Premier League Power Rankings 2014 Week 31: Examining Each EPL Club

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Premier League Power Rankings 2014 Week 31: Examining Each EPL Club
Jon Super/Associated Press

Chelsea's shock defeat at Aston Villa last time out could have cost them the title, as wins for Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City increased the heat.

Jose Mourinho's side rued two red cards in the 1-0 defeat at Villa Park, while away wins for the Reds and Arsene Wenger's Gunners showed title form.

There were plenty of shifts in Premier League power going into Week 31, so let's take a look at where said power has shifted across the division.

Jon Super/Associated Press

1. Manchester City (4th, 60 pts.)

City's 2-0 win over Hull highlighted that the club's focus remains on regaining the Premier League title, despite Champions League disappointment in Barcelona.

David Silva's stunner opened the scoring for the Sky Blues, with Edin Dzeko's left-footed strike sealing three points for Manuel Pellegrini's men.

Sitting just six points behind the league leaders and with three games in hand, City's title rivals will be looking nervously over their shoulders.

A win for Arsenal in Week 31 could also present City with more optimism, as City take on a Fulham side that has won its first game since New Year's Day, and you would back City to put Chelsea under real pressure with a win at the Etihad Stadium.

2. Chelsea (1st, 66 pts.)

Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Defeat in the Midlands highlighted that the title race is still wide open, with plenty of twists and turns that we are all yet to see.

Red cards for Willian and Ramires didn't help the visitors' cause and showed that Mourinho's men must improve in Week 31 as they host Arsenal in a title race six-pointer.

In terms of power, the Stamford Bridge outfit still holds the majority of cards at the top of the table, knowing that City must win all three games in hand to derail the Blues' pole position.

However, without two key midfielders, Mourinho will have to shuffle his pack as Chelsea take on the weekend's north London derby victors.

3. Liverpool (2nd, 62 pts.)

Jon Super/Associated Press

Liverpool's 3-0 win at Manchester United proved that they are a real driving force in this year's title race.

Steven Gerrard's performance, bagging two penalties and missing a third while leading his team to a memorable win, capped an excellent all-round display.

As tweeted by OptaJoe, Liverpool's attacking line has already surpassed the total set by last season's champions:

Perhaps most poignant, though, was the Reds' spirit as they took on David Moyes' men at Old Trafford, daring to dream and succeeding in their ambitions.

Brendan Rodgers' side arguably looks the most powerful in the league; however, with points to catch up on Chelsea and City's two games in hand over the Merseysiders, only a win will do at Cardiff.

4. Arsenal (3rd, 62 pts.)

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Tomas Rosicky turned Gunners hero at White Hart Lane as Arsenal picked up another derby win on Spurs' turf.

His 72-second goal gave Wenger's men all three points and showed just why you can't discount the side from picking up its first title in 10 years.

Keeping pace with Liverpool, the club will have to continue its jaunt towards success with a win at Stamford Bridge—not an easy result to come by.

5. Everton (6th, 51 pts.)

Bogdan Maran/Associated Press

Everton's ability to score goals across the team is a real driving force and shows why the Toffees are in pole position to qualify for the Europa League.

The 2-1 win over Cardiff paid testimony to the excellent work that Roberto Martinez is doing with the club, as Seamus Coleman's injury-time winner gave his side all three points.

With two games in hand over Tottenham and one in hand over United, a win against Swansea could put Everton within touching distance of a European return.

6. Tottenham (5th, 53 pts.)

Defeat in the derby highlighted that big changes are needed at Spurs in the summer.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

However, Tim Sherwood must not be one of those, as the manager brings a much-needed sign of realism to the dugout, noting that performances haven't been good enough recently.

The work rate against Arsenal was excellent; however, the squad missed excellent opportunities to draw level, presenting a worrying trait for Spurs' top-four hopes.

7. Southampton (8th, 45 pts.)

Mauricio Pochettino's England contingent did its World Cup hopes no harm in the 4-2 win over Norwich.

Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Goals from Morgan Schneiderlin, Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez and Sam Gallagher helped the Saints to victory despite a late scare through Johan Elmander and Robert Snodgrass.

Most impressively for Southampton was their ability to move the ball, using pinpoint passes to pick their opponent's defensive lock on several occasions.

Powerful and with the perfect reply to their 3-0 defeat against Liverpool, the Saints will see their match with Spurs as a great opportunity to move closer to the league's European spots.

8. Manchester United (7th, 48 pts.)

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

There's nothing worse than losing to your fierce rivals on home turf.

A big week now presents itself for Moyes, who will have to pick his side up from the gutter and attempt a victory at West Ham.

However, the side will be without Nemanja Vidic after his two yellow cards against the Reds, so a defensive reshuffle will be needed.

Worrying signs for Moyes' men, as defeat puts them 12 points outside of the top four, now scrapping with Everton and Tottenham for Europa League qualification.

9. Newcastle (9th, 43 pts.)

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Having their manager banned from the stadium as Newcastle crumbled to a 1-0 defeat at Fulham wasn't an ideal way to go into the match.

Perhaps the Toon Army had been hoping for back-to-back away victories after their 4-1 victory against Hull, but against the relegation-battling Cottagers, Alan Pardew's men found stern opposition.

A derailing defeat but, luckily for Newcastle, an 18-point gap between the north-east side and 18th-placed Sunderland means the side is all but safe for another year.

But with another scrapping side in Crystal Palace in Week 31, the outfit will have to up its game if it's to bag a home win.

10. Aston Villa (10th, 34 pts.)

Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Arguably the biggest result of Week 30, Villa's 1-0 scalp over Chelsea will provide a big boost to their survival hopes.

Fabian Delph's goal—and potential second—signalled intent from Paul Lambert's side to throw caution to the wind and go for broke against the Blues.

That mentality and following results make the Villans the most powerful of the bottom-half clubs, and a home match with Stoke in Week 31 could see a chance for another season-saving win.

11. Stoke (11th, 34 pts.)

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Mark Hughes' men showed great character to come back from Andy Carroll's fifth-minute opener to seal a 3-1 win over West Ham.

Peter Odemwingie's brace, sandwiching Marko Arnautovic's flowing move, proved the Potters' survival credentials as they turned up the tempo against Sam Allardyce's side.

Sitting 11th-placed and with just nine points separating Stoke from the bottom three, there's still some way to go towards ensuring their Premier League survival for another season.

12. West Brom (16th, 28 pts.)

Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

The Baggies picked up a vital three points in Swansea last time out, sealing a 2-1 win despite going a goal down after two minutes.

Speaking after the side's win, Pepe Mel told of newfound confidence at the club, according to the Daily Star's Jack Wilson

I am blessed. For the fans, for the players, we need to win and in football, confidence is all. The players need to win and now it's different, I hope. We talked about the problems, talked about the football, talked about the future face to face, and it's only 45 minutes and we need to change. The football players at West Brom are intelligent.

The pressure is the same for all the countries - in Spain, in England, Germany it's the same. My work is dangerous. Head coach is a difficult job, but the most important in football is the player.

Give credit where it's due to Pepe Mel's side, which showed character to fight for its survival with a victory that moved West Brom ahead of Crystal Palace and provided a three-point gap above the drop zone.

13. West Ham (12th, 31 pts.)

Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Defeat at the Britannia Stadium saw a disappointing result for Allardyce, but the club's turnaround from its early season shows its power in this year's Premier League.

Andy Carroll has risen to form in time for England squad selection ahead of the World Cup.

With the striker eyeing a trip to Brazil, the Hammers know that they have a real force in attack and that he will be doing everything in his power to make sure he's named in Roy Hodgson's squad.

He will have an excellent opportunity to do just that against United at Upton Park, as the champions look to build back from their 3-0 home defeat.

With just survival to play for, and with a six-point gap above the bottom-three, safety isn't secure just yet, and the side will know that the Red Devils are there for the taking.

14. Sunderland (18th, 25 pts.)

Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

Arguably one of the bottom half's more calm sides, sitting with three games in hand over many of their survival rivals, Sunderland go into their match at Norwich knowing that a win could lift the side out of the bottom three.

The Black Cats travel to Carrow Road in Week 31 as they look to build on their 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace, knowing that they have to win against Norwich to maintain their three-game chance to jettison themselves from the scrapping pack.

15. Hull (13th, 30 pts.)

Paul Thomas/Getty Images

Steve Bruce's side will have to overturn its poor fortunes against City as it takes on West Brom in a clash of struggling sides.

The Baggies will be going into the game as the in-form side and can move further away from the drop zone with a win, giving them the ascendancy of power over the Tigers.

16. Swansea (14th, 29 pts.)

Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

Gary Monk's men need to recover from the defeat against West Brom—and fast—if they're to take anything away from Everton.

The Swans are yet to secure their own safety and are in real danger of being sucked further into the melee, with Everton ready to show no sentiment as they chase their own European football hopes.

17. Norwich (15th, 29 pts.)

Christopher Lee/Getty Images

If Norwich are to maintain Premier League football at Carrow Road, they will need to make their mark early against Sunderland.

Sitting above the Black Cats, Chris Hughton's men will know that defeat could see their opponents leapfrog them in the table and move the club further into the mire.

18. Crystal Palace (17th, 28 pts.)

Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Taking on Newcastle at St James' Park, Palace have plenty to build on after their goalless draw and will be looking to make it double pain against Pardew's men.

Marouane Chamakh has scored five league goals this season, and Tony Pulis will be hoping that his striker can prove the difference once again.

19. Fulham (20th, 24 pts.)

Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Last weekend's win over Newcastle will provide a big boost to Felix Magath's side, as the recent appointment picked up his first win in charge.

Still sitting bottom-placed with an four-point difference from the safety spots, the side needs its second win on the spin against Manchester City.

But with some weight behind Fulham following victory, an upset could yet be on the cards that affects both ends of the table.

20. Cardiff (19th, 25 pts.)

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Looking to build on late heartbreak at Goodison Park, Cardiff host Liverpool and will have to up their game if they're to derail Liverpool's current form.

Chasing the title, Cardiff know that they have to win to go level with Sunderland and give themselves a fighting chance of survival under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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