Now that we’ve seen some real soccer, and not just preseason action, a better prediction can be made for the rest of the season.
Before the campaign started, you didn’t really know how a team was going to play considering all of the offseason action. Sure, there are predictions, but most of those are based off last season’s numbers.
For example, through Chelsea’s first three matches, would anyone have predicted Eden Hazard to have one goal and six assists? Meanwhile, their hero from last year, Juan Mata, has yet to make a mark on the score sheet. Even David Silva has only played in 86 minutes of action and his role on Man City is suddenly a lot less than it used to be. The return of Carlos Tevez (two goals, one assist) has a lot to do with that.
The list goes on with unpredictable circumstances at the beginning of the year.
That said, let’s take a look again at the power rankings for each position, already a bit different than they were just two weeks ago.
*Keep in mind these aren’t rankings for the next gameweek, they are for the next few months.
- Joe Hart, Manchester City, 7.0m
- Tim Howard, Everton, 5.5m
- Michel Vorm, Swansea, 5.5m
- Ben Foster, West Brom, 5.0m
- Petr Cech, Chelsea, 6.5m
The keeper spot is one that doesn’t change too often since there’s only one starter per team. While Hart didn’t get off to a great start, he will still more than likely finish up top. Everton, Swansea and West Brom are all playing really well early in the campaign and all three of those goalies are top class. Cech fills in at the end because no one else really deserves the final spot unless you want to consider Ali Al-Habsi, but I’m not convinced on Wigan making it another year.
- Leighton Baines, Everton, 7.0m
- Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal, 7.0m
- Patrice Evra, Manchester United, 7.0m
- Angel Rangel, Swansea, 5.0m
- Gary Cahill, Chelsea, 6.5m
- Benoit Assou Ekotto, Tottenham, 6.5m
- Ryan Taylor, Newcastle, 5.5m
- Vincent Kompany, Manchester City, 7.5m
- Ryan Shawcross, Stoke City, 5.0m
- Aaron Hughes, Fulham, 4.5m
Baines makes it at No. 1 because he’s already a top defender, but throw in the way Everton is playing right now and that makes him even better. The last few seasons Everton started off really slow; this year looks like the opposite. Vermaelen and Evra are no-brainers behind him. I dropped Kompany just because he shouldn’t cost more than the previous three players named.
Rangel may be a surprise, but he’s really cheap and going back to last year, Swansea provides cheap, yet effective defenders. Taylor is on his way back from injury and could start next match for Newcastle. While there are better defenders on Fulham, Hughes is just 4.5m and can be your stable fifth defender.
- Eden Hazard, Chelsea, 9.8m
- Hatem Ben Arfa, Newcastle, 7.6m
- Juan Mata, Chelsea, 9.3m
- Miguel Michu, Swansea, 6.9m
- Yaya Toure, Manchester City, 8.0m
- Antonio Valencia, Manchester United, 9.0m
- Marouane Fellaini, Everton, 6.7m
- Samir Nasri, Manchester City, 8.5m
- Kevin Nolan, West Ham, 6.0m
- Steven Pienaar, Everton, 6.5m
We all knew Hazard was good, but there’s no way he’s keeping up this pace. Even if he doesn’t keep it up, he’ll still be the top midfielder – that’s how good he started his career at Chelsea. Michu is filling right into Gylfi Sigurdsson’s old place at Swansea, which means there are plenty of points to be had for him. Nathan Dyer is also playing well, but we saw streaks like this from him last season. The rest of the midfielders were hard to pan out.
Juan Mata is still a major part of Chelsea’s offense which is why he’s still on my list. David Silva, however, doesn’t seem like that big of a factor anymore at City. He didn’t even start last match. With Samir Nasri gelling with the team a little more, he could be the one to break through in 2012. Toure seems to have a lock on his position at the moment. I’m going with Valencia over Shinji Kagawa and Nani in midfield. Valencia has a pretty set winger spot at United while Kagawa is fighting with other attackers for opportunities. Nani is a pretty streaky player and at the moment, he’s not in stride.
The Everton boys came out of the gate strong and look like stable midfield options this year. Fellaini is a mess to deal with on every cross, and if he doesn’t get hurt he will be a Top 10 midfielder. As for Pienaar, it looks like he is once again revived after playing at Tottenham last year. And we can’t forget about Kevin Nolan, who had 12 goals just two years ago playing at Newcastle; he’s a cheap and quality option.
- Robin van Persie, Manchester United, 13.0m
- Carlos Tevez, Manchester City, 9.3m
- Fernando Torres, Chelsea, 10.0m
- Emmanuel Adebayor, Tottenham, 9.6m
- Demba Ba, Newcastle, 7.6m
- Nikica Jelavic, Everton, 8.5m
- Mladen Petric, Fulham, 6.1m
- Peter Odemwingie, West Brom, 7.0m
- Bobby Zamora, QPR, 6.4m
- Pavel Pogrebnyak, Reading, 5.0m
With Sergio Aguero and Wayne Rooney out for the next month, this list was harder to make than usual. The top four strikers are pretty set at this point. I am expecting Adebayor to pick up where he finished last year at Tottenham, totaling 17 goals and 12 assists.
Ba and Jelavic are pretty set as well. It’s almost a toss-up between Ba and Papiss Cisse with who gets the goal/assist each week at Newcastle, but I think Cisse will come back to earth this season after his amazing start at the end of last campaign. Petric the Poacher will be taking a lot of Dempsey’s chances and looks which is a good thing for him. Odemwingie, Zamora and Pogrebynak are all guys that can score. However, the first two have injury problems and Pogrebnyak is still a newbie to the Premier League so those spots could easily change.
*Stats up-to-date as of Aug. 26