Every week I will break down the balance of power in the English Premier League.
Record: 6-1-0, 19 points
League position: 1st
Streak: three wins (unbeaten in seven)
Eden Hazard was the player driving the Chelsea bus at the start of the season. Now it’s Juan Mata. The Spaniard has been in fine form, his latest stellar performance coming on Saturday when he set up two goals in the Blues’ win over Norwich City.
Record: 4-2-1, 14 points
League position: 5th
Streak: four wins (unbeaten in six)
Spurs continue to fly high with another win (this time against lowly Aston Villa). All those whispers from within White Hart Lane about Andre Villas-Boas’ future have subsided, as the likes of Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe are playing their best soccer in quite some time.
League position: 4th
Streak: one draw (unbeaten in four)
The Toffees appeared as though they were taking three points for granted against Wigan, as they looked flat coming out of the gate. Lucky for them that Nikica Jelavic can’t stop scoring and Leighton Baines continues to be one of the best fullbacks in the Premiership.
Record: 4-3-0, 15 points
League position: 3rd
Streak: two wins (unbeaten in seven)
The Blues rolled over Sunderland to extend their home unbeaten run to 33 league games (30 wins and three draws). More important, they recorded their first clean sheet of the season, which will give their often-criticized defence a morale boost.
Record: 5-0-2, 15 points
League position: 2nd
Streak: one win
Forget about Papiss Cisse’s goal (or non-goal). United was by far the better team, and manhandled the Magpies at their home stadium. And the fact they scored three goals with none of them coming from Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie speaks to the club’s scoring depth.
League position: 6th
Streak: one win (unbeaten in three)
Their win over last-place QPR was harder than it had to be, but full credit to the Baggies for grinding out another win to continue their great start to the season. Shane Long continues to be one of the best players in the league so far this campaign.
Record: 3-3-1, 12 points
League position: 7th
The Gunners rebounded from a disappointing loss to Chelsea with a pretty complete performance (and victory) away to West Ham. Olivier Giroud finally broke out of his league scoring slump, while fellow newcomers Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski continue to shine.
Record: 3-2-1, 11 points
League position: 8th
Streak: one loss
A valiant effort from Sam Allardyce’s side, but now they’re going to have to make do without the injured Ricardo Vaz Te, who hurt his shoulder and could be on the sidelines for three months. The Hammers will miss the Portuguese’s inventiveness.
Record: 3-1-3, 10 points
League position: 9th
Streak: one draw (winless in two)
A nice comeback by the Cottagers was undone when they conceded a late goal at St. Mary’s. One way or another Fulham has to put their road woes behind them and figure how to transfer their solid form at Craven Cottage on the road.
Record: 2-3-2, 9 points
League position: 10th
Streak: one loss (winless in two)
Forget about the Papiss Cisse goal controversy. The Magpies were outclassed and outworked by Manchester United and looked hopelessly clueless on set pieces and crosses played into the penalty area.
Record: 1-4-1, 7 points
League position: 14th
There’s no shame in losing to the reigning champions, but it would have been nice to see the Black Cats put up more of a fight. Like Fulham, Sunderland (winless in their last 11 road games) needs to find a way to earn wins away from home.
Record: 1-5-1, 8 points
League position: 12th
Streak: one draw (unbeaten in two)
The Potters continue to frustrate bigger clubs, this time keeping a clean sheet against Liverpool at Anfield. But again, they show little imagination going forward, and that could be their downfall come the end of the season when the relegation race heats up.
Record: 1-3-3, 6 points
It’s the same old story for Brendan Rodgers’ team. They create all of these scoring chances but they fail to finish them off. The Reds have nine goals this season, and they could have easily scored twice that many had they been more clinical in front of goal.
Record: 2-2-3, 8 points
League position: 11th
Streak: one draw (winless in five)
The Swans’ slide continues. Wayne Routledge and Miguel Michu regained their old chemistry against Reading, but the Welsh side continues to struggle on the defensive end, having conceded 11 goals during their current five-game winless skid.
Record: 1-2-4, 5 points
League position: 15th
It will never be mistaken for the best strike partnership in the league, but the Arouna Kone- Franco Di Santo duo is one to keep an eye on in the months to come. They’ve developed some nice chemistry and will be key to the Latics’ campaign for survival.
Record: 1-1-5, 4 points
League position: 17th
Jose Fonte had the game of his life, scoring two goals (including the late equalizer) to allow the Saints to earn a share of the points against Fulham
League position: 16th
Streak: one loss (winless in three)
Simply put, Aston Villas is not good enough that it can afford to leave a player of Darren Bent’s calibre on the bench for 66 minutes. He should be starting.
Record: 0-3-3, 3 points
League position: 18th
Streak: two draws (winless in six)
Reading is still looking for its first win after throwing away a two-goal lead on the road against struggling Swansea. It’s going to be a long season.
Record: 0-3-4, 3 points
League position: 19th
Streak: three losses (winless in seven)
Grant Holt has a point: he should be called up by Roy Hodgson to play for England. Holt scored a lovely goal at Stamford Bridge, and was one of the few bright spots for a Norwich team that had its hat handed to it by Chelsea.
Record: 0-2-5, 2 points
League position: 20th
Mark Hughes is on borrowed time. QPR offers quite a bit going forward, but they can’t defend to save their lives, and seem to hope that Julio Cesar can bail them out.