With 21 matches down, the Barclays Premier League season is over halfway done, but there's still plenty of time for teams to separate themselves from the rest, for better or worse.
The number of teams fighting for the top spot have very slowly gone down as the season progressed, with clubs currently in a very close race at the top of the table. But compared to some of the other big leagues, the Premier League is still in great shape in terms of competitiveness, as there isn't a dramatic gap between the elite teams and the rest.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the updated Premier League power rankings heading into Matchday 22, breaking down all 20 teams and where they stand.
Note: Each club's position on the table and their total points for the season are in parentheses.
1. Manchester City (2nd, 47 pts.)
When Manchester City are hot, they're without a doubt the best team in the league.
The early part of the year wasn't very pretty, but things have gotten much better recently. The last time they lost came way back on November 10 against Sunderland, but since then they've won nine of their past 10 matches, tying 1-1 against Southampton in the other.
Struggles on the road haven't been ideal, although winning every single home match has made up for that. But if City want to win the title, then they'll have to prove they can beat teams regardless of where they're playing.
2. Chelsea (3rd, 46 pts.)
Four straight wins along with not losing in over a month has really helped Chelsea stay at the top of the table. Eden Hazard has been a reliable playmaker while defenders like John Terry and Gary Cahill have been very reliable.
Defense hasn't been an issue at all this season with just 19 goals allowed, but if Chelsea want to be the best team in the Premier League, then they're going to have to get better play from their strikers.
3. Arsenal (1st, 48 pts.)
They may be on top of the table for now, but Arsenal are in pretty big trouble considering all of the injuries that have occurred recently.
The Gunners really couldn't afford any more injuries in the attack, but according to the team's Twitter account, forward Theo Walcott will miss at least six months due to a knee injury:
Adding Mesut Ozil was a great move at the start of the season, but the Gunners are going to need to add another forward or find someone to step up before they fall out of the running for the No. 1 spot in the table.
4. Liverpool (4th, 42 pts.)
While Liverpool are still one of the best teams in the league, they're seriously struggling to break into the group of top-tier teams. Losses to Manchester City and Chelsea showed that the Reds are great, but they aren't an elite squad, at least not right now.
Luis Suarez has been a superstar as usual, but this team is going to need to play out of their minds if they want to prove themselves as a title contender.
5. Everton (5th, 41 pts.)
It's been a bit of a surprise to see Everton play this well this year. An 11-8-2 record at this point is impressive, as they have the fewest losses of any team in the league.
Thanks to a reliable attack and some nice pieces on defense, Everton are right behind Liverpool. While there's a chance they fall lower down the table by the end of the year, it looks like the Toffees are here to stay, at least for now.
6. Manchester United (7th, 37 pts.)
All eyes have been on Manchester United's struggles this year, but at the end of the day, the Red Devils are still seventh in the standings and really haven't played that poorly recently.
While there's a serious need for midfielders right now, United are staying alive and looking to make a surge. They're only 11 points off of the lead, so if they can get some help in the middle of the field, they could turn things around quickly.
7. Tottenham Hotspur (6th, 40 pts.)
With the departure of Andre Villas-Boas, Tim Sherwood has had to step in as the manager for Tottenham Hotspur. While the transition hasn't been an easy one, it hasn't been a disaster either.
But if the Spurs want to move up, their defense is going to have to not make as many mistakes or keep allowing through balls. There's talent here with players like Andros Townsend and Danny Rose, and with Sherwood trying to settle in, maybe this team could make a run.
8. Southampton (9th, 30 pts.)
This isn't a bad team in any sense, but their strong start to the season has fizzled, with just two Premier League wins over the past two months. Defensively, this team is in great shape, but they can get shut down in a hurry at times if teams contain Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert.
9. Newcastle United (8th, 33 pts.)
Inconsistency has turned into lots of losing recently with four straight losses across all levels of play. While they can run at times with some of the best teams, losses to teams like West Brom and Cardiff are concerning and might say more about this team than their victories. If Newcastle wants to string some wins, then they're going to have to protect the lead when they have it.
10. Aston Villa (11th, 23 pts.)
Christian Benteke was huge for Aston Villa last season with 19 goals and four assists, but he hasn't been the same player this year, grabbing just five goals.
Finding ways to finish near the net and keep possession of the ball are going to be very important keys to improving moving forward this season, but a late surge from Benteke could help more than anything right now.
11. Hull City (10th, 23 pts.)
It hasn't been a consistent year, but given the expectations under Steve Bruce, this has to be an impressive first year for him in the Premier League after being promoted last season.
The defense has been up and down, but this is a team that can win some solid games and should be moving up the table with an easier upcoming stretch of games.
12. Stoke City (12th, 22 pts.)
There isn't a ton to like about Stoke this season, and although they're currently in the middle of the pack, there are a lot of concerns about this team. The defense has a lot of issues, and the lack of strong players on the wings makes this a team that struggles to create consistent scoring opportunities.
13. Swansea (13th, 21 pts.)
A 2-1 win over Manchester United in the FA Cup gave Swansea some hope, but they quickly lost to the Red Devils 2-0 just six days later in EPL play.
But things are looking up. Wilfried Bony is emerging as a potential spark that they so desperately need, although we will have to wait and see if it's enough to create a strong run of matches.
14. Norwich City (15th, 20 pts.)
Over the past seven matches across all leagues, the Canaries haven't won once. Their last was against West Brom in early December, and since, they've struggled to close out games.
With one of the weaker offenses in the Premier League, Norwich just keeps finding ways to stay out of the relegation zone, but that could change if they start slipping and let things get out of hand like they did earlier in the season.
15. West Bromwich Albion (14th, 21 pts.)
Avoiding relegation is priority No. 1 for West Brom this year. While they should avoid being relegated, this team needs to figure out what their long-term plans are. Their most reliable players are defenders, and while that's not always a bad thing, the lack of a go-to goalscorer is hurting this squad.
16. Crystal Palace (20th, 17 pts.)
They're currently at the bottom of the league, but Crystal Palace isn't the worst team in the league. Other than keeping possession, there are few glaring weaknesses on this team. The play of Mile Jedinak in the middle of the field has been noted, and the defense is continuing to make up for the fact that the offense just isn't getting things done right now.
17. Cardiff City (18th, 18 pts.)
A 2-0 loss to West Ham is a huge concern for this team, but no one is expecting a lot from this team as they transition to a new manager in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Despite the loss, there are talented, young pieces on this team; they just have to find a way to develop them enough to become a mid-tier team in the league.
18. Fulham (16th, 19 pts.)
The offense is somehow keeping Fulham afloat, but how much longer can that last?
With 46 goals allowed this season, the Cottagers have allowed more goals than any other team, and it's not even close. Stoke and Norwich come in tied for second, but both clubs have allowed 11 fewer goals. With teams like Sunderland putting up four goals and Hull putting up six, it's safe to say that relegation is a very good possibility.
19. West Ham United (17th, 18 pts.)
Andy Carroll is finally back, and it might just be the answer West Ham needs to avoid relegation. Still, he can't be the only answer for this team. The 2-0 win over Cardiff was their first EPL victory since November 30 against Fulham, and Carroll's return might be enough to keep West Ham out of relegation if they can get hot.
20. Sunderland (19th, 17 pts.)
Things are definitely looking up to a degree for Sunderland with just one loss over their past six Premier League matches, but it's still hard to buy into this team after not winning their first match of the season until the end of October. We'll see if they can make a late run, but I just don't see it.
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