By KEVIN LINSEY
It’s that time again, soccer fans! This week begins a two-week long international break, so let’s examine the Premier League season so far. For a refresher on my methodology, teams are ranked by how I think they’ll finish the season, with their current league position (out of 20 teams) in parentheses. Without further ado, here’s the Premier League Power Rankings as of November 12:
1. Chelsea (1) Unbeaten through 11 matches says it all. Jose Mourinho’s team is firing on all cylinders and sparking realistic discussion on whether they could go all 38 games without losing.
2. Manchester City (3) Manchester City struggled against QPR on Saturday, uncharacteristic of the team that usually takes care of business away from home. It is unclear whether Man City has it in the tank to win it all this year.
3. Southampton (2) The Saints are marching into an unbelievable league position. It remains to be seen if they can keep this up all season, but no one expected them to be Chelsea’s biggest challengers.
4. Arsenal (6) The Gunners have been out-of-sync, as their defense has been hit by injuries. One would expect them, once their defense returns healthy, to win some games and finish around fourth.
5. Manchester United (7) They still insist on playing all their high-priced offensive talent which is not producing. The lack of defensive options isn’t helping either.
6. West Ham United (4) A surprisingly solid start to the season for West Ham, led by Stewart Downing, of all people. The former unproductive Liverpool winger has enjoyed a renaissance so far this year and has fully deserved his England recall.
7. Liverpool (11) A popular pick to struggle after selling Luis Suarez to Barcelona over the summer, the Reds have not done well to this point. Without Suarez, the leading goal scorer in England last year, goal scoring is the main challenge.
8. Everton (10) Everton, or “Tim Howard’s Team” as US fans say, is rebounding from a slow start. The return of Kevin Mirallas from injury will aid the offense as well.
9. Tottenham Hotspur (12) Inconsistency is a hallmark of Tottenham Hotspur, and this year is no different. Again, the squad is too big and no players are standing out.
10. Swansea City (5) Swansea has profited so far from a partnership between Gylfi Sigurdsson and Wilfried Bony. The Icelandic midfielder and Ivorian attacker look set to lead the squad for the rest of the season.
11. Newcastle United (8) Terrible start to the season for Newcastle, but since then, they’ve turned things around and have done extremely well. Which team will show up the rest of the year: Good Newcastle or Bad Newcastle?
12. Stoke City (9) Stoke usually benefits from being very hard to beat at home, but strangely that hasn’t been the case this year, as even Leicester City won at Stoke. As with many of these teams in the middle, consistency will be the key.
13. West Bromwich Albion (13) New coach Alan Irvine has proved himself at this level and it looks as if the Baggies can avoid relegation. Can they make an assault on the middle of the table, though?
14. Hull City (15) Now out of the Europa League, this team can concentrate more on the Premier League and definitely have the chance to be higher up the table in the next Power Rankings. The home loss to Burnley, the Clarets’ first win of the season, doesn’t look good on the record, however.
15. Sunderland (14) The Black Cats have rebounded okay from the 8-0 loss at Southampton. Can they survive again remains to be seen.
16. Leicester City (18) A good start to the season, but disappointing lately- the opposite of Newcastle. Can five-goal scorer Leonardo Ulloa, who hasn’t scored in several games, find his form again?
17. Crystal Palace (17) As the “Fire Warnock” chants get louder, no one really knows where this Palace team is headed. Quite possibly, down to the second division.
18. QPR (19) Some would rank QPR last at the moment, but the encouraging goalscoring form of Charlie Austin (four goals in the last three games) gives them hope of survival.
19. Aston Villa (16) They shockingly started well, but they’ve lost seven straight since and looked woeful in the process. If Ron Vlaar is sold to Manchester United in January like the media is reporting, then Villa could be in relegation trouble.
20. Burnley (20) First win achieved for Burnley, although they still look a long shot to survive.
That’s it for this week’s rankings. Be sure to check around the next international break for a new edition of the Power Rankings!