Arsenal continue to hold their slim one-point lead in the Premier League table, but their consistent performances aren't enough to move them up past second in my power rankings.
That honor belongs to a team without the same level of consistency but with a little more firepower.
Manchester City checks in as the top team in my below rankings, and the Citizens will have to take solace in that for the near future. With Arsenal facing Fulham this week, it is highly unlikely that Manchester City will have the opportunity to end the week in a higher spot in the table then when they started it.
Check out my rankings for our two front-runners and the other 18 EPL teams.
1. Manchester City (47 points)
Manchester City continue to struggle to look as good on the road as they do at home. Although, this past week, the Citizens pulled out a solid 2-0 away win over Newcastle.
Although that outcome is a step in the right direction for Manchester City, the following news will dampen any momentum they pull from the result:
Manchester City's in-form star Samir Nasri is set to be out for 8 weeks after suffering a knee injury. pic.twitter.com/qwZYdyipmH— FutbolBible (@FutbolBible) January 13, 2014
The Citizens have the depth to survive Samir Nasri's injury, but for a team that has laid out some clunkers this season, it will be interesting to see if they can change that pattern during their star's absence.
Which team will finish highest in the table?
2. Arsenal (48)
Don't expect Arsenal to shed any tears over Nasri's injury, the Gunners have dealt, and are dealing with, injury situations of their own. Nothing has slowed them down, however.
That consistency in winning the matches they are supposed to win will keep them as a factor for the top of the table.
Still, I place them in second due to their struggles against other top teams.
3. Chelsea (46)
If Chelsea can find a consistent attack, they could quickly move up these power rankings. The Blues' stingy defense is only getting better as this campaign rolls on.
Over their past six matches, across all competitions, Chelsea have only allowed one goal. Even that goal allowed should stand as a testament to their defense. It was the only goal that the prolific attack of Liverpool could produce.
4. Liverpool (42)
Liverpool impressively dumped in five goals in an away win against Stoke City their last time on the pitch. Still, it is not against the likes of Stoke that Liverpool have to prove themselves.
The Reds must turn in better results against top clubs. The recent back-to-back losses at the hands of Manchester City and Chelsea stand out as a sign of the struggle it will be for Liverpool to improve their table position.
5. Everton (41)
Everton have been struggling with fitness issues as of late. This has led to some lackluster results and missed opportunities for them to move up the table.
Still, this gritty team is hanging in there, and with a great defense led by the goalkeeping of Tim Howard, Everton will be a factor all season:
Tim Howard kept his 9th clean sheet of the season & his 110th for Everton in 330 appearances. pic.twitter.com/rjzrNNW1fp— Everton Records (@EvertonRecords) January 13, 2014
6. Tottenham Hotspur (40)
Manager Tim Sherwood is quickly making his mark on this club after taking over for Andre Villas-Boas. This comes on and off the pitch:
On the pitch, they are 3-0-0 with the combined score of 7-1 in their past three matches.
7. Manchester United (37)
David Moyes is set to reportedly get a massive influx of cash:
David Moyes will be handed £200m rescue kitty to rebuild United... But he will wait until the summer to land top targets. [dailymail]— ManUtd Die Hard Fans (@MUFC_D_H_F) January 6, 2014
This is great news for the beleaguered manager. Although, it isn't likely to help his plight much for this season. Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie staying healthy would help this season, but there is no reason to expect that to happen with any consistency.
8. Newscastle United (33)
Newcastle United have shown the ability to hang with top clubs, but they've also shown the ability to lose to anyone. The losing has dominated their identity lately. Newcastle have dropped four straight across all competitions.
9. Southampton (30)
A strong start has slowed for Southampton. The Saints have won just two league contests over the past two months. One of those wins came their last time on the pitch, however, with a 1-0 triumph over West Brom.
Still, there are concerns.
The Knights built their impressive start on stunningly stingy defense. That defense has wilted a bit. In their four games leading up to their victory over West Brom, the Saints went 1-0-3 and allowed eight goals in their three losses.
10. Swansea City (21)
Swansea City toppled Manchester United at Old Trafford in the FA Cup, and then turned around and fell to the Red Devils in Premier League play their last time on the pitch.
Still, this campaign is on the right track for the Swans. They are building up confidence, and Wilfried Bony is developing into a difference-maker.
11. Hull City (23)
Hull City have a favorable stretch of matches upcoming and threaten to move up the table a bit. It's already been an impressive run after being promoted.
Hull City must continue to develop their attack, but they've shown the determination and grit to hang with the Premier League powers.
12. Aston Villa (23)
Aston Villa have seen their share of struggles this season, but they have shown signs of promise as of late. In their past two league matches, they beat Sunderland and then played Arsenal tough in a 2-1 defeat.
If this side can get more out of Christian Benteke on the attack, they could make decent gains in the table.
13. Stoke City (22)
Stoke City are in trouble. They had a sign of promise with a 1-1 draw with Everton but parlayed that momentum into a 5-3 league loss to Liverpool.
Stoke is weak on the wings, and in order to create consistent scoring chances, they have to leave the back vulnerable. The upcoming schedule is not easy for Stoke, and they will start to slide down the table.
14. West Bromwich Albion (21)
West Brom have been terrible, but this is a team in transition:
The goal now just has to be to avoid relegation and simply build a foundation for success. This team does not have the offensive firepower to make a serious run up the table.
15. Cardiff City (18)
A strong start under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came crashing back to reality with a 0-2 loss to West Ham.
The setback is a rough outcome for the budding momentum built since the manager shift. Cardiff City now has upcoming league matches against the two clubs from Manchester.
16. Sunderland (17)
With a 4-1 away win over Fulham, Sunderland further proved that, although they didn't pick up their first league win until Oct., they have a shot at avoiding a finish in the bottom three. Sunderland are now 2-1-1 in their past four league games.
17. Norwich City (20)
Norwich City have done an admirable job to avoid relegation zone, but this team looks to be running out of gas early. Norwich will be doomed this season by their lack of scoring power.
That was on display while they were shutout against Everton and had consecutive 1-1 draws against Crystal Palace and Fulham.
18. Crystal Palace (17)
Crystal Palace flashed some decent form, but that's been halted over their past two matches.
They've lost their past two matches across all competitions by the score of 4-0. Now they are locked back in the cellar of the table and face a challenge to avoid the bottom three.
19. West Ham United (18)
Perhaps the return of Andy Carroll will spark West Ham to a run. They will need it to avoid relegation.
It did help them to a 2-0 win over Cardiff their last time on the pitch.
20. Fulham (19)
I don't see any way Fulham avoids relegation. This weary side is getting humiliated due to its nonexistent defense. Fulham have allowed a massive 46 goals on the season, and there are no signs of that defense improving.