As Week 14 of the English Premier League approaches, the table is beginning to shape up, offering less drastic alterations. Little changed last weekend, but expect some more squads to swap places this time around.
Arsenal continue to rest in first while the pecking order near the bottom remains eerily quiet, but expect the game of musical chairs to resume during the upcoming matchday.
This week provides a golden opportunity for these select clubs to climb up the EPL ladder. Expect them to capitalize.
|12||West Bromwich Albion||13||3||6||4||-1||15|
|15||West Ham United||13||3||4||6||-2||13|
After toiling way lower in the table than their talent merited, Manchester City have soared to third place after winning three of their past four matches.
Their strong goal differential suggested City deserved better than residing in the middle of the pack, and it's finally showing in the standings. After topping Swansea City over the weekend, they jumped from No. 6 to No. 3 with 25 total points.
Third is much better than sixth, but City still sport the EPL's highest goal differential at plus-25, eight goals more than runner-up Arsenal. With 17 goals through their past four matches, this is a squad firing on all cylinders and gunning for first.
This week, City square off against West Brom, who has not collected a victory since Nov. 2. At worst, they should hold their ground in third. But if Arsenal or Chelsea falter, Man City will inch even closer to the top spot.
Once representing the middle class of an unequal Premier League table, Newcastle United have turned their season around by hanging with the big boys.
After a lackluster start, Newcastle have rattled off four consecutive victories, working their way up to sixth place. During that stretch, they surrendered just two goals behind strong performances from goalkeeper Tim Krul.
This weekend they will take on Swansea City, who conversely have won just one of their last five bouts. With each club veering in opposite directions, look for Alan Pardew's squad to stay hot with another victory.
Since Everton play Manchester United in Week 14, don't be surprised if Newcastle climb into the top five.
West Ham United
After five weeks, West Ham United posted five points and looked like a prime candidate for relegation. While they're hardly taking the league by storm, they are slowly distancing themselves from the danger zone.
A 3-0 win over Fulham upped their season point total to 13, and they now reside just four points out of tenth place. With Crystal Palace on the schedule, West Ham must pounce against the last-place squad on Thursday.
Crystal Palace enter the match with seven goals scored through 13 matches. They're the only club that have already reached double digits in the loss column, and only Sunderland tout a worse goal differential (-16) than the Hammers (-15).
For West Ham to elude obscurity and rise to relevancy, it's crucial they leave the weekend with three points over a friendly opponent. The fact that Norwich City face Liverpool while West Brom square off against Manchester City makes the path even smoother for West Ham to move up the table.