English Premier League Power Poll, Weeks 20-21

Michael Cummings@MikeCummings37World Football Lead WriterJanuary 2, 2013

English Premier League Power Poll, Weeks 20-21

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    Christmas and New Year's brought more of the same in the English Premier League.

    Both Manchester clubs kept winning, Spurs kept scoring goals, Chelsea and Rafa Benitez continued their recent revival, and Arsenal remained consistently inconsistent.

    Those developments are reflected in this week's edition of the B/R English Premier League Power Poll. Read on for the complete rankings.

How It Works

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    With the holidays in full force, this week's rankings are slightly different than usual.

    Three matches are scheduled for Wednesday, but our voters cast their ballots before those games kicked off. So for these rankings, some teams have been evaluated on the full allotment of 21 matches while others have played 20 and still others 19.

    On voting panel is similarly jumbled. This week, four voters took part in the poll. They were:

    Adam Hirshfield: B/R deputy editor. @ahirshfield

    Dan Levy: B/R national lead writer. @DanLevyThinks

    Will Tidey: B/R world football lead writer and editor. @willtidey

    Michael Cummings: B/R world football lead writer and poll organizer. @MikeCummings37

Full Rankings

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    This week's full rankings appear below. Click here for the league table.

    1. Manchester United

    2. Chelsea

    3. (tie) Manchester City

    3. (tie) Tottenham Hotspur

    5. Arsenal

    6. Everton

    7. Swansea City

    8. West Bromwich Albion

    9. Stoke City

    10. Liverpool

    11. (tie) Fulham

    11. (tie) Sunderland

    13. West Ham United

    14. Norwich City

    15. Newcastle United

    16. (tie) Southampton

    16. (tie) Wigan Athletic

    18. Reading

    19. Aston Villa

    20. Queens Park Rangers

20. Queens Park Rangers

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    Points: 6

    Previous: 19

    Results: Lost 3-0 home to Liverpool

    Fixtures: At Chelsea, Wednesday; home to Spurs, Jan. 14

    Welcome back, QPR. The cellar wasn’t quite the same without you.

19. Aston Villa

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    Points: 13

    Previous: 18

    Results: Lost 3-0 home to Wigan; drew 2-2 at Swansea

    Fixtures: Home to Southampton, Jan. 12

    Aston Villa have taken one point in their last four matches, during which time they’ve been outscored 17-2.

18. Reading

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    Points: 17

    Previous: 20

    Results: Won 1-0 home to West Ham; lost 3-1 at Spurs

    Fixtures: Home to West Brom, Jan. 12

    The New Year presents a tough challenge for Reading. Even after beating West Ham, the Royals remain five points adrift of safety.

16. (tie) Wigan Athletic

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    Points: 18

    Previous: 17

    Results: Won 3-0 at Aston Villa; lost 4-0 home to Man United

    Fixtures: At Fulham, Jan. 12

    In recent fixtures, 18th-place Wigan whipped Aston Villa but lost to Manchester United and Arsenal. So should the fans be optimistic or pessimistic about their team’s chances of survival?

16. (tie) Southampton

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    Points: 18

    Previous: 16

    Results: Drew 3-3 at Stoke; drew 1-1 home to Arsenal

    Fixtures: At Aston Villa, Jan. 12

    Southampton have scored 27 goals, more than all but one other team in the bottom half.

15. Newcastle United

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    Points: 22

    Previous: 14

    Results: Lost 7-3 at Arsenal

    Fixtures: Home to Everton, Wednesday; at Norwich, Jan. 12

    Newcastle’s last away win in the Premier League came May 2 at Chelsea.

14. Norwich City

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    Points: 27

    Previous: 12

    Results: Lost 4-3 home to Man City; lost 2-1 at West Ham

    Fixtures: Home to Newcastle, Jan. 12

    Despite an excellent run to close out 2012, the Canaries have a goal differential of negative-10.

13. West Ham United

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    Points: 32

    Previous: 13

    Results: Lost 1-0 at Reading; won 2-1 home to Norwich

    Fixtures: At Sunderland, Jan. 12

    Entering Wednesday, West Ham were the Premier League’s only team with a neutral goal differential.

11. (tie) Sunderland

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    Points: 34

    Previous: 9

    Results: Lost 2-1 home to Spurs

    Fixtures: At Liverpool, Wednesday; home to West Ham, Jan. 12

    Sunderland (seven draws this season) have not drawn a league match since Nov. 27 (0-0 home to QPR).

11. (tie) Fulham

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    Points: 34

    Previous: 15

    Results: Lost 2-1 home to Swansea; won 2-1 at West Brom

    Fixtures: Home to Wigan, Jan. 12

    Fulham have scored more goals (32) than any other team in the bottom half.

10. Liverpool

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    Points: 48

    Previous: 11

    Results: Won 3-0 at QPR

    Fixtures: Home to Sunderland, Wednesday; at Man United, Jan. 13

    Heading into Wednesday’s action, Luis Suarez ranked joint-second in the Premier League with 13 goals, three behind Manchester United’s Robin van Persie.

9. Stoke City

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    Points: 50

    Previous: 7

    Results: Drew 3-3 home to Southampton; lost 3-0 at Man City

    Fixtures: Home to Chelsea, Jan. 12

    What happened to stingy Stoke? The Potters have allowed six goals in their last two matches.

8. West Bromwich Albion

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    Points: 51

    Previous: 8

    Results: Lost 2-0 at Man United; lost 2-1 home to Fulham

    Fixtures: At Reading, Jan. 12

    Quite why the home fans booed West Brom following Tuesday’s loss to Fulham is beyond us. Steve Clarke has put together an excellent season for a club with limited finances and expectations.

7. Swansea City

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    Points: 52

    Previous: 10

    Results: Won 2-1 at Fulham; drew 2-2 home to Aston Villa

    Fixtures: At Everton, Jan. 12

    Swans have won just once in their last five league matches and came dangerously close to losing to Aston Villa. Ouch.

6. Everton

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    Points: 58

    Previous: 3

    Results: Lost 2-1 home to Chelsea

    Fixtures: At Newcastle, Wednesday; home to Swansea, Jan. 12

    We’re as ready as everyone else for Everton’s annual second-half surge. Will American Landon Donovan play a part again this winter?

5. Arsenal

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    Points: 65

    Previous: 5

    Results: Won 7-3 home to Newcastle; drew 1-1 at Southampton

    Fixtures: Home to Man City, Jan. 13

    It was supposedly a surprising result, but Arsenal were largely second best in drawing 1-1 at struggling Southampton on New Year’s Day. After such a lifeless performance, Arsene Wenger surely must spend in the transfer market this January.

3. (tie) Tottenham Hotspur

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    Points: 70

    Previous: 4

    Results: Won 2-1 at Sunderland; won 3-1 home to Reading

    Fixtures: At QPR, Jan. 14

    Spurs are one of only two Premier League teams (Wigan being the other) yet to have drawn a match on their travels.

3. (tie) Manchester City

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    Points: 70

    Previous: 6

    Results: Won 4-3 at Norwich; won 3-0 home to Stoke

    Fixtures: At Arsenal, Jan. 13

    City have lost just twice (fewest in the league) and have conceded only 19 goals (second-best in the league). Yet this season feels so disappointing.

2. Chelsea

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    Points: 75

    Previous: 2

    Results: Won 2-1 at Everton

    Fixtures: Home to QPR, Wednesday; at Stoke, Jan. 12

    Before Wednesday’s matches, Chelsea had fallen to fourth place. The Blues, however, still had two games in hand on both Spurs (one point ahead) and Manchester City (seven points ahead).

1. Manchester United

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    Points: 80

    Previous: 1

    Results: Won 2-0 home to West Brom; won 4-0 at Wigan

    Fixtures: Home to Liverpool, Jan. 13

    United have scored goals for fun this season. With a bit more defense and more goals from RVP, this team could become something special.