Only sixteen clubs in the Premier League played league games this past weekend – congrats to the Carabao Cup champion Manchester City, by the way – but there was still some movement in our Power Rankings from last week. I tried not to punish or reward the four clubs that didn’t play, but if other clubs around them moved as a result of their results, it may have caused the idle clubs to shift around a bit.
As always, these rankings try to only take into account the action that happens in league play, and relative placement is based on the caliber of the opponents from week-to-week and the results. If a lower club loses to a top club they aren’t punished as harshly, but the inverse may result in tumble down the rankings (if there’s room). And while the top half of the rankings nearly match the league table exactly, this won’t always be the case.
Note: Records presented as W-D-L
Results as of matches played through 24 February 2019
|Rank||Team||Record||Last Week||Change||Table Pos|
|10||West Ham United||10-6-11||11||1↑||9|
|16||Brighton & Hove Albion||7-6-13||18||2↑||16|
Behind the Rankings
Break Up the Clarets!
Coming off of a surprising 7th place finish last season, Burnley was expected to compete for a top 10 position in the league this season. They even got some exposure to UEFA competitions, qualifying for Europa League (where they were eliminated). But continental competition may have detracted the club from their Premier League mission, and they had a stretch from October to December where they went winless in 10 matches (0-2-8), which resulted in a fall to 19th in the league.
After a Boxing Day defeat to Everton, the club was in 18th place with a 3-3-13 record. Since then, however, the Clarets have not loss. They’ve gone 5-3-0 since 30 December, a stretch that included matches against clubs mostly below them in the table. However, it also included a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United (a match that they led 2-0 after a goal in the 81st minute) and Saturday’s shocking 2-1 victory against Tottenham Hotspur.
They’ve moved from the 18th position into 14th, and while a top six position (and a likely return to Europa League) might be out of the question, if they can continue this stretch, they should get to that coveted Top Ten position. They could easily stretch that unbeaten streak to ten – they play Newcastle United and Crystal Palace in their next two – but a 10 March visit to Liverpool could be when the streak ends. But we’ll celebrate the streak for now.
Poor Play Dooms the Boss
Leicester City famously overcame long odds to win the league back in 2016 under Claudio Ranieri, now the manager at Fulham. He was sacked with 13 matches left the following season, with the club one point out of the relegation zone. He was replaced by Craig Shakespeare, initially as a caretaker, but then permanently when he managed to get the club up to 12th by season end.
After signing a new three-year deal prior to the next season, he too was sacked by the club after a slow start to the 2017-18 season. When he was replaced by Claude Puel in October, the club was in 18th place; Puel elevated them to ninth by the end of last season. He had his rough patches along the way – the Riyad Mahrez transfer situation comes to mind – but despite rumors of his departure after the season, he stuck around…
…until he too was sacked by the club after Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace. The club is now in the hands of caretakers, and in a rough season, punctuated by the loss of their chairman in a tragic helicopter crash, they are hoping that this is the magic solution to their problems on the season.
They have not won since a New Year’s Day victory over Everton, only garnering one point over the last six matches (0-1-5). They are currently in 12th place, not bad considering it all, and may get a boost next week with a match against a Brighton & Hove Albion club that has seen similar recent struggles. Hopefully, they can find a solution to their rotating door at manager – Celtic manager Brenden Rodgers is the odds on favorite to get the gig – and compete for a top spot in the league as soon as next season. Either way, that fluke championship seems ages ago.
Until next time…