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Premier League Power Rankings: Matchweek 2

Two weeks of data to go off now, how much has changed?

Manchester City v Huddersfield Town - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

These power rankings take into account the strength of opponent, performance, score, table position, and personal opinion. They are only for Premier League matches; they don’t take into account cup competitions or European competitions, and relate only to on-field performance, not anything extra-curricular (unless it affects game play, obviously).

1. Manchester City (Last Week: 2)

Sure, it was only Huddersfield, but Man City absolutely burned through the Terriers in their first home game of the season. It’s a mark of how deep their squad is that they were able to rotate the likes of Riyad Mahrez out, as well as cope with the loss of Kevin De Bruyne, and not miss a beat.

2. Liverpool (1)

Liverpool continued on their merry way this week with a comfortable defeat of Crystal Palace, although they were certainly challenged a lot more than West Ham mustered a week ago. Their drop in the rankings is more a signal of Man City’s emergence as the dominant force once again rather than a dip in Liverpool’s performance. Despite moments, Liverpool managed to smother Palace for most of the game and save for a brief Wilfried Zaha spark, looked relatively untroubled defensively, and any work Alisson had to do in goal was done with aplomb.

3. Chelsea (3)

There’s a clear and established top two at the moment in the Premier League, but Chelsea have looked the most promising of the chasing pack so far, edging out Tottenham. Arsenal provided a far sterner test than Huddersfield managed, and there was a 20 minute period in the first half when the defence was cut to shreds in the wide areas, but the second half, and especially the introduction of Eden Hazard and debutant Mateo Kovacic, saw Chelsea pass Arsenal out of the game. Sarriball’s early stages look promising, and you can’t ask for much more than winning while learning.

4. Tottenham Hotspur (4)

Tottenham dominated the possession and passing for most of their encounter against London rivals Fulham, but for a long period it appeared the game would be headed for stalemate thanks to an Aleksandar Mitrovic equaliser cancelling out an early Lucas Moura goal, but a furious five minute period saw Tottenham take the deserved win. Tottenham have yet to really hit their stride yet against the likes of Newcastle and Fulham, but have been just clinical enough to win their matches relatively comfortably.

Also, Harry Kane finally scored a Premier League goal in August. That’ll be on the DVD.

5. Watford (5)

It wasn’t a pretty performance from Watford as they were outpossessed easily by Burnley at Turf Moor, but it was definitely clinical, scoring three goals from nine total shots. Combative and physical would definitely be the way to describe their play, committing 19 fouls and only completing 67% of their passes, but what matters right now is that the Hornets look solid all across the park, and are creating plenty of chances up front, and taking them well. Watford are fourth on the table right now, and while they likely won’t be able to keep up this pace all season, it’s a promising start.

6. Everton (T9)

Our first big mover of the week, Everton put in a really solid display to outlast Southampton at Goodison Park. Comfortable in possession for most of the game, they created plenty of chances and Richarlison is already looking like the blue half of Merseyside’s new hero. The worry for Everton is defensively, as Southampton’s wastefulness certainly helped their cause, and their passing wasn’t always crisp, but the performance was strong and clinical, seeing them rise three spots.

7. Bournemouth (8)

Another riser, Bournemouth did exceptionally well to rally back and beat West Ham despite being absolutely starved of the ball for the majority of the game. The Cherries had to make do with 39% of possession for the game, but defended very stoutly, limiting West Ham to 5 shots on target, a number they themselves replicated despite the possession inequality. In fact, Bournemouth were unlucky to concede at all, West Ham’s goal coming off a penalty, but Bournemouth have definitely showed a great character in this performance, and are proving to be one of the more dangerous mid table teams on the counter attack. Callum Wilson has also started the season on fire, which doesn’t hurt.

West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

8. Crystal Palace (6)

Crystal Palace didn’t play that bad against Liverpool, they just ran into an offensive juggernaut, and actually had a couple of chances to jag a goal, although in the end they didn’t do much to trouble Liverpool’s former world-record signing keeper Alisson. Defensively, though, Palace were very solid, being beaten by a penalty and a 90th minute counter attack goal from a Palace corner when players had flooded forward, so Liverpool themselves found the Eagles defence hard to break down for long portions of the game. Based on form so far, expect Palace to be one of the stronger mid table teams.

9. Leicester City (11)

Leicester find themselves in the top half this week more due to some howler performances by teams above them rather than their own form, because they were quite fortunate to snag a win this weekend over Wolves. As is the theme with a lot of these midtable teams that have secured victories, Leicester were very solid defensively, only conceding three shots on target. However, at home, they were still thoroughly outpossessed, 58-42, by Wolverhampton, and were fortunate that their first goal was an own goal by Matt Doherty. Leicester did just enough to win this one, but will be without Jamie Vardy for three matches, after he was given a straight red for a bad challenge on Doherty, although air was cleared post match.

10. Arsenal (13)

Arsenal gave a much better account of themselves against Chelsea than Man City, although admittedly most teams would this season given Man City’s status as league buzzsaw. Chelsea got off to a hot start but the Gunners showed some tremendous resilience to draw back the two goals and head into half time level. Realistically, Arsenal can feel aggrieved to not have been leading at half time, as some elite-level profligacy in front of goal saw not one, not two, but three golden chances spurned by messrs Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan and Iwobi. There are also some serious defensive deficiencies, especially down the right hand side with Bellerin, and Arsenal wilted as the game wore on in the second half, but some promise for Unai Emery to work with. It might be time to drop Granit Xhaka, who looked a passenger, and finally give Lucas Torreira a chance from the start.

11. Manchester United (7)

Some harsh words have been used to describe Man United’s performance against Brighton, including deplorable, lifeless and embarrassing. United were a mess for the entire game, and couldn’t capitalise on the tidal wave of possession that they dominated for the entire game. Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof were a mess at the back, while Fred didn’t do much in midfield to help the besieged Paul Pogba, who took blame for the performance when he fronted the media afterwards. Jose Mourinho definitely has a lot of work to do, as the rumours of disenchantment and player frustration continue to swirl.

Thoughts, Ed?

12. Brighton & Hove Albion (17)

It’s only fair that we move Brighton up a long way after their famous victory over Manchester United, 3-2 at home. I would put them even higher, but there were still some things I saw that halted the hype train at twelfth position. At home, you never like to be dictated to, and even though it is Man United, this isn’t the fearless, godlike United we’ve seen in years past, so Brighton can feel a little disappointed to have had so little possession. However, going forward, they were effective in limited opportunities, and Glen “Puskas” Murray scored an absolute peach of a goal with his deft touch to lift the ball over David De Gea. Brighton did what they needed to do and did it professionally, so all credit to them. Can they follow it up with a strong performance next weekend at Anfield is the question.

13. Burnley (12)

There’s going to be a common theme with the next two teams in the rankings, and that’s teams that dominated the ball but were super wasteful or inept when presented with attacking opportunities. The first cab here is Burnley, who wasted 59% of the ball to somehow go down 3-1 to Watford. Watford didn’t play a clean game by any stretch, so Burnley can feel very disappointed in the result, but the positive is they were good in possession, albeit without being too adventurous. Only three shots on target compared to Watford’s six is a little disheartening though.

14. Wolves (T9)

Another big dropper this week, Wolves were similarly wasteful in their 2-0 defeat at the hands of Leicester, who went down to 10 men with 25 minutes remaining. Wolves had 58% of possession, completed 500 passes at 80% accuracy, and had 11 shots at goal. The problem was that only three of those shots were on target and they allowed themselves to be dictated to by James Maddison and co. Wolves have played some pretty football thus far, but only have a solitary point over the first two weeks to show for it. They need to become more clinical and aggressive to start churning out some positive results.

15. Southampton (14)

A thoroughly vanilla performance from Southampton in a 2-1 loss to Everton, a game riddled by poor passing and general sloppiness. In a bright spot, Danny Ings found himself on the scoresheet for the first time in a while in a Premier League fixture, but a passing accuracy of 61% won’t win you many games in English football. Southampton created plenty of chances, but were fairly useless in front of goal, only hitting the target on four of their fifteen attempts and generally playing on the counter to a solid but beatable Everton team relying on their attacking output.

16. Fulham (15)

After dominating possession last week, Fulham got a taste of their own medicine against title challengers Tottenham, slinking back down to a 40% share of the ball against the Spurs high powered midfield. Fulham passed the ball well, but didn’t do much with the chances they created, and spent most of the game shielding themselves from a Tottenham blitzkrieg, as they unleashed 25 shots on the Cottagers goal. Fulham are now winless from their first two fixtures, but definitely have a chance to pick up their first points of the season next weekend at home vs. Burnley.

Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham - Premier League Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

17. West Ham United (18)

West Ham aren’t one place better so much as the team below them are just one place worse, but the Hammers had some positives to draw from an ultimately disappointing loss to Bournemouth. As is the theme with a lot of the teams in the lower half of these rankings, West Ham dominated the possession but had nothing to show for it, spurning chance after chance, although perhaps more disappointing was their inability to hold onto their lead from a Marko Arnautovic penalty. Despite dominating possession, they allowed Bournemouth plenty of chances of their own, and unlike the Hammers, Bournemouth capitalised.

18 & 19. Newcastle United (16) and Cardiff City (20)

Relegate both of these teams now and save us ever having to watch what was possibly the ugliest game of football ever, as these two sides shared the spoils of a 0-0 draw. The reason I’ve grouped these two together is because the game was just so bad I can’t split them, especially because both teams were poor last weekend as well. Cardiff shaded the possession 52-48, but in a cacophony of catastrophe, a presentation of pathetic passing, and an exhibition in excrement, this game would’ve been better served as a simulation on Football Manager. Cardiff completed 64% of their passes, a shockingly low number, until to notice that Newcastle manage to make that look like prime Barcelona tiki taka with their woeful 59% rate. 30 fouls were committed in this game, 4 yellow cards were dished, and Isaac Hayden was sent off. Kenedy missed a game winning penalty, Cardiff only had one shot on target, and thank god it’s over.

20. Huddersfield Town (19)

Probably the toughest possible start to the new season for the Terriers, with their first two games against Chelsea and Manchester City, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be content. Their goal difference has taken a hammering, especially after shipping six at the Etihad as City ran over them from every imaginable angle and David Silva orchestrated their demise. Sure, they scored a surprise goal on the stroke of half time, but Huddersfield were really just there due to FA regulations of needing to have an opponent to play against. Huddersfield had 23% of the ball, and conceded 32 shots at goal, 14 on target, while only mustering one shot on target themselves (which they scored). They do get some relief, with a home fixture next week against borderline unwatchable Cardiff City.

BIGGEST JUMP: Brighton & Hove Albion (+5)

BIGGEST FALL: Wolves (-5)

PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: David Silva vs. Huddersfield

GOAL OF THE WEEK: Callum Wilson vs. West Ham

HONOURABLE MENTION: Glenn Murray vs. Manchester United

Sergio Aguero vs. Huddersfield Town

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