The Premier League can be an unpredictable division, and making picks often feels like flipping a three-sided coin (if such a thing actually existed). These Premier League power rankings will provide a frame of reference as the season unfolds and teams go through patches of form, both good and bad.
- Sunderland (Last Week: 20) SUN 2-2 WHU
Dick Advocaat has decided to make an early dash for the exit and his players followed suit against West Ham, coasting into a two-goal lead before turning in for the day. The new manager will inherit a dressing room bereft of confidence and desire.
- Newcastle (19) MCI 6-1 NEW
The final score paints an unflattering picture of this match, but Steve McClaren will take comfort in his team’s excellent first half. Unfortunately for the Mapgies, trying to keep Sergio Aguero goalless is like bailing water out of a sinking boat with a slice of Swiss cheese.
- Aston Villa (18) AVL 0-1 STO
Aston Villa are drifting inexorably towards the Championship, looking completely hopeless in the process. Tim Sherwood’s tactical flip-flopping is only amplifying his team’s many flaws, while Villa’s defenders treated Marko Arnautovic like he had a bad case of cooties.
- West Bromwich Albion (16) CRY 2-0 WBA
Tony Pulis is renowned for his defensive nous, which makes Chris Brunt’s selection at left-back rather baffling. Wilfried Zaha tormented Brunt, eventually inducing the penalty that sealed the Palace win. West Brom fans must feel like they have a standing reservation at a restaurant that exclusively serves meat and potatoes.
- Stoke (17) AVL 0-1 STO
After several awkward weeks of experimentation, Stoke have secured consecutive victories and a sense of upward momentum. When he isn’t practicing his sassy eye-roll Marko Arnautovic can be a transcendent talent; his well-taken goal underlined what had already been a man of the match outing.
- Watford (15) BOU 1-1 WAT
Watford are steadily stockpiling valuable Premier League points and the credit for this one must go to Heurelho Gomes after the keeper produced a remarkable save to deny Steve Cook’s overhead effort. The Hornets are beginning to look like a solid Premier League outfit.
- Bournemouth (14) BOU 1-1 WAT
Artur Boruc is hardly famous for his cool head under pressure, and the Polish keeper added another gaffe to his lowlight reel, providing the assist for Odion Ighalo to finish into his open net. Bournemouth’s attack has been decimated by injuries this season, the Cherries cannot afford to hand out charity goals.
- Norwich (13) NOR 1-2 LEI
Despite receiving divine intervention in the form of Dieumerci (‘Thank God’ in French) Mbokani’s consolation goal, Norwich slumped to their first loss in five matches. A slow start condemned the Canaries, but Alex Neil will not lose too much sleep over this loss to the in-form Leicester.
- West Ham (11) SUN 2-2 WHU
Slaven Bilic would be a wanted man if looks could kill; the West Ham boss spent much of the first half sending withering glares at his passive players. The Hammers remain in fifth place thanks to a Dimitri Payet-led comeback, but Bilic will demand a 90-minute performance against Crystal Palace next week.
- Swansea (10) SWA 2-2 TOT
Despite Garry Monk’s protestations to the contrary, Swansea were lucky to split the points with Tottenham after mustering only two shots on target. Handing Christian Eriksen multiple free-kick opportunities is a surefire recipe for disaster.
- Southampton (12) CHE 1-3 SOU
Southampton treated Chelsea like an aging prizefighter on his last legs, pushing and prodding before breaking through with devastating speed and power. Ronald Koeman’s team was relentless, harrying Chelsea’s midfield into mistake after mistake. Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane would improve every team in the league.
- Liverpool (9) EVE 1-1 LIV
Brendan Rodgers’ sacking overshadowed any actual football played in this match, but in the end that was kind of the problem. Despite this being their manager’s last stand, Liverpool were as flat as a two-week-old Coke. The new manager must inject some drive into this listless squad.
- Chelsea (4) CHE 1-3 SOU
For the first time this season Chelsea fans are seriously wondering if Jose Mourinho can solve the issues plaguing his team. On the sideline Mourinho had an air of helplessness about him; an aura that clearly affected his baffled players. Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry should be banished from Stamford Bridge until they re-learn the defensive skills that underpinned Chelsea’s title run.
- Leicester (8) NOR 1-2 LEI
Claudio Ranieri has been somewhat mockingly labelled ‘the Tinkerman’ in the past, but his decision to omit Riyad Mahrez against Norwich worked a treat. Leicester allowed Norwich to dominate possession before forcing the Canaries into mistakes that were seized upon by the opportunistic Jamie Vardy and Jeff Schlupp.
- Everton (6) EVE 1-1 LIV
While Roberto Martinez correctly pointed out that Lucas Leiva was fortunate to escape a second booking for his cynical chop, Everton didn’t do enough to feel aggrieved about this result. Far too many promising counter-attacks fizzled out long before supporting blue shirts arrived.
- Tottenham (5) SWA 2-2 TOT
Mauricio Pochettino will view this draw with a tinge of regret, as his team sent forth a flurry of shots only to be undone by lackadaisical marking. Christian Eriksen looked desperate to be the matchwinner but was forced to settle for a pair of dead ball specials, a decent consolation prize.
- Crystal Palace (7) CRY 2-0 WBA
Alan Pardew’s Palace can play with patience as well as pace, a potent combination indeed. Yohan Cabaye’s marvellous dink was the kind of pass that is only spotted by elite number 10s and his execution was equally flawless. Wilfried Zaha’s decision making has finally caught up with his talent, a fact that will have left-backs across the country quivering with fear.
- Manchester United (1) ARS 3-0 MUN
United have taking a step forward this season, but this was their first real test and they failed miserably. The back four did their best Red Sea impression while the attack only occasionally threatened to click into gear. Wayne Rooney’s reputation is the only thing keeping him in the team.
- Arsenal (3) ARS 3-0 MUN
How Arsene Wenger must savour afternoons like this one. Arsenal were extraordinary in the late afternoon sun, pouring past United’s defenders in a red wave that might have featured the best football we will see this season. Gooners have endured several false dawns in the past; Wenger will be anxious to prove this team is different.
- Manchester City (2) MCI 6-1 NEW
The ludicrous thing about Sergio Aguero’s goal avalanche is that it came out of nowhere; City were frightfully ordinary in the first half before later exploding into action. David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne play like they are long-lost brothers; the pair’s chemistry will fuel City’s attacking engine.