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Premier League Club Power Rankings 2020-21, Vol. I

The ProSoccerTalk writers explain why they like the transfer moves made by Tottenham, Aston Villa, and Everton, and why squads like Burnley and Manchester United needed to do more.

Well, here we go with the very first Premier League Club Power Rankings of the 2020-21 seasons

Transfer Deadline Day is in the books and teams are still figuring themselves out, not to mention their opponents.

Clubs have also played between three and four matches against opponents of varying strength.

[ MORE: Full Premier League schedule ]

And how hard is it to read the litmus tests when we’re two teams from being able to complete one of those wheels of who lost to who, and that the teams we’re waiting on are Everton and Aston Villa.

On top of all that, almost every team on the table returns from the international break with a real litmus test including three derbies in the form of Everton-Liverpool, Crystal Palace-Brighton, and Tottenham-West Ham.

Cue Eric Wareheim mind-exploding gif.

ProSoccerTalk is using a different method to ranking teams this season, at least until everyone’s played each other once.

Here are our considerations:

  • Form -- Winning and losing in three recent matches plus notable injuries
  • Sense and strength matter -- If the champs lost two-straight hard luck matches and a relegation candidate got 2 weird VAR breaks to win, we note the big picture over the little.
  • The table -- Of course it matters.
  • Head-to-head -- The results better be notable if a head-to-head loser goes above a team that beat it recently.
  • Numbers > Luck-- Did a wicked deflection or bad bounce make a dominant side fall to a poor one? Let’s look at xG, shots, chances, possession, and other indicators.

At the first international break, let’s get stuck in...

Premier League Club Power Rankings 2020-21, Vol. I

20. Fulham

Last match: Wolves 1-0 Fulham
Next: Oct. 17 at Sheffield United

Here’s hoping Ruben Loftus-Cheek stays healthy and becomes the impact player he was at Palace, and that two signings at center back shore up a weak corps. If not...

19. Burnley

Last match: Newcastle United 3-1 Burnley
Next: Oct. 17 at West Brom

After losing 4-2 at Leicester in super unlucky fashion (xG says Burnley by about .7 of a goal), they were deserving losers to Saints and Newcastle. Sean Dyche wanted help on the transfermarket. Their answer was “Well, what if we keep James Tarkowski? Then Dale Stephens should be enough, right?”

18. West Bromwich Albion

Last match: Southampton 2-0 West Brom
Next: Oct. 17 v Burnley

The Baggies aren’t as bad as they’ve looked but Burnley, Brighton, and Fulham are next after a tough-enough run to start the season. Gotta get at least four points there.

17. Sheffield United

Last match: Arsenal 2-0 Sheffield United
Next: Oct. 17 v Fulham

If Rhian Brewster finds chemistry with David McGoldrick, Oli McBurnie, Billy Sharp, or Lys Mousset, then Blades could be reborn and be midtable again. If he doesn’t, well, reread that list.

16. Newcastle United

Last match: Newcastle United 3-1 Burnley
Next: Oct. 17 v Man Utd

Steve Bruce’s men are going to be like this all year over each span of four games, albeit without the fortunate point against Spurs more often than not. They crushed West Ham and Burnley because Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson have real quality and the opposing managers are short-handed and underwhelming or both. Jose Mourinho and Graham Potter are better tacticians and the Magpies could’ve been blown out in both.
15. Southampton

Last match: Southampton 2-0 West Brom
Next: Oct. 17 at Chelsea

Saints have so far, on the whole, been unlucky in how some really great goals defied them. The xG says they should’ve drawn in losses to Palace (Townsend -> Zaha) and Spurs (Harry Kane -> Heung-min Son x4) and that they gave nothing to Burnley and West Brom.

14. Wolves

Last match: Wolves 1-0 Fulham
Next: Oct. 19 at Leeds, 3 pm ET

Another slow start for a good team with a better manager. Rebounding isn’t automatic, but Wolves should be fine.

13. Brighton and Hove Albion

Last match: Everton 4-2 Brighton
Next: Oct. 18 at Crystal Palace, 9 am ET

A year after good performances often didn’t get appropriate results, it’s happening again. Brighton bossed Newcastle and Man Utd and could’ve drawn or beaten Chelsea. The Everton loss was justified, but three points via one win through four games could hardly tell the story of Potter’s men (if it wasn’t telling the story of their last 13 months).

12. Manchester United

Last match: Man Utd 1-6 Spurs
Next: Oct. 17 at Newcastle United

The way Monday’s transfer announcements all praised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer it seems he’s super safe, which is interesting given the xG score lines from United’s 1W-2L start to the season say they should be 0-3.

  • United 1.91 - 1.1 Palace (Palace won 3-1)
  • Brighton 2.98 - 1.58 United (United won 3-2)
  • United .87 - 3.30 Spurs (Spurs won 6-1)

Also, after beating Real Madrid and half the world to Donny van de Beek, Solskjaer’s playing him like it would be impossible for the youngster to understand his system or something. Van de Beek’s 39 minutes played are second-fewest on the team to Odion Ighalo’s five.

11. Crystal Palace

Last match: Chelsea 4-0 Crystal Palace
Next: Oct. 18 v Brighton, 9 am ET

Really don’t know what to make of the Eagles. Take away Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend and the next eight players on the roster have combined to contribute 1.28 xG. And Cheikhou Kouyate -- hardly a goal machine -- is responsible for nearly half of that total.

10. Manchester City

Last match: Leeds United 1-1 Man City
Next: Oct. 17 v Arsenal, 12:30 pm ET

They are hurt. Fine. They’ll improve, for sure. But this is hardly the sort of "(expletive) off” tour we expected. And Arsenal has the ponies to counter City out of the park. 1W-1D-2L City through four probably won’t happen, right? Right?!?

9. Arsenal

Last match: Arsenal 2-0 Sheffield United
Next: Oct. 17 at Man City, 12:30 pm ET

Thomas Partey is someone Atletico Madrid was willing to pay big to stick around. Arsenal convincing him to fit the exact hole in Mikel Arteta’s bucket should have the Gunners brimming with confidence.

8. Leicester City

Last match: Leicester City 0-3 West Ham
Next: Oct. 17 v Aston Villa

The opposite of last year: The Foxes followed up a remarkable and powerful defeat of a great club (Man City) by puking against a lesser side (West Ham).

7. West Ham United

Last match: Leicester City 0-3 West Ham
Next: Oct. 18 v Spurs, 11:30 am ET

Maybe David Moyes is a good game-planner and recruiter but really, truly annoying on the touch line? The Irons looked great for the second-straight week with Moyes giving the team talks via Zoom or something due to a positive COVID-19 test.

6. Chelsea

Last match: Chelsea 4-0 Crystal Palace
Next: Oct. 17 v Southampton

The 10-man loss to Liverpool is still sticking in our craw here, but this club is 2-1-1 with a very unlucky Timo Werner and without anything from Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic. The four before the next international break could dial up 10-12 points: Saints, Manchester United, Burnley, Blades.

5. Leeds United

Last match: Leeds United 1-1 Man City
Next: Oct. 19 v Wolves, 3 pm ET

I thought it would take time for Leeds to adapt and that they’d survive but stumble a lot. Sorry, Marcelo. Cue “Dumb and Dumber” voice -- “I was way off!”

4. Liverpool

Last match: Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool
Next: Oct. 17 at Everton, 7:30 am ET

A blip on the radar. Joel Matip is better than most people think and certainly more impactful than Joe Gomez. Even with him possibly fit after the break, there’s reason to believe that Richarlison, James Rodriguez, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin isn’t the best way to merge back into the PL highway.

3. Tottenham Hotspur

Last match: Man Utd 1-6 Spurs
Next: Oct. 18 v West Ham United, 11:30 am ET

Daniel Levy opened the checkbook to give Jose Mourinho the sort of pieces he requires to deploy an ideal ‘Mou’ system and we saw it against Manchester United. Sergio Reguilon can do for Spurs attack what Lucas Digne did for Everton, and their monstrous midfield trio dominated United at Old Trafford. Dominated Newcastle but lost two points to VAR and a dumb rule. Maybe?

2. Aston Villa

Last match: Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool
Next: Oct. 17 at Leicester City

It’s feel likely they beat a bad Sheffield United and a worse Fulham before getting a perfect storm against Liverpool -- an inspired Ross Barkley returning to face his Merseyside rivals plus some wicked bounces and no Thiago Alcantara, Sadio Mane, or Alisson Becker -- but who cares? Seven goals against the champs and 3-0. Dean Smith is the new Chris Wilder.

1. Everton

Last match: Everton 4-2 Brighton
Next: Oct. 17 v Liverpool, 7:30 am ET

Carlo Ancelotti, you beauty. And whatever you think Robin Olsen’s loan means, it’s not a safeguard. Without European schedule congestion, Everton is a good goalkeeper and healthy center backs away from contending for all the domestic honors.