The battle for the EPL title is shaping up to be a dynamic race that comes down to the final week of the season. With the top teams so closely bunched, it is a tad difficult to sort them out in the power rankings.
Manchester City would appear to be the one team with enough talent to put some distance between them and the rest of the league, but the Citizens' inconsistency and road struggles look like they will be here to stay all season.
That helps add to the drama for the remainder of this campaign and when figuring out where to place teams in power rankings. Have a look at how I see the balance of power shaping up as we approach Matchday 20.
1. Manchester City (41 points)
The Citizens are a point behind Arsenal in the table, but considering they beat the Gunners by three goals at Etihad on Dec. 14, it is warranted to give them the top spot here.
Still, Manchester City have raised concern with their recent performance. While dealing with the absence of injured star Sergio Aguero due to injury, the Citizens' attack is not what it once was.
City has scored just three combined goals in their last two home matches. This is a huge drop off from their home-scoring pace earlier in the season.
2. Arsenal (42)
No team has the consistency needed to match Arsenal's ability to take care of business and win the matches they are supposed to win.
Questions remain about Arsenal's ability to handle other top clubs, however. Although the Gunners are on a two-match win streak, that comes after a winless streak of three matches against Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea.
3. Chelsea (40)
Chelsea is struggling to score. Jose Mourinho's side has just four combined goals from their last four matches.
The Blues haven't lost in that stretch, however, and that includes an away draw with Arsenal and a home win over Liverpool. I have no reservations about projecting this team to stay in the top three all year, but when it comes to chasing down the title, that lack of firepower is going to hurt Chelsea.
4. Liverpool (36)
Liverpool grabbed the top spot in the table and promptly lost two straight. Granted, the losses were to quality competition in Manchester City and Chelsea, and both were on the road, but it is troubling that this team, which has built so much of its success around its offense, scored just two combined goals in that stretch.
5. Everton (37)
Everton rebounded from their shock loss to Sunderland with a solid home effort in a 2-1 triumph over Southampton.
With three winnable matches ahead of them to start the new year, Everton have a chance to entrench themselves in the top five.
6. Manchester United (34)
The Red Devils are beginning to hit their stride. They've won four straight, and the offense has dumped in 10 goals in that stretch.
On top of that, the Red Devils are set for a big boost to the attack:
7. Newscastle United (33)
Newcastle entered their home match with Arsenal having scored a combined eight goals in their last two matches. The Gunners knocked this team back to earth by not only posting a clean sheet but limiting Newcastle to three shots on goal.
Newcastle return to action with two winnable matches before hosting Manchester City on Jan. 12.
8. Tottenham Hotspur (34)
Tottenham Hotspur have gone 2-1-1 since the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas. Still, the real test for this team comes at the start of the new year. Tottneham will return to action with a match at Old Trafford against Manchester United and then host Arsenal.
9. Southampton (27)
Southampton made the top half of the table with an unbelievably stingy defense. That defense, however, has proven vulnerable against the more talented attacks. Southampton allowed Everton two goals their last time on the pitch and three to Tottenham on Dec. 22.
10. Hull City (23)
If only Hull City could play Fulham every match. In a season where scoring goals has been a bit of an adventure, they dumped in six goals against wayward Fulham.
That was Hull City's first win since their promising 3-1 triumph over Liverpool on Dec. 1. That is the same Liverpool side that Hull City will face upon returning to the pitch for the new year.
11. Swansea City (21)
Swansea City's attack has gone missing. It's been seven matches since this team put up a crooked number on the scoreboard.
With Manchester City waiting for this team on Jan. 1, Swansea is heading for a disaster if they don't remember how to score.
12. Aston Villa (20)
This sinking side hasn't won a match in almost a month, and Aston Villa's struggles have not come against the most intimidating list of opponents.
A slumping attack is at the root of the problem, and Aston Villa have mustered just one combined goal in their last two matches, which have come against Crystal Palace and Swansea City. Both matches came at home.
13. Stoke City (21)
Stoke City needs to fix a suddenly shoddy defense. In their last two matches, they have allowed a combined eight goals. Coming against Newcastle and Tottenham, this team could be in real trouble returning to action, with two of their next three matches coming against Everton and Liverpool.
14. West Bromwich Albion (18)
West Brom are tied for a league-low three wins on the year. They do have nine draws, which helps them to 15th in the table.
There is no sign of this unstoppable draw machine slowing down, either. West Brom rides three straight draws into the new year.
15. West Ham United (15)
West Ham have to be the happiest side in the EPL that the calendar is turning to 2014. Since Dec. 7, West Ham have faced Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal. Although they pulled three points from Tottenham, they lost to the other three by the combined score of 13-3.
Fulham will be West Ham's first match in the new year, and it starts a much easier stretch of opponents for this team, as it tries to distance itself from the bottom three.
16. Norwich City (19)
Norwich City will return to action against Crystal Palace and Fulham. Those matches will be vital in helping sort out the bottom of the table.
Although Norwich has not picked up a win since Nov. 30, that win was against Crystal Palace, and Norwich is coming off of a solid performance in a 1-0 loss to Manchester United.
17. Cardiff City (18)
Cardiff City's bid to avoid the bottom three isn't looking strong after their recent performance. They blew a 2-0 lead at home against Sunderland and picked up just a point with a 2-2 draw.
With Arsenal and Manchester City waiting as two of their next four opponents, Cardiff's plight isn't likely to improve.
18. Crystal Palace (16)
Crystal Palace have pulled themselves up from the cellar, and they looked good to close out the year.
They posted a 1-0 away win over Aston Villa on Dec. 26, and then lost just 1-0 at Etihad against Manchester City. As dominant as the Citizens have been at Etihad, that is a supremely impressive effort.
19. Sunderland (14)
Sunderland will take some momentum into the new year as they try to pull themselves up from the bottom of the table. In their last four matches, they are 2-2-0 (the wins were over Chelsea and Everton).
20. Fulham (16)
Fulham carries all kinds of momentum into the new year. Oh, it's not positive, but it's massive. Changes have already begun at Fulham:
It is going to take a lot more than that, however, to cure their recent form.
Fulham have kept just one of their last four opponents under four goals and have now allowed a league-worst 41 goals on the year.
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