronavirus halted it last month.

Yes, the runaway No. 1 seed is alive, but the second, third, fourth, and fifth seeds have been expelled from the tournament within the first two rounds.

Voting in the semifinal round begins Thursday.

[ RESULTS: March Madness Round of 16 ]

Before we go any further, if you’re unfamiliar: To make sure you’re not missing out on either March Madness or the business end of the PL season, we’ve gone ahead and merged the two competitions. The March Madness Final Four and Championship game were due to take place this weekend in Atlanta but now you will be voting on Tottenham v. Arsenal instead of Duke v. Kansas.

Teams are seeded from 1-16 based on their current spot in the table, with Aston Villa winning the relegation playoffs on Monday to remain in the Premier League.

[ LIVE: March Madness PL hub ] 

Before we handicap the semifinal matches, let’s take a look at where the field sits after your Wednesday voting.

No. 1 Liverpool v. No. 12 Everton
No. 6 Wolves v. No. 7 Sheffield United

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Look, all bets are off for the derby. The Everton faithful has shown up in a big way during voting, dispatching Manchester United and Chelsea.

That’s big time stuff, though Liverpool ended the dreams of our presumptive sleeping giant favorite Arsenal after beating West Ham in the Sweet Sixteen.

The Reds are going to have to not just been upstart Everton but overcome the legions of rival supporters who would happily click the Toffees’ box rather than see Liverpool gain the crown.

The other side of the bracket sees No. 7 Sheffield United looking to continue its surprising run in both the PL season and our voting.

The Blades knocked off Man City, potentially aided by the same phenomenon Everton hopes to see on Thursday.

Now they meet Wolves, who may be riding a crest of North American momentum in the form of affinity for El Tri hero Raul Jimenez.

Our prediction: Everton and Wolves in the Final.

RESULTS: Premier League March Madness Elite Eight

Premier League March Madness
Photo by Jacques Feeney/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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Everton continued its upset path toward in our Premier League March Madness voting, showing its sensational support and setting up a fantastic eMerseyside Derby in the Final Four.

Thousands of votes were cast Wednesday, and the Toffees upset isn’t even the top underdog story.

[ LIVE: March Madness PL hub ] 

Chris Wilder’s Blades of Sheffield United won a back-and-forth affair with No. 2 seed Manchester City to move into the semifinals.

That’s where they’ll meet No. 6 seed Wolves, who powered past Leicester City as if it wasn’t a challenge.

If you want to see the full game schedule, seedings and bracket, here is the post you need as the tournament will run all week long:

Monday: Relegation semifinals, final – Aston Villa prevailed, Norwich, Bournemouth, Watford relegated
TuesdaySweet 16 results in full
Wednesday: Elite Eight
Thursday: Final Four
Friday: Championship game

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

IFAB: New handball rule can be adopted when games resume

Handball rule
Photo by Erwin Otten/Soccrates/Getty Image
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The International Football Association Board (IFAB) issued a letter from secretary Lukas Brud on Wednesday, outlining several changes to the game.

The “tee shirt line” handball rule may be coming to club football quicker than expected due to the coronavirus suspension of the 2019/20 season.

IFAB will allow leagues the choice to use the new handball rule when matches resume this season, also making changes to VAR protocol and vowing to review the offside rule.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The new handball rule states that the shoulder goes to the end of the shirt sleeve or the bottom of the armpit (though obviously not in the case of a long-sleeve jersey).

For the purposes of determining handball offences, the ‘arm’ stops at the bottom of the armpit

So… get ready for baggy, longer jersey sleeves, or the increased recruitment of players with the longest armpits.

Kidding aside, the handball rule desperately needed clarification and we’ll see if this gives enough to fans and players alike.

Referees will now be “expected” to go to the screen on the field when a call is subjective, forcing the official to either uphold or overrule his initial call.

This same post says IFAB will now allow accidental handballs in the run-up to a goal in certain situations.

“Accidental handball by an attacking player should only be penalized if it ‘immediately’ results in a goal or an obvious opportunity for the player and/or their team to score a goal (i.e. following the handball, the ball travels only a short distance and/or there are very few passes).”

Well, that needs some clarification.

Back to the timing issue for the new handball rule, it seems logical that leagues would want to introduce new laws with a new season but stand-by for the decision of your favorite league.

As for the offside rule, “The members agreed that the fundamental philosophy of offside is underpinned by a desire to encourage attacking football and the scoring of goals. It was further agreed, therefore, that Law 11 – Offside should be analyzed and reviewed with a view to potentially proposing changes reflecting this philosophy.”

It’s a lot to unpack, and we’ll surely here from proponents and opponents of the changes soon. As always, implementation will make the biggest difference in how these changes are received.