Aaron Wan-Bissaka

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Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 2

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Boy do I love getting yelled at, so let’s invite more criticism with Week 2 of the Premier League Power Rankings.

Let’s also get something out of the way, though: While a round-robin tournament such as the Premier League doesn’t need power rankings by the end of the season given the balanced schedule, the early season is ripe for these sorts of debate because of the performances and opponents.

[ MORE: Wolves 1-1 Man Utd | Nuno reacts ]

Additionally, we like having fun. Because this is sports. And sports are supposed to be fun. Even if you support Newcastle and the idea that sports are supposed to be fun sounds like someone telling you something you’re allergic to is goooooood eatin’.

Excited for the furor. Let’s party in the comments section.

20. Newcastle United — For all the promise Miguel Almiron showed under Rafa Benitez, the Paraguayan looks absolutely clueless under Steve Bruce.
Last week’s ranking: 16
Last match: Lost 3-1 at Norwich City
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Spurs

19. Watford — The Pozzo Family is known to change managers on a whim, and Javi Gracia will be wondering if his wonderful 2018-19 is fresh enough in the owners’ minds following an insipid loss to Brighton and a two-shot performance at Everton.
Last week’s ranking: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Everton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. West Ham

18. Crystal Palace — Unlike Newcastle at Norwich, the Eagles probably deserved a point in losing to a newly-promoted side. They still did, however, lose to a newly-promoted side. Will Wilfried Zaha torment his old club (Man Utd) and teammate (Aaron Wan-Bissaka) on Saturday? Also, those away jerseys…
Last week’s ranking: 14
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Sheffield United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Manchester United

(Photo by Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

17. West Ham United — Manuel Pellegrini will be under deserved pressure if he can’t manufacture a result at Watford.
Last week’s ranking: 18
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Brighton and Hove Albion
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Watford

16. Southampton — Thoroughly deserved a home point versus Liverpool, but that does not totally make amends for a terrible Week 1.
Last week’s ranking: 19
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Liverpool
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Brighton and Hove Albion

15. Aston Villa — Dean Smith knows the mistakes made early against Bournemouth can’t happen in the Premier League, but the Villans were the better team in a loss to Bournemouth.
Last week’s ranking: 8
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Bournemouth
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Friday v. Everton

14. Bournemouth — Eddie Howe, on the other hand, will be thanking his lucky stars that Tom Heaton decided to put Villa behind the 8-ball after just 45 seconds. We need to see better from the Cherries, and it’s probably not coming when Man City visits on Sunday.
Last week’s ranking: 15
Last match: Won 2-1 at Aston Villa
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Man City

13. Sheffield United — The Blades have been a pesky problem in collecting four points from Bournemouth and Palace. Saturday’s visit from Leicester City will be a bird of a different feather.
Last week’s ranking: 13
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Crystal Palace
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Leicester City

12. Norwich City — Teemu Pukki was lethal against Newcastle, and the Canaries probably could’ve scored thrice on Opening Day at Anfield. That, folks, is what we call encouraging stuff for a newly-promoted group.
Last week’s ranking: 17
Last match: Won 3-1 v. Newcastle United
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Chelsea

11. Chelsea — There’s a lot to say about Frank Lampard as a manager, but we can’t stop thinking about how gigantic he looked standing next to Brendan Rodgers after the match. Will we have the chance to see it again when Chelsea visits Leicester City on Feb. 1?
Last week’s ranking: 12
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Leicester City
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Norwich City

(Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

10. Leicester City — So far, so okay for Brendan Rodgers and the Foxes, who took points from two tricky fixtures. Nothing but three points will be acceptable this weekend at Sheffield United.
Last week’s ranking: 10
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Chelsea
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Sheffield United

9. Burnley — Don’t bet against Sean Dyche. You’ll either lose, or be terrified at how angry you’ve made Sean Dyche in being right.
Last week’s ranking: 6
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Arsenal
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Wolves

8. Everton — After taking four points from two matches, the Toffees’ bring an extremely enticing start to the Premier League weekend on Friday at entertaining Aston Villa.
Last week’s ranking: 11
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Watford
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Friday at Aston Villa

7. Wolves — What they’ve done in drawing Leicester City and Manchester United while bombarded with Europa League fixtures and planning is laudable and acceptable.
Last week’s ranking: 9
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Manchester United
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Burnley

6. Brighton and Hove Albion — Graham Potter‘s Blue and White Army are unbeaten through two matches and deserved three points against West Ham in a 1-1 draw. Leandro Trossard is a talent, and looks like what the Seagulls thought they bought last summer with Alireza Jahanbakhsh.
Last week’s ranking: 5
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. West Ham United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Southampton

5. Manchester United — Paul Pogba: Penalties as Shaquille O’Neal is to free throws. We’ll hang up and listen. The Red Devils should be 2-0 and sitting atop the league. Alas.
Last week’s ranking: 2
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Wolves
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Crystal Palace

4. Arsenal — 2-0 is 2-0, even if the wins come against Newcastle and Burnley. There’s no way Arsenal will be able to afford Dani Ceballos at the end of his loan stint if he keeps looking like an absolutely wondrous midfielder of the highest order.
Last week’s ranking: 7
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Liverpool

3. Liverpool — The bad news is that Liverpool’s poor defensive summer has dragged into August and they are a competent Danny Ings flick away from drawing Saints. The good news is that the Reds are alone in first place despite the defensive foibles. Also, relax, you’re the European champions. It’s okay.
Last week’s ranking: 7
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Arsenal

2. Spurs — Took the most shots in the league in Week 1, and followed it up by scoring twice and taking a point from the Etihad Stadium. That’s something only one team did over 19 matches last season (Palace’s 3-2 memorable win around Christmas).
Last week’s ranking: 3
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Man City
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Newcastle United

1. Manchester City — VAR did its job in enforcing a rule that is, at best, against the spirit of the game in supporting defenders unfairly in comparison to attackers. City took 30 shots against the Champions League finalists and deserved all three points. If you think they should be lower on the list, try this mental exercise at the heart of the PL power rankings: Based on what you’ve seen this season, make the case for why you’d rather play City over a single team in the league. You’re lying.
Last week’s ranking: 1
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Spurs
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Bournemouth

‘We need to make Old Trafford a fortress’ vows Maguire

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images
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Harry Maguire‘s first home match at Old Trafford was tremendous, even if the center back didn’t nab a goal to top it off.

His teammates took care of that, with Marcus Rashford scoring twice to go with Anthony Martial and Daniel James tallies in a 4-0 demolition of Chelsea on Sunday.

[ MORE: Man Utd pummels Chelsea ]

Maguire and right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka made the right side of United’s defense a tough pill to swallow, and teamed up with David De Gea and the goal posts to keep up with a strong first half from Chelsea.

The second half was all United. From the BBC:

“It is the first game at Old Trafford so I think there were nerves. We gave the ball away in dangerous areas. We moved it nicely second half and our front three are so dangerous on the break.

“We knew there were only two clean sheets last year here. We need to make it a fortress. I felt good. I’ve only had three or four days with the lads. I am going to get fitter and better.”

It hardly gets easier for United, who will next Wolves at the Molineux on Aug. 19.

Christian Pulisic watch: How did USMNT star perform?

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MANCHESTER — USMNT star Christian Pulisic made his Premier League debut for Chelsea at Manchester United on Sunday, as the Pennsylvanian native came on in the second half.

Things didn’t go to plan for his team in their 4-0 defeat, but how did Pulisic do?

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

The 20-year-old arrived in the 58th minute to a huge roar from the away fans at Old Trafford, and it was certainly an eventful first 32 minutes as a Premier League player for him.


59th minute: Pulisic arrives in the Premier League by being clattered into by Paul Pogba,. Pulisic rolls around on the floor and is grabbing his left side. Welcome to the PL, Christian…

65th minute: Man United score through Anthony Martial to go 2-0 up.

67th minute: Man United score through Marcus Rashford to go 3-0 up.

70th minute: Makes a surging run into the box but Kovacic doesn’t find him. Pulisic is not happy.

72nd minute: Wins the ball back and surges towards the box, but they can’t find him with the give-and-go.

75th minute: Played in down the left flank but his cross is cleared by Harry Maguire. From the resulting throw-in he’s tackled by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

79th minute: Pulisic pops up centrally and runs towards the goal but Luke Shaw nicks the ball off him. Pulisic has switched from the left flank to the right.

86th minute: Skips away from two tackles on the edge of his own box but then gives the ball away.

87th minute: Has a shot that is blocked then moments later clatters into Maguire in the box in an aerial challenge.

90th minute: Races free down the left but overhits his cross to Giroud and it goes out for a throw in.

Three things learned: Man United v. Chelsea

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MANCHESTER — Manchester United eased to a 4-0 victory against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Saturday, but that didn’t tell the whole story.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Marcus Rashford scored in each half and Anthony Martial and Daniel James both scored in the second half, but Chelsea hit the woodwork twice in the first half and new manager Frank Lampard will be scratching his head after a proper thumping.

[ MORE: How did Pulisic perform on debut? ]

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s name reverberated around Old Trafford as this new-look United side dug deep, rode their luck and showed there may be good times ahead.

Here’s what we learned from Old Trafford.


UNITED’S NEW BOYS SETTLE IN QUICKLY

Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were both making their home debuts as Manchester United players and both had their name sung loud and proud by the Stretford End. They snapped into tackles, looked calm defensively and even though Chelsea caused United problems defensively, it was more so down to Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof being caught out of position or sloppy passes in midfield.

Daniel James then jumped off the bench to score on his Premier League debut to make it 4-0 as the Welsh winger proved he can be a real menace as an impact player. All three of United’s new boys made a positive impact on their debut and Solskjaer will hope that Maguire and AWB continue as they’ve started off. With those two in defense, they look a much better defensive unit.


CHELSEA’S DEFENDING WILL BE A WORRY

Kurt Zouma may well have been Man United’s best player on Sunday. That’s a tad harsh, but he gave away a penalty kick, looked all over the place positionally and the pace of Marcus Rashford was too much for him to handle. David Luiz has been sold, N’Golo Kante didn’t start due to injury and Antonio Rudiger is still out, so this Chelsea defensive unit will look a lot different when it is fully fit.

That said, the way Chelsea capitulated in the second half will be a worry for Lampard and even when Rudiger and Kante are fully fit, who starts at center back? On this showing neither Zouma or Christensen did themselves any favors.


BEST AND WORST OF POGBA ARRIVES

In the first half Paul Pogba‘s display summed up the vacuum present in United’s midfield. He and Scott McTominay couldn’t get on the ball and when they did, they lost it. Pogba’s second half was superb. He pinged over a pinpoint ball to Rashford to make it 3-0, then surged towards goal and slotted in Daniel James for the fourth.

We saw the best and worst of Pogba on Sunday and that is the main problem.

That is why fans are so divided when it comes to his worth at United and don’t forget, he could still move on to Juventus or Real Madrid later this summer when their transfer windows close. He was booed and cheered when his name was read out over the PA announcer. That sums up the feeling towards him right now. He is infuriatingly inconsistent.

Pogba played like he wanted to be at United, but only in the second half. If he can become more consistent, United can really challenge for a top four finish this season.

Manchester United pummels Chelsea behind Pogba playmaking

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Paul Pogba set up two goals and Marcus Rashford scored twice as Manchester United clobbered Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Blues were the better team for the first hour aside from a conceded penalty, but the dam exploded in the second half.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

American winger Christian Pulisic came off the bench for Chelsea with an hour to play.

Both Daniel James and Anthony Martial also scored in the win.


Three things we learned

1. Paul Pogba looked a man inspired, chipping in at both ends and scooping up two assists. The first was an audacious, inch-perfect ball to lift the lid on the defense and the second came after leading a marauding counter attack and playing a scintillating little pass to James.

2. Both Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer want to give the kids a chance, even if the former didn’t give our American kid a start. Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira held places in United’s XI, and both Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham opened business for Chelsea.

Lampard, however, perhaps got a little too cute in handing the Abraham an opening day start at Old Trafford when he had Olivier Giroud‘s experience in the mix (albeit with the knowledge that Giroud doesn’t have a great record at United). Abraham was quick and industrious but perhaps a bit tipsy from the stage.

UPDATE: Jose Mourinho, speaking on Sky Sports, agrees.

“Alonso, Kante and Giroud were on the bench. To come to Old Trafford, even if it’s not the huge Manchester United team that used to scare people, it’s still Manchester United, it’s the first match at home, first match of the season, people are excited. A little bit of experience would fit well with the team. You look at the performance of Mount, Abraham and Christensen and I think for matches of this dimension you need a bit more.”

3. Top strikers — and we have no idea if Marcus Rashford will prove to be one — score even when they’re struggling, and Rashford won and converted a penalty despite looking out of place for the first 15 minutes of the match.

Man of the Match:  Aaron Wan-Bissaka


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Tammy Abraham hammered a shot off the post in the fifth minute, and it didn’t even appear to spin (and may have been heard to whimper).

At the other end, a poor giveaway allowed Anthony Martial a prime chance. The French hit a low drive to Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Mason Mount hit a hard shot that deflected off Harry Maguire but spun to David De Gea in the 12th.

Marcus Rashford had a poor first quarter-hour but his mistouch put Kurt Zouma off balance and the Chelsea man chopped him down for a penalty. Rashford roofed his effort for a 1-0 lead.

De Gea made a fine leg save on Ross Barkley as the match neared halftime, and Victor Lindelof blocked Jorginho‘s mediocre attempt to volley the rebound home. And Emerson smashed a shot off the top of the near post moments later.

Emerson forced De Gea into another fine save in the 56th minute.

Chelsea introduced Christian Pulisic around the hour mark, and the Blues had all of the ball but gave up a goal at the next United opportunity.

That came when Martial bodied up to meet Andreas Pereira’s cross at the center of the box.

Two minutes later, Rashford ran onto an inch-perfect long ball from Pogba and put his shot behind Arrizabalaga for 3-0.

Pogba then led a free kick counter attack down the left of the pitch before slipping a sensational pass through to James, whose shot turned off Emerson and past Arrizabalaga.