Every week I will break down the balance of power in the English Premier League.
Record: 12-0-3, 36 points
League position: 1st
Streak: three wins
The Red Devils continue to find a way to win, even though they keep leaking goals at an alarming rate. What does it say about Fergie’s team that they conceded three times in 24 minutes to a side that competed in the Championship last season? They can’t afford to be so defensively cavalier in Sunday’s Manchester Derby.
Record: 9-6-0, 33 points
League position: 2nd
Streak: one draw (unbeaten in fifteen)
How important is Carlos Tevez to the Blues? Consider that Manchester City is unbeaten in the 35 matches that the Argentine has scored in, with 31 wins and four draws. He’s also scored 13 of the 15 penalties he’s taken for the Blues, a conversation rate that would be the envy of former teammate Wayne Rooney.
Record: 8-2-5, 26 points
League position: 4th
Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe continue to form one of the most dangerous partnerships in the Premiership, and is a major reason why Spurs have won three in a row. In particular, Defoe has thrived in local derbies, scoring six goals in Spurs’ five games against London teams this season, including this past weekend versus Fulham.
League position: 5th
Streak: two losses
The Baggies latest loss to Stoke City underscored a major problem for them: once they’ve conceded the lead, there’s little chance of a comeback. West Brom has earned just one point from a losing position in the Premiership this season. Also, the Baggies have kept only one clean sheet in their last 10 league games.
Record: 5-8-2, 23 points
League position: 6th
Streak: three draws (winless in four)
Marouane Fellaini continues to be a force for the Toffees, as he’s been involved in nine goals (six goals and three assists) in his last nine league appearances. Wasn’t that surprising, though, that they didn’t hold on against Manchester City after taking the lead in the first half: 68 per cent of their goals have come in the opening 45 minutes of matches this season.
Record: 6-5-4, 23 points
League position: 7th
Streak: two wins (unbeaten in six)
Miguel Michu continues to be the most inspired signing of the season, as the Spaniard bagged two late goals to guide the Swans to a big win over Arsenal. Swansea has suddenly become the “new Arsenal,” with 22 of their 23 league goals having come from open play. This is a team that’s more than comfortable on the ball.
Record: 7-5-3, 26 points
League position: 3rd
Streak: one loss (winless in seven)
Rafa Benitez must be wondering what he got himself into. He’s the guy who is expected to bring the best out of Fernando Torres, but it won’t be easy: the Spaniard has gone 12 hours and 19 minutes without a goal in the Premiership. And the defence continues to sputter without John terry.
Record: 5-7-3, 22 points
League position: 9th
Streak: three wins (unbeaten in five)
The Potters are the hottest team in the Premiership right now. Who saw this coming? They may not be exciting to watch and offer little going forward, but you can’t fault their defence. Stoke has kept the most clean sheets this season with seven. Impressive.
Record: 6-4-5, 22 points
League position: 8th
Streak: one win
A big win over Chelsea, thanks in large part to an inspired performance from former Blues player Carlton Cole, put the Hammers back on the right track. This was also West Ham’s first win over Chelsea in 13 games, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can build a bit more momentum off this.
Record: 4-7-4, 19 points
League position: 12th
Streak: one win (unbeaten in eight)
Chris Hughton’s side continues to defy the odds, extending their unbeaten run to eight straight games. Part of the reason why the Canaries have achieved such great success has been their discipline: they’ve picked up fewer cards than any other team in the Premiership (12 yellows and no reds).
Record: 5-6-4, 21 points
League position: 10th
Streak: one loss (winless in three)
The Gunners continue to lack imagination and creativity in midfield, and decisiveness in the final third. Arsenal has won just one of the 11 league games this season when they had five shots or fewer on target. How they could do with a few team leaders right about now.
League position: 11th
A morale-boosting win over Southampton has Liverpool on the fringe of the top half of the table. The Reds limited the Saints to just one shot on target, and peppered the Southampton goal with shots, 19 in total.
Record: 4-5-6, 17 points
League position: 13th
The Cottagers’ free fall continues. Fulham continues to be its own worst enemy, with Mark Schwarzer’s failure to deal with a long-range effort from Sandro opening the door for Spurs to run rampant at Craven Cottage.
League position: 14th
Where would the Magpies be without Demba Ba? The Senegalese has been vital for Newcastle this season, and without him they’d be near the bottom of the table. The win over Wigan was big, but difficult games against both Manchester clubs are just ahead for Alan Pardew’s under-achieving men.
Record: 3-5-7, 14 points
League position: 15th
Streak: one draw (unbeaten in three)
The Villans are the latest team to take a point off a hapless QPR side. But if they’re going to beat the drop, Villa needs to start winning away from home – they have won just one of their last 16 road matches, with nine losses.
Record: 4-2-9, 14 points
League position: 16th
Wigan is a hard team to figure out. One week they’re tough to break down. Another week they concede with ease. And silly mistakes by Maynor Figueroa (being sent off early against Newcastle) and Ali Al Habsi (goalkeeping gaffe) don’t help their cause, either.
Record: 2-7-5, 13 points
League position: 17th
Martin O’Neill’s men continue to under-achieve as they get drawn closer into the relegation zone. The Black Cats aren’t getting enough shots on net, which explains why they only have 13 goals this season.
Record: 3-3-9, 12 points
League position: 18th
Streak: one loss (winless in two)
The Saints could only manage one shot on goal at Anfield in their 1-0 loss to Liverpool. And with 32 goals against (the worst defence in the league) it’s little wonder Southampton is struggling so badly.
Record: 1-6-7, 9 points
League position: 19th
Streak: three losses
What a performance against Manchester United! Unfortunately for Reading, their defence is even more suspect than the Red Devils’. Still, this might be something for the Hoops to build upon going forward. We’ll see.
Record: 0-6-9, 6 points
League position: 20th
Streak: two draws (winless in fifteen)
QPR has scored just seven goals in their last nine league games at home. So hardly a surprise they’re still looking for their first win of the campaign. Can Redknapp rescue this club? Not based on what we’ve seen so far from the Hoops since he took over.