Premier League Power Rankings 2014 Week 30: Examining Every EPL Club

Dan Brett@@DanBrett90Contributor IIIMarch 10, 2014

As the Premier League rattles toward its climax this season, there's still plenty to fight for at both ends of the table.

Week 29 saw Chelsea strengthen their position as title favourites, while Fulham were plunged into deeper trouble by Cardiff at the bottom of the table.

Manchester City's recent Capital One Cup win means a sixth-place finish now results in Europa League football next season, so there is much still to play for.

Let's take a look at the true reflection of each club, rating their prospects based on form and momentum.

Note: Each club's position in the table and points total is in parentheses.


1. Chelsea (1st, 66 pts.)

The Blues sit at the top spot with a seven-point gap between them and their nearest challengers, so the title is Chelsea's to lose as they go into Week 30.

However, Jose Mourinho's men will be looking over their shoulders at Manchester City's three matches in hand against Aston Villa, Sunderland and Manchester United, knowing that three victories would result in the Londoners losing top spot.

Chelsea's lack of firepower from their forwards does give some cause for concern in the title race. John Terry has been immense at the back, while Frank Lampard continues to chalk up astonishing numbers from midfield.

Chelsea face a tough test next time out. They travel to Aston Villa, who will be looking to give their season a much-needed lift, as Paul Lambert knows a win would help steer the club away from the drop zone.

Lampard scored twice at Villa Park last season to ensure his side's 2-1 victory, and Chelsea will need a similar fighting spirit from the England man this time around.

2. Manchester City (4th, 57 pts.)

City's three games in hand make them a real superpower in this year's title race, as they know exactly what is needed to reclaim top spot from Chelsea.

Manuel Pellegrini's side take on Hull as they look to bounce back from their shock 2-1 defeat to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup. Their performance against the Latics was good, but their usual attacking threat was not as potent as in recent weeks.

With the chance of doing the treble still on, City's ambition going into this week could see them take out their frustrations on Hull. It won't be easy, however, with the Tigers buoyed by their 3-0 win over Sunderland to reach the FA Cup semifinals.

3. Liverpool (2nd, 59 pts.)

Liverpool travel to Manchester United this weekend, almost five years to the day since they won 4-1 at Old Trafford to move within four points of the then-league leaders.

History could repeat itself in Week 30 should the Reds record victory and Chelsea suffer a shock defeat against Villa, as Brendan Rodgers' men continue to take their top-four rivals all the way in the title race.

The partnership between Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez has been prolific this season, as they have bagged 42 goals between them, and Sturridge tweeted of his excitement about facing David Moyes' side at the weekend:

Keeping the pair scoring will be pivotal for Rodgers as he looks to keep the Reds' title charge alive, but with World Cup motivation, it's fair to assume that Sturridge won't need too much encouragement to bag a goal at Old Trafford.

4. Arsenal (3rd, 59 pts.)

Olivier Giroud's contribution to Arsenal's title charge has been telling this season despite his own off-field drama looking to derail the striker's fine season.

The forward has bagged 12 goals and has continued to be the Gunners' focal point in attack, with Yaya Sanogo playing a bit-part role after being drafted into the squad.

The Gunners take on Tottenham at White Hart Lane this weekend in a North London derby that has all of its usual must-win essence, with both sides looking to secure Champions League football next term.

Arsenal also harbour their own title dreams, and Giroud's impact against Everton in the FA Cup bodes well for the remainder of the campaign.


5. Everton (7th, 48 pts.)

What Roberto Martinez has managed to do with Everton this season has been nothing short of magnificent. The Spaniard moved to Merseyside after lifting the FA Cup with Wigan last season.

Many doubted the Spaniard's ability to step up to the challenge of managing such an illustrious club, especially after David Moyes' successful tenure, but the former Latics player has galvanised the club and given them real hopes of returning to European football.


6. Manchester United (6th, 48 pts.)

There's no doubt that this has been a disappointing season for United and a testing one for Moyes, who issued an apology to Red Devils fans after their lackluster displays this season, per Alex Horlock of the Daily Mail.

United won 3-0 at West Brom last time out and will be hoping for victory against Liverpool, but they know they must up their game if they're to overcome an in-form side, as Sturridge and Suarez look to do the double over Moyes' men.

United fans, though, will know that a win would see their European ambitions receive a big boost, and after a dismal season, they need something to cheer about come the season's end.


7. Tottenham (5th, 53 pts.)

Spurs' hopes of breaching the top four were dealt a mammoth blow against Chelsea. They lost 4-0 in a spineless, effortless and indefensible performance.

Tim Sherwood's post-match team talk will still be ringing in his stars' ears as they prepare to host Arsenal, and Sherwood will know that if he is to bring Champions League football back to White Hart Lane, his side must beat Wenger's men.

Sky Sports' Graeme Bailey tweeted of a real problem at Spurs, as there's talk over the manager's future once again:

Perhaps the biggest factor derailing Tottenham this season has been the continual undermining of the manager. Talk is rife of Sherwood's replacement being lined up, per Matt Barlow of the Daily Mail. There's no smoke without fire, and club chiefs must bare the brunt of blame if Spurs miss out on fourth.

8. Newcastle (8th, 43 pts.)

The season looked all but over for Alan Pardew's men, but with another Europa League spot opening up and a trip to bottom-placed Fulham in Week 30, the Magpies have a real possibility to turn the tide and charge their way back into Europe.

9. Southampton (9th, 42 pts.)

It's the same story for Mauricio Pochettino's side, who will be looking to mark progression in their second season back in the top flight.

The Saints host a lowly Norwich side, who will be looking to distance themselves from the bottom three. But with the Saints' excellent home form and an abundance of World Cup hopefuls in their squad, the Saints could yet make their own case for a place in Europe.

10. West Ham (10th, 31 pts.)

If there's one turnaround in fortunes to pinpoint this season, it's at Upton Park. Sam Allardyce has transformed his survival hopefuls into a side that are comfortable in mid-table and hold a six-point lead over 18th-placed Cardiff.

Tied on points with Stoke, the two sides meet looking for a win that will allow the victors to begin planning for next season.

11. Aston Villa (11th, 31 pts.)

Hosting Chelsea has had its ups and downs over the years for Villa, but the side's 4-1 home win over Norwich will give Lambert's men more confidence as they take on Mourinho's outfit.

The Midlands club have done very well to steer themselves into mid-table after languishing near the bottom of the league for much of the season, but with matches against Stoke and Fulham coming up in the not-too-distant future, Villa look like one of the more comfortable sides in the race for survival.

12. Sunderland (19th, 24 pts.)

Sunderland have three games in hand over fellow relegation rivals Fulham and Cardiff, and they will take great comfort in knowing that just one win will see them rise from the drop zone and plummet West Brom back into the mire.  

The Black Cats' display in the Capital One Cup final against Manchester City highlighted the side's attacking prowess, but defeat in the FA Cup to Hull also showed their vulnerability against teams around them in the league.

However, Sunderland sit with it all to play for and perfect vision of how to escape relegation, and Gus Poyet is a driven manager who will see his side safe.

13. Stoke (12th, 31 pts.)

Mark Hughes looks to have done just enough with Stoke to see them clear of the relegation zone. They sit six points clear, and teams below them are showing much bigger signs of struggle.

After Hughes replaced Tony Pulis, fans were hoping to see the club continue to grow, but it has been a much tougher challenge for Hughes, who will be hoping that his second season is more successful than his first.

14. Norwich (15th, 29 pts.)

Heavy defeat at Villa Park will have done nothing for the club's confidence or fans' belief in manager Chris Hughton.

The Canaries still have some way to go to ensure their own survival, and heavy defeats against teams around them will give no cause for optimism.

However, speaking with the Daily Mail's Jack Gaughan, City star Bradley Johnson claims Hughton is still the one to lead Norwich forward:

He is a great manager. He has all of our support and the club have shown that by sticking by him. I don’t agree with clubs sacking their managers if they’re at the bottom of the table. We’ve stuck by our gaffer and we always will do.

Everyone writes us off. Throughout my time at Norwich we’ve proven everyone wrong. We turn it on when we play the big teams but we’ve got to do the business against those in and around us.

The jury is still out on Hughton's Norwich tenure, but with that kind of mentality in the dressing room, you have to believe that his side will fight for the manager and their own safety—and succeed.

15. Swansea (14th, 29 pts.)

Swansea made the decision to part with Michael Laudrup after a run of poor results and have placed Garry Monk in temporary charge.

It's possibly the masterstroke of the season, as Monk has continued to develop the side's attractive, passing style of football while also looking to guide the club to safety.

It'll be tough for the Welsh club in the next few weeks, though, as they take on West Brom in Week 30 before matches against Everton, Arsenal, Norwich, Hull and Chelsea—a mixed bag and a challenge that Swansea need to rise to.

16. Hull (13th, 30 pts.)

Progression into the FA Cup semifinals often acts as a springboard to success, and that's exactly what Hull need if they're to stay up this season.

However, it can also cause clubs to take their eyes off the ball and let their league form suffer as they go searching for silverware—and that's something Steve Bruce's side cannot do if they're to maintain Premier League football.

17. Crystal Palace (16th, 27 pts.)

Tony Pulis' side missed a real opportunity to make home advantage count in their 1-0 defeat by Southampton, and they need to turn their performance around if they're to win their six-pointer against Sunderland.

The trip to the Stadium of Light—an arduous journey from London to the North East—can have an impact on teams, but the Eagles must make sure to sharpen their talons if they hope to swoop in and record a win.

Palace hold a game in hand over Norwich, who sit just one place above them. A win could see the Canaries pulled further into the dogfight and help Palace rise further from the drop zone.

18. Cardiff (18th, 25 pts.)

Beating the teams around you is vital for any survival push, and that's exactly what Cardiff did in their 3-1 home victory against Fulham.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side knew that only a win would do as they look to secure their second season in the top flight. They now travel to Everton in Week 30, aiming to cause an upset that could see them climb to 16th place depending on other results.

With most of the sides around them holding at least one game in hand, the Welshmen need to apply pressure to their rivals in order to rescue their season.

19. West Brom (17th, 25 pts.)

With 10 games left to play and plenty of points needed to secure survival, the last thing West Brom need is talk of sacking their manager, Pepe Mel.

The 3-0 defeat by a struggling United side did the Baggies no favours as they look to avoid the drop, and it heaped further pressure on Mel, but Sky Sports' Pete O'Rourke tweeted of support from inside the dressing room:

This season, it's more of a case for West Brom to limp to safety. Travelling to Swansea in Week 30, those donning the first-team strip will need to put off-field antics behind them as they go in search of a vital win.


20. Fulham (20th, 21 pts.)

There's no easy way to say this, Fulham fans, but your side look beaten in their fight for survival.

Sitting in bottom spot and with those around them harbouring games in hand, the four-point gap to safety already looks like more of an uphill struggle than what their survival rivals face.

Felix Magath's input on the club has done nothing to arrest their poor form, and defeat at the Cardiff City Stadium showed just how many worlds apart Fulham are from even those sides who sit just a couple of places above them.


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