The Runner Sports

Premier League Power Rankings: Round 27

After a week off due to that pesky F.A. Cup, we are back to bring you the Premier League power rankings for the twenty-seventh round of action.  As many know by now, four clubs did not participate in the league this week as Manchester City played Liverpool in the League Cup final and their originally scheduled opponents, Newcastle and Everton, both had the week off. Here we go:

1.) Tottenham: 2-1 win against Swansea City (Last week: 1)

As will be the case for the second-ranked club on this list, picking up points in a title race is extremely important, especially against clubs at the bottom of the table.  Swansea went up early in the first half and in a relatively evenly played match, Tottenham was able to squeak out all three points at home.  The second half introduction of Nacer Chadli and Ryan Mason proved to be the difference as they helped generate an onslaught of opportunities for Tottenham.  This match was also a perfect example of how well Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has been able to rotate his squad to keep everyone fresh in a way few other Premier League managers have or can.

 

2.) Leicester City: 1-0 win against Norwich City (Last week: 3)

Just like Tottenham, Leicester City was able to keep their head above water in this match, but only just so.  Leicester was far from their best as they were forced by Norwich to dictate the match, something that isn’t their preferred style.  Jamie Vardy wasn’t nearly as effective without the space to run in behind the Norwich backline as they were playing deep and to compound the issue the Leicester counter was almost nonexistent.  It will be fascinating to see how Leicester manages the next few weeks without the injured N’Golo Kante and playing against clubs that will likely set up with similar tactics as Norwich.

 

3.) Manchester City: Penalties win against Liverpool in League Cup (Last week: 7)

TRS already covered the match here, but this win takes the pressure off players and management to capture a trophy this season much like it did in 2014.  Now Manchester City can play with more freedom and confidence as they push toward both the league title and perhaps a run at Champions League (if everyone can get healthy and stay that way).

 

4.) Chelsea: 2-1 win at Southampton (Last week: 5)

Another week, another win for suddenly surging Chelsea.  How far they have come in the last few months. A win over a Southampton side that with a victory would have only been four points behind Manchester City for fourth.  Chelsea dominated possession with over 60% per whoscored.com and it finally looks that the front four pairing is starting to all play much better.  Willian is still his dominant self, Diego Costa has been banging in goals or assisting nearly every match and Eden Hazard may have revived his transfer value with an improved last couple of showings.  Well done to Chelsea for winning another road match and against a club that hadn’t conceded in their last six Premier League matches.

 

5.) Arsenal: 3-2 loss at Manchester United (Last week: 2)

Different year, same old Arsenal.  Against a bruised and battered Manchester United club that had a Thursday night Europa League match, Arsenal flopped their way to a devastating defeat.  Some highlights from the Manchester United squad that defeated a title contender; two midfielders in central defense (Daley Blind and Michael Carrick), Marcus Rashford at striker possibly the fourth choice, Memphis Depay and Marcos Rojo as the left-sided players and Timothy Fosu-Mensah, James Weir, and Adnan Januzaj as the top bench options for United.  Arsenal needed all three points from this Manchester United team and they fell far short from doing that.

 

6.) Everton: week off (Last week: 6)

Not much to say with Everton having a week off.  Many of their direct competition failed to win this week, so it felt right to leave them at six.

 

7.) Manchester United: 3-2 win against Arsenal (Last week: 12)

The legend of Marcus Rashford has officially begun. Where to begin with the young 18-year-old? The fact that he is the youngest scorer of a goal in European competition for United, or perhaps that in his first two senior starts Rashford has four goals and an assist.  How quickly the tenor of a season can change as just a 1 1/2 weeks ago, Manchester United was left for dead after losing 2-1 away at FC Midtjylland.  Now they have a dynamic goal scorer who makes runs in the box as if he was a savvy veteran.  The win over Arsenal means Manchester United are only three points behind Manchester City in the race for fourth.

 

8.) West Ham: 1-0 win against Sunderland (Last week: 10)

West Ham continued their inconsistent streak this week with a win against a Sunderland club that hadn’t been playing poorly.  The match itself was extremely close and an early Antonio strike gave the hosts a victory.  With a difficult upcoming stretch against Tottenham, Everton, and Manchester United it will be interesting to see if West Ham can continue their push for a spot in Europe as they head into their new stadium next season.

 

9.) Southampton: 2-1 loss against Chelsea (Last week: 4)

How disappointing for Southampton, a club that seemed to be gaining steam late in the season.  Southampton was outplayed by a Chelsea squad who seem to have returned to their title-winning form, at least to some degree.  It was simply bad luck for Southampton that they weren’t able to get Chelsea while they were down.

 

10.) Liverpool: loss in penalties against Manchester City (Last week: 8)

Another trophyless season for once great Liverpool, now possibly without any silverware since 2012.  Depending on who you talk to, Liverpool could have won or lost quite easily and penalty shootouts are always cruel for the losing side.  The loss only magnifies the importance of the Europa League tie against Manchester United and the need to win that trophy.

 

11.) Stoke City: 2-1 win against Aston Villa (Last week: 13)

Stoke move up the rankings on the heels of a relatively comfortable victory over sad sacks Aston Villa.  After spending money improving the attack this summer, Stoke needs to purchase some defensive help to complete the building effort.  Stoke isn’t far from challenging for Champions League next season, they just need to make a few more purchases.

 

12.) Sunderland: 1-0 loss at West Ham (Last week: 9)

Difficult loss for Sunderland as they had been playing so well after making a few January transfer window signings.  The loss sees Sunderland stay in the relegation zone, but based on current form, I believe they will make up the needed ground to overtake Norwich.

 

13.) West Brom: 3-2 win against Crystal Palace (Last week: 14)

In the sneaky best match of the weekend, West Brom leaves many fans wondering how good they could be without the stubborn refusal to let Saido Berahino play by manager Tony Pulis.  Berahino was my man of the match as he was dangerous throughout, scoring a goal and contributing three key passes per whoscored.com.  With the recent positive run of form, West Brom finds themselves solidly mid-table, a Tony Pulis special.

 

14.) Watford: 0-0 draw against Bournemouth (Last week: 11)

Watford missed out on a valuable opportunity to pick up a needed three points.  The draw saw Watford lose more ground to the Europa League spots and against a club like Bournemouth, you expect to pick up three points at home.  Perhaps that is the wrong impression, given that both were promoted last season, but Watford has already built a reputation of a mid-table team in my mind.

 

15.) Newcastle: week off (Last week: 16)

Newcastle moves up on the strength of their competition faltering.

 

16.) Bournemouth: 0-0 draw against Watford (Last week: 18)

A point on the road has to translate to mission accomplished for Bournemouth as they are now five points clear of the relegation zone.  Very few people thought Bournemouth would be able to stay up this season as they are such a tiny club, but as the weeks go on it looks likely.  Just a few more points from the last eleven matches will see the Cherries remain in the Premier League.

 

17.) Swansea City: 2-1 loss at Tottenham (Last week: 15)

If before the match if I would have said Swansea only lost away at Tottenham by a single goal, they would certainly move up the rankings.  The problem is that Swansea had a lead deep into the second half before giving away all three points.  Without picking up a win in their last four, Swansea is now just three points off the relegation zone.

 

18.) Norwich City: 1-0 loss at Leicester City (Last week: 17)

Poor, poor Norwich.  They deserved better from a match that was very even.  Ultimately they failed to get even a point and with that, Norwich is now tied with Newcastle on points for the final relegation spot.  Newcastle also has a game in hand. Cameron Jerome had a miss from a corner kick that Norwich City fans will lament for a long time should they get relegated.

 

19.) Aston Villa: 2-1 loss at Stoke City (Last week: 19)

Another day, another loss for Villa.  What more needs to be said, business as usual.

 

20.) Crystal Palace: 3-2 loss at West Brom (Last week: 20)

Crystal Palace has dropped down to dangerous territory with another loss over the weekend.  They have now failed to win a league match since mid-December and in that time have picked up three points from a possible thirty.  With thirty-two points already accumulated, Palace is probably safe but this streak does not bode well for summer recruitment heading into next season.

John Harbeck

Ohio sports and all things soccer.If you like my writing follow me @JHarbeck5 on twitter

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