Tuesday, March 6, 2012

EPL Power Rankings – AVB Sacking, Spurs Reeling, Gunners Soaring

What an incredible week of soccer. Chelsea dismissed manager Andre Villas-Boas after a dismal showing against West Bromwich Albion. Tottenham controlled possession against Manchester United, but still lost 3-1. Liverpool gifted three points to Arsenal with some terrible shooting and an inability to mark the best player in the league in extra time. The top two are secure, while Tottenham's once ironclad hold on 3rd looks to be in jeopardy.

Title Contenders (and then there were two):
(1) Manchester City – 66 pts – Took care of Bolton on Saturday. Nothing to see here.
(2) Manchester United – 64 pts – Made the Spurs look bad on Sunday. Their title hopes are still alive, and they are a lock for top 4 at this point. Will host a happy West Brom this weekend.

Five squads, Two spots (I really hope Arsenal doesn't get third):
(3) Tottenham Hotspur – 53 pts – Another tough loss, which not only effectively ends any title dreams but now puts them at risk to fall out of the top 4. A victory over Everton on Saturday at Goodison Park is absolutely crucial.
(4) Arsenal – 49 pts – RVP for MVP. Where would they be without him? Turned a terrible performance at Anfield into another great result for Gooners everywhere. 3rd place is not out of the question. Another tough test with Newcastle looking to keep their top 4 hopes alive.
(5) Chelsea – 46 pts – …and the AVB era comes to a disastrous end -- a loss to West Brom would do that. Will host Stoke at Stamford Bridge this Saturday, with Di Matteo managing on the fly.
(6) Newcastle United – 44 pts – What a match versus rival Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear Derby. Newcastle lucky to take a point and stay in the running for top 4. A must-win against Arsenal at Emirates on Monday night.
(7) Liverpool – 39 pts – Gut-wrenching loss against the Gunners. Still hold game in hand, but does it matter now? Will go to Sunderland on Saturday, hoping to bounce back.

Mid-table Heartbreakers (Still don't matter):
(8) Fulham – 36 pts – Clint Dempsey continued his spectacular play and has the Cottagers roaring up the standings. Should steamroll a dejected Aston Villa this weekend.
(9) Stoke City – 36 pts – Another grind-out win by Stoke; they will look to add to Chelsea’s current miseries to continue moving up the table.
(10) West Brom Albion – 35 pts –Historic win for the Baggies over Chelsea on Saturday, leading to AVB’s dismissal. A trip to Old Trafford to take on United will test their resolve.
(11) Sunderland – 34 pts – Will take the draw versus Newcastle after going man down. Will host a very desperate Liverpool squad on Saturday.
(12) Norwich City – 35 pts – Couldn’t find the net versus Stoke last week but should be able to take care of Wigan on Sunday.
(13) Everton – 34 pts – What a poor result against QPR after playing so well. Maybe they miss Landycakes too much. Will look to upset the Spurs as Saha comes back to town.
(14) Swansea City – 33 pts – Made the victory against Wigan look easy. Can they add to their scalp collection with a matchup against league-leading Man City on Sunday?
(15) Aston Villa – 30 pts – Another draw against another bad team. Aston Villa is going nowhere fast and will face a red-hot Fulham squad on Saturday. The nightmare continues.

The Danger Zone (You cannot lose to any of these teams right now):
(16) Wolverhampton Wanderers –22 pts – Anytime you give up five goals, you know you are in trouble. Wolves are reeling right now, and a relegation battle with Blackburn this weekend will make things even more interesting.
(17) Queens Park Rangers – 22pts – Took a point against Everton. Another relegation match as they travel to the Reebok to take on a sad Bolton squad.
(18) Blackburn Rovers – 22 pts –Rovers did well to grab a point against Aston Villa. Will travel to face the Wolves on Saturday, and three points would ease the pressure for either team.
(19) Bolton Wanderers – 20 pts –Did well to keep it somewhat close against Man City. Would be nice to win against QPR and get out of the bottom 3.
(20)Wigan Athletic – 20 pts –Swansea was the better team last weekend. Hopefully, Wigan can bounce back against Norwich this week. More than likely, though, they will not.

Matchup Predictions
Last Week’s Record: 4-6 (Can’t believe Liverpool, Tottenham, and Chelsea lost, what chumps...)

Cumulative Record: 4-6

QPR at Bolton – 2-2 – QPR is the better squad, but given it’s an away match, draw. Keep moving.
Fulham at Villa – 3-1 – Dempsey is so hot right now.
Stoke at Chelsea – 0-2 – I have to think that the Blues will respond to AVB’s sacking.
Liverpool at Sunderland – 2-1 – One of those games that you can totally see Liverpool drawing cause they can’t hit the side of a barn, but I will give them benefit of the doubt.
Rovers at Wolves – 3-2 – Relegation battle part deux! I see Yukubu running wild at the Molineux.
Spurs at Everton – 2-1 – Gosh, I really hope the Spurs win, if only for my wife’s sake. I’m much too sad about soccer right now. If anyone is interested and in the NYC area, Caleb and I are watching the match at Floyd NY, the official weekend pub of NYSpurs in Brooklyn this Saturday at 12:30!!

WBA at United – 0-3 – Don’t see WBA getting a result, or much of anything, at Old Trafford.
City at Swansea – 2-1 – Swansea will come out strong at home, but talent will prevail. Will there be a Tevez sighting?!
Wigan at Norwich – 1-2 – Not picking Wigan ever again. EVER.

Newcastle at Arsenal – 2-3 – This week's game of the week once again includes Arsenal. As much as it pains me, I cannot pick against the Gooners right now. RVP will score all five goals.

Photos courtesy of bbc.uk.co and nufcblog.org


Is anyone watching this Arsenal / Milan match? WOW!

Yup!!!! 1 more to force OT, can't concede any though.

And Phil - how is this a power ranking v just comments on where they stand in the EPL table? As much as Newcastle is doing everything right and winning when they're supposed to, and despite Liverpool's lack of finish, I'd still say I'd take Liverpool over Newcastle...

So sad. RVP tried to be too fancy...great game, great effort, but just too much of a mountain to overcome.

Can't believe he missed it. His storybook season was going to be catapulted into legendary status.

I think Newcastle will finish above Liverpool! And the mid table is different. Who has Liverpool beaten so far? I was tempted to put Arsenal above Spurs. I might move Chelsea down but I think they will respond next week. I think the rest of the rankings are fair!

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