English Premier League Power Poll: Week 34

Michael Cummings@MikeCummings37World Football Lead WriterApril 24, 2013

English Premier League Power Poll: Week 34

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    Manchester United are champions again after Robin van Persie's first-half goal glut, and a resounding win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford clinched the club's 20th English title and 13th in the Premier League era.

    That should serve as a pretty strong hint about the identity of the top-ranked team in this week's B/R English Premier League Power Poll. But even without any top-of-table drama left for the run-in, there's plenty of reason to keep watching the final weeks of the season.

    Who's going to finish in the top four? Who's bound for relegation? How does each club stack up in our rankings?

    We can't answer those first two questions yet, but we've got the latest rankings fresh for your consideration.

How It Works

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    Ten 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.

    In each slide, "Points" refers to the number of points accumulated by each team via the voters. "Previous" refers to each team's ranking in the previous edition of our poll.

    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 full-time writer. @karlmatchett  

    Ian Rodgers: B/R UK assignment editor/writer. @irodgers66

    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

Complete Rankings

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    1. Manchester United

    2. Arsenal

    3. Tottenham Hotspur

    4. Chelsea

    5. Manchester City

    6. Liverpool

    7. Everton

    8. West Ham United

    9. Southampton

    10. Sunderland

    11. West Bromwich Albion

    12. Swansea City

    13. Norwich City

    14. Fulham

    15. Newcastle United

    16. Aston Villa

    17. Stoke City

    18. Wigan Athletic

    19. Queens Park Rangers

    20. Reading

20. Reading

3 of 22

    Points: 13

    Previous: 19

    Result: Lost 2-1 at Norwich

    Fixture: Home to QPR, Sunday

    Reading's previous Premier League win came Feb. 2 at home against Sunderland. Based on form, it might be their last in the top flight for a while.

19. Queens Park Rangers

4 of 22

    Points: 18

    Previous: 18

    Result: Lost 2-0 home to Stoke

    Fixture: At Reading, Sunday

    So much for Harry's Houdini act. Ten points adrift of safety with four matches left, QPR are destined for the drop.

    Dan: On the plus side for QPR, most of these underachieving players will be sold off before next year. So there's that.

    Sean: How this side have only won four (!) matches with all that cash splashed is beyond me.

18. Wigan Athletic

5 of 22

    Points: 38

    Previous: 16

    Result: Lost 2-0 at West Ham

    Fixture: Home to Spurs, Saturday

    Wigan's yearly rite of relegation escapism is running a bit late this season. Can manager Roberto Martinez do it again?

17. Stoke City

6 of 22

    Points: 58

    Previous: 20

    Result: Won 2-0 at QPR

    Fixture: Home to Norwich, Saturday

    Beating QPR eased Stoke's own relegation worries. Next up is a home date with fellow strugglers Norwich City.

16. Aston Villa

7 of 22

    Points: 61

    Previous: 13

    Result: Lost 3-0 at Man United

    Fixture: Home to Sunderland, Monday

    Some unlucky club had to be the sacrificial lambs in Manchester United's title coronation. Sorry, Villa.

15. Newcastle United

8 of 22

    Points: 71

    Previous: 15

    Result: Drew 1-1 at West Brom

    Fixture: Home to Liverpool, Saturday

    Newcastle are six points clear of the relegation zone with four matches left. Problem is, Wigan have a match in hand.

14. Fulham

9 of 22

    Points: 79

    Previous: 10

    Result: Lost 1-0 home to Arsenal

    Fixture: At Everton, Saturday

    In losing three of their past four league matches, Fulham have scored just once. At times against Arsenal, though, the Cottagers were on top despite playing with 10 men for much of the match.

13. Norwich City

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    Points: 83

    Previous: 17

    Result: Won 2-1 home to reading

    Fixture: At Stoke, Saturday

    With 38 points, Norwich are just about safe from relegation worries. Beating Stoke would make it all but official.

    Dan: Big win over Reading put them seven clear of the relegation mark. They should be safe now.

12. Swansea City

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    Points: 94

    Previous: 12

    Result: Drew 0-0 home to Southampton

    Fixture: At Chelsea, Sunday

    Swansea have gone five league matches without winning but have maintained ninth place the whole time.

11. West Bromwich Albion

12 of 22

    Points: 100

    Previous: 11

    Result: Drew 1-1 home to Newcastle

    Fixture: At Southampton, Saturday

    Eighth-placed West Bromwich (-1) are the highest-placed Premier League team with a negative goal differential.

10. Sunderland

13 of 22

    Points: 101

    Previous: 14

    Result: Won 1-0 home to Everton

    Fixture: At Aston Villa, Monday

    Props to Paolo Di Canio for hauling Sunderland out of the relegation mess with back-to-back wins. Now, can he keep it up, or will the honeymoon period fade?

    Dan: It was the win of the season at home over Everton, ruining Everton's chances at Champions League while all but assuring another year in the EPL. In a trying season, that will be the match fans can remember.

9. Southampton

14 of 22

    Points: 108

    Previous: 9

    Result: Drew 0-0 at Swansea

    Fixture: Home to West Brom, Saturday

    Southampton are unbeaten in six league matches (three wins, three draws) and have outscored opponents 8-3 during that time.

    Sean: Six-match unbeaten run? Break up the Saints!

8. West Ham United

15 of 22

    Points: 116

    Previous: 8

    Result: Won 2-0 home to Wigan

    Fixture: At Man City, Saturday

    West Ham are unbeaten in five league matches and look like a decent bet for a top-half finish.

7. Everton

16 of 22

    Points: 133

    Previous: 5

    Result: Lost 1-0 at Sunderland

    Fixture: Home to Fulham, Saturday

    Everton's chances of a top-four finish are all but finished after the Toffees lost at Sunderland.

    Dan: I actually DVR'd their loss to Sunderland. Somehow watching on fast forward didn't make the loss any less excruciating to witness.

6. Liverpool

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    Points: 144

    Previous: 7

    Result: Drew 2-2 home to Chelsea

    Fixture: At Newcastle, Saturday

    Liverpool trail both clubs in the table but have scored more goals than Tottenham (three more) and Everton (10 more).

    Sean: All I'll say about [Luis] Suarez is that his pass to set up Liverpool's first goal was a thing of beauty. The bite? The web's reaction has been, well, hilarious. Sorry to ever have doubted you.

    Dan: Liverpool have scored 61 goals in 34 matches. Luis Suarez has been a part of 33 directly by scoring (23) or assisting (10), which doesn't account for his activity in other setups. Those numbers won't be going up the rest of this year, that's for sure.

5. Manchester City

18 of 22

    Points: 161

    Previous: 2

    Result: Lost 3-1 at Spurs

    Fixture: Home to West Ham, Saturday

    City have been in second place since drawing 0-0 at Chelsea on Nov. 25. Could a late swoon change that?

4. Chelsea

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    Points: 168

    Previous: 3

    Result: Drew 2-2 at Liverpool

    Fixture: Home to Swansea, Sunday

    Chelsea's goal differential of plus-31 is second best in the Premier League this season.

    Dan: If they miss out on Champions League because Luis Suarez wasn't given a red card for biting Ivanovic, it will be criminal. Though, not nearly as criminal as biting a man.

    John: Are Chelsea the most likely to be left out of the Champions League next year? You have to figure that Rafa cares the least of the relevant managers.

    Sean: Should Suarez have even been on the pitch to equalize? Nope. Should the match still even been going on when Suarez did equalize? Nope. Bitter pill for Chelsea in a crowded top-four scrap.

3. Tottenham Hotspur

20 of 22

    Points: 172

    Previous: 6

    Result: Won 3-1 home to Man City

    Fixture: At Wigan, Saturday

    Spurs sit two points behind rivals Arsenal in the race for the top four but have a game in hand.

    John: Spurs took four points from Man United this year, and just beat Manchester City. AVB's certainly been a bit of a giant killer this year.

    Dan: A season-saving seven minutes in the win over City.

2. Arsenal

21 of 22

    Points: 183

    Previous: 4

    Result: Won 1-0 at Fulham

    Fixture: Home to Man United, Sunday

    Arsenal are unbeaten in six Premier League matches and have a better goal differential than Manchester City. Still, with both Chelsea and Spurs breathing down their necks, the Gunners could finish outside the top four for the first time in manager Arsene Wenger's reign.

    Sean: Points-wise, Arsenal are currently enjoying their best form of the season. Of course, supporters (like me) were stuck collectively holding back the puke while watching Robin van Persie completely destroy Villa, then celebrate winning the EPL in a different shade of red than Gooners ever hoped to see him in.

    John: RVP scoring a hat trick and notching a goal-line clearance in United's title-clenching match couldn't have been pleasant for Arsenal fans. Still, if it weren't for Spurs beating City, it could have happened at the Emirates. That's right, the Gunners owe Tottenham a major thanks (albeit through gritted teeth).

1. Manchester United

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    Points: 199

    Previous: 1

    Result: Won 3-0 at Aston Villa

    Fixture: At Arsenal, Sunday

    It had been months in the making. Manchester United, who have led the table since beating QPR 3-1 on Nov. 24, finally clinched the title Monday night.

    Nobody can say it wasn't deserved.

    Dan: Congrats on your title, now spend the next four matches trying to come up with a better dance than the lame jumping up and down with your arms outstretched. You had months to plan this!

    John: To quote the inspiring lyrics of the Champions League anthem, "CHAAAAAMMMPIOOOONNNS!"

    Sean: Shrewd buy, that Van Persie bloke was.