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To the surprise of some, SB Nation's latest Premier League Power Rankings have a new chieftain, with Manchester United unseating Chelsea at the top of the table.
Wait a tick. Manchester United are the new principal - the new superintendent, if you will - of the SB Nation Premier League Power Rankings? I must have missed something over the weekend.
Am I wrong, but didn't Sir Alex Ferguson's men get outplayed by a Liverpool team not only in the relegation zone but also down to 10 men for the better part of 50 minutes? Yes, this is Liverpool-United, and the result is certainly paramount, but still. For this author, it is the performance that speaks volumes, and if that kind of display is worthy of a leap from third to first in the network's Power Rankings, let it be known that I'm at a loss.
Then again, I don't have a vote here, so what do I know? Actually, I know a little something about something, and it starts with breaking down the rest of the SB Nation table. Let's have a look, shall we?
For reference, here is a link to Week 5's power rankings.
1. Manchester United (Average ranking of 1.60): I have already discussed this at length in the introduction, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy another laugh at its expense. Jokes aside, United have looked formidable since losing on the opening weekend to Everton. You know they're only going to get better, too.
2. Chelsea (2.40): An average ranking of 2.40 seems kind of insulting if you ask me. We haven't lost and are top of the real - key word being real - league table. It appears our fellow bloggers are harboring on about the goalless draw with QPR, rather than looking at the entire portfolio thus far.
3. Manchester City (3.47): The reigning league champions are in seventh on goal differential in the real table, but slotting in at third on this list is a solid call. The main concern for City is that a team that wasn't conceding last season is doing so at an alarming pace this term; check out last night's League Cup defeat to Aston Villa for more evidence. Still, you would expect City to sort that out and get back to being really efficient and really unlikable.
4. Arsenal (4.13): I have an issue with this call somewhat, but only because I don't like Arsenal. Sorry (not really). Arsenal, for me, were the better side at the City of Manchester Stadium, and though I think a draw probably was a fair result I doubt anyone could have been upset had the visitors grabbed all three points. Most impressive - the fact that this defensive unit, so maligned in recent seasons, is looking a picture of solidity. Scary.
5. Everton (4.67): One could make an argument that the Toffees should replace Arsenal in the SB Nation top four. I wouldn't be against that decision, at all. Everton - backed by the lovely Marouane Fellaini (we'll see you in January, sweet prince) - have been excellent thus far this season, and that continued with a demolition of Swansea City over the weekend. The only gripe for David Moyes would be that his side didn't score six or seven.
6. Tottenham (6.80): Spurs have yet to record a signature win. Moreover, they've yet to impress anyone. And yet here they are, eighth in the real table and sixth in the power rankings. I'm not sure what to make of that. One could say, by looking at average rankings, that this is our first chasm in the latest SB Nation's list.
7. West Bromwich Albion (7.13): Even with West Brom coming back down to earth somewhat, I still feel they should be above Spurs, at least on the basis of what they've done thus far this season. I mean, they're still fourth in the league table after all, and have a host of legitimate goal scorers.
8. Newcastle United (8.07): The Magpies won in the league at the weekend - against lowly Norwich City - for the first time since the opening day of the season. Damba Ba is scoring goals, but Alan Pardew and he aren't in love anymore. Papiss Cisse isn't scoring goals (He scored tonight? Oh.). I'd argue Newcastle should be around midtable rather than eighth.
9. Fulham (8.27): Martin Jol's side is erratic, but has enjoyed their best start to a league campaign since 2002. To be fair, though, Fulham haven't had the most daunting of starts. Still, they should probably be above Newcastle in the power rankings for me.
10. Swansea City (10.80): We've come to our second significant drop in average ranking. Swansea, with back-to-back defeats, have been hit with a decent dose of reality following their absurdly good start to the season. Pick it back up, Michu. Michael Laudrup's free-scoring side have coincidentally failed to net in either of the losses. That's worrisome. They have Stoke City this week. A further drop in next week's rankings could be eminent.
11. Sunderland (11.47): This is a good side. Unfortunately, they have no wins to back up such a statement. Four draws in four matches have Sunderland just about where everyone should have them right now - midtable. I expect to see the Black Cats making a significant move upward in coming weeks. Hey Stéphane Sessègnon, score some goals please.
12. West Ham (12.00): Sam Allardyce takes boring club with limited ability and gets them around midtable. Shocker. Yes, I still don't like West Ham.
13. Stoke City (12.80): Difficult to watch. Difficult to beat. That just about sums up Tony Pulis' side. You have to give them credit, they know how to play to their strengths.
14. Liverpool (13.67): Hey, it's Liverpool. Way, way down there. The last rankings recap I did two weeks ago saw the boys of Merseyside in 13th place; nothing like another drop in the ranking to warm a Chelsea heart. In honesty, Liverpool probably deserved to rise in this week's rankings given how well they played at home against Manchester United. If that performance was any indication of coming events, this side may be climbing this list rather swiftly.
15. Wigan Athletic (15.46): This is what I said about Wigan in my last recap two weeks ago, following the Latics' 2-2 draw with Stoke which resulted in a ranking of 11th: "Whether Roberto Martinez can keep this side afloat remains to be seen, but at the moment, this is a deserving landing for them in the rankings." Yeah, Roberto hasn't been able to keep them afloat. Consecutive league defeats are an ominous sign.
16. Aston Villa (15.93): I keep saying Paul Lambert is going to turn this thing around. Maybe last night's 4-2 win over Manchester City in the Capital One Cup will be the catalyst. Still, we're talking Premier League here, and Villa have been woeful thus far. I would have dropped them below Southampton (at least) following the stuffing served up to Lambert's boys over the weekend.
17. Southampton (16.13): Like Villa, I've been singing Southampton's praises ever since I started compiling these power ranking recaps. At least this time I have reason to do so. The Saints produced a sublime second half against Villa to pick up their first points since returning to the top flight. I'd, of course, have them higher on this list, but at least they're out of the relegation zone. I have a feeling Southampton is going to follow the path blazed by Blackpool a couple of seasons ago - if they're going to go down, they're going to do so in entertaining fashion.
18. Norwich City (18.20): Last time out, I said I would be shocked if Norwich moved out of the bottom two of these power rankings at all this season. That's egg on my face then. I still reckon the two sides below them are better sides. Norwich just don't have the quality, I'm afraid.
19. Queens Park Rangers (18.27): A thoroughly frustrating week for Rangers. They were much the better side against Tottenham over the weekend, yet left White Hart Lane with nothing. At least for Mark Hughes there was finally a glance at the quality that this team have the ability to produce. QPR are unlikely to languish around this position in the power rankings for much longer.
20. Reading (19.40): Not this bad, but pretty bad. Reading should be fearful of an extended stay near the doormat of the rankings because, quite frankly, I'm not sure they have enough genuine quality to navigate a way upward. Sure, they were impressive against Chelsea but that appears to be an exception to the rule rather than the rule itself. Relying on the return of Jason Roberts doesn't really instill confidence, does it?