Premier League Power Rankings: Week Four

We had two really big movers this week as Stoke jump two spots while Newcastle United take a tumble. The Potters grabbed three huge points with a last-minute winner at home against Aston Villa, while Newcastle lost their long home unbeaten streak courtesy of fellow new-risers Blackpool. The loss was enough to sent the Toon Army hurtling out of the Europa League spots towards mid-table. Maybe Stoke will catch up to them in a few weeks?

Figure 1: Premier League Power Rankings, Week Four.

More detail after the jump.

  1. Chelsea: +1 GS, +1 GC, -1 pt (=). Chelsea finally gave up their first goal of the season courtesy of a Petr Cech error and a delightful little finish by Scott Parker. Still, they knocked three goals past West Ham without even trying very hard, something that should worry Blackpool, who come to Stamford Bridge next weekend.

  2. Manchester United: +2 GS, +4 GC, -3 pts (=). Two minutes of madness looks to have cost United dearly, as they tossed away a commanding lead at Everton and turned a sure three points into one. Even worse, a defence which was supposed to be amongst the league's best turned in a decidedly poor performance against a team that is frankly nothing special on the attack.

  3. Arsenal: + 3 GS, = GC, +1 pt (=). It was pretty easy for Arsenal as they tore Bolton apart at the Emirates. Beating one of the most porous teams in the league at home 4-1 doesn't really impress anyone, but those are four goals in the bank, so the Gunners get a nice little boost from their big win. All those soft goals conceded are getting to be a worry, though.

  4. Manchester City: -4 GS, = GC, -4 pts (-1). I don't really understand what's going on with City's attack right now, and I'm tempted to ascribe their recent struggles to luck. They were rampant against Liverpool three weeks ago and supposedly generated plenty of chances in their two more recent matches, but have scored just once in the past 180 minutes of play, which seems a little odd. The players on display at Manchester are too good to keep missing open goals - but they'll have to prove that at some point.

  5. Tottenham Hotspur: -1 GS, =GC, -1 pt (=). Drawing away against West Brom isn't that shameful, but Tottenham are going to have to grab as many points as they can if they want to retain their Champions League place next season. Doubters are already worrying whether European commitments are weighing down the squad, but with Peter Crouch, Jermaine Defoe, Michael Dawson, and Luka Modric out, is anyone really that surprised that Spurs had some trouble at the Hawthornes?

  6. Liverpool: -3 GS, -2 GC, -1 pt (=). Liverpool played a really boring game against Birmingham on Sunday and as a result I'm not going to write very much about them. BE MORE INTERESTING.

  7. Aston Villa: -1 GS, +2 GC, -2 pts (=). It's slightly odd to see a team suddenly play like one of Europe's best attacking sides after looking frankly dumpy in the final third, and odder still for that same team to revert to mediocrity. What's really odd is seeing all of this happen in the span of half an hour. Villa will be ruing their dropped points against Stoke, but until they achieve any consistency they'll be struggling to stay in the European spots.

  8. Everton: +4 GS, +3 GC, = pt (+1). Everton's rise is more closely tied to Newcastle's loss against Blackpool than their comeback against United, but they still grabbed a vital point with those last-second goals by Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta. Everton have faced some very tough opposition in their opening four fixtures, but they still haven't done themselves any favours with two points out of a possible twelve.

  9. Fulham: +2 GS, = GC, +2 pts (+1). While the win against Wolves was a big deal, it's very possible that Fulham's ability to score at anything like league average has been compromised by the loss of Bobby Zamora to a broken leg, something that my spreadsheet has completely missed. So - great result for the Cottagers, but it may well turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory.

  10. Newcastle United: -4 GS, +2 GC, -3 pts (-2). Seriously, Newcastle? Failing to score at home against what is on paper the weakest defence in the league is embarrassing, and shipping two goals against those same opponents is almost as bad. The Aston Villa result is the only thing keeping Newcastle anywhere near the top ten, and if they don't figure out a way to play while teams are marking Joey Barton they're in trouble.

  11. Birmingham City: -2 GS, -3 GC, = pt (=). Birmingham probably deserved to beat Liverpool at St. Andrews on Sunday, and only the heroic efforts of Pepe Reina kept them from scoring. They looked solid and composed at the back - it takes real effort not to fall asleep while watching the Reds play these days, so full credit to Birmingham for staying awake for both of Liverpool's attacks.

  12. Blackburn Rovers: = GS, -1 GC, +1 pt (=). Holding City to just one goal is a pretty nice accomplishment for Blackburn, and it's enough to have gotten them a point where none should have been expected. However, at some point they'll have to rely on skill rather than luck to get a result against a top side, and since Sam Allardyce is at the helm, skill is probably not forthcoming.

  13. Sunderland: -1 GS, = GC, = pt (=). Sunderland are going down to ten men too often, which is entirely the fault of Lee Cattermole. The captain has now missed over 50% of the season with disciplinary issues, and his two red cards are probably responsible for Sunderland's inability to put games away. Asamoah Gyan marked his debut with a goal, but even against Wigan, playing with ten is tough.

  14. Stoke City: +2 GS, -1 GC, +3 pts (+2). Stoke bounced back from defeat at Chelsea to conduct a thrilling victory over Aston Villa. Kenwyn Jones and Robert Huth colluded to turn zero points into three and launch Stoke from the relegation battle into (relatively) comfortable mid-table mediocrity.

  15. Bolton Wanderers: = GS, -3 GC, -1 pt, (-1). Bolton didn't do too much wrong against Arsenal, but the red card issued to Gary Cahill made a mismatch even worse as they conceded a flurry of late goals at the Emirates. Nobody but the most pathologically optimistic Bolton fans in the world was expecting a result from the match, but conceding four is a concern no matter who the opponent. At least they got their consolation goal!

  16. Wolverhampton Wanderers: = GS, +1 GC, -1 pt, (-1). Wolves would have done well to hold Fulham to a draw, but it wasn't to be, despite the best efforts of Karl Henry to cripple the Cottager's attack. Fulham are a tough team to beat away from home, though, so a last minute loss isn't the worst thing in the world for Wolves. After all, they just have to be better than West Ham, Blackpool, and Wigan.

  17. West Bromwich Albion: -1 GS, -2 GC, +1 pt, (=). The Baggies might be a little disappointed not to have grabbed a winner against Spurs, but the draw is a promising result and the play was pretty good, especially in the second half. West Brom now sit three points over the last relegation spot.

  18. West Ham United: = GS, +1 GC, = pt, (=). West Ham managed to score against Chelsea, which will probably be the high point of their season, since otherwise they're absolutely awful and will have to be extremely lucky to avoid relegation. Find a new goalkeeper. Find some new owners. Be less terrible.

  19. Blackpool: +1 GS, -3 GC, +4 pts (=). A huge points swing comes from an away win over Newcastle and being one of only three teams this weekend to keep a clean sheet. Blackpool are a strange team in that they'll attack even when it's absolutely suicidal to do so, which means that freak wins will be accompanying huge losses throughout the season. They face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge next, so I'll be rather annoyed if 'freak win' pops up again on the Tangerine roulette.

  20. Wigan Athletic: = GS, -2 GC, +1 pts (=). Roberto Martinez must be furious for his team for being unable to beat a Sunderland side that went down a man after just 22 minutes. Wigan failed to build on their victory against Tottenham, and instead found themselves chasing a draw after Sunderland took the lead in the second half. Antolin Alcaraz rescued the Latics, but they wasted one of the few games this year that they had any right to win.
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