Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 34

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We’re one week away from all Premier League clubs sitting on equal footing in terms of matches played, and may then have a true tale of favor in the battles for 17th place, seventh, and first.

[ MORE: Klopp on Messi match-up ]

But until then, we power rank.


20. Huddersfield Town — It’s a slow death followed by a long funeral procession, this one.
Last week: 20
Season high: 16
Season low: 20

19. Fulham — Showed enough quality to comfortably beat Everton, but how many players will stay at Craven Cottage through relegation?
Last week: 19
Season high: 11
Season low: 20

18. Cardiff City — The defeat of Brighton combined with the Seagulls’ diving form has Neil Warnock‘s men dreaming of safety; In a season with so many setbacks and the tragedy of Emiliano Sala, a place in the top flight for 2019-20 would be an immense achievement.
Last week: 18
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

17. Brighton and Hove Albion — What’s happened here? Points are going to be hard to come by the rest of the way, and Chris Hughton‘s men are in real trouble.
Last week: 17
Season high: 9
Season low: 19

16. Bournemouth — Had to feel good to hang five on Brighton, but the Cherries feel like they’ve hit their heights. Will Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson last the summer?
Last week: 16
Season high: 6
Season low: 14

15. Newcastle United — Rafa Benitez deserves a raise and a real transfer budget. At almost any other club, he’d get both without a debate. But…
Last week: 14
Season high: 11
Season low: 19

14. Southampton — Ralph Hasenhuttl admits that Saints have to be a developmental club, but he’s getting a heck of a lot of performance from such a unit.
Last week: 15
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

13. Crystal Palace — Nearly managed another notable result against Man City.
Last week: 12
Season high: 6
Season low: 17

12. West Ham United — Badly need a summer of rest and rejuvenation. Next season should be a legit Top Seven campaign.
Last week: 11
Season high: 6
Season low: 20

11. Burnley *New season high* The Clarets safety again underscores the import of Sean Dyche as a tiny club continues to grow in stability. 
Last week: 13
Season high: 11
Season low: 20

10. Leicester City — Losing to Newcastle at the King Power Stadium is a reminder that the style may look a little different under Brendan Rodgers, but it’s no surprise to many that simply changing managers won’t turn the Foxes back into a top contender. Wake us when you see a result Claude Puel was incapable of delivering. Remember: Puel helped Leicester beat Chelsea and Man City.
Last week: 9
Season high: 7
Season low: 13

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

9. Wolves — 
Last week: 6
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

8. Everton
Last week: 8
Season high: 5
Season low: 15

7. Watford — Performed admirably with 10 men against Arsenal, but it’s also hilarious the hoops people are jumping through the excuse Troy Deeney‘s shot at Lucas Torreira.
Last week: 9
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

6. Manchester United — A win at Goodison would sure soothe the nerves of those wondering about that full-time appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Last week: 7
Season high: 3
Season low: 14

5. Chelsea — The Blues have a weekend to recover from Thursday’s Europa League second leg versus Slavia Prague before meeting in-form Burnley at Stamford Bridge.
Last week: 3
Season high: 1
Season low: 7

4. Arsenal — Navigating Napoli with some early certainly would be huge given two league matches by Wednesday.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 9

3. Spurs — Forget that Spurs advanced in the Champions League on aggregate: Can Mauricio Pochettino‘s men put in a better defensive shift versus Man City than the 4-3 loss at midweek when the two sides renew acquaintances in Manchester?
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 8

2. Liverpool — The dream of a double more impressive than Man City’s is very real.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 4

  1. Manchester City — How does one rebound from Wednesday? Just how? Still the top dog in our rankings, but only just because getting six points from six against Spurs and Manchester United in under a week is a massive ask.
    Last week: 1
    Season high: 1
    Season low: 3

Bournemouth buries struggling 10-man Brighton (video)

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  • Fraser, Wilson star in blowout
  • Knockaert sent off in 68th
  • Stanislas, Gosling, Brooks add goals

Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson each had a goal and two assists as Bournemouth ensured its Premier League safety with a 5-0 win over still-threatened 10-man Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

Dan Gosling and David Brooks also scored for the Cherries, who move to 41 points and 12th place on the table. Brighton has 33, five better than 18th place Cardiff City.

Anthony Knockaert was sent off with Brighton trailing 2-0 after a wild challenge earned a straight red.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ryan Fraser’s sweet cross nearly put Bournemouth ahead early, sweeping a ball that an off-balance Callum Wilson couldn’t deposit in the goal.

Wilson was the final playmaker in a nice team goal, setting up Gosling for his first Premier League goal since a Feb. 24, 2018 marker against former club Newcastle.

Wilson’s fine day continued in the second half, as he set up AFCB Player of the Season favorite Fraser for an insurance goal (albeit one of the less intended goals of Fraser’s life).

You could write Brighton’s match day obituary when Knockaert was sent off, and Bournemouth increased its advantage when Brooks capped off a stylish 1-2 with Fraser.

Later, Fraser set up Wilson and Stanislas also joined in the fun as the Cherries piled misery on the Seagulls.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

Burnley ease past dismal Bournemouth (video)

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  • Second-straight win for Burnley
  • 1 win in 9 for Bournemouth
  • Clarets now two points behind Cherries

Burnley came from behind to win 3-1 at Bournemouth on Saturday, as the Clarets left the Vitality Stadium with a massive three points.

Ashley Barnes scored an early own goal to put Bournemouth ahead, but then Chris Wood and Ashley Westwood each scored in quick succession to put them ahead with Asmir Begovic not covering himself in glory in goal for Bournemouth.

Barnes then scored after another Begovic howler to seal the win, as Sean Dyche‘s side now move eight points clear of the relegation zone and are on 36 points, just two points behind Bournemouth.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Bournemouth took the lead inside four minutes as a free kick was flicked on by Jefferson Lerma and under pressure from Nathan Ake, Barnes nodded into his own net. 1-0.

David Brooks was causing plenty of problems cutting in from the right flank, but Burnley then struck back. A corner caught out Asmir Begovic as it looped to the back post and Wood nodded home to make it 1-1. Game on.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Burnley were soon 2-1 up, as Dwight McNeil caused havoc on the left and his cross eventually found Westwood who struck an effort into the far corner to put the Clarets 2-1 up.

Before the break Bournemouth had a great chance to make it 2-2, but an unmarked Callum Wilson somehow nodded over from close range. Burnley went close on two occasions before the break as Begovic was almost caught out at his near post with a free kick, as the end-to-end nature continued.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Right at the start of the second half Barnes hit a shot goalwards which hit Ake on the arm and deflected wide, but no penalty kick was given.

Burnley did extend their lead, as Charlie Taylor‘s cross from the left was spilled by Begovic and Wood pounced to set up Barnes to slot home. 3-1.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The away side threatened to extend their lead further late on with some dangerous crosses, while Josh King nodded wide for Bournemouth.

Dominic Solanke, Ryan Fraser and Wilson went close late on, but Bournemouth couldn’t launch another of their famous late rallies and Burnley secured a big win in their battle against relegation.

Dominant Leicester ease by Bournemouth (video)

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  • 4 wins from last 5 for Leicester
  • Vardy has 5 goals in 5
  • 1 win in 8 for Bournemouth

Leicester City totally dominated Bournemouth at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, as Brendan Rodgers‘ men continue their charge up the Premier League table.

The Foxes took the lead through Wes Morgan early on, and Jamie Vardy sealed the victory in the second half.

With the win Leicester are now level with seventh-place Wolves on 44 points, and qualifying for the Europa League is a real possibility.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Leicester almost took the lead as a cross to the back post was cleared by Charlie Daniels. Seconds later they went ahead from the resulting corner. The ball dropped to Chilwell who drilled a shot across goal which Morgan deflected in. 1-0.

At the other end Kasper Schmeichel saved from Callum Wilson after Ryan Fraser‘s superb cross, as Bournemouth should have been level.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

James Maddison curled a low shot just wide for Leicester, then Vardy scuffed a shot wide after a wonderful run and pass from Ricardo Perreira.

Bournemouth’s Josh King sliced an effort wide as the Cherries worked their way back into the game, but Vardy was denied by a wonderful block by Nathan Ake.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Youri Tielemans flashed a shot wide, then Vardy had a shot blocked as the Foxes piled on the pressure in the second half.

Vardy then sealed the victory, as he jumped ahead of Asmir Begovic and glanced Tielemans’ cross off the crossbar and in. 2-0.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Rodgers’ revolution at Leicester is gathering momentum, with three wins in his first four games in charge.

Who’s in the running for Premier League Player of the Year?

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The Premier League Player of the Year is missing its easy winner this go-round.

There’s no Mohamed Salah running away with the scoring record, no Eden Hazard or N'Golo Kante as the clear best player on the champion.

[ MORE: Key games left in the PL season ]

So let’s take a look at where the race stands heading into the final international break of the season.

The contenders

Virgil Van Dijk, Liverpool: Like N’Golo Kante before him, there’s a massive underdog status to a non-striker winning the Premier League’s Player of the Year (and you might want to argue that Kante deserved a Ballon d’Or finalist position). Flub against Fulham aside, few Premier League defenders have made their case in the past as well as Van Dijk has this season. Due to his status on a team who has a lot of the ball, it’s difficult to find super gaudy defensive numbers to make his case. Still, when taking into account Premier League center backs to play more than half their teams’ matches this season, no one on advanced stats site WhoScored is close to VVD. He also doesn’t have a “times dribbled past” per-match average on the site.

Eden Hazard, Chelsea: For years, Chelsea has gone as Eden Hazard. The Belgian is unquestionably one of the most talented players in the world, and is effervescent in attack. Sure, Chelsea’s also suffered through periods of head-scratching results and effort — nothing new at Stamford Bridge and he’s one of the only players to be a part of the downfalls of Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte, and presumably Maurizio Sarri — but his 13 goals and 11 assists make him the only player to reach double figures in both categories this season. And imagine how high that assist total could be with Alvaro Morata or Gonzalo Higuain finishing at an average or above-average clip.

Raheem Sterling, Man City: At Liverpool a few years ago, it would’ve been accurate to call Sterling, “the kid with the abysmal second touch.” But the Englishman has become better and better by the season, and he’s actually the most economical star in the running for the PL’s Golden Boot; His 2.1 shots per game is less than Sergio Aguero (3.7), Mohamed Salah (3.4), Harry Kane (3.6), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (2.6), Hazard (2.6), and Sadio Mane (2.4). Only Hazard and Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser have more assists.

Mohamed Salah, Liverpool: His average second-half of the season is going to make it difficult for him to repeat as PL Player of the Year, especially considering he has just one goal with no assists in eight matches since Jan. 30 (and four of those were 0-0 or 1-1 draws). Yet it’d be wrong to discount his 17 goals and six assists through 24 matches, and a strong finish could make him a Golden Boot, Premier League, and Champions League winner. That’s not crazy.

Sergio Aguero, Manchester City: Eighteen goals and six assists make him one of four players to combine for 24 goals of production this season, and the 30-year-old may be get sympathetic votes given his surprising lack of honors during a torrential tenure in the Premier League. His three hat tricks should live in the memory of some voters, too, especially since two came against Arsenal and Chelsea. He’s there when you need him, that’s for sure.

Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur: Right in the Golden Boot race despite missing four matches with torn ankle ligaments, Kane has 17 goals and four assists for Spurs this season. Not that the League Cup should come into play in a PL season vote, but Spurs’ star could well be holding silverware in voters’ minds if he hadn’t been hurt before the second leg against Chelsea. Three matches against Pep Guardiola and Man City in the next few weeks will either help or hurt his argument (again, only one of those comes in league play).

FINALLY, “THE WILD CARD” — He’s not going to win this award, and probably won’t be on any short lists besides this post, but spare a though for Raul Jimenez of Wolves. The Mexican striker has been a part of 18 league markers for Nuno Espirito Santo (12 goals, six assists) during his first ever Premier League season.

He’s scored against Chelsea twice, Spurs twice, and assisted versus Manchester United, and Arsenal. Wolves are 10W-4D-2L when he gets a goal or an assist, and 2W-3D-9L when he doesn’t produce magic.

And let’s be honest: Is one of the key players above leading their team to a title as impressive as what Jimenez has done keeping his newly-promoted side in the race for a Europa League place (even given what Wolves spent around him)?

Honestly, he’s in my Top Three with Sterling and Van Dijk. Hazard is probably fourth, with Kane, Aguero, and Salah a bit behind.