EPL Power Rankings Week 17: Risers and Fallers After Matchday 16

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVDecember 16, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15:  Aaron Lennon and Paulinho of Tottenham Hotspur on the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at White Hart Lane on December 15, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

The stock of many Premier League clubs continues to change week after week, with parity striking the league and keeping things close at the top of the table.

While it's important not to look too much into one match with so many more upcoming, it also can't be discounted what results these select few posted over the weekend.    

Season trends and table results are taken into close consideration in these power rankings, but what's most important is the recent form that each club has shown. A club with a big win as of late may be able to slide just past another club who stumbled but has enjoyed a more fruitful season. 

But at the end of the day, where a club is in the EPL table says a lot about its season, so those results aren't completely forgotten about. It takes more than just one impressive win to build a squad's resume as a top-three team in these rankings. 

Let's take a look at whose stock rose and whose fell in Week 16. 

1. Liverpool 

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15: Raheem Sterling of Liverpool and Ezekiel Fryers of Tottenham Hotspur compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at White Hart Lane on December 15, 2013 in London, En
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

With the top clubs in the Premier League so close together in the standings and the duo of Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge missing a considerable amount of time to injury, questions were bubbling to the surface of whether the Reds could continue their winning ways.

They answered it with their most convincing win of the season—a 5-0 road win over Tottenham.

Luis Suarez kept on rolling, scoring his 16th and 17th goals of the Premier League season in what was just his 11th appearance. With two goals and two assists on the match, he left his footprints all over the place and proved that as long as he's around, the offense won't be an issue.

It's also worth commending that the Reds held Tottenham to no shots on goal. While Spurs don't boast the EPL's most threatening attack by any means, shutting them down entirely at White Hart Lane was nothing short of impressive. 

With a home match against Cardiff City looming and table-leading Arsenal looking to face Chelsea on Matchday 17, the Reds could very well find themselves in a tie for first place after that. 

2. Arsenal

Don't get me wrong, the Gunners are still the team to beat. But you can't ignore what happened in Etihad Stadium on Matchday 16.

Giving up six goals on the day, Arsene Wenger's squad conceded more than half as many goals as they had let up in 15 matches prior to the loss. Sure, Manchester City have been dominating everyone, but it was widely expected that the Gunners' vaunted defense would rise to the challenge. They didn't come close to doing so.

There are suddenly so many questions about how Arsenal's defense would hold up against potent offenses that are in form, and that is enough to knock them from their perch until they answer said questions.

3. Manchester City

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14:  Sergio Aguero of Manchester City celebrates after scoring the first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium  on December 14, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Pho
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manchester City's onslaught of every opponent they face at home would be enough to give them the outright lead if it weren't for a lack of consistency elsewhere.

While they've racked up an unbelievable 22 goals in their last four home matches, it's been a completely different story away from Etihad. In their last four away results, they have two losses and a draw to show. 

Taking care of business on the road against Fulham and handling Liverpool in a home match—their two most upcoming fixtures—could catapult them to the top of the table and power rankings. 

4. Chelsea 

Jose Mourinho's squad has faced plenty of adversity and frustration in his first year at the helm since his return, but they've been able to stay very relevant at the top of the table.

The Blues' 2-1 win over Crystal Palace, however, was far from impressive. The side gave up an equalizer to a club heading straight for relegation and couldn't get that insurance goal that they were striving for. 

Once Chelsea can figure out how to dispose of clubs in fixtures like this, they'll threaten the top of the power rankings.

5. Everton

Quietly enough, Everton dominated Fulham 4-1 on Matchday 16 in a match that could have been even more one-sided. 

Right outside of the top four with 31 points, Everton are in good shape, and that will only continue if they are able to keep putting a flurry of balls in the net. 

6. Manchester United

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United is tackled by Matthew Lowton of Aston Villa during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Manchester United at Villa Park on December 15, 2013 in Birmingham, England.
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Very few clubs in the Premier League needed a defining and decisive win on Matchday 16 more than United, and that's exactly what they got with a 3-0 win over Aston Villa.

Losers of two straight heading into the contest, the reigning title winners desperately needed points to begin what will be a tough climb back to relevance in the league. While their early-season woes won't be erased in one result, this convincing victory was a start.

With no Robin van Persie for a month and a sputtering offense, David Moyes needed his man Wayne Rooney to steal the show on the attacking side, and that's just what he did. While he only finished with an assist, he was the offensive creator for the full 90 minutes, and it resulted in United having a plethora of scoring chances. 

Perhaps less certain and more significant was Danny Welbeck's emergence, as the 23-year-old forward scored two goals after not having scored since the season-opener. With so many Red Devils attackers proving unable to put the ball in the net, that development was huge for United. 

7. Newcastle

Newcastle had a golden opportunity to gain big ground in the table and threaten the top four, but they came up short with a 1-1 draw against Southampton.

Securing a point against the Saints is nothing to scoff at, but Newcastle certainly wanted more in a home fixture that had so many league table ramifications on the line. 

8. Southampton

Wins—well, points, really—have been hard to come by for Southampton after being one of the surprise squads to start the season. They were able to get a tough one over Matchday 16.

With a draw against Manchester City before that, Southampton haven't disappointed anyone with their play. However, they'll need to start winning some of these fixtures before I'm convinced. 

9. Tottenham

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15:  Andre Villas-Boas manager of Tottenham Hotspur gives instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at White Hart Lane on December 15, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Paul G
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Midseason managerial firings in the Premier League are no new thing to many clubs, but it's nothing short of surprising to see a league powerhouse like Tottenham caught up in such a mess. Now, that's the reality for Spurs.

Andre Villas-Boas was fired after his club's 5-0 loss to Liverpool at home, according to the Associated Press via USA Today. It cut his second season with the club short and was a long time coming in the eyes of many fans.

Spurs' offseason signings of offensive-minded players like Roberto Soldado, Paulinho and Christian Eriksen haven't panned out, as the club has amassed just 15 goals in 15 total matches. Liverpool's Suarez has more goals on the season.

There are more questions than answers at this point for Tottenham, but at the end of the day, they're only five points out of the top four and still have plenty of chances to salvage the season.

10. Swansea City

Picking up two draws and a win in their last three matches is enough to put more stock into Swansea than most initially put, but despite the recent success, they still only have 20 points and are nowhere near threatening the top part of the table.

A horrific injury to leading scorer Nathan Dyer, per Jim Van Wijk of The Independent, won't help in that regard. 

11. Aston Villa

Aston Villa held a points streak through all of November and into early December, but it has since been wiped away after two convincing defeats to Fulham and Manchester United. They've been outscored 5-0 in those past two contests.

They need Christian Benteke to play like a star, and his four goals have simply been too pedestrian—for his standards—at this point. 

12. Stoke City

Stoke City did well enough to hold onto a scoreless draw on the road at Hull City, but that is simply a result that they are capable of winning—and should win if they want to make noise in the league.

Until Stoke can figure out how to beat clubs at their level, securing draws in most weekends won't be enough to get into the top half of the league.

13. Hull City

HULL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14:  Jake Livermore of Hull City shoots during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Stoke City at KC Stadium on December 14, 2013 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Hull have held their own in some tough matchups this season, but just like Stoke, they simply haven't taken advantage of their opportunities. 

With one goal in their last three EPL contests combined, offense is hard to come by for this club, and that is a trait that will need to be fixed quite soon.

You can't rely on solid goalkeeping and defense forever, especially in this league. 

14. Cardiff City

When they play anywhere else, they're a club possibly headed toward relegation and simply trying to enjoy their first year in the EPL. But when they play at home, Cardiff sure does belong. 

Winning at home against West Brom thanks to a late goal from Peter Whittingham was nonetheless impressive, but Cardiff still is sitting at 15th place in the league table. 

15. Norwich City

Just like many of their counterparts in the middle of the league, Norwich didn't make things easier on power rankers by notching another draw with a fellow mediocre squad in Swansea. 

Norwich picked up an impressive three points in Week 15 against West Brom but were unable to sustain possession despite playing at home against Swansea. They were fortunate to get out with a point in hand.

16. West Ham

Isn't drawing against Sunderland pretty much like a loss at this point? If so, West Ham just lost their third straight.

Sunderland were the aggressors, notching six shots on goal to West Ham's two and holding 59 percent possession. If it takes this sort of struggle to pick up a scoreless draw against the EPL's worst team, then I don't even want to see what happens when they face a formidable foe. 

17. West Brom

CARDIFF, WALES - DECEMBER 14: Shane Long of West Brom lies on the pitch during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and West Bromwich Albion at Cardiff City Stadium on December 14, 2013 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Imag
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Tottenham weren't the only squad in a sacking mood over the weekend, as West Brom fired coach Steve Clarke, per Phil Cadden of the Daily Mail, after his side lost 1-0 to Cardiff and continued their miserable form. 

It's been a season to forget for West Brom. After emerging as a solid squad last season, they're stuck on the cusp of relegation and will have to find some momentum in a new coach to save their season. 

18. Crystal Palace

Even in a somewhat encouraging result for their standards—a 2-1 loss to Chelsea on the road—Crystal Palace still found a way to look terrible. They only held 30 percent possession and never looked threatening to equalize for a second time.

The club came in with a huge chance to skyrocket up the power rankings after winning two straight heading into the showdown but didn't make the most of it. 

19. Fulham

Just like Crystal Palace, Fulham had a chance to put together a win streak of their own, coming in off an inspiring win over Aston Villa. Then, they got throttled by Everton.

With the second-worst goal differential in the league (minus-15), goals simply have not been there as Dimitar Berbatov and Steve Sidwell—three goals each—are the only attacking players generating offense. 

20. Sunderland

In the race for the Premier League's last spot, it's Sunderland, and it's really not even close. With just nine points on the season, they're the only squad in single digits and are four points below everyone else. 

At this point, it would be a championship in itself if Sunderland were able to avoid relegation.


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