After one of the craziest weekends in recent memory, the English Premier League is even more confusing. United finally suffered its first loss, Chelsea looks like its finally out of the title conversation, and Liverpool continue to climb the table.
It's never easy to predict what will happen, but I'm going to do my best to try. This week, I have my power rankings to go along with my predictions. Take a look and let me know what you think. Thanks.
Last 6: L W L L L W (6 Points)
Despite defeating Manchester United last week, I don't see much strength from Wolves.
They have been horrendous on the road, which could prevent them from climbing the table. They have winnable road games coming up against West Brom, Aston Villa, and Newcastle. I think they will need to manage (at least) five points from these matches in order to have a legitimate chance of escaping the relegation zone. If they can start finding success on the road, then I don't see them having much problem escaping relegation.
Unfortunately, it has been their road woes that have them in their current position, which is why I don't see them improving their position by much.
Last 6: L L W L D L (4 Points)
Albion haven't had much to celebrate lately and that is a growing problem. At one point (early in the season, mind you), they were sixth in the league. Obviously, that success wasn't going to continue, but they have fallen much farther down than I could have imagined.
A win by any of the three teams below them would put them in the bottom three. Luckily, they have control over what happens. Their next two matches are at The Hawthorns against West Ham and Wolves. After that, their schedule becomes extremely difficult.
Therefore, if the Baggies can get at least one win in the next two matches, they could put themselves in good position. If not, one of the other clubs will find themselves clear of the relegation zone.
Last 6: W L L D W L (7 Points)
The loss last week was tough. Playing at home against a fellow struggling squad, the Hammers were looking to win back-to-back matches for the first time all season. Unfortunately, it finished as a 1-0 extremely disappointing defeat that put them at the bottom of the table. The very bottom.
Obviously, they are not a top 10 team, but they are not nearly the worst. They have struggled from the get-go, but a win this weekend against West Brom could potentially lift them out of the relegation zone. They are going to be in a dogfight until the bitter end, but I think West Ham have the talent to stay in the top flight.
Last 6: D D L L D W (6 Points)
Wigan were finally able to get three points last week in a 4-3 thriller over Blackburn. Sure, four goals is the same goal total from their previous four matches, but it's a step in the right direction.
Five of their next six matches are against top six teams, which doesn't bode well for the Latics. If they can steal a couple points from that brutal stretch, they will have put themselves in a very good place to avoid relegation. With the end of the season coming up, they need to get points in any way possible.
Last 6: L D W W L D (8 Points)
Aston Villa have been able to climb out of the relegation zone, and it doesn't look like they are going to fall back into it. Now, it's a matter of where they finish.
Villa have a very good chance to climb into the top half of the table, and, if they play extremely well, they could even sneak into a top six spot. I don't think that will necessarily happen, but at the rate Darren Bent is scoring, they shouldn't have any problem salvaging some respect from this embarrassing campaign.
Last 6: W L L L L L (3 Points)
The Seasiders have had a terrible run of form lately, but what does it mean? All of a sudden, they have fallen into the relegation battle. I think they are too talented to be relegated out of the Premiership, but that doesn't count for much on the table.
They have a relatively tough schedule for the rest of the year, and that could find them dropping even further down the table. I hate to say it, but I think that Blackpool need to figure out a way to start collecting points.
Last 6: L W D L D W (8 Points)
Many believe Birmingham City are in the best position of any team near the relegation zone. They have played the fewest matches in the league and have two games in hand over West Ham and Wigan Athletic.
A defense as stout as the Blues belongs in the top flight, and I don't think they'll have much trouble staying, provided they start winning at St. Andrew's Stadium. If they do, they should coast into safety in the middle of the table.
Last 6: L W L W L L (6 Points)
Despite a poor run of form, Blackburn have quietly hung around the middle of the table. They are not a top team, but they have a chance to spoil the top three teams.
They are not the most talented team, but with their goal-scoring ability, they have a very good chance to take out any team.
Last 6: L D L L W L (4 Points)
The Wanderers have fallen pretty far. They are still in the top half of the table, but I don't think that will last long. They play a couple teams above them on the table, which could keep them towards the top, but that is probably a bit ambitious. At this point, Bolton ought to forget this season and just try to stay competitive.
Last 6: L W D D L W (8 Points)
Everton were able to score a staggering five goals last week, but don't get used to that. It's too bad the squad wasted most of their offense in one week.
I don't think they'll have much trouble avoiding relegation, but it is a possibility. They lost their best player, which was obviously a step back. Now if the leaders on the team can help them continue this offensive outburst, they should be able to finish in the top 10.
Last 6: W L W L L W (9 Points)
Tony Pulis believes that a team will need 40 points to avoid relegation this year. To be honest, Stoke City shouldn't have a problem with that. They haven't played well since the New Year, but they should be content with being a staple in the middle of the table for the rest of the season.
Last 6: W D W L W D (11 Points)
Clint Dempsey has Fulham in top form. They have been able to get back to the middle of the table, and Dempsey deserves much of the credit. He has scored four of his nine goals since New Year's, and his top form has helped Fulham succeed.
If he is able to continue leading the squad, Fulham have a very good chance of climbing into the top 10 (maybe even top eight). I wouldn't expect much out of them, but anything is possible.
Last 6: W W D D L D (9 Points)
Newcastle have struggled in their last few matches, but they showed tremendous amounts of heart last week against Arsenal.
After getting embarrassed for the first half hour (heck! first half!), they gritted their teeth and defended St. James Park. Down 4-0, they were able to come back and earn a draw (with the help of two penalties) against a stunned 10-man Arsenal squad.
Without Andy Carroll, they are going to struggle scoring goals, but if they show heart like Saturday, they will earn respect from the entire Premiership.
Last 6: L D W W W W (13 Points)
I'm going to be honest, I'm smart enough not to fall for Liverpool yet. I think the switch from Torres to Suarez/Carroll will help them in the long run, and I think they can adopt an entirely new identity.
From there, they have a legitimate chance of competing for the league title next year. For the remainder of the season, they are going to start re-establishing the Liverpool name, and I would not want to be a squad facing them.
Last 6: W W D W L L (10 Points)
It looked like they were going to be fine without Darren Bent. Now, not so much.
It's tough to say, but I think Sunderland may need to forget about a top six finish. Liverpool are on fire and seem to be for real. Unfortunately, Sunderland have been struggling and this seems to be a wake up call for them.
They have performed better on the road than Liverpool have, which is why they're above them on my rankings, but I don't think it will last very long.
Last 6: W L D D W W (11 Points)
So, what can we believe about Spurs? To be honest, not really sure. They haven't played consistently enough to be a serious contender for the title. They are talented enough, but they aren't mature enough. If they didn't have frustrating draws (Newcastle, Birmingham City, Sunderland, West Brom), they could be serious contenders.
Unfortunately, they only left those matches with a single point, which is why they should probably just focus on their Champions League match for this week.
Last 6: D L W W W L (10 Points)
It's tough to write about the Blues. After watching United lose, I was excited to see if Chelsea could pull within a manageable seven points of the top. No dice.
Liverpool continued a good run of form and defeated them 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. Brutal. While they are not out of the title race yet, it is looking pretty rough. Covering 10 points in 13 games is a stretch, and I think Chelsea even realize they're in trouble. As much as it hurts, maybe they should just worry about the Champions League. If they did, it would just make everything easier on their fans, such as myself.
Last 6: W D W L D W (11 Points)
I hate to say it, but I think City may have been fooling us for the majority of this campaign. They have been near the top the entire time, but they are still behind United—and have an extra game played.
Their form hasn't dipped much, but they aren't playing well enough to win the league. Their schedule is brutal, and they need to prove themselves by winning at Old Trafford this weekend. If it happens, they solidify themselves as title contenders. If it doesn't, they will finally be exposed for being pretenders.
Last 6: W D W W W D (14 Points)
Arsenal need to forget last week. They embarrassed themselves. It's fine. Forget it. The title is still attainable. A draw at St. James Park is not something to hang your head on. Sure, the way it happened was awful but forget it.
They are at the top-of-the-form table but have only suffered one loss since November. That being said, no more draws after 4-0 leads! If they can manage this EXTREMELY difficult task (Sarcasm), I like their chances. United suffered their first defeat, and I think that has exposed them. They shouldn't suffer too much, but they could falter enough for Arsenal to slide into the top spot. Arsenal just has to be sure to capitalize on any slip-up.
Last 6: W D W W W L (13 Points)
Oh no! They've lost! They're done for! Not quite. Settle down.
United have lost in the league, yes, but that doesn't mean they're done for. They still have the best leader in the Premiership, and Ferguson should be able to right this ship before anything goes too wrong.
That being said, three of their next four games are going to be extremely tough (City, Chelsea, Liverpool), and their lead in the league could disappear. One loss could bring a lot of negativity, and United need to avoid that.
Let's be honest, United are too experienced to let one road loss bother them. They should rebound this week and put City out of the running (and yes, I am saying that to jinx them).
Manchester United 2 Manchester City 1
Arsenal 3 Wolves 0
Birmingham City 1 Stoke City 0
Blackburn 2 Newcastle United 1
Blackpool 1 Aston Villa 2
Liverpool 2 Wigan Athletic 0
West Brom 0 West Ham 1
Sunderland 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2
Bolton 2 Everton 1
Fulham 1 Chelsea 3
Birmingham City 1 Newcastle United 2
West Brom 1 Wolves 0
Blackpool 1 Tottenham Hotspur 3
Arsenal 2 Stoke City 1
Last Week: 4-4-2