Another week in the Premier League, and another couple of points added to the gap between the Top Six and everyone else. Nevertheless, this week’s Power Rankings’ top Six is a little different than the current league table, partly because we had a club from the “Muddled Middle” win over the sixth-place club from last week’s Power Rankings. Overall, only three clubs remained in place fom last week, so there were a lot of subtle shifts up and down the rankings.
As always, these results try to reflect the week-to-week results, and only account for matches played in the Premier League. Most of the clubs are fairly closely aligned with their league table position, but losses to lower-ranked clubs – or wins against the higher-ranked ones – can move them dramatically out of position.
Note: Records presented as W-D-L
Results as of matches played through 14 January 2019
|Rank||Team||Record||Last Week||Change||Table Pos|
|7||West Ham United||9-4-9||9||2↑||9|
|12||Brighton & Hove Albion||7-5-10||11||1↓||13|
Behind the Tiers
The Big/Top Six
Arsenal may still be in that Europa League spot in the league table, but after a loss to West Ham United, they are no longer in the rarified company at the top of our Power Rankings. And with Manchester United nipping at their heels for fifth – the Red Devils trail only by two goals in goal differential after winning five matches in a row – it may not be long before Arsenal finds themselves anchoring the top sixth.
All that said, the top six clubs (per the league table) have opened a nine point gap over the middle of the league, with Manchester United leading seventh-place Watford by nine points (as well as 12 goals in GD). And with four of the top clubs playing lower table clubs this weekend – Arsenal hosts Chelsea in the only match between the Top Six – that gap should persist.
The Muddled Middle
The aforementioned Watford leads the middle with 32 points, and Brighton & Hove Albion is the bottom with 26 points. Seven clubs span this group, with Everton making the biggest leap in the league this week after the Toffees defeated Bournemouth. This group will continue to canniablize three point opportunities from each other, so it’s hard to say if anyone can go on a run and start to compete with the clubs in the Top Six.
Every club in this group has just simply been too inconsistent on the season, and it is easy to see why they are so muddled in the middle. Watford started out the season great, winning their first four matches. Since then, they’ve won only five additional matches, and dropping points against clubs they should be dominating. This story is repeated up and down this group, which is fine to stay up in the Premier League, but doesn’t often lead to appearances in European competitions.
Our bottom group (at least per the league table) has expanded by one now that Crystal Palace is four points behind Brighton. Huddersfield Town picked up a point this week (in a scoreless draw) and continues to look like the most likely club to clinch relegation first. They sacked David Wagner this week in an effort to turn things around, but it may be too little, too late for the Terriers.
Fulham is not far behind them, and actually lost this week despite their opponent not registering a single shot on target. How, you may ask? Well, after taking an early 1-0 lead on Burnley on a 2′ goal by Andre Schurrle, the Fulham defenders were responsible for two own goals within four minutes a bit later in the first half, and Burnley managed to hold on for the victory. It was definitely a rare occurrence, and probably something that we will not witness again. Regardless, the bottom two clubs seem to be in a competition to see who can be the worst at football, and I’d be hard-pressed to figure out who wins.
Until next time…