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Wheeler: Chelsea remains atop TSN Power Rankings

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Gareth Wheeler, TSN Radio 1050
10/5/2012 9:21:32 AM
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Chelsea remains on top as Gareth Wheeler of TSN Radio 1050 provides his latest TSN Premier League Power Rankings:
 
1) Chelsea (5W-1D -0L, last week: 1) - Chelsea is rolling.  If any questioned Chelsea's title credentials before, a win at the Emirates should seal the deal.  Fernando Torres looks focused and fit again.  He is the most important player for the team.  Roberto Di Matteo has done fantastically well, layering his attack and covering up for personnel and/or positional weaknesses in the side.
Next up: v Norwich
 
2) Manchester City (3-3-0, last week: 4) - Winning at Craven Cottage is no easy feat.  City did just that after falling behind.  Of concern for Roberto Mancini is the rate his side is conceding goals.  They have yet to earn a clean sheet this season.  Javi Garcia (hamstring) is an injury concern for the weekend.  With a healthy, on-form front line, few can score with the ease of City.
Next up: v Sunderland
 
3) Everton (4-1-1, last week: 5) - Toffees keep rising through the Power Rankings.  Although it shouldn't be a surprise based on the strong form they finished their last campaign.  No team looks as strong through the spine of the team.  And David Moyes is finding proper use of his fringe players.  Playing organized and confident football can do wonders.
Next up: at Wigan
 
4) Arsenal (2-3-1, last week: 3) - Losing at home to Chelsea is a let down.  Defender Laurent Koscielny was exposed twice on the goals.  But still a lot of positives as the Gunners were a constant threat to the Premier League's top-side.  Young wing-backs Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs continue to shine.  Abou Diaby (thigh) remains out through at least the international break.  A win this weekend would be Arsene Wenger's 350th at Arsenal.
Next up:  at West Ham
 
5) Manchester United (4-0-2, last week: 2) - A 3-2 home loss to Spurs exposed many issues with the squad.  Slow starts are only part of the problem.  Defensive injuries have exposed lack of organization and pace at the back.  The midfield, although dominant in possession, lacks the cutting edge it once had.  And Sir Alex is turning to formations foreign to his previous successful squads.  That being said, they still have top players, and no player looks more capable to turn a match on its head than Robin van Persie.
Next up: at Newcastle
 
6) Tottenham Hotspur (3-2-1, last week: 8) - Ending a 23-year drought at Old Trafford is reason enough to rise in the rankings.  Spurs showed why they are one of the most feared teams in the Premier League – speed on the wings and up front, size and skill in the middle of the park, and defenders able to get up the park and challenge.  It's going to take some more time to gel.  But this team has the makings of a contender.
Next up: v Aston Villa
 
7) West Bromwich Albion (3-2-1, last week: 6) - Times are changing at West Brom.  A point at rival Aston Villa would have been a thing of celebration.  Last week's draw was a disappointment for Steve Clarke and the Baggies, would continue to play as tough as any in the Premier League.  West Brom still have a 100 percent home record.  Star winger Peter Odemwingie is set to return from suspension.
Next up: v QPR
 
8) Sunderland (1-4-0, last week: 12) - Five shots and five goals for new hero at the Stadium of Light, Steven Fletcher.  Makes you forget about Nicklas Bendtner very quickly, doesn't it?  Depth will always be an issue for Sunderland.  But the fact remains they are one of only three unbeaten teams in the Premier League.  And they are the only team yet to go down a goal in any match this season.
Next up: at Man City
 
9) Newcastle United (2-3-1, last week: 7) - Manager Alan Pardew returns from his touchline suspension.  And his team was lucky to pick up a point at Reading.  Demba Ba got away with a blatant handball on his equalizer.  It's been an average start to the year for Newcastle, with players battling injury and trouble finding form.  But with Ba and Cisse rounding into form, Pardew's men look set for a run up the table.
Next up: v Manchester United
 
10) Stoke City (1-4-1, last week: 11) - Peter Crouch continues to be immense for Stoke City.  Four of the teams six goals tell only part of the story.  Crouch is Tony Pulis' only reliable attacking option.  It shouldn't surprise, but Pulis looks intent on loading the midfield, playing very narrow and grinding out results.  Britannia will remain a fortress.  Away from home is another story.
Next up: at Liverpool
 
11) Fulham (3-0-3, last week: 10) - The Cottagers were unable to hold on to an early lead against the Champions.  Dimiatr Berbatov out (hip) didn't help matters.  The return of Karim Frei (pelvis) gives Martin Jol more options.  Reports of player rifts with the manager seem far-fetched.  This team looks fine.
Next up: at Southampton
 
12) West Ham United (3-2-1, last week: 13) - Another impressive win for Big Sam and the boys, this time away from Upton Park (2-1 at QPR).  Andy Carroll's return gives the Hammers an extra boost.  And fellow summer signing, Mathew Jarvis continues to impress.  Finding consistency remains key.  West Have have more bookings than any other side in the Premier League (15).
Next up: v Arsenal
 
13) Liverpool (1-2-3, last week: 15) - Brendan Rodgers will be ecstatic about Liverpool's first comprehensive performance of the year.  A Luis Suarez hat-trick was the difference and will be a welcome sight to a team without regular reliable goal-scorers.  A misfiring Fabio Borini remains worrisome.  And the 12-goals conceded is another problem Rodgers must look to solve.
Next up: v Stoke City
 
14) Swansea City (2-1-3, last week: 9) - The Swans continue to slip after such a promising start.  Once again, the Swans issues are mainly at the back.  Manager Michael Laurup is calling this weekend's match against Reading a 'must-win'.  Good news is they continue to create chances.  Time for them to capitalize.
Next up: v Reading
 
15) Aston Villa (1-2-3, last week: 18) - Plenty to like for manager Paul Lambert, coming out of the derby match with West Brom with a point, but showing well in the process.  Villa is showing some real fight.  And Lambert is creating competition for places, with star striker Darren Bent left on the bench to start the weekend's match.  Bent came on and scored the equalizer. 
Next up: at Tottenham
 
16) Wigan Athletic (1-1-4, last week: 14) - The Latis were buried by another Steven Flether goal for Sunderland in a 1-0 defeat.  A Jordi Gomez red card, which has since been rescinded, didn't help matters.  16th place in the table doesn't do Wigan justice.  But more goals are surely needed (five in six matches) to avoid a true relegation battle.
Next up: v Everton
 
17) Southampton (1-0-5, last week: 17) - After picking up their first win of the season a week earlier, things were seemingly too good to be true after Gaston Ramirez opened the scoring after just six minutes at Goodison Park.  Everton's superior class took over from there, and a 3-1 defeat was handed to the Saints.  Same problems at the back persist, conceding a league worst 18.  Until those issues are solved, Southampton's away form will remain poor.
Next up: v Fulham
 
18) Norwich City (0-3-3, last week: 16) - Disaster at Carrow Road, a 5-2 loss to Liverpool, as the Canaries were second best from the get-go and down after just two minutes.  Sloppy at the back is of particular worry for Chris Hughton. Striker Grant Holt should be less concerned with an England call-up than getting goals for club (one in six matches).
Next up: at Chelsea
 
19) Queens Park Rangers (0-2-4, last week: 19) - QPR Chairman Tony Fernandes has given manager Mark Hughes his support despite sitting 20th in the table.  But you can't help but wonder how much longer QPR can continue to slide.  The big spending club is winless in six.  And look absolutely hopeless at the back.  Four league goals doesn't bode well either. 
Next up: at West Brom
 
20) Reading (0-2-3, last week: 20) - Reading looked full marks for their first Premier League win of the season until a Demba Ba controversial goal denied three points.  It was a clear handball by Ba leading to the equalizer.  Harsh for the Royal.  But building blocks here from a team lacking confidence. 
Next up: at Swansea
 
Chelsea v Norwich City live from Stamford Bridge airs across the TSN and TEAM Radio Networks on Saturday, with coverage kicking off at 9:30am et/6:30am pt.
Fernando Torres (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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