Premier League Power Rankings & Review: Week 1

Lukaku, Manchester United steal the show in Week 1

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The Premier League is back in full force bitches! Week 1 didn’t let us down. It was an action-packed weekend, with 31 goals in total, 3 red cards, and some last-minute drama. Let’s take a look at the best and worst of the weekend, with Cautionable Offense’s Week 1 Power Rankings.

1. Manchester United (W, 4-0 vs. West Ham)

Current place in table: 1st

Last week’s ranking: N/A

Yes, I am a Manchester United fan. No, this is not a biased decision. If you don’t agree, you either A) didn’t watch the game, B) are blinded by your biased support of another club/hate for United, C) an idiot who doesn’t know soccer, D) A and B, E) B and C, or F) A, B, and C. This was no doubt United’s best performance since the Ferguson Era. Sure, it was a weakened West Ham side, but there was still enough quality in the Starting XI that nothing more than a 2 goal win was expected. Instead, the match finished 4-0 and easily could’ve been 6 or 7. Lukaku and Matic were absolutely brilliant and showed no signs of being new to the club. Pogba looked to be in his own class. And the attacking fluidity and creativity of Rashford, Mata, Mkhitaryan, and Martial was something we’ve rarely seen under Mourinho. I don’t expect United to do this consistently week in and week out, but even if they play half as well as they did this weekend going forward, they’ll be in an excellent position.

pogba lingard

2. Manchester City (W, 2-0 vs. Brighton & Hove Albion)

Current place in table: 3rd

Last week’s ranking: N/A

Right on United’s tails are Manchester City. It took 70 minutes for the breakthrough goal from Aguero, but City ultimately dominated the entirety of this game, finishing with 78% possession. The scary thing with City is the fact that their bench was worth well over $200 million alone (Sané, Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Yaya Touré, Mangala, Foden and Bravo) and probably could’ve beaten at least 10 other EPL teams. Kevin De Bruyne, my pick for Player of the Year, could play a ball through the eye of the needle if he felt like doing so. There are 2 major questions for City going forward: can Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero develop enough chemistry together in a two-striker system to both be productive? And how will City’s back 3 hold up against more dangerous attacking teams. Surely Kompany’s a toe stub away from being out for months. Also, John Stones still sucks.

3. Tottenham (W, 2-0 vs. Newcastle)

Current place in table: 4th

Last week’s ranking: N/A

A typical and somewhat hilarious foolish decision by my boy Jonjo Shelvey basically gifted Tottenham this game, but they were the more dominant team and were bound to breakthrough at some point either way. The attacking trio of Kane, Erikson, and Alli looks even more dangerous than it did last year. Opposing defenses will need to start developing a game plan for stopping all three if they hope to slow Spurs down any time soon.

4. Chelsea (L, 2-3 vs. Burnley)

Current place in table: 14th

Last week’s ranking: N/A

Chelsea really weren’t as bad as it the result makes it seem. They lost composure and fell apart for 20 minutes following the Gary Cahill red card, which I didn’t completely disagree with, but also actually found to be a slightly soft call given the flow of the game. They regrouped in the second half and outplayed Burnley with 10 men, and then 9 men after Fabregas’ very much deserved second yellow. I’m sure Conte had his reasons, but Morata proved that he shouldn’t be coming off the bench going forward. My concern with Chelsea is their depth, or lack thereof. They looked lost without key players like Hazard, Pedro and Cahill, and I’m not entirely sure they have the players on the bench that can fill those roles when needed. Batshuayi looked terrible, and David Luiz still forgets he is a center-back at times.

P.S. Can someone get this guy a goddamn button-up shirt & tie or something. The all-blue jumpsuit is far and away the worst managerial look in the league.

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5. Arsenal (W, 4-3 vs. Leicester)

Current place in table: 5th

Last week’s ranking: N/A

Couldn’t have scripted this classic Arsenal performance any better myself. Lacazette scores on his PL debut 2 minutes in and Gunner fans couldn’t be more hype about it. Then reality hits as Leicester quickly exposes Arsenal’s continual defensive flaws and takes the lead 2-1. Welbeck ties it up with the last kick of the half with a classic, scrappy Danny Welbeck goal. More poor defense in the second half puts Leicester back in front but late goals by Aaron Ramsey and an impossible header from Giroud steal the game for Arsenal. Leicester look to be a strong team once again this year, so all in all, it was a hard-fought, solid win for Arsenal. The big L happened off the field, as rumors of Sanchez’s and Ozil’s discontent at Arsenal or desire to transfer, continues.

“Can we go to Paris already? I wanna go to Paris. Take me to fuckin Paris.” -Alexis Sanchez’s girlfriend, probably.

sanchez

6. Leicester City (L, 3-4 vs. Arsenal)

Current place in table: 13

Last week’s ranking: N/A

It was disappointing to see Leicester come out with no points from this game. I thought it was an inspiring performance and they looked dangerous on the counter-attack, which was a big part of their formula for success two seasons ago. Jamie Vardy also played like top-form Jamie Vardy, being a complete pest around the net, getting himself in the right places inside the box. I fully expect them to be in the win column after their fixture next week at home vs. Brighton & Hove Albion. Chat shit get banged, boy.

7. Liverpool (D, 3-3 vs. Watford)

Current place in table: 9th place

Last week’s ranking: N/A

“Hi, yes is this Virgil Van Dijk? Hi Virgil, this is Jurgen Klopp. We’re looking for some competent defenders here at Liverpool, would you mind joining us?” You’re going to struggle to win games if you can’t defend set pieces. You’re also going to struggle to win games when you’re goalkeeper is Simon Mignolet. And you’re reallyyyyyy going to struggle to win games when your star player is out with a “sore back” aka the “i don’t feel like playing because I want to go win trophies with Messi and Barcelona” injury. Fuck man, I gotta sore back too. We all have sore backs. Without Coutinho, Liverpool still have a lot of attacking power with Mané, Bobby Firmino, and the Egyptian Pharaoh Mo Salah. Plus, Lallana’s return will only help. But the difference between really good Liverpool and pretty good Liverpool is completely dependent on what happens with Coutinho in the coming weeks.

8. Everton

Current place in table: 7th

Last week’s rankings: N/A

People forget, Wayne Rooney is still pretty good at soccer. And just because he no longer had a place in a strong Manchester United side, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a place in the Premier League at all. Jordan Pickford also had a strong showing in net picking up his first clean sheet for Everton. Overall, a solid start to the new campaign for the Toffees.

9. Southampton (D, 0-0 vs. Swansea)

Current place in table: 11th

Last week’s ranking: N/A

Not sure if it’s a good thing or bad thing that Southampton had 29 total shots, yet only 2 shots on target, and 0 goals………….nah definitely not a good thing. It was an atrocious display of finishing from Southampton, but every team has those games here and there. Managing a shot every 3 minutes is still pretty impressive. And they were running circles around Swansea. Hit the training ground with some finishing drills this week and Southampton should be just fine.

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10. Huddersfield Town (W, 3-0 vs. Crystal Palace)

Current place in table: 2nd

Last week’s ranking: N/A

The Terriers are finally here, and they’re here to stay. My early favorite for Dark Horse team of the year. Huddersfield Town absolutely picked apart a weak Crystal Palace defense. Steve Mounie (2 goals) – remember the name.

11. West Brom (W, 1-0 vs. Bournemouth)

Current place in table: 8th

Last week’s ranking: N/A

West Brom’s biggest summer signing, Jay Rodriguez, was spectacular in his debut. West Brom will need him to remain healthy and be the difference maker this season. Another new signing, Ahmed Hegazy, also contributed, scoring the game’s only goal.

12. Watford (D, 3-3 vs. Liverpool)

Current place in table: 10th

Last week’s ranking: N/A

Watford probably didn’t deserve any points from this week’s fixture, but they took advantage of some poor set piece defending from Liverpool. No matter what way you get them, it’s a positive sign for Watford to see the ball hit the back of the net 3 times after Troy Deeney’s summer departure.

13. West Ham (L, 0-4 vs. Manchester United)

I don’t think it’s fair to drop West Ham any lower than this. They got a torn a new one by Manchester United, but give credit where credit is due, as United played their most complete game in years. Additionally, West Ham was without Antonio, Lanzini, Kouyaté, and Andy Carroll. Expect a much better West Ham team when healthy. That being said, after a disappointing 2016/17 campaign, and now a thrashing like this in the opening game 2017/18, Slaven Bilic may very well be at the top of the “next manager to be sacked” watch list.

14. Burnley (W, 3-2 vs. Chelsea)

Current place in table: 6th

Last week’s ranking: N/A

This result was more about Chelsea playing like garbage for 20 minutes than Burnley playing well. There was actually a point where it looked like Burnley were trying to blow the game, but finally did some math and realized that 11 > 9, and started playing rondo for the final minutes to finish off an exhausted Chelsea side. Still, there were some positives to take away for Burnley. Particularly, Sam Vokes continued his fine Premier League form with two class finishes, and an early goal of the season contender from Stephen Ward.

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15. Stoke City (L, 0-1 vs. Everton)

Current place in table: 16th

Last week’s rankings: N/A

Everton were the better team and deserved winner in this match, but Stoke weren’t terribly outplayed. They had a few half-decent chances that required good saves from Jordan Pickford. For Stoke, it’s all about who can replace Marko Arnautovic this season. Whether it’s internally or externally through the transfer window, they will need to find this replacement soon or it could be a long season.

16. Newcastle (L, 0-2 vs. Tottenham)

Current place in table: 18th

Last week’s rankings: N/A

When Jonjo Shelvey is playing, there is a high chance of seeing one, or if we’re lucky enough, both of these things. 1) a 30 yard screamer followed by “IT’S JONJO SHELVEYYYYYYYYYYYY!” commentary, OR 2) some reckless, scumbag tackle or action from Shelvey. This week, we got #2. It was a silly mistake against a strong Tottenham side, and there was little chance to pull out any points in the match from that moment on.

Coincidentally, it’s also Harry Potter marathon weekend in America. Shout out to alopecia.

jonjo-shelvey-swansea-lord-voldemort

17. Bournemouth (L, 0-1 vs. West Brom)

Current place in table: 15th

Last week’s ranking: N/A

This game probably took the cake for the most dry and boring game of the weekend, and would’ve finished 0-0 were it not for Begovic being a little bitch by not coming a few feet out of his net to handle a set piece that was swung well inside the six-yard box. Bournemouth have a decent side, but they have to find a way to get points off mid-table teams like West Brom if they’re going to have any kind of success this season.

18. Brighton & Hove Albion

Current place in table: 17th

Last week’s ranking: N/A

The Seagulls held Pep Guardiola’s mighty and powerful Manchester City squad scoreless for 70 minutes, and that in itself should be considered a partial win for them. It won’t be an easy season for Brighton, but after watching this match, I can say this with certainty: it will be difficult for team’s to come away with all 3 points when travelling away to Brighton. The stadium, fans, and atmosphere this weekend was second to none in the PL, and a huge reason it took City so long to breakthrough.

19. Swansea (D, 0-0 vs. Southampton)

Current place in table: 12th

Last week’s ranking: N/A

Swansea can’t expect to let up 29 shots a game and still put together a decent season. They were nowhere close to winning this game and the draw itself was more due to Southampton’s poor display of finishing. Bob Bradley back in?

20. Crystal Palace (L, 0-3 vs. Huddersfield Town)

Current place in table: 19th

Last week’s ranking: N/A

A nightmare start for CP, getting absolutely smashed by a bunch of nobodys over there in Huddersfield Town. I questioned Palace’s defensive strength before this weekend began, and I’ll question it even more now. If they can’t stop the attack of Huddersfield, I’m not sure how they plan on stopping the attack of Liverpool next week.

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Til next week dawgs

 

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