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

USL Championship announces provisional July 11 return

USL Championship return
Photo by Joe Hicks/Getty Images
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The USL Championship intends to return to matches with a provisional restart date of July 11, the league announced Thursday.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

The league began its season in March, though three of 35 teams did not play a match while Tacoma and San Diego played two.

There is no indication that the league intends to play at a single location, as MLS reportedly intends with an Orlando restart.

USL Championship sides have been allowed to train in small groups from May 11. USL had previously canceled its League Two season.

Here is the league’s full statement, from USLChampionship.com:

While additional information on competition format, scheduling, broadcast and other important details will be made available in the coming weeks, it’s important to note that the league’s return to play will be conducted in strict alignment with all local and state public health guidelines. USL HQ also remains in regular dialogue with the USL Players Association on all matters concerning player health and wellness protocols and looks forward to continuing those discussions.

To USL supporters across the country, we are grateful for your support throughout this process and look forward to being back in action with you all soon.

 

Manchester United season restart preview

Manchester United season restart
Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images
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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

Manchester United is next.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Let’s take a closer look at all things Red Devils when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: Very, very good. While United supporters will feel aggrieved to know their club cannot. catch their two biggest rivals, you wouldn’t laugh off the idea of them finishing as high as third given a wildly straight-forward fixture list and the fact that we are about to see Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, and Marcus Rashford together for the first time. Perhaps those players will have some growing pains, but the club has the depth to finish in the Premier League’s top four, challenge for the FA Cup, and win the Europa League.

[ MORE: Ranking every Man Utd player’s 2019-20 PL season ]


Tactical analysis: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s favorite formation this year has been a 4-2-3-1, though he turned to a 3-4-1-2 in memorable wins over Chelsea and Man City just before the coronavirus pause.

We don’t know his plans to produce an attack with Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, and Marcus Rashford together, but the best possible XI is going to leave out some very good players. Playing Scott McTominay and Fred, both revelations, leaves out either wide players or puts Pogba or Fernades out of position (unless he opts for a 4-4-2 which will ask a lot of Rashford and Anthony Martial).

Since making his Manchester United debut on February 1, Fernandes leads the club in all competitions in shots (33), shots on target (12), assists (4) and chances created (24), and ranks third in goals (3).


Possible XI (4-3-1-2) 

—– De Gea —–

— Wan-Bissaka — Lindelof — Maguire — B. Williams —

—– Fred — Pogba — McTominay —–

—– Fernandes —–

—– Rashford —– Martial —–

This lineup excludes Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Daniel James, Odion Ighalo, Marcus Greenwood, and Eric Bailly. That’s a very decent bench. Solskjaer could also put a lot of responsibility on Fred or McTominay by putting Fernandes and Pogba in the center of the pitch with him and using a three-man forward line of Rashford, Martial, and another.

[ MORE: The 2 Robbies assess Man Utd’s chances ]


[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Remaining schedule
Home: Sheffield United, Bournemouth, Southampton, West Ham
Away: Spurs, Brighton, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Leicester City

Predicted finish: Depending on your faith in Leicester City, United will probably be favorites if not heavy favorites in seven or eight of their nine matches. Their home matches feature sides both surprising and desperate but it’ll be stunning if a side that found its groove to the tune of a five-match unbeaten run before the coronavirus pause and returns Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford fails to finish in the top four.

Newcastle’s Saint-Maximin, Liverpool’s Lovren speak against racism

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Newcastle’s Allan Saint-Maximin and Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren are speaking out on their squad photos that showed both Magpies and Reds taking a knee against racism at the center circle of pitches earlier this week.

All 20 Premier League clubs and a large number of players and coaches spoke out against racism earlier this week, and players have continued momentum. The gestures were born from the May 25 killing of American black man George Floyd, who died in handcuffs after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes even after he stopped moving and pleaded for air in Minnesota.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Saint-Maximin said he was inspired in part by his French youth national teammate Marcus Thuram, who took a knee last weekend after scoring for Borussia Monchengladbach.

“I have one big friend of mine who scored a goal, Marcus Thuram, and he did a great celebration,” Saint-Maximin said, via NUFC.co.uk. “It’s important that everyone knows this is not a joke. You have to claim that this is important. Everybody has to know this doesn’t have to happen again. It’s a difficult time for everyone. Even if it’s not you, or it’s not your brother or sister, you cannot know if this will happen again.”

Saint-Maximin said he experienced racial problems especially in his youth, and admitted that it meant a lot for his teammates to kneel together and make a statement as one.

“Everyone wanted to stay together because we all humans,” he said. “For me, everybody is the same. I have some things I can’t understand and some I don’t want to understand, too.”

As for Lovren, the Liverpool center back has never been shy around microphones.

His words to Sky Sports on Thursday echo Saint-Maximin and many of their peers.

Sky asked him why the Liverpool players took a knee as a team earlier this week.

“I felt we needed to do it. What happened in America is unacceptable. We are all equal and we wanted to share it to the world. We did it and it’s unbelievably great that people are getting this message. Everyone should be treated equally.”

Lovren, whose family became refugees from Yugoslavia when he was young, also stressed the import of footballers using their public platform for good, saying, “I want to be recognized also as a man who is spreading love and positivity. I’m looking at myself and it’s like I have a duty.”

Liverpool season restart preview

Liverpool
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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they are at ahead of the final nine weeks of the season as Liverpool are up next.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Focusing on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, they need five more points to seal the Premier League title as their 30-year wait for the English title is almost over. With just one defeat during the 2019-20 season so far, Liverpool have dominated the Premier League and have a 25 point lead over second-place Man City. Liverpool will be crowned the Champions of England soon after the resumption and they are on track to break many records.

[ MORE: Every PL season restart preview ] 

Let’s take a closer look at all things Liverpool when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: This has been a truly historic season for Liverpool and Klopp. They pushed Man City all the way last season but just came up short but they won the UEFA Champions League. In this very rare instance, the Premier League trophy would mean more to every Liverpool fan than the Champions League title. A supreme defensive unit led by Virgil van Dijk and Alisson perfectly balanced the attacking trio of Salah, Mane and Firmino, surging full backs Alexander-Arnold and Robertson and captain Jordan Henderson has taken his game to a whole new level in midfield. Across the board Liverpool have been sensational as they won the FIFA Club World Cup and are about to be crowned the Premier League champions. The wait is almost over and Klopp has constructed one of the best teams the Premier League has ever seen with their high-pressing, speedy attacking unit complemented by a sturdy backline.


Tactical analysis: One of the most intriguing parts of this Liverpool side is that even though they rely on turnovers and counter attacks to create a lot of chances, they have averaged 63 percent possession this season which Man City only better with 66 percent. In turn, Liverpool have the third-fewest interceptions (266) and fourth-fewest tackles won (258) in the Premier League this season simply because they have the ball so much. That is a change from their previous seasons but since Klopp took charge they have won 2,139 tackles (third-most in the PL) so that shows you that breaking up the play has been key to his philosophy but that clearly hasn’t been the case this season. Liverpool have kept hold of the ball more, their defenders are recycling possession when options aren’t open and they are being more patient. That has been the big change in 2019-20 but they also have the devastating pace of Mane, Firmino and Salah on the counter which remains their main weapon. Tactically, Liverpool have evolved and that is why they’ve been so dominant this season.


Possible XI (4-3-3) 

—– Alisson —–

— Alexander-Arnold — Gomez — Van Dijk — Robertson —

— Henderson — Fabinho — Wijnaldum —

—- Mane —- Firmino —- Salah —-


Remaining schedule:
Home: Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Burnley, Chelsea
Away: Everton, Man City, Brighton, Arsenal, Newcastle

Predicted finish: Well, I think we can all answer this question. They will win the Premier League and rightly so. There’s just no way they aren’t going to win the league and even though there will be no fans present in the stadium when they lift the title, every Liverpool fan around the world will be a ball of emotion. Jurgen Klopp promised trophies when he arrived in 2015 and he has duly delivered. It will be intriguing to see if Liverpool can break the records for most wins, points etc. in a season in the final nine games.