Premier League Power Rankings: Week Five

Please guys... just one goal?

Newcastle have been bouncing up and down of late and they're on the rise this week after beating Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park. Hatem Ben Arfa's wonder strike might have given Newcastle a big boost, but it also sunk Everton to their third defeat of the season, and they're now hanging on to tenth place in the rankings by the skin of their teeth. West Bromwich Albion's 3-1 home victory over previously undefeated Birmingham City moves the Baggies all the way to 15th, and they're now projected to be six points clear of the relegation zone. The corresponding move sees Birmingham take a tumble from 11th to 13th. Let's take a look at the table:

Figure 1: Premier League Power Rankings, Week Five.

The above table is based on a Bayesian combination of my preseason projections and the current table with a strength of schedule adjustment. More detail after the jump.

  1. Chelsea: +2 GS, -2 GC, +1 pt (=). Chelsea have now scored 21 goals in five league matches, and the terrifying thing for opposing defences is that that tally could easily have been much higher. A 4-0 demolition of new boys Blackpool might have reached double-digits if not for a healthy does of luck on the visitors' part, and although there are a few questions about the strength of Chelsea's opposition to date, they haven't just been beating what's been put in front of them - they've been hacking them to pieces with chainsaws and leaving their sorry remains for the dogs. Manchester City will provide their first big test of the year in week 6.

  2. Manchester United: +2 GS, +2 GC, +1 pt (=). Once again, United score the goals but concede as well, their dodgy defending coming in form of Johnny Evans and John O'Shea, who between them set up both Liverpool goals last weekend. Dimitar Berbatov's hattrick bailed the home team out of trouble, but United are conceding far too many soft goals for comfort - they're now up to seven goals allowed on the season, worse than ten other teams. And they still haven't faced a particularly good offence.

  3. Arsenal: -2 GS, = GC, -2 pts (=). Arsenal's match against Sunderland was so strange that it's tricky to draw any conclusions from it. The Gunners were fairly poor throughout and failed to overly trouble the home side's defence due to having zero control of the midfield even before Alex Song was sent off. Although Sunderland equalised in rather contentious circumstances, Arsenal definitely didn't deserve three points from the match. Will we see a bounceback in week six before they head off to Stamford Bridge the weekend after?

  4. Manchester City: -1 GS, -1 GC, = pts (=). Only scoring two goals against Wigan isn't enough to impress, but the conditions were so bad it's hardly the visitor's fault that they found attacking somewhat difficult. Still, it was Wigan's lightest home defeat of the season, and City go into their home game against Chelsea having scored just six goals in five matches.

  5. Tottenham Hotspur: +2 GS, =GC, +1 pt (=). If not for fifteen minutes last weekend, Spurs could have been in real danger of totally losing touch with the Champions League group. But three goals saw them come from behind to beat Wolves in what might have been the third embarrassing result in a row. All of those have come against teams whose names begin with 'W', incidentally.

  6. Liverpool: +1 GS, +3 GC, -2 pts (=). Liverpool looked like a joke against Manchester United, and the fact that they clawed their way back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game fairly late shouldn't really be counted in their favour - the hosts could have scored six or seven without a problem. Anyway, it seems like Roy Hodgson's boys haven't even figured out their best XI or even their best shape, and until they do Liverpool are going to be erratic (at best). Fortunately for them the teams immediately below them aren't playing as well as they could be.

  7. Aston Villa: -1 GS, = GC, -1 pt (=). Another week, another wasted early lead. There's not much more to say about Villa. The team typically starts promisingly, then wastes a bunch of changes while the defence falls apart. Maybe Gerrard Houllier can fix them, because the talent they have doesn't deserve the results they've been getting.

  8. Newcastle United: -1 GS, -3 GC, +2 pts (+2). When you beat a close rival for a European place, you're having a good weekend. When you get an away win and completely outclass them, it's even better. Newcastle jump pack up into 8th spot after their 1-0 win over Everton, recouping their losses after week four's dismal performance against Blackpool. Newcastle might not have the sexiest roster, but they have bags of talent and it'll be interesting to see if they can perform consistently for any length of time.

  9. Fulham: -1 GS, = GC, = pts (=). Fulham deserved to win against Blackburn after the home side scored a goal that should never have been given, but they'll have to settle for a draw that didn't affect their standing in any meaningful way. Their offence is slowly deteriorating, and it's now easily the worst of any teams I have ranked in the top half. Bobby Zamora can't come back fast enough.

  10. Everton: -3 GS, -1 GC, -2 pts (-2). Everton managed a shock result against Manchester United in week four but the momentum certainly didn't carry over into the home match against Newcastle last weekend. Everton were second best in every department, which has been the case for much of the season. If they're going to claw their way out of the hole they've dug for themselves, they'd better start soon.

  11. Blackburn Rovers: -1 GS, -1 GC, = pt (+1). Blackburn barely deserved their point against Fulham, but it'll count in the table at the end of the year. Although Blackburn jump up a spot in this week's rankings, it's got nothing to do with them, so don't get too excited by it.. 

  12. Sunderland: = GS, -2 GC, +1 pt (+1). Sunderland have already proven themselves a handful at home, taking points off two Champions League calibre sides. Their latest victims were Arsenal, who found themselves rather thoroughly outplayed at the Stadium of Light. Yes, it took a last minute goal to earn the Black Cats a point, but Steve Bruce's side played well and would have been disappointed with a loss.

  13. Birmingham City: = GS, +5 GC, -3 pts (-2). How to take a hit in these rankings: Get hammered by West Brom.

  14. Stoke City: = GS, = GC, = pt (=). I think this is the first instance of a side being unchanged across the board; it's certainly the only one that springs to mind. Stoke probably should have beaten West Ham, but luck was against them and they had to settle for a 1-1 draw. I'd expect to see Stoke rising over the next few weeks as their transfer deadline acquisitions settle into the side.

  15. West Bromwich Albion: +4 GS, -1 GC, +3 pts (+2). Roberto di Matteo's side gave themselves a huge shot in the arm in their bid to avoid relegation this year by following up a draw against Tottenham with an emphatic victory over Birmingham City. City, who are known for their resolute defence, don't concede three goals too often, let alone in one half.

  16. Bolton Wanderers: = GS, -1 GC, +1 pt, (-1). Bolton's 1-1 draw at Villa Park wasn't enough to avoid being displaced by a rising West Brom side, but it did help extend the gap between Owen Coyle's side and the relegation zone. Bolton have played relatively well so far, but their disciplinary issues may cause them a problem as  the season goes on.

  17. Wolverhampton Wanderers: +1 GS, +2 GC, -1 pt, (-1). If only they'd had been able to hold on against Spurs, Wolves would be doing a lot better than 17th. However, with five points in five games, they're not setting the league on fire, and are on pace for around 40 overall. That should be enough to avoid relegation, but only just.

  18. West Ham United: -1 GS, -2 GC, = pt, (=). The Hammers fluked their way into their first points of the season by somehow holding Stoke to a 1-1 draw on Saturday. I wouldn't expect them to add to that anytime soon - they've been dire aside from Scott Parker and Victor Obinna. Somebody please rescue them from that catastrophe.

  19. Blackpool: -1 GS, +1 GC, = pt (=). If Blackpool had any hope of getting a result at Stamford Bridge it was dashed after 90 seconds with Salomon Kalou's opener. Things didn't get much better for the Tangerines as Chelsea cruised to a 4-0 victory. On the plus side, it wasn't six, and there are more embarrassing things in the world than losing big to Chelsea.

  20. Wigan Athletic: = GS, -2 GC, +1 pts (=). Wigan are much improved since they started the season with ten goals conceded in two games. However, they're still not getting points when they should be, and playing against Manchester City in what was for all intents and purposes a bog represented an opportunity to defend well and at least scrape a draw. Instead, they committed a pair of big errors and City made them pay the price.

[ Preseason | One | Two | Three | Four ]

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