After the international break, the Premier League returns and slides into Gameweek 13.
We’re hurtling towards festive madness and this week’s fixture was the last break of the year.
Keeping tabs on all 20 Premier League teams is the Sport360 Stock Exchange (360SE), our season-long measurement for top-flight sides as we track each club throughout the campaign and take into account their results to assign positions.
We initially used reputation and squad worth to determine the starting price but from Gameweek 2 onward, we’ve examined their output to create a new value.
The total points gained for the season are used as a tiebreaker, but sides which have produced big wins against strong opposition get a big boost and vice versa.
Without further ado, here’s the rankings after GW13.
1. Manchester City: 568 / 572 / +4
Total for 2018/19: +76
City are running riot, but not in the chaotic and frenzied manner that portrayal suggests. Death for their opponents is being inflicted with the most calm and cold approach, like being strangled by a silk scarf. West Ham were the latest to be smothered as Leroy Sane (twice), Raheem Sterling and David Silva plundered at London Stadium. An exhibition but one of class.
2. Liverpool: 541 / 548 / +7
Total for 2018/19: +73
Liverpool are keeping pace with City, ironically doing so by decelerating their play. Jurgen Klopp has refined his philosophy to ensure Liverpool efficiently and effectively accrue points, relaxing his anarchic pressing machine in favour of a more rigid and consistent style. Watford were largely good on Saturday and they are an excellent side. But they were ultimately worn down by the visitors and a 3-0 victory through goals from Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino in a demanding fixture warrants a legitimate stock boost for Liverpool.
3. Chelsea: 484 / 476 / -8
Total for 2018/19: +46
Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the domestic season is over and it had been coming. Maurizio Sarri’s side are vastly improved in comparison to last term, but their fine start has disguised defensive deficiencies which Spurs ruthlessly unmasked in a 3-1 victory at Wembley. David Luiz’s career as a premier centre-back option is over as well after he mimicked his alter-ego Sideshow Bob with a series of self-inflicted errors.
4. Arsenal: 458 / 464 / +6
Total for 2018/19: +34
Unai Emery is not afraid to make decisions. He opted for a back three, the first time Arsenal have done so this season, at Bournemouth and dropped his mercurial playmaker Mesut Ozil. The plan worked. The wing-backs created overloads in the wide spaces and both goals were created through those areas. Arsenal were, once again, caught out on the counter but the winner from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – his 10th in all comps this season – will have delighted Emery.
5. Tottenham Hotspur: 446 / 460 / +14
Total for 2018/19: +40
Spurs are one of the finest teams to watch when they are in full throttle. With Harry Kane their chief weapon, Dele Alli, Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen providing the ammunition in behind, they’re difficult to stop. Mauricio Pochettino has welded a fine team, bursting with energy and ability. A 3-1 shredding of London rivals Chelsea – it really should have been four or five – fortified their title bid.
6. Manchester United: 446 / 442 / -4
Total for 2018/19: -18
United are absolutely cruising right now… to disaster that is. Crystal Palace wandered into attacking phases with relative ease as the lethargy which has diseased Jose Mourinho’s men this season struck again. There was so little threat going forward, no urgency in midfield and only Palace’s profligacy meant the clash finished 0-0. The lack of alternatives is keeping Mourinho in a job, but not in the top six and perhaps that grim reality will soon be the case in our rankings, too.
7. Everton: 378 / 382 / +4
Total for 2018/19: +11
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s simple finish after Theo Walcott’s strike was parried into his path, negated any frustration for Everton after Cardiff proved tricky to break down. Marco Silva is building an impressive team, one which has now broken into the top six, and Goodison Park is becoming a fortress. Continue in this vein, and they’ll bridge the gap to the top six in our rankings.
8. Leicester City: 360 / 362 / +2
Total for 2018/19: +12
A moment of Maddison – sorry – curtailed Leicester’s chance of victory at Brighton after their star midfielder was dismissed, given a second yellow for an egregious dive following on from a silly foul. Oddly, Brighton actually dropped off despite the numerical advantage and lost their slender goal lead as Jamie Vardy rose from the bench to equalise from the penalty spot. A small stock boost follows.
9. West Ham: 358 / 354 / -4
Total for 2018/19: -9
Being emphatically beaten by Manchester City is no surprise, but West Ham paid for their own imprecision. Defensively asleep in the first 35 minutes, they fell 3-0 down and the clash was effectively over before it began. Chances arrived and were not taken in the second half. West Ham continue to blow hot and cold this season and were ultimately frozen by City.
10. Bournemouth: 330 / 332 / +2
Total for 2018/19: +52
Everything about Bournemouth screams style. From a slick counter-attacking approach, to their cool and collected young manager Eddie Howe. Even own goals are done so in a sophisticated fashion. Yes, Jefferson Lerma scored an outstanding own goal as his effort to divert an Arsenal cross saw him slide and volley past his own goalkeeper. The more positive side of Bournemouth was exhibited through a fine Josh King equaliser, but then Aubameyang notched a winner to deny the high-flying Cherries a chance of closing in on the top-five. Regardless, their performance warrants a small stock rise.
11. Watford: 300 / 300 / 0
Total for 2018/19: +50
Watford could and probably should have had a penalty at 0-0 against Liverpool. There was contact from Andy Robertson on Will Hughes’ shin and a goal would have given them the impetus required to really trouble a Liverpool side lacking the intensity of last season. As it was, they were dragged to a 3-0 defeat and that scoreline will deeply disappoint Javi Gracia.
12. Wolves: 339 / 330 / -9
Total for 2018/19: +33
“Look inside and find the why” was how Nuno Espirito Santo planned on recovering from a devastating 2-0 loss against Huddersfield. His side were bad, really bad, and while you can’t picture a better performance for the visitors, the same can be said in reverse for Wolves. They’ve had a great start, play the game in the right way but the fundamentals were lacking against Huddersfield and they paid heavily for that.
13. Crystal Palace: 296 / 302 / +6
Total for 2018/19: +12
A 0-0 draw at Old Trafford would usually be viewed as an excellent return for Roy Hodgson. However, they missed opportunities to turn one point into three as their counter-attacking strategy was a trick without the treat. Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend’s pace caused United’s defences problems, but not the goal. A disappointing draw in the end, but a healthy stock increase all the same.
14. Brighton: 287 / 290 / +3
Total for 2018/19: +40
When thinking of prolific Premier League scorers, Glenn Murray is not exactly the type you’d immediately draw up. The Brighton striker is 35-years old and is unremarkable in the extreme. Yet, he continues to plunder and a seventh league goal of the season was enough to earn his side a point against Leicester. His glancing header from a corner was Brighton’s 14th of the season and 10th from a set-piece, a fine way to mark his 100th Premier League appearance.
15. Newcastle United: 285 / 289 / +4
Total for 2018/19: -1
A third-consecutive league win and a first away from home has given Rafa Benitez a little breathing space. Burnley perhaps didn’t deserve to find themselves 2-0 down so early, but Newcastle overall fully warranted the victory. The effort and attitude was everything Benitez could hope for and it means his side are up until 13th in the league, mirrored slightly in our rankings.
16. Burnley: 275 / 273 / -2
Total for 2018/19: -16
Plenty of huff and puff from Burnley against Newcastle, but no confidence to turn the winds of defeat away from them. Sean Dyche’s side look really short of confidence and are struggling to patch up their defensive issues with attacking spirit. This season they have been conceding goals at a rate of slightly more than two per game. Their strength is now a weakness.
17. Fulham: 260 / 268 / +8
Total for 2018/19: -22
The Claudio Ranieri era is up and running, although his new charges did everything possible to try and trip themselves up against Southampton. Fulham possess players capable of hurting their opponents from an attacking sense, but then simultaneously damage themselves defensively. Aleksandar Mitrovic scored two fine strikes either side of the break having gone 10 hours without a goal, with Andre Schurrle’s tap-in sandwiched in between after going one down. Welcome back to the Premier League, Claudio.
18. Southampton: 260 / 254 / -6
Total for 2018/19: -16
Mark Hughes will scratch his head as to how his side have been beaten again, then he’ll likely proceed to tear his hair out at sight of the league table. Southampton are in the bottom three but with the talent at Hughes’ disposal, they really do not warrant being there. After a dreadful defensive performance away from home at Fulham, the question now, is how long can Hughes last? Not long when Manchester United, Spurs and Arsenal inhabit their next four fixtures.
19. Huddersfield Town: 225 / 235 / +10
Total for 2018/19: +12
David Wagner is composing quite the revival with Huddersfield. A win at Wolves would mean they could jump as high as six spots, defeat would keep them rooted to the bottom. Victory then was worth more than just three points and thanks to two sweet finishes from Aaron Mooy, Huddersfield delivered. February was the last time they scored twice in a league game and naturally that means a huge stock boost for win of such magnitude.
20. Cardiff City: 216 / 216 / 0
Total for 2018/19: +16
Cardiff remain in the bottom three after a gritty defeat at Everton. The away side were unambitious, a perfectly fair tactic considering their woeful defensive record, but to their credit displayed resilience. Defeats against sides in the upper echelons are not ones which will see Cardiff relegated.
Jose Mourinho told Manchester United‘s underachieving players to “stay at home” if they cannot handle the pressure to perform at Old Trafford.
Young Boys are the visitors on Tuesday evening as the Red Devils look to reach the Champions League last 16 with a game to spare – a feat they will achieve should they win and Valencia fail to beat Juventus.
Progress would be a welcome shot in the arm after Saturday’s tepid goalless draw with struggling Crystal Palace, which left them 14 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and with a mere three wins from nine home matches in all competitions.
However, Mourinho knocked back suggestions his players find it easier to play away and laughed off a suggestion that playing at Old Trafford brought added pressure ahead of facing the Swiss champions.
“If you feel pressure, stay at home – and when I say home, I don’t say stadium home, I say home home and watch on TV,” Mourinho said.
“If you feel pressure to play matches at home where the people come to support… come on. I never felt pressure to play at home.”
Mourinho expects a response from his side in Tuesday’s Group H encounter, having questioned some of his players’ “heart”, desire and intensity after the 0-0 draw with Palace.
The United manager stopped short of using such cutting soundbites on the eve of the Young Boys encounter but shed a light on the issues he faces.
“It’s frustrating because what I want is the team to start strong, is the team to go strong on the opponent, not to be waiting, not to be reactive but proactive,” Mourinho said, having also said his side are “not very good on second balls”.
“That’s exactly what I want and probably you or the fans, they think ‘oh, Jose told them to start slow’, ‘Jose told them to play nice and easy and wait to see what happens’ or ‘to be losing for then to react’.
“It is exactly the opposite thing. I want the team to start strong, I want the team to have a go immediately and it is a bit frustrating.”
Frustrating would also aptly describe Victor Lindelof’s injury setback.
Recently crowned Sweden’s player of the year, the improving 24-year-old has established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet.
But Lindelof’s resurgence after a slow start to life at United has been derailed by a muscle issue, meaning Mourinho’s remaining centre-back options are Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones.
Marcos Rojo – yet to play a minute this term – is also absent for the United manager, who has made his frustration clear at the club’s failure to reinforce the defence over the summer.
“(Lindelof) does the scan (Tuesday) but, by the experience of the medical department and the feelings of the player, he has a muscular problem and a muscular problem takes time,” added Mourinho, who said Lindelof would be out for “quite a while”.
“I would say if we have him for the Christmas period – where we need, if possible, every player to be available for that difficult period until the Newcastle match on January 2 – if we can have Victor available for that period, it will be good.”
Arsenal icon Arsene Wenger is reportedly interested in a shock return to management.
According to The Telegraph, Wenger is eyeing a move to Bayern Munich after turning down a chance to make a Premier League comeback with Fulham.
Apparently, the Frenchman is not interested in another assignment in England after spending more than two decades with the Gunners.
According to the report, Wenger is looking to start work in the New Year.
Wenger is being looked at as a possible replacement for Niko Kovac by the Bayern management.