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Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 12

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We told you this weekend could provide big tumult in the power rankings, as several clubs in close proximity tangled in the Premier League, and the matches delivered in a big way.

[ ARCHIVE: Premier League club power rankings ]


20. Fulham — Much better against Liverpool than recent opposition, but still on pace to break the Premier League record for goals allowed.
Last week: 20
Season high: 11
Season low: 20

19. Huddersfield Town — A nice point against West Ham, but it’s difficult to look at the match and think the Terriers would’ve managed a point from performances of that ilk more than once in a great while.
Last week: 19
Season high: 18
Season low: 20

18. Burnley — Still capable of solid performances, but the attack looks like a relegation candidate more often than not.
Last week: 15
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

17. Crystal Palace *New season low* — A victim of the schedule? Sure, but there’s little to like about the attack as even Wilfried Zaha appears shaken in confidence.
Last week: 14
Season high: 6
Season low: 17

Zaha (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

16. Cardiff City — Aided in a big way by Dale Stephens red card, but the Bluebirds are looking less and less like the automatic relegation team of early weeks.
Last week: 16
Season high: 16
Season low: 20

15. Southampton — Probably deserved all three points against Watford, but looking ready to take the next step despite a miserly start points-wise.
Last week: 17
Season high: 13
Season low: 17

14. Newcastle United — Rafa Benitez‘s men are the pound-for-pound defensive champions of the league. Only six teams have allowed fewer goals, and only one is lower than 7th on the table (Wolves, 11th).
Last week: 16
Season high: 13
Season low: 19

13. Brighton and Hove Albion — Two-straight losses following the 2-1 defeat at Cardiff, in what draws Bournemouth as the top disappointments of the week.
Last week: 10
Season high: 9
Season low: 19

12. West Ham — Manuel Pellegrini‘s men had to work hard to get a point from Huddersfield Town, and is hoping Samir Nasri can help fill the hole left by Andriy Yarmolenko‘s injury. A big ask?
Last week: 13
Season high: 9
Season low: 20

11. Watford — Hornets looking more and more like early over-performers. 
Last week: 12
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

10. Wolves — Gave Arsenal all it could handle, but fans should be demanding more from a club which thrives against big clubs but has not performed against several seemingly lesser sides.
Last week: 13
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Ruben Neves. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

9. Leicester City — To take four of six points with a trip to their owner’s funeral in Thailand sandwiched in between is a serious achievement.
Last week: 9
Season high: 7
Season low: 13

8. Bournemouth — Eddie Howe will be raging with his Cherries for their performance at Newcastle United, a lost chance to sit a point back of Arsenal.
Last week: 8
Season high: 6
Season low: 12

7. Manchester United — Count our own Joe Prince-Wright among those tired of the excuses for Jose Mourinho’s struggles at Old Trafford. The gulf between his men and Man City is huge.
Last week: 6
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

6. Everton — Two weeks to prepare for a visit from Cardiff, and then the away Merseyside Derby. If the Toffees manage a draw at Liverpool, it’s not unreasonable to think they should nab 10 from their next 12 points.
Last week: 7
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

5. Arsenal — Beat Everton in September, and that will keep the Gunners ahead of the impressive Toffees… for now.
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 9

4. Chelsea — Surely the draw vs. Everton is a case of a decent opponent and Europa League lag, but championship winners generally find a way to get the winner at home.
Last week: 3
Season high: 1
Season low: 5

3. Liverpool — It seems unrealistic to expect blowouts each week, but the Reds’ 2-0 win over a defensively-weak Fulham was tepid at best.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 4

2. Spurs *New season high*Despite injury and form problems for pretty much all of its biggest stars, Spurs sit three points back of second, are two rounds from the League Cup final, and aren’t dead in the Champions League. Yes, Spurs were by far second-best in a Sept. 15 home loss to the Reds, but it’s been two months.

Their next two league matches are home to Chelsea and away to Arsenal, so the heights could be brief, but what Spurs have done in the face of wild injuries is impressive.
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 8

1. Man City — For everyone mentioning the absence of Paul Pogba for United in the derby, City was missing Kevin De Bruyne. This team is hearkening back to Pep’s best Barcelona teams, without a Lionel Messi in the bunch.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 2

PL Sunday preview: Manchester derby; Chelsea, Liverpool go for 12

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You could say that Sunday is a big day of Premier League fixtures, but you’d be massively under-selling a six-and-a-half-hour period that see four games played, featuring five of the PL’s “big six” sides.

[ MORE: Spurs grind out another win despite mounting injuries ]

Liverpool vs. Fulham — 7 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

In the day’s first game, Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool will seek to become the first side in the PL to reach a dozen games without a defeat. Doing so with a victory at Anfield would (temporarily) vault them ahead of Chelsea and Manchester City for top spot in the title race. A swift response will be required after a shocking defeat away to Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League on Tuesday. It’s not the first time the Reds have lost away on the continent this season: after losing to Napoli last month, Liverpool returned to domestic play and secured a scoreless home draw with Man City.

While Tuesday’s hiccup might seem a disaster in Liverpool’s world, last-place Fulham would beg to differ. The Cottagers haven’t won since Aug. 26, game no. 3 of the season, and have managed just two points from the eight games they’ve played since. On the bright, they sit just three points adrift of 17th place and can drag themselves clear of the relegation zone with a few decent results. Slavisa Jokanovic‘s side has had plenty of problems on both ends of the field — they’ve scored just four goals in their last seven games, simultaneously conceding 20 of the 29 they’ve given up on the season.

INJURIES: Liverpool — OUT: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) | Fulham — OUT: None


Chelsea vs. Everton — 9:15 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Very few foresaw a title challenge from Chelsea in Maurizio Sarri‘s first season in England, but the Blues sit second in the table (ahead of Liverpool on goal differential) nearly one-third of the way through the season, also yet to lose (in any competition) in 2018-19. Eden Hazard appears fully recovered from his back injury, which severely limited his minutes late last month, after playing 62 minutes in Thursday’s Europa League win away to BATE Borisov. The Belgian superstar is joint-top of the Golden Boot race with seven goals (plus four assists — tied-fourth most) and has been the best player in the PL, by a substantial margin. In comparison to City and Liverpool’s stingy number of goals conceded — four and five, respectively — Chelsea’s eight seems uninspiring, yet remains next-best by a good distance.

It’s been nearly five years (Dec. 4, 2013, against Manchester United) since Everton last won away to one of the PL’s “big six” sides. Sunday’s trip to Stamford Bridge is merely the Toffees’ next opportunity to break their 30-game skid (0W-9D-21L), but it’s hardly a golden one. It’s been nearly as many tries, 23, since Everton last won away to the Blues (Nov. 26, 1994). Everton’s newly crowned talisman, Richarlison, has been made available for selection after being an injury doubt all week. Marco Silva won’s be so lucky in defense, though, as first-choice center back Kurt Zouma, on loan from Chelsea, is ineligible to play against his parent club.

INJURIES: Chelsea — OUT: None | Everton — OUT: None


Man City vs. Man United — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The third and final — though first in the table — unbeaten side, Man City, will host a Man United side which has (somewhat predictably) fallen on hard times in Jose Mourinho’s third season at the club. Despite winning three of their last four league games, the Red Devils enter Sunday’s Manchester derby seven points (and four places) behind fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur. However, Tuesday’s Champions League triumph away to Juventus will have United feeling full of confidence when they visit the Etihad Stadium. Mourinho has been strangely quiet this week — with regards to City, not Juve — offering few, if any, words about City’s financial fair play predicament or his side’s chances. Perhaps the red half of Manchester has begun to accept the city for its newfound blueness.

As for City, what’s to dislike about a side that has dropped just two points in its last 11 games (all competitions) and has shown no signs whatsoever of dropping off from last season’s record-setting performance? Sure, Kevin De Bruyne is set to miss a couple months due to a knee injury, for the second time this season, but he’s appeared in just three league games thus far (started none — 82 total minutes), yet City have won 29 of a possible 33 points. There’s also a small matter of avenging the home loss of last season, which prevented Pep Guardiola‘s side clinching the title against its most bitter rivals.

INJURIES: Man City — OUT: Kevin De Bruyne (knee), Claudio Bravo (achilles), Eliaquim Mangala (knee) | Man United — OUT: Antonio Valencia (undisclosed)


Arsenal vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Since suffering defeat in each of their first two games this season, Arsenal have fancied themselves as one of the unbeatens, winning 13 and drawing three of their 16 games since. The somewhat troubling part of those impressive numbers, though, is the fact that the three draws have all come in the Gunners’ last four games (two in the PL, one in the Europa League). On the plus side, one of those league draws came against Liverpool last weekend, signaling the Gunners might just be credible peers to title contenders once again.

Their opponents on Sunday, Wolves, have struggled in recent weeks after a strong start to the season. Three straight losses have dropped Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side to 11th in the table, and an inability to score from open play has been a key culprit. Wolves scored twice in last weekend’s 3-2 loss to Tottenham, but each tally came from the penalty spot, after being held scoreless by Watford and Brighton & Hove Albion — not exactly defensive world-beaters. Still, to be seven points and seven spots clear of the relegation zone right now, in the club’s first season back in the PL since 2012, has been a dream start everyone involved with the club would have taken back in August.

INJURIES: Arsenal — OUT: Stephan Lichtsteiner (hamstring), Laurent Koscielny (achilles), Danny Welbeck (ankle) | Wolves — OUT: None

PL Sunday preview: Man City, Chelsea go for 11 unbeaten

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Two of the Premier League’s three remaining unbeaten sides will be in action on Sunday, when Manchester City and Chelsea attempt to match Liverpool’s 11-game unbeaten run to start the season.

[ MORE: Arsenal come back to snatch a point vs. Liverpool | Three things ]

Manchester City vs. Southampton — 10 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Pep Guardiola‘s side has already won twice this week — knocking off fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur on Monday, followed by a League Cup round of 16 triumph over Fulham on Thursday — and now they turn their attention to a drastically less tricky challenge in relegation-threatened Southampton, who entered the weekend stuck in 16th place. Yet again, Man City will be without world-class midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who suffered another knee injury against Fulham in just his second game back from his last knee injury. Alas, City have been incomprehensibly dominant without De Bruyne, who is yet to start a PL game this season, to the tune of a +24 goal differential after 10 games. Despite such a strong start, City are yet to put any distance between themselves and the chasing pack. Liverpool went top of the table with their draw away to Arsenal on Saturday, and the two title contenders appear destined to battle one another for the next seven months.

On the other side, it’s been more than two months since Saints last won a league game (Sept. 1), their only victory in PL play this season. What’s worse, it’s been nearly as long (more than five full games) since they last scored a goal. On the bright side, a pair of 0-0 draws have seen Saints pick up a point in back-to-back games. Manager Mark Hughes is hoping that defensive solidity will be a foundation to build upon on Sunday.

“It’s back to back clean sheets, which reinforces our feeling that defensively we’re in better shape than we have been,” he said this week. “That will help us and give us confidence at the top-end of the pitch to really go for teams because we should know that we have got good defensive capabilities.”

INJURIES: Man City — OUT: Kevin De Bruyne (knee), Claudio Bravo (achilles), Eliaquim Mangala (knee) | Southampton — OUT: None

Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace — 11 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Maurizio Sarri is yet to taste PL defeat as Chelsea manager, and he’ll look to continue his fine start to life in England when 14th-place Palace visits Stamford Bridge. While his side performed well on one end of its League Cup victory over Derby County this week, he wasn’t all too pleased with how they defended against the Championship side.

“In the last match I have to say Derby played a very good match,” he said. “We played well in the offensive phase, but a lot of mistakes in the defensive phase. It’s clear we need to improve. I am used to having problems like this in the first months. In Burnley I saw a very good performance in the defensive phase. Three days after I saw a lot of mistakes. It means we are a not a continuously solid team at the moment. It’s dangerous.”

Palace are yet another side starving for goals ahead of the weekend, as they’ve played 395 minutes (Oct. 1 – all competitions) without finding the back of the net, and are winless (two draws) in their last five league games. Sunday will see Ruben Loftus-Cheek up against his former loan home, for whom he excelled and earned himself a place in the regular rotation at Chelsea.

INJURIES: Chelsea — OUT: None | Crystal Palace — OUT: Christian Benteke (knee), Scott Dann (knee)

De Bruyne out 5-6 weeks with new injury

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Less than ten days before one of Manchester City’s biggest matches of the season, Pep Guardiola has been dealt another blow to his star midfielder, Kevin De Bruyne.

[READ: Premier League odds]

The Belgian midfielder is set to spend between five to six weeks on the sideline after suffering another knee injury, leaving Guardiola and Man City without its talisman for the November 11 home match against Manchester United. De Bruyne only just came back from two months on the sidelines with a knee injury, and was making his second start, first back in England since returning to full fitness. Man City confirmed that de Bruyne has ligament damage in his left knee, leaving him sidelined for more than a month.

De Bruyne suffered the injury after a collision with Fulham’s (on-loan from Manchester United) Timothy Fosu-Mensah, and immediately motioned to the bench that he needed to be substituted. De Bruyne was taken off in the 85th minute of Man City’s 2-0 league cup victory.

Without de Bruyne again, Guardiola must rely on the likes of Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan during a key stretch of matches in November and early December, perhaps even turning to Phil Foden or Brahim Diaz for support from the youth ranks.

For de Bruyne, it’s the latest setback in what’s been a frustrating year after the highs of making the 2018 World Cup semifinals. Guardiola had just praised de Bruyne for making his return, and now the Belgian has to start the recovery process all over again. On the bright side, if there is one, de Bruyne should be relatively healthy for the late-December matches around the busy holiday season, and with more gas in the tank for crucial UEFA Champions League matches in March, April and May.

Pep comments on KDB injury after star performance

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Kevin De Bruyne was one of the Man City’s very best performers in Thursday’s League Cup defeat of Fulham, along with brace scorer Brahim Diaz, but the focus was very much on how his match ended at the Etihad Stadium.

[ REPORT: Sterling agrees new deal ]

De Bruyne suffered an injury to his left knee, not the right knee which caused his recent two-month absence, and had to be subbed off late in the contest.

Manager Pep Guardiola said doctors were taking a look at the injury, and De Bruyne did manage to walk off the field under his own power.

From ManCity.com:

“I think today Kevin is back. The Kevin we know. He made a huge effort against Shakhtar, and played few minutes in difficult conditions against Spurs. Today he was involved in offense and defense, hopefully what happened in the last minutes is not serious.”

Guardiola loved his players’ performance, though we imagine he’s probably wondering why he left De Bruyne on the field into the match’s final moments (hindsight being 20/20).