Manchester City's loss to Arsenal means that their stay in second place is shorter lived than a cabbage on a neutron star, and there's also major shakeups in mid-table, with the #6-#13 teams all doing some sort of weird shuffle.
Figure 1: Premier League Power Rankings, Week Nine
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. 'SS' denotes strength of schedule.
- Chelsea. The champions stay more more or less in neutral after grinding out a win over Wolves.
- Manchester United. You knew Fergie's men weren't going to stay in third for long, right? Javier Hernandez fires the Red Devils back to second with a late winner against Stoke.
- Arsenal. They do what Chelsea could not by going into Eastlands and coming out with an emphatic win. Still five points back of first, though.
- Manchester City. Dedryck Boyata did his team no favours in picking up a red card five minutes into the loss against Arsenal. City let three key points slip through their grasp.
- Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs claw back a share of the spoils at home against the toffees to stay in touch with the Champions League teams. They'll need a big slip by one of the three ahead of them to qualify for Europe's biggest stage next season, however.
- Everton. Suddenly resurgent, Everton looked full value for a point against Spurs at White Hart Lane - and possibly more, if not for another error by goalkeeper Tim Howard.
- Liverpool. Liverpool put in their first decent performance of the season by beating Blackburn 2-1 at Anfield. Vital points for Roy Hodgson's beleaguered men.
- Aston Villa. Going to sleep in the first half cost Aston Villa dear, as despite a late onslaught they failed to emerge from their trip to the Stadium of Light with any points. They drop below both Everton and Liverpool.
West Bromwich Albion: Fourth for about 24 hours after a comfortable home win against Fulham, which is a day longer than anyone thought they'd hold a top-4 spot.
- Sunderland. The Black Cats get a home win over Aston Villa, only their second victory of the season. Sunderland have looked unbeatable at times, but they're got to start winning more matches.
- Newcastle United. Newcastle were having trouble at Upton Park before Andy Carroll bailed them out with a second-half winner. They drop below Sunderland courtesy of the Black Cats' rather more impressive triumph over Villa.
- Fulham. The Cottagers always struggle on the road, so it wasn't too difficult to pencil them in for a loss for their trip to the Hawthornes. They obliged.
- Stoke City. Stoke were very close to becoming yet another stumbling block for Manchester United after an excellent late equaliser from Tuncay. Unfortunately for the faithful at the Brittania Stadium, they were undone by a brace from young Javier Hernandez.
- Blackburn Rovers. Blackburn sink to new depths by making Liverpool look like a competent team. Yeah, I don't know either.
- Bolton Wanderers. Last week I wrote that Bolton would need to prove themselves worthy of a higher spot. The drew against Wigan in response. Let's call that circumstantial evidence at best.
- Birmingham. Birmingham get back to winning ways, but home wins against Blackpool rank right under 'ate vegetables' as things that impress me.
- West Ham United. Nearly getting a point at home against Newcastle is kind of good, I suppose.
- Wolverhampton Wanderers. Looked good at times against the Champions and threatened the goal on occasion. Will have to wait for a better opportunity to get wins.
Blackpool. A pretty dismal showing against Birmingham doesn't do Ian Holloway's men any favours after a close game against City the week prior. Attacking is nice, but defending would also be nice.
- Wigan. They haven't lost for four matches, which is kind of bizarre. The Latics have almost caught up to Blackpool now.