All hail Gareth Bale, our new Premier League overlord. May his reign be long and full of many more left-footed Howitzer blasts like the one we saw Monday night.
Bale stole the headlines for his match-winning performance for Tottenham Hotspur against West Ham United this week, but his heroics couldn't help Spurs steal the top spot in this week's edition of the B/R English Premier League Power Poll.
It will come as no surprise that Manchester United top this week's poll, but some readers might be interested to find out where Bale and Spurs come in.
Keep reading to find out.
Nine B/R personalities ranked all 20 Premier League clubs. A first-place vote counted as 20 points, a second-place vote as 19—and so on.
The voters this week were:
Aliko Carter: B/R front-page editor. @AlikoCarter
John Greely: B/R world football assistant editor. @johnwgreely
Adam Hirshfield: B/R deputy editor. @ahirshfield
Dan Levy: B/R national lead writer. @DanLevyThinks
Karl Matchett: B/R world football staff writer. @karlmatchett
Sean Swaby: B/R featured columnist coordinator. @seanswaby
Will Tidey: B/R world football lead writer and editor. @willtidey
Sam Tighe: B/R world football tactical analyst. @stighefootball
Michael Cummings: B/R world football lead writer and poll organizer. @MikeCummings37
1. Manchester United
2. Manchester City
3. Tottenham Hotspur
5. West Bromwich Albion
8. Swansea City
11. Newcastle United
12. Norwich City
13. Stoke City
14. Wigan Athletic
15. West Ham United
19. Aston Villa
20. Queens Parks Rangers
John: Even 'Arry [Redknapp] won't be able to save QPR this season. They're the Manchester United of losing.
Sean: They're just not good.
Dan: On the plus side for QPR, three straight wins would likely get them clear of the relegation zone. On the down side, they only have two wins all season. I'm going to miss these lovable losers.
Dan: Right now they'd be relegated on one fewer win (and goal differential) with Wigan despite two fewer losses. How gutwrenching would that be? Sorry, WILL that be?
John: This Aston Villa-Wigan-Reading survival battle is shaping up to be a classic. That's a very good thing, because the EPL title is done and dusted.
Back-to-back losses have the Royals back in the relegation zone.
To balance out the gloom, a fun fact: Reading have the best goal differential of the three teams currently in the drop zone (minus-18).
Previous: 13 (tie)
Sunderland have lost three straight league matches and sit five points above the relegation zone.
Previous: 9 (tie)
Rickie Lambert has scored 12 league goals this season, the most by any Englishman in the English Premier League.
John: Poor [Jussi] Jaaskelainen. His heroic performance against Spurs was for naught, just because Gareth Bale did Gareth Bale stuff. Still, he's a bright spot for a struggling Hammers side at the moment.
Sean: The Hammers' defending was comical against Gareth Bale and Tottenham. At least one parody Arsene Wenger found some humor in it: "West Ham will be a little bit low tonight. They did not see that coming. They thought Gareth Bale was a Hollywood actor."
Beating Reading lifted Wigan out of the relegation zone after a two-week stay.
Stoke City have been 10th in the league for six straight weeks.
In less mind-numbing news, the Potters have signed another American, winger Brek Shea (pictured).
Norwich, the last team to beat Manchester United in the league, have gone four matches without losing.
Unfortunately, their trip to Old Trafford will probably bring that run to an end.
Previous: 13 (tie)
John: I think Papiss Demba Cisse only practices trick shots. His strike was probably my favorite in the weekend of 1,000 golazos.
Sean: So long as they don't have a 2010, Les Bleus-like implosion, Newcastle appear safely out of relegation thanks to some savvy January transfer business.
John: The good: still ahead of Liverpool in the table. The bad: unlikely to stay ahead of Liverpool in the table at this rate.
Dan: Dear Everton, please remember that stoppage time actually counts as part of the match. Also, when the other team scores a goal in stoppage time, THAT'S NOT A GOOD THING.
How is this for symmetry? In their last nine matches, the Cottagers have won three, drawn three and lost three.
Oh, and that was some goal by Dimitar Berbatov.
Swansea's last outing in the Premier League—a 5-0 loss to Liverpool—wasn't quite as memorable as lifting the Capital One Cup over the weekend.
Sean: At what point do lame-duck Rafa Benitez' words fall upon deaf ears? At least John Terry is listening...for better or worse.
John: No shame in losing to Man City, but now the Blues are in real danger of dropping from a Champions League place (for the second straight year). Yikes.
Previous: 9 (tie)
John: Being a Liverpool fan has to be torture right about now. That said, the Reds are playing very well lately.
Dan: [Romelu] Lukaku is exactly what Chelsea needs at striker, which makes perfect sense why he's still out on loan.
Dan: Arsenal will finish in the top four and it still won't be good enough for any of their fans.
Sean: You wouldn't know it by asking a doom-and-gloom Gooner (hand raised), but the Gunners have only dropped two points in their previous five Premier League matches.
Adam: All credit where it's due—and they're up to third in the league—but Spurs would be a bottom-half side without Gareth Bale.
John: The fightin' Gareth Bales have lost just once in the 15 matches since the last North London Derby. This Sunday should be a whole lot of fun.
John: Big win for City vs. Chelsea, but realistically the title is probably out of reach.
Adam: They keep winning despite rarely looking dominant and having somewhat serious issues in their back line.
Dan: This is why European soccer leagues need a playoff! (I'm kidding, relax.)