Erik Pieters

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Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 3

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What a mess.

Half of the Premier League’s teams — yes, 10 of them — have 1-1-1 records after three match days, though not all are created equal.

For example, baffling VAR decisions. Manchester United can feel righteously aggrieved to not have at least six points. Spurs got huge VAR help to draw Man City but could’ve snared a point from Newcastle (yeah, that happened) should a penalty decision have went their way.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

Sheffield United and Bournemouth drew each other and beat poor sides at home.

And what in the world do you make of Wolves, who have three draws but have been clobbered by early season qualifying rounds of the Europa League.

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


20. Watford — The Pozzo family doesn’t mind changing bosses and, fair or not (it isn’t), Javi Gracia may find himself unemployed without a win at Newcastle next week. Fortunately, they are playing Newcastle.
Last week: 19
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-3 v. West Ham
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Newcastle United

19. Newcastle United — Beat Tottenham and only move up one spot? Unfortunately, while the Magpies were gritty against Spurs and the win should not be discounted entirely, they hemorrhaged possession aside from the 15-pass sequence that led to Joelinton‘s first goal for the Toon. A fine moment for embattled Steve Bruce, but still so much work to do.
Last week: 20
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 1-0 at Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Watford

18. Crystal Palace — Credit that wonderful play at the end of the match for a remarkable and historic win over Manchester United, but Palace is still getting little out of Wilfried Zaha and probably should’ve lost by 3 or 4 goals before David De Gea fumbled away a point for the hosts. And we can’t jump them above a Sheffield United side which dominated them in Week 2.
Last week: 18
Season high: 18
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 2-1 at Manchester United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Aston Villa

17. Bournemouth — Probably better than their 17th place status, but the Cherries have a draw against Sheffield United and a win over Aston Villa in which they were controlled after a wobbly opening. Too good to stay this low, but justifiably 17th.
Last week: 14
Season high: 14
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 3-1 v. Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Leicester City

Joshua King  (Photo by Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images)

16. Sheffield United — The scrappy Blades are following the Sean Dyche at Burnley model, and weren’t able to get a point at home despite a brave effort against Leicester.
Last week: 13
Season high: 13
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 1-2 v. Leicester City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Chelsea

15. Norwich City — Daniel Farke‘s men are going to bring us entertainment, and we’ll get another clue of their place in the league when they visit dangerous but another dangerous attack in West Ham.
Last week: 12
Season high: 12
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 2-3 v. Chelsea
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at West Ham United

14. Brighton and Hove Albion — We gave the Seagulls a mulligan for the West Ham draw, but cannot look past this week’s loss to Southampton. Saints are a good side, but a 2-0 loss at home and a reckless red card do not make friends amongst the power rankers.
Last week: 6
Season high: 5

Season low: 14
Last match: Lost 0-2 v. Southampton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Man City

13. Southampton — A Danny Ings flick away from giving us 11 teams with a 1-1-1-1 record, Saints earned this week’s win and will relish it coming via a nice showing from Moussa Djenepo.
Last week: 16
Season high: 13

Season low: 19
Last match: Won 2-0 at Brighton
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Manchester United

12. West Ham United — Sebastien Haller looked every bit the versatile star center forward, able to set-up, hold-up, and finish. We already knew Felipe Anderson was the truth. Now can Manuel Pellegrini find consistency in this bunch?
Last week: 17
Season high: 12

Season low: 18
Last match: Won 3-1 at Watford
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Norwich City

11. Everton — The performance at Villa is the kind that has been taking Everton out of the Top Six discussion during the Marco Silva era (and well before it, really). Huge test Sunday before an international break which could find Silva feeling plenty hot under the collar.
Last week: 8
Season high: 8

Season low: 11
Last match: Lost 0-2 at Aston Villa
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves

10. Aston Villa — The Villans are looking more like a side which never left the Premier League than a newly-promoted one. Dean Smith deserves PL Manager of the Month honors if he’s able to get a result at Palace and skate into the break at a mid table pace.
Last week: 15
Season high: 8

Season low: 15
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Everton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Crystal Palace

Aston Villa’s Wesley (center) with Trezeguet (left) and John McGinn  (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)

9. Chelsea — Just not buying it yet, are we? Mason Mount looks a legit force, Tammy Abraham is showing flashes, and Christian Pulisic is doing well enough, but who is the star that will consistently make the difference, let alone against the big boys?
Last week: 12
Season high: 9

Season low: 12
Last match: Won 3-2 at Norwich City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Sheffield United

8. Wolves — Three draws from three matches, and just barely got a point off of Burnley, but the performances have come while waylaid with Europa League duties including an unfriendly match against Torino on Thursday (Who they absolutely handled). Nuno’s got it simmering.
Last week: 7
Season high: 7

Season low: 9
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Burnley
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Everton

7. Spurs — Dominant again against Newcastle despite an injury to key man Tanguy Ndombele, and simply unfortunate to not get a point, but there are so many questions for Mauricio Pochettino. If you’re going to risk Christian Eriksen, why not start him? If you don’t have an answer at right back, why not play a back three instead of keeping Jan flipping Vertonghen on the bench?
Last week: 2
Season high: 2

Season low: 7
Last match: Lost 0-1 v. Newcastle United
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Arsenal

6. Man Utd — We watched the Palace loss, and still can’t quite believe our eyes. The Red Devils are so much better than 1-1-1, but that and a friendly pour at the pub will give you a headache and a 1-1-1 record. Now start Juan Mata over Jesse Lingard and thank me later.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2

Season low: 6
Last match: Lost 1-2 v. Crystal Palace
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Southampton

5. Burnley — They aren’t doing this again, are they? The Clarets struggled last season with Europa League schedule congestion, but finished in the Top Seven the last time they only had to focus on the league. A silly Erik Pieters challenge away from third place in our rankings.
Last week: 9
Season high: 5

Season low: 9
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Wolves
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Liverpool

4. Arsenal — Don’t give them too much credit for producing three terrific chances against Liverpool — that’s what’s keeping Liverpool out of 1st this week. The questions about the defense remain real, but Nicolas Pepe is going to be a delight once he finds his finishing boots.
Last week: 4
Season high: 4

Season low: 7
Last match: Lost 1-3 at Liverpool
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Tottenham

3. Leicester City — There’s a bit of “by default” to this ranking, but the Foxes have drawn Wolves and picked up a point away to Chelsea. The win at Sheffield United wasn’t a ballot-box stuffer by any means, but Brendan Rodgers‘ men did what Manchester United sand Spurs could not this weekend in beating a probable relegation scrapper.

Last week: 10
Season high: 3

Season low: 10
Last match: Won 2-1 at Sheffield United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth

2. Liverpool — The Reds are 3-0, champions of Europe, and a pleasure for the eyes. Their defense remains a problem, and Jurgen Klopp‘s crew has given up more big chances from open play than anyone would deem functional for a title squad.
Last week: 3
Season high: 2

Season low: 3
Last match: Won 3-1 v. Arsenal
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Burnley

  1. Manchester City — The only way to score on City is through set pieces, and the only way to stop them is locking them out of the stadium.
    Last week: 1
    Season high: 1

    Season low: 1
    Last match: Won 3-1 at Bournemouth
    Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Brighton

Wolves snatch late point vs. Burnley

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Raul Jimenez’s penalty seven minutes into stoppage time gave Wolves a point with a 1-1 draw against Burnley on Sunday at the Molineux Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Wolves now have three draws in three matches, while Burnley has four points.


Three things

  1. We’re paying rent in Ashley Barnes‘ world — Known most for his combustible, some-would-say dirty nature, the Burnley striker now has four goals this early season and more than one, including Sunday’s opener, have been bangers.
  2. Nuno’s men could use a break — Wolves fought well, but you can tell the Europa League schedule has heavily taxed their spirit. How tired are they? Here are the thoughts of an exhausted Raul Jimenez, and you can read the “Thank you, God” inside them –> “I think [the penalty] is the right decision. When I get in possession he tried to kick the ball, then he kicked me. It came at a good moment for us.”
  3. Don’t ever bet against Sean Dyche — We’ve written it 100 times. The big man can get a result from anywhere, at any time.

Burnley was easily the better unit over the first 45 minutes, and was rewarded with a goal even after VAR ruled one out.

Barnes chested a neatly-headed flick into shooting position and unleashed a missile that zipped past Rui Patricio for a 1-0 lead.

Both sides began the second half brightly, with Morgan Gibbs-White lashed a shot offf the outside of the netting and Barnes unable to get purchase on a ball over the top of the Wolves back line.

But Erik Pieters cut down Jimenez in the box late to set the Mexican international up for a win.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 1

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We here at ProSoccerTalk are trying to put a new spin on our weekly Premier League power rankings this season, and we’ve got a few weeks to figure out the best way to track the most powerful teams in the world’s top league.

[ MORE: USSF promotes Stewart, hires USWNT GM ]


20. Watford — Many were tipping Watford for bigger things after a very decent 2018-19, and those opinions were rewarded by conceding three goals at home to a club that scored 16 away goals last season. Shoulder shrug emoji?
Last season’s final power ranking: 11
Opening Day: Lost 3-0 v. Brighton and Hove Albion
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Everton

19. Southampton — Maybe Burnley’s Erik Pieters and Ashley Barnes traded bodies with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino, but Saints need to be better than a 3-0 opening day loss to Burnley.
Last season’s final power ranking: 15
Opening Day: Lost 3-0 at Burnley
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Liverpool

18. West Ham United — Not many teams can make Issa Diop look like an episode of “my very first time as a professional.” Ain’t too many teams like Man City.
Last season’s final power ranking: 10
Opening Day: Lost 5-0 v. Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Brighton and Hove Albion

17. Norwich City — Let’s be real: The 4-1 loss to Liverpool could’ve been 6-4. The Canaries created plenty of chances.
Last season’s final power ranking: N/A (Championship)
Opening Day: Lost 4-1 at Liverpool
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Newcastle United

16. Newcastle United — Arsenal did the St. James’ Park faithful a solid by keeping Lacazette, Pepe, and David Luiz on the bench.
Last season’s final power ranking: 13
Opening Day: Lost 1-0 v. Arsenal
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Norwich City

15. Bournemouth — Eddie Howe‘s teams are usually a bit more savvy against the lower lights of the league.
Last season’s final power ranking: 14
Opening Day: Drew 1-1 v. Sheffield United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Aston Villa

14. Crystal Palace — Could’ve use Wilfried Zaha in the Starting XI, and how Roy Hodgson settles the Ivorian will go a long way towards its season fate.
Last season’s final power ranking: 12
Opening Day: Drew 0-0 v. Everton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Sheffield United

(Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

13. Sheffield United — 33-year-old Billy “Mr. Sheffield United” Sharp getting his first Premier League goal to draw the Blades’ first PL match in years was my favorite moment of the weekend.
Last season’s final power ranking: N/A (Championship)
Opening Day: Drew 1-1 at Bournemouth
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Crystal Palace

12. Chelsea — Frank Lampard is right in that the Blues were better than a 4-0, but he’s also wrong in ignoring Jose Mourinho’s overall point; The young lineup to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Opening Day was as naive as the players in it, even if Mason Mount was a nice surprise.
Last season’s final power ranking: 4
Opening Day: Lost 4-0 at Man Utd
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday v. Leicester

11. Everton — A second-successive season opening red card at Palace. The 0-0 result is respectable, but not great if you want to be a Top Six side.
Last season’s final power ranking: 5
Opening Day: Drew 0-0 at Crystal Palace
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Watford

10. Leicester City — Controlled play but really should’ve been able to get it over the line against a Wolves team who was in Armenia a few days earlier.
Last season’s final power ranking: 8
Opening Day: Drew 0-0 v. Wolves
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Chelsea

9. Wolves — To get a point at Leicester despite playing Thursday in Armenia is solid.
Last season’s final power ranking: 6
Opening Day: Drew 0-0 at Leicester City
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Monday v. Man Utd

8. Aston Villa — Showed discipline under siege.
Last season’s final power ranking: N/A (Championship)
Opening Day: Lost 3-1 at Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth

(Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

7. Arsenal — The problems Arsenal had winning the ball versus Joelinton, a promising player and big signing, makes you wonder what will happen against Roberto Firmino and Harry Kane.
Last season’s final power ranking: 7
Opening Day: Won 1-0 at Newcastle
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Burnley

6. Burnley — We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: We have too often bet against Sean Dyche, who like his Clarets is tactically smart and physically terrifying.
Last season’s final power ranking: 16
Opening Day: Won 3-0 v. Southampton
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Arsenal

5. Brighton and Hove Albion — Raise your hand if you saw the Seagulls going on the road and professionally out-maneuvering Watford at nearly every turn. Put your hand down. Dishonesty isn’t cool.
Last season’s final power ranking: 17
Opening Day: Won 3-0 at Watford
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. West Ham

4. Liverpool — Mohamed Salah was wonderful and Fabinho a treat, but you’d be naive to gloss over another shaky defensive performance after a summer of rough ones.
Last season’s final power ranking: 2
Opening Day: Won 4-1 v. Norwich City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Newcastle United

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

3. Tottenham Hotspur — Thoroughly dominated Aston Villa and, most important, found its way through the packed in back.
Last season’s final power ranking: 3
Opening Day: Won 3-1 v. Aston Villa
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Man City

2. Manchester United — Spare a thought for David De Gea, whose first half allowed for the Red Devils’ standout final half hour.
Last season’s final power ranking: 9
Opening Day: Won 4-0 v. Chelsea
Up next: 3 p.m. ET Monday at Wolves

  1. Manchester City — Raheem Sterling is unfair, and City hasn’t even really worked Joao Cancelo into the mix. And Bernardo Silva was injured.
    Last season’s final power ranking: 1
    Opening Day: Won 5-0 at West Ham
    Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Spurs

Premier League Numbers Nerd: Week 1

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Small sample sizes can make for terrible science, but they’re delightful for stat hounds and simple amusements.

For example, the Premier League’s opening weekend saw a hat trick for Raheem Sterling and braces for Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, and Ashley Barnes.

[ MORE: USSF promotes Stewart, hires USWNT GM ]

Who was the top dog of the week in terms of match rating, though? Man City’s Riyad Mahrez, who was nearly perfect with two assists, 83.3 percent passing despite his placement in low success areas of the pitch, four tackles, two interceptions, and four key passes.

Here are our favorite numbers, notes, and names from Week 1 (Stats via WhoScored):

Two (2) assists is the current top total in the league. It won’t surprise you to see Mahrez and Paul Pogba on that figure, but the third player to do it is… Burnley’s Erik Pieters!

Four (4) players won eight or more aerial duels: League-leader Christian Benteke (9) of Crystal Palace, as well as Newcastle’s Joelinton, Burnley’s Ben Mee, and Brighton’s Shane Duffy.

Under five: Three players in the Premier League played 90 minutes and couldn’t register higher than a 5.0 on WhoScored’s rating system. Kurt Zouma of Chelsea (4.86) could not come close to replicating his stalwart play with Everton last season and conceded a penalty and four goals. West Ham star Issa Diop (4.93) had the sort of statistical day a lot of players do against Man City, and two of his back line teammates joined him in the Bottom Six. And Grant Hanley of Norwich City posted a 4.99, dinged largely by an own goal despite completing 92.3 percent of his passes against Liverpool.

Five (5) –> Villa fans will want this to be six, as Tyrone Mings couldn’t stop Tanguy Ndombele‘s equalizer, but no player in the Premier League blocked as many shots as the former Bournemouth man. And we’re not done with him yet.

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Five is also the league-best number of key passes recorded, by Chelsea’s Pedro. Perhaps Frank Lampard‘s feeling about his team’s play in a 4-0 loss to Manchester United will make sense over time.

And five is also the most fouls drawn by anyone in Week 1, with Villa’s Jack Grealish and Palace’s Jordan Ayew needing some time in an ice bath.

Finally, five is the number of players who completed more than 80 passes on Opening Day. Leicester’s Ben Chilwell led the way with 85, followed by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Toby Alderweireld (Spurs), Harry Winks (Spurs), and Jonny Evans (Leicester).

Seven (7) interceptions were made by Newcastle’s Fabian Schar, the most in the league. Seven is also the amount of fouls committed by Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojevic against Everton, three more than anyone else (Yes, he saw yellow).

Eight (8): The amount of shots taken by Harry Kane, double the amount of anyone else in the Premier League.

Eight is also the most successful tackles won by a single player this weekend, done by Liverpool’s Fabinho and Aston Villa’s John McGinn?

Seventeen (17): This would also be more appropriately read as “Seven-(expletive)-teen!” Aston Villa’s Mings cleared danger 17 times against Spurs, almost double the No. 2 man, Palace’s Martin Kelly.

100%: Only one field player in the league played more than a half-hour and completed all of his passes, and that was… Christian Pulisic of Chelsea and these United States of America. He was 12-for-12, but here’s the bad news: That came as part of a statistically miserable 6.09 showing.

Burnley hammer sorry Southampton

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Burnley smashed Southampton 3-0 at Turf Moor on Saturday as a wonderful 12-minute spell from the Clarets in the second half destroyed Saints.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ashley Barnes scored twice and Johann Berg Gudmundsson scored another as Burnley caught Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side cold on the opening day of the season.

Sean Dyche will be a very, very happy man.


Three things we learned

1. Saints’ need new signing Danso to shine at CB, with Vestergaard and Stephens having a rough outing. Defensive solidity has been Saints’ problem for a long time now.

2. Ashley Barnes led the line superbly and he is the kind of player who never gets the credit he deserves. In the driving rain he pushed Burnley on and he looked hungry for the start of the season.

3. Burnley back to being solid at the back, clinical in attack, and after their wobble last season (many will say due to Europa League action) the duo of Mee and Tarkowski at center back epitomize their steady

Man of the Match: Ashley Barnes – Clinical to finish his two chances in the second half and bullied the Southampton defense.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Saints started the better of the two teams but Burnley looked dangerous on the break, as a real moment of controversy arrived.

With the rain pouring down at Turf Moor, a slip in Saints’ defense from Jack Stephens saw Burnley go on to score, but the flag was raised, correctly, for offside and VAR confirmed the goal was disallowed.

Burnley were a nuisance as the game wore on as Johann Berg Gudmundsson went close

VAR was then used as Che Adams clattered into Ben Mee but no red card was awarded as Saints’ new striker remained on the pitch.

At the end of the first half Nathan Redmond cut inside and smashed a superb effort on goal which Nick Pope tipped just over. Barnes then made a hash of a glorious chance with the Clarets in the ascendancy.

In the second half Saints worked their way back into the game and were inches away from taking the lead, as Ryan Bertrand whipped a free kick just over from the edge of the box.

One long ball then led to the opening goal, as Jannik Vestergaard horribly misjudged the flight of the ball and Barnes latched onto it and slammed home to make it 1-0.

Barnes then sealed all three points as Erik Pieters‘ cross from the left found him in the center of the box and he volleyed home calmly for his and Burnley’s second.

And soon after it got even better as Gudmundsson cut in from the left and curled home a delicious strike for Burnley’s third goal in 12 minutes.