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Premier League Power Rankings: Week Six

Liverpool are going nowhere fast. Meet the man responsible!
Liverpool are going nowhere fast. Meet the man responsible!

Champions Chelsea lose their 100% record but retain their top spot, thanks to both their already-commanding lead and slips by both Manchester United and Arsenal. Manchester City did take advantage of the result, however, vaulting ahead of Arsenal into third spot and gaining the edge for now in what should be an entertaining, season-long band and forth tussle. The other winners on the week: Blackburn, West Brom, and West Ham, all of whom gained crucial (unexpected) victories and watched their rivals lose.

Figure 1: Premier League Power Rankings, Week Six.

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: -3 GS, = GC, -3 pts (=). Chelsea were shut out for the first time this season after a mediocre performance at Manchester City, although they had a couple of chances to challenge Joe Hart. Fortunately for the champions, they've been far and away the best team in the league so far, and a single 1-0 loss isn't going to seriously damage their chances of taking the title again this year, especially when their lead was only reduced by one point over the course of the weekend, thanks to some strange results from the other top teams.

  2. Manchester United: -1 GS, +3 GC, -4 pts (=). United are having a really rough go of things on defence, and they're also relying on Dimitar Berbatov to provide all of their attacking needs. With Wayne Rooney some combination of off-form and injured and Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs showing their age, United really aren't that good a team. Good news for us, I suppose..

  3. Manchester City: -1 GS, -3 GC, +1 pt (+1). Beating Chelsea is good news for City, although they didn't look particularly dangerous in doing so. Their midfield and defence were excellent, but apart from a breakaway chance that was practically gifted to them, they failed to produce much of anything going forwards. However, they gain points, Arsenal lose more than a few, so up to third they go - and they're only three behind United. Drama!

  4. Arsenal: = GS, +3 GC, -3 pts (=). Losing to West Brom at home is bad enough, but Arsenal weren't beaten by some fluke smash-and-grab; they were hounded off the pitch by a team that was significantly better than them across the board. They should consider themselves lucky to have only lost by one goal at the Emirates, which is hardly a recipe for confidence as the gunners roll into Stamford Bridge next week.

  5. Tottenham Hotspur: -3 GS, -1 GC, -2 pts (=). Tottenham are seriously chewing up the buffer between themselves and the 6/7 spots. Losing to West Ham at Upton park is nobody's idea of a good time, but Spurs went ahead and did it anyway. Is the Champions League too much for Tottenham to cope with?

  6. Liverpool: +2 GS, +1 GC, = pts (=). It's a sad state of affairs when a 2-2 draw with Sunderland actually looks like an OK result, but that's the way things are at Anfield these days. This is a team who can't defence, look miserable attacking, and seem like they're going nowhere. I know the owners are getting a lot of flack, but how much of this goes on Rafa Benitez's shoulders?

  7. Aston Villa: +1 GS, -1 GC, +2 pts (=). That's much better from Gerard Houllier's side. After watching an early Stewart Downing strike canceled out by Kevin Jarvis's strange goal, Houllier juggled his lineup and saw his changes rewarded with Emile Heskey's late winner. With the rest of the top half struggling, can Villa make a dash for fourth? I don't know - but they'll definitely need to do something about their midfield core if they want to go anywhere. Stiliyan Petrov ain't cutting it anymore.

  8. Newcastle United: -1 GS, = GC, -1 pt (=). The good news: Newcastle thoroughly outplayed Stoke for 45 minutes. The bad news: Football matches last for 90 minutes. The Magpies were on top of things at St. James' Park before Rory Delap appeared and started causing havoc, and then two headed goals sent them to their second straight loss at home. That's not a good way of

  9. Fulham: -2 GS, -2 GC, +1 pt (=). My new rule is that teams that draw 0-0 don't get anything written about them because they're boring.

  10. Blackburn Rovers: +2 GS, = GC, +2 pts (+1). Brett Emerton's last minute winner at Blackpool sees Blackburn leapfrog Everton and reach the top half of the table for the first time this year. Sam Allardyce's team have ground out a few pretty credible results this year, and with the teams around them dropping like flies it's hard to deny them their ranking. It would be nice if they were at all interesting, but I can't imagine their fans will complain too much if they finish in the top ten.

  11. Everton: -3 GS, -2 GC, -1 pt (-1). I'm breaking my rule already. Everton's failure to beat Fulham combined with West Ham's win against Spurs sees the Merseysiders rooted to the bottom of the actual table, and no matter how good they're supposed to be, the Toffees have now dug themselves a hole so deep it might be impossible for them to challenge for Europe. Still, they opened last season a little like this as well, so don't rule them out. 

  12. West Bromwich Albion: +3 GS, -1 GC, +4 pts (+3). Winning at Arsenal is apparently a good thing. The Baggies were full value for their win, too, and it's not often that a team comes away from scoring three at the Emirates thinking that they could have had more. If Roberto di Matteo's team can hold their gains, they'll be a great mid-table surprise.

  13. Sunderland: +1 GS, +1 GC, = pts (-1). Just a few years ago, forcing Liverpool to come back from behind against you at Anfield would have been a major achievement. Now, it's par for the course. However, Sunderland have now drawn against 'Big Four' opposition twice on the trot, and for that... they're behind West Brom. Harsh?

  14. Birmingham: -2 GS, = GC, = pts (-1). Going back to my rule here. A goalless draw at home to Wigan means your team is boring.

  15. Stoke City: +1 GS, = GC, +2 pts (-1). Dropping a rank is slightly unfair to Stoke, who clawed a vital three points off Newcastle thanks to a wonderful second half comeback this weekend. But they didn't have the chance to pull off the same kind of upset as West Brom did, so they were overshadowed by their dragon-slaying friends.

  16. Bolton Wanderers: +2 GS, = GC, +1 pt, (=). Bolton have never been a side Manchester United have feared, so holding the visitors to a 2-2 draw at the Reebok - one in which Bolton were in severe danger of winning - was pretty impressive. However, it's just one point, and if Bolton want clear of the relegation zone, they need more than that.

  17. West Ham United: = GS, -2 GC, +3 pts, (+1). The Hammers beat Tottenham at home for their first win of the season, and in doing so hauled themselves out of my projected relegation zone. Bizarrely, they have Robert Green to thank, as the much-maligned goalkeeper puleld off a string of fantastic saves to seal the victory against their more illustrious neighbours. Don't get carried away, though - this still isn't a very good team.

  18. Wolverhampton: -2 GS, -2 GC, -1 pt, (-1). Wolves are going to lose home games to top-half opposition, so there's no point getting worked up about it. They just need to reclaim those points somewhere else, and they have the defensive resilience to pick up shock draws every now and the quality to get wins against their fellow stragglers.

  19. Blackpool: -1 GS, = GC, -1 pt (=). The loss to Blackburn at home was particularly cruel, especially since the opener was an own goal by the Tangerines' best player and that having equalised late in the match they then conceded in the third minute of stoppage time. Blackpool need to watch out, though: Wigan are gaining on them, so they'll need to improve rather than make excuses.

  20. Wigan Athletic: -2 GS, -3 GC, +2 pts (=). Bottom of the table and a goalless draw? Wigan are a lot more fun when they're conceding near ten goals a match.

[ Preseason | One | Two | Three | Four | Five ]

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