With another international break at the top of the English Football League, we figured it was as good a time as any to do our monthly update of our Premier League Power Rankings.
Through 12 matches, the Premier League table looks a bit different than it did in past seasons, with mainstays at the top like Tottenham Hotspur struggling through this point of the season. Liverpool remains the only unbeaten club in the league, and have opened up an early eight-point lead over the rest of the clubs.
These rankings include the four matches played since our October Power Rankings, and are as of the matches played through 10 November, with league play resuming on 23 November. Our power rankings have started to diverge from the league table a bit, with only six clubs’ rankings matching their table position. We’re only a third of the way through the season, however, so there is still six months of matches before it is all sorted out in May, but it will be exciting to see if someone outside the “usual suspects” finds their way to European competition next season.
We’ll cover a few clubs after the rankings, but here is where we have the league after three months of play:
Note: Records presented as W-D-L
|13||Brighton & Hove Albion||4-3-5||13||—||11|
|14||West Ham United||3-4-5||8||6↓||16|
Big Moves from Surprising Clubs
The biggest moves were shared by two clubs that were not expected to reach these lofty heights, at least this season.
First, Sheffield United, who last season finished second in the Championship to earn promotion, have been the best of the three clubs who did just that. After going 2-2-0 over the past month, they have moved into fifth position in the league table (though we have yet to elevate them that high in our rankings). The big win this month came in the first match after the previous international break, a 1-0 win over Arsenal at Bramall Lane.
Their strong early play so far this season is reminiscent of Wolverhampton Wanderers’ return to the Premier League last season, which ended in a 7th-place finish and a trip to Europa League. Even if they aren’t playing in Europe next fall, the Blades may have done enough already this season to ensure they will be back in the Premier League next season.
Newcastle United, on the other hand, started poorly last season, only to recover with a stronger second half to finish in 13th place. This season started similarly, with only two wins in their first eight matches. However, with a 2-1-1 record since, they’ve moved back into their familiar 13th position, though I wouldn’t say they’ve exactly been world beaters in victories over West Ham United and AFC Bournemouth. Nevertheless, it was good enough to climb six spots in the rankings, so they find themselves safe for the time being despite middling preseason expectations.
The Largest Falls
Speaking of West Ham United, they’ve hit a bit of a rough patch recently, and haven’t won since a 22 September victory against Manchester United. An 0-2-4 stretch since – and 0-1-3 since our last rankings – led the Hammers to fall six places in our rankings, as well as fall from 5th place in the league table since that Man U victory. Furthermore, they are heading into a pretty tough stretch, with matches against Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Arsenal looming over the next four matches after the break. Another 0-1-3 stretch and they could be fighting to avoid relegation over the back half of the season, in stead of competing for a place in Europe next season.
Finally, the biggest decline this month belongs to another club that went 0-1-3 over the month, though the three losses were against Premier League royalty. Crystal Palace has struggled to find the goal this season, with only Watford scoring less than the Eagles 10 goals. Fortunately, Crystal Palace has been fairly solid on the defensive end thus far, only surrendering 16 goals, otherwise the results would be a whole lot more disastrous. The schedule gets a little easier – at least after they host Liverpool in the first match after the break – so they have to hope to find some improvement.
Until next time…