Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 12

Leave a comment

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

Could Dani Alves finish career in Premier League?

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Dani Alves, who has played in La Liga, Serie A and now Ligue 1, could finish his career in the Premier League.

That’s according to the Paris Saint-Germain right back, who said in an interview he would like to retire in England. The 35-year-old holds the most trophies of any active player, 38, including league titles in Spain, Italy and France, the UEFA Champions League and a Copa America with Brazil.

[READ: Red Bulls power past Crew]

“The idea that I might finish my career without going to the Premier League, it is not possible,” Alves told the Telegraph. “For sure, this is the most amazing football in the world. First, because of the respect for the players from the fans, and then because of the passion on the pitch. If I can play, that would be perfect, but I will make it there one way or the other.”

Of course, the first place most people would presume Alves would land in England is Manchester City, where he’d reunite with former manager Pep Guardiola. But Guardiola has slowly been pushing out some of his older players and with the exception of Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho, it’s a fairly young squad. So it’s unclear whether Guardiola would be prepared to bring Alves in at 36 or older next summer.

In addition, Alves may struggle in the Premier League. Unless he plays on a team like Man City, that will hold 70 percent possession each game, he may be forced to actually defend, a skill he’s not the best at compared to his incredible attacking ability. He’s a right back in name only, starting from deep and providing overlapping runs and terrific crosses into forwards.

But if he gets to play higher up the field, perhaps as a right attacking midfielder, even at his age, he could be an exciting addition for just about any team looking to spice up their attack. It’s just a matter of whether a team will take a chance on him, overlooking the age factor.

Report: Nasri set to reunite with Pellegrini at West Ham

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Samir Nasri could be back playing in the Premier League as soon as January.

According to a report from England, Nasri is undergoing a medical this week ahead of signing a six-month, $2.7 million contract at West Ham United, where he’ll reunited with former manager Manuel Pellegrini and former teammates Pablo Zabaleta and Jack Wilshere. Nasri spent three years at Arsenal after joining more than a decade ago followed by six seasons at Manchester City, where he won two Premier League titles.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Nasri is free to return to training after serving a partially-suspended 18-month doping ban, after taking a nutrient-rich IV of fluids above the amount set by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Nasri in part got in trouble after the IV due to posting a photo on social media with the co-owner of the company that provided the package. It happened while Nasri was on vacation in December 2016 in Los Angeles.

Although it feels like Nasri has been around forever, he’s still just 31-years old, and with no soccer played in the past 12 months, he’ll be fresh and ready to go if he does sign for West Ham. The Frenchman provides Pellegrini with another winger to replace Andriy Yarmolenko, who is likely done for the season after rupturing his Achilles tendon in October.

It remains to be seen what Nasri can offer. He was declared surplus to requirements at Manchester City in 2016 and bounced around between Sevilla and Antalyaspor in Turkey before leaving them in January, 2018. If he can produce at least some of his old form, it would be a big boost to the Irons. West Ham remains firmly in midtable after 12 games, with 12 points gained, but the club is just four points above the drop zone. Providing more service to Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic could lead to more goals and more wins.

Sterling’s show-off moment enrages Guardiola

Leave a comment

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata didn’t like Raheem Sterling‘s showing off late in the Red Devils’ loss to Man City in Sunday’s Manchester Derby at the Etihad Stadium.

His manager Pep Guardiola liked it even less.

[ MORE: Match recap ]

Sterling had a wonderful day in City’s 3-1 win and was fresh off signing a new contract with the reigning Premier League champions.

But that was all for nought by the time Guardiola met Sterling on the field after the final whistle.

“I don’t like it when you make some movements with the hands. They know how to play simple and they did it but at the end he made the move with the legs and I didn’t like it so much. But again he’s young and I’m pretty sure it’s not going to happen again.”

[ MORE: 4 things | Player ratings ]

Mourinho: Man United drained, made mistakes vs. Man City

Leave a comment

Jose Mourinho wasn’t too bothered by Manchester United’s 3-1 loss to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, calling it, “Not a bad performance [but] a performance with mistakes.”

[ MORE: Match recap ]

The United manager said the team’s three-match away week coupled with an injury to Paul Pogba and a less than 100 percent Romelu Lukaku hampered his Red Devils.

Oh, and he wasn’t about to let the rivals’ midweek difference in opponent and venue go by unnoticed. From the BBC:

“We had two matches away [Juventus and then City], it is not the physical effort but the mental pressure,” he said. “I think some of the boys felt it a little bit.”

“Everybody has to agree. It is one thing to go to Juventus and play against one of the best teams in the world for 90 minutes. Another thing to beat Shakhtar Donetsk at home 6-0 and be very relaxed. We arrive in different circumstances.

[ MORE: 4 things | Player ratings ]

As for Pogba, well, this is a very Mourinho answer.