English Premier League Power Rankings: Week 32

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 10, 2012

English Premier League Power Rankings: Week 32

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    This week in the Premier League, the races for relegation and the European positions heated up, but the title race was all but decided.

    Sunday may have been the deciding day in the title race as Manchester United defeated QPR while Manchester City fell to Arsenal and dropped eight points behind their rivals.

    Another club on a downward spiral, Tottenham, has opened up the competition for European places as Newcastle United and Chelsea are battling Spurs for the final Champions League spot and the one Europa League position.

    In the relegation race, no one gained any ground out of the five clubs in contention for a move down to the Championship, and Aston Villa took a point from Liverpool to distance themselves from being the sixth club in the relegation conversation.

    As always, last week's ranking is in parenthesis.

20. Wolverhampton (20)

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    Wolves lost their sixth straight match as they fell 2-1 on the road to Stoke on Saturday.

    Michael Kightly scored the opening goal of the match for Wolves in the 26th minute, but it was not enough.

    It will take more than a miracle for Wolves to survive the drop to the Championship at this point as they sit at the bottom of the table with 22 points, six points behind the rest of the relegation contenders.

19. Blackburn (19)

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    Blackburn were shut out for the second straight match on Saturday in their 3-0 loss to West Brom.

    Rovers now have a scoreless streak that is 214 minutes long, with their last goal scored by Steven Nzonzi against Bolton on March 24th.

    Steve Kean and company will look to not only break the scoreless drought but their losing streak as well when they face Liverpool at home on Tuesday and visit Swansea on Saturday.

18. Queens Park Rangers (16)

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    QPR could not pull off another upset win over one of the Premier League's elite on Sunday as they lost to Manchester United, 2-0.

    With surprising wins over Arsenal and Liverpool in the past few weeks, Mark Hughes' club has been able to stay above the bottom three on goal difference, as they sit in 17th place currently.

    The R's face a far less difficult schedule this week as they play two mid-table clubs in Swansea (on Wednesday at home) and West Brom (on Saturday at The Hawthorns).

17. Bolton (15)

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    Bolton took part in two matches in 48 hours and failed to earn a point or score a goal.

    The Trotters suffered a 3-0 loss at home to Fulham on Saturday and then were beaten by Newcastle on the road by a 2-0 score on Monday.

    Owen Coyle's club now get to sit back and watch Premier action for the next 12 days as they are off until April 21st when they take on Swansea at home.

16. Wigan (14)

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    Wigan were mired in controversy on Saturday when they visited Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea.

    The Latics lost 2-1 but the goals they gave up should have been ruled illegal because of players in the offside position.

    Although they could not control the questionable refereeing, the Latics were able to get a stunning goal from Mohamed Diame in the 82nd minute that equalized the fixture for eight minutes before Chelsea scored the second controversial goal in the 90th minute.

15. Aston Villa (18)

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    Aston Villa inched away from any speculation about relegation with two 1-1 draws against Liverpool and Stoke.

    In both games, Villa was equalized late after going ahead early.

    Chris Herd scored for the Villains on Saturday against Liverpool, and Andreas Weimann netted the goal against Stoke on Monday.

    The two points boosted Alex McLeish's club up to 35 points, a whole six points ahead of the five relegation contenders.

14. West Brom (17)

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    West Brom cruised to victory over Blackburn at home on Saturday with a 3-0 win.

    Marc-Antoine Fortune and Liam Ridgewell scored in the second half after the Baggies got an own goal from Blackburn's Martin Olsson in the seventh minute.

    The win was the 11th of the season as they jumped above Swansea into 13th place with 39 points.

13. Swansea City (11)

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    Swansea dropped their third straight game on Friday in a 2-0 loss to Newcastle.

    The three-game losing streak comes after the Swans were on a three-game win streak that boosted them up to the top half of the table.

    Now, with the losing streak, Brendan Rodgers' club are now down to 14th in the table ahead of their two games this week, starting Wednesday at QPR.

12. Liverpool (10)

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    Luis Suarez saved Liverpool on Saturday with a 82nd minute goal against Aston Vila to earn a 1-1 draw at Anfield.

    The Uruguayan's eighth goal of the season snapped the Reds' three-game losing streak, but it was still a setback to a season that has gone downhill since the club's victory in the Carling Cup.

    Kenny Dalglish's club will look to resurrect their season on Wednesday at Ewood Park against Blackburn, and they will also look to advance to the final in the FA Cup on Saturday at Wembley against Everton.

11. Stoke City (13)

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    Stoke had a pair of comebacks this weekend with a 2-1 win over Wolves on Saturday and a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Monday.

    Saturday's comeback from a goal down featured goals from Robert Huth and a game-winner from Peter Crouch.

    Huth also scored in the 71st minute on Monday to give the Potters four points in two days.

    The Potters now have off until the 21st of April thanks to rescheduling due to the FA Cup semifinals.

10. Norwich City (12)

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    Norwich pulled off the upset of the weekend as they marched into White Hart Lane and beat Tottenham 2-1 on Monday.

    Anthony Pilkington and Elliott Bennett scored in the Canaries' win, which came two days after a 2-2 draw with Everton.

    With five games left, starting with Manchester City at home on Saturday, the club will look to finish in the top half of the table after being promoted last season.

9. Sunderland (8)

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    After recording their second draw in a row on Saturday against Tottenham, Sunderland were blown out on Monday away at Everton.

    Even though they earned one point over the weekend, the Black Cats were unable to score in both games, which marks the third game in five games that they have been shut out.

    After only being a step away from Wembley in the FA Cup, the club's only hope is to gain a top-half finish. They will get back on track with that goal on Saturday as they host Wolves at the Stadium of Light.

8. Fulham (9)

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    Fulham were powered by a goal explosion from Clint Dempsey this weekend in their two games.

    The American scored twice on the road Saturday at Bolton in the Cottagers' 3-0 win that also saw a goal from Mahamadou Diarra.

    The most important goal scored by Dempsey came on Monday as he equalized Chelsea in the 82nd minute to earn a 1-1 draw with the fellow London club.

    The four-point weekend jumped the Cottagers up to ninth place with 43 points, and they could finish as high as seventh by the end of the season.

7. Tottenham (7)

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    Tottenham endured another rough weekend as their struggles continued, taking only one point out of two games.

    A 0-0 draw with Sunderland on Saturday earned Spurs their point of the weekend, but what was even more disappointing was a 2-1 home loss to Norwich on Monday.

    Spurs are now in fourth place, but only on goal differential, ahead of Newcastle and Chelsea in the fight for the final Champions League position.

6. Everton (6)

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    Everton's final two games before their FA Cup semifinal with Liverpool on Saturday went as planned, as the Toffees netted six goals and walked away with four points from the weekend.

    Nikica Jelavic's double helped the club earn a 2-2 draw with Norwich on Saturday.

    On Monday, the Toffees won 4-0 over Sunderland in a win that saw goals from Magaye Gueye, Steven Pienaar, Leon Osman and Victor Anichebe.

    The four points also boosted the club four points clear of Liverpool into seventh place, with 47 points ahead of the Merseyside derby at Wembley on Saturday.

5. Manchester City (4)

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    Manchester City have done everything to lose the title race in the past few weeks, and that continued on Sunday with a 1-0 loss to Arsenal.

    The loss put City eight points behind Manchester United for the top spot in the Premier League and virtually ended any hope of taking the title away from their rivals.

    The loss also fueled speculation on whether manager Roberto Mancini will be back at the club next season, along with rumors of what players could end up at City this summer.

    One man who should be considered for the managerial position if it becomes open is....Jose Mourinho.

4. Chelsea (3)

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    Chelsea were the beneficiaries of a few bad calls on Saturday, but their luck caught up with them on Monday.

    The Blues' 2-1 win over Wigan on Saturday was soaked in controversy because Branislav Ivanovic and Juan Mata were allegedly offside while scoring their goals at Stamford Bridge.

    The goals stood, but the club's two-game win streak could not stand on Monday as the Blues drew with fellow London club Fulham, 1-1 on the road.

    The one point earned in Monday's road trip to Craven Cottage was not enough to keep up with Newcastle, who jumped over the Blues into the Europa League position, which is fifth in the table.

3. Arsenal (5)

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    Arsenal rebounded from their shock loss to QPR with a huge win over Manchester City.

    Even though the score was 1-0, the impact of the win was huge as the Gunners jumped into third place in the table, two points clear of rivals Tottenham, and gained a firm grip on one of the two Champions League spots still up for grabs.

    A fairly easy week is now ahead for the Gunners as they visit Wolves on Wednesday before hosting Wigan on Monday at the Emirates Stadium.

2. Newcastle United (2)

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    Newcastle extended their win streak to five with two 2-0 wins over the weekend.

    The first of the two wins came against Swansea on Friday as Papiss Demba Cisse scored twice to seal the victory.

    On Monday, Cisse scored one of the two goals, with Hatem Ben Arfa being the other goal scorer for the Magpies against Bolton.

    Alan Pardew and company are now up to fifth place and are only behind fourth-place Tottenham on goal differential heading into the final few weeks of the season.

1. Manchester United (1)

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    Manchester United's lead at the top of the table got bigger this weekend as they took care of business with a 2-0 win over QPR and Manchester City lost to Arsenal.

    Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes provided the goals for United as they won their eighth straight Premier League game.

    The hunt to clinch the title before the Manchester derby on April 30th continues this week for the Red Devils with a Wednesday away game at Wigan and a home game with Aston Villa on Sunday at Old Trafford.