Hatem Ben Arfa

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

Newcastle United breaks out in win at West Ham

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images
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Jonjo Shelvey scored a wonder goal and two of his center backs also found the net as Newcastle United beat West Ham United 3-2 at the London Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez also scored for the Magpies, whose 12 points have them 16th. That’s four places and a point below the Irons.

Fabian Balbuena and Robert Snodgrass scored late for West Ham, but it would’ve been larceny had the hosts taken a point.


Three things we learned

1. West Ham defense a first half shambles: Newcastle entered the day with six league goals and could’ve had four by halftime were it not for some close range saves by Roberto. Both goals came off short set pieces which saw the Irons undone by one or two extra passes.

2. Creativity to the (Saint)-Max: Allan Saint-Maximin butted heads with Patrick Vieira at Nice, but has been nothing but positive on-and-off the field for Newcastle. His dribbling wizardry has brought something to Newcastle missing since the days of Hatem Ben Arfa. Yet to be rewarded with a goal — and he should’ve had two on Saturday — “Saint-Max” is one of the redemptive reasons to watch Newcastle despite the 5-4-1 formation.

3. Shelvey steps in and shines: The only certainty when it comes to a Jonjo Shelvey start is unpredictability (We know the logic doesn’t work there). Stepping in for Matty Longstaff, the bald-headed passing maestro scored and incredible free kick and struck the cross bar as well. Steady next to Isaac Hayden, Shelvey has a shot to keep his spot when Sean Longstaff returns from suspension.

Man of the Match:¬†Jetro Willems — The Eintracht Frankfurt loanee was a delightful playmaker who provided plenty of tackles, interceptions, and field changing on the night.


The teams traded corners before Miguel Almiron won a free kick on the edge of the 18.

Jonjo Shelvey’s long swung kick was headed back across goal by Joelinton, and Clark headed it past Roberto for 1-0 in the 16th.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

It was 2-0 in the 22nd through another center back, as Fernandez had time and room to head home Jetro Willems’ cross off a short corner.

Allan Saint-Maximin then arrived behind the West Ham to back line for a long 1v1 dribble ended by a substandard strike saved by Roberto.

The Magpies were all over the Irons, Saint-Maximin stopped on another breakaway from Roberto and then playing Almiron who saw his shot saved, too. Then Shelvey smashed the cross bar.

West Ham had a few solid chances inspired by Robert Snodgrass, but Martin Dubravka was credited with a few good saves for the Magpies.

Roberto made another diving save to deny Saint-Maximin in stoppage time, and Shelvey’s corner was defended before the match hit halftime.

Saint-Maximin turned playmaker in the second half with a chip to DeAndre Yedlin, who was denied on his header and then by the offside flag after depositing the rebound.

Shelvey then delivered the stomach punch with a spinning free kick around the wall which snuck inside the near post.

Fabian Balbuena pulled one back for West Ham after Dubravka could only slap a cross onto his path in the 74th.

But wait, Snodgrass had something else to say with a sensational low volley inside the far post in the 90th.

Newcastle adds mercurial Saint-Maximin, Dutch back Willems

Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images
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Newcastle has now filled three needs in the transfer market window, taking on combustible wizard Allan Saint-Maximin from Nice and loaning Dutch international leftback Jetro Willems from Eintracht Frankfurt.

[ MORE: Maguire, meet expectations ]

Saint-Maximin, 22, is known for his many tricks and adventurous dribbles, and will be expected to fill the void left by Ayoze Perez. The fee is expected to climb above $22 million, and the player is comparable to former Newcastle fan favorite Hatem Ben Arfa in both skill and attitude, having had some issues with Patrick Vieira at Nice last season.

The young right wing has 11 goals and 14 assists in 74 appearances for the Ligue 1 outfit, and was Nice’s second-best rated player last season according to WhoScored.com. His 4.2 successful dribbles per game ranked second in Ligue 1, behind only… Ben Arfa.

Watch him go:

Newcastle has a loan-to-buy deal when it comes to Willems, who leaves much-changed Eintracht with 22 Netherlands caps, a German Cup, and a decent trophy case from his time with PSV Eindhoven.

At 25, Willems is a candidate for Newcastle to buy after the season and also would give Steve Bruce some flexibility going to a back four, as Paul Dummett has been a decent left center back in a 3-5-2 but not so good at out-and-out LB.

Here’s how the Magpies could line up in both a 3-4-3 and 4-2-3-1 next season if no more players arrive at St. James’ Park.

3-4-3

Dubravka

Lascelles — Schar — Dummett

Ritchie — Shelvey — Longstaff — Willems

Saint-Maximin — Joelinton — Almiron

4-2-3-1

Dubravka

Yedlin — Lascelles — Schar — Willems

Shelvey — Longstaff

Saint-Maximin —¬† Almiron — Muto

Joelinton

Stade Rennes beats Arsenal in first leg (video)

AP Photo / David Vincent
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  • Iwobi scores within three minutes
  • Sokratis sent off after second yellow
  • Bourigeaud scores terrific equalizer
  • Monreal own goal puts Rennes in front

Benjamin Bourigeaud and Ismaila Sarr scored and Arsenal conceded an own goal in a soft 3-1 loss to Stade Rennes at Rhazoan Park in the first leg of the Europa League’s Round of 16 on Thursday.

Alex Iwobi scored what could be a critical away goal should Arsenal regroup for Thursday’s second leg at the Emirates Stadium.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

It started so well, with Iwobi’s mishit cross skipping off the post and into the goal following a 1-2 with Nacho Monreal in the 4th minute.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos then saw yellow for a foul on the edge of the area, a precursor to his sending off under 10 minutes later.

Hatem Ben Arfa sent Ismaila Sarr toward Sokratis, and the Greek defender took down the young Senegalese striker for his second yellow.

That’s when Rennes struck, with Bourigeaud collecting a free kick rebound off the wall and sending a beauty past Petr Cech.

Beauty may be an understatement.

Monreal turned a Mehdi Zeffane cross into his own goal to give Rennes its first lead of the afternoon.

James Lea Siliki completed the scoring with a cross that Sarr turned beyond Cech with a strong header.

Europa League: Inter wins, Betis equalizes late, Benfica tops Galatasaray

Associated Press
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In the shadow of the start of Champions League knockout stage play, the Europa League has also begun the elimination stage of its competition, and it’s already provided plenty of fireworks.

In Round of 32 action, Premier League sides struggled on the road, as 10-man Arsenal fell 1-0 at BATE Borisov and Chelsea squeaked past Malmo despite being troubled at the back often.

[ RECAP: Arsenal fails to score in loss to BATE Borisov ]

[RECAP: Chelsea tops Malmo ]

Elsewhere, Inter clung to an early lead and topped Rapid Vienna 1-0 behind a 39th minute penalty from 21-year-old Lautaro Martínez. The Italian club was without main striker Mauro Icardi amid uncertainty surrounding the stripping of his captaincy. In his place, his fellow Argentinian was a problem for Vienna the whole match, earning four fouls, including the penalty that led to his goal.

Dynamo Kiev picked up a solid road result, earning a 2-2 draw with Olympiakos in Greece on a goal by Benjamin Verbic in the 89th minute to secure the level scoreline. Ahmed Hassan opened the scoring for the hosts inside the first 10 minutes with a left-footed strike after strong hold-up play from Konstantinos Fortounis, while Vitaliy Buyalskiy leveled for Dynamo before the half-hour mark on a sliding cross by Tomasz Kedziora. Before the halftime break, Gil Dias delivered maybe the goal of the day with an unbelievable volley from at least 27 yards out, chesting the ball down and letting it bounce once before unleashing an stunning left-footed blast. The home fans enjoyed that until the very end when Viktor Tsygankov headed down a lofted delivery to the middle of the box for Verbic to bounce into the back of the net.

Real Betis picked up a similar result, pulling out a late 3-3 draw at French club Stade Rennais that sets the La Liga side up well for the return leg in Spain. Stade Rennais scored twice inside the opening 10 minutes and were up 3-1 at the halftime break on a penalty from Hatem Ben Arfa just before the whistle, but the visitors fought back and in the 90th minute, 18-year-old Mexican international Diego Lainez somehow tucked a low strike inside the far post despite at a ridiculously awkward body angle.

Benfica picked up a 2-1 road victory at Turkish side Galatasaray on a beautiful 64th minute goal by Haris Seferovic. The Swiss international latched onto a brilliant long-ball by 21-year-old Ruben Dias and used his strength to beat the defender and bag a fabulous finish past Fernando Muslera.

Sevilla grabbed an early 1-0 lead on a flowing counter-attack finished off by Wissam Ben Yedder, and the Spanish side held on for a key road victory over Lazio in Italy. There were only three total shots on target between the two sides in the entire match, with Sevilla holding Lazio to just a single one.

Napoli eased past FC Zurich 3-1 in Switzerland behind early goals by Arkadiusz Milik Jose Callejon, with Pitor Zielinski finishing off the scoreline 13 minutes from time. The visitors could have had more as Kalidou Koulibaly and Zielinski both missed first-half chances, with Milik coming close after the break.

Celtic fell at home to Valencia 2-0, with Denis Cheryshev and Ruben Sobrino bracketing halftime with goals. Cheryshev has struggled in front of net for much of the season after his big World Cup, but his goalscoring form has picked up of late, with three goals in his last five matches across all competitions. Celtic brought USMNT youngster Timothy Weah on in the 59th minute, but the home side was unable to get on the scoresheet.

Shakhtar Donetsk held on for a 2-2 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt in the Ukraine despite falling a man down just 11 minutes into the match. Shakhtar took the lead nine minutes in as Marlos slotted home a penalty, but Taras Stepanenko picked up his second yellow card in the early going, leaving the home side with a man disadvantage.

A third-minute goal was all Villareal needed to skate by 10-man Sporting CP in Portugal. Alfonso Pedraza charged down a loose ball just outside the box and blasted it into the back of the net for the early lead, one which the home side could never chase down.

Club Brugge grabbed an important late 2-1 win over Red Bull Salzburg as 22-year-old Brazilian striker Wesley scored nine minutes from the final whistle. The Belgian side trailed 1-0 at home after a 17th minute away goal from Austrian international Zlatko Junuzovic, but charged back to slide into the advantage heading into the second leg in Salzburg.

All Europa League results:

BATE Borisov 1-0 Arsenal
Malmo 1-2 Chelsea
Lazio 0-1 Sevilla
Galatasaray 1-2 Benfica
Rapid Vienna 0-1 Internazionale
Stade Rennais 3-3 Real Betis
Shakhtar Donetsk 2-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
Sporting CP 0-1 Valencia
Olympiakos 2-2 Dynamo Kiev
Celtic 0-2 Valencia
FC Zurich 1-3 Napoli
Club Brugge 2-1 RB Salzburg
Viktoria Plzen 2-1 Dinamo Zagreb
Krasnodar 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Slavia Prague 0-0 Racing Genk