SBNhanced Power Rankings: English Premier League, Week 2

WIGAN ENGLAND - AUGUST 21: Florent Malouda of Chelsea celebrates with Branislav Ivanovic (L) as he scores their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Chelsea at DW Stadium on August 21 2010 in Wigan England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

No surprise at the top, even beyond Chelsea in the number one spot. A similar predictability is forming at the bottom of the rankings, where two clubs are early volunteers for a relegation battle.

Chelsea's won three Premier League titles since the league's inception, so the honor's undoubtedly a bit devalued.  There's their FA Cup defense, a run toward a first Champions League honor - could they pull-off a triple? Or quadruple?

All meaningless compared to the most underreported honor of all: top spot on SB Nation's list of who's who in Premier League soccer.  We use the word power, so it must be important, and for the second straight week, Chelsea is the most importantest club of all, with their second 6-0 victory of the season earning them the ranking's first perfect score.

What It All Means

Rank and Club should explain themselves. The number in parathesis next to the rank is last week's placing. Overall is the percentage of possible points garnered by the club, where each ballot received awarded between 1 and 20 points to each team. Title is the percentage of voters who think the team will compete for the Premier League, while Champs and Europe tell the same of for Champions League and Europe (in general). Relegation is the percentage of voters who think the club is set for a relegation battle.

Below them, a shake-up - what you'd expect this early in the season. One club jumped six spots, while two others experienced a proportional fall. Despite that volatility, the league's expected big three have already floated to the top.

At the other end of the spectrum another distinct group has developed.  The first two weeks have given us a little two - a pair of teams which every voter put in a relegation-worthy spot.  In a league that's being discussed for the growing gap between its best and worst teams, these two clubs serve as the best exemplars of the growing divide.

But first, the league's elite.  All SB Nation English Premier League writers surveyed, top 20 answers on the board:

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
1 (1) Chelsea
SB Nation Blog: We Ain't Got No History 100% 100% 100% 100% 0%

Last week I speculated that Chelsea's 99% overall rating could be as close as we would get to "hundreds across." Wrong. Very wrong, as one week later, Chelsea has a perfect score. And deservedly so. Even with qualms about the lack of strength in their schedule, no other club has mounted a challenge to the top spot.

Next match: hosting Stoke City on Saturday.

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
2 (4) Arsenal
SB Nation Blog: The Short Fuse 92% 83% 100% 100% 0%

Arsenal is a good example of why Chelsea deserves the perfect rating. The Gunners have as impressive a resumé as any non-City club in the league, yet their accomplishments carry as many caveats as Chelsea's. Arsenal's 6-0 victory on Saturday moved them to four points, second in the league thanks to their +6 goal difference, but it's a record built upon a home blowout of a Blackpool and over a full match's worth of time playing with a man advantage.   At least Chelsea's played full sides.

Next match: at Blackburn on Saturday.

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
3 (2) Manchester United
SB Nation Blog: The Busby Babe 88% 100% 100% 100% 0%

Though we see an obligatory drop after their draw at Craven Cottage, the SB Nation EPL team's showing little doubt in Manchester United. Had United held out for a win on Sunday, they would have had a claim to the poll's top spot.  Even considering the disappointing outcome, one point at Craven Cottage may have been the most impressive result from one of the league's big three.

Next match: hosting West Ham on Saturday.

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
4 (5) Manchester City
SB Nation Blog: Bitter and Blue 87% 33% 100% 100% 0%

Roberto Mancini's navigated his club's tough opening schedule, picking up four points along the way, an outcome any Citizen supporter would have been happy with after the fixture list came out. With clean sheets against Tottenham and Liverpool, Manchester City's one of two clubs yet to allow a goal.

Next match: at Sunderland on Sunday.

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
5 (3) Tottenham Hotspur
81% 16% 100% 100% 0%

Despite a win at the Brittania, Spurs fall a spot, perhaps karmic retribution for Jon Walters' non-goal. Of course, like any other viewer who saw the controversial non-goal from the Stoke City forward, the SB Nation team does not know for sure that the ball crossed the line. Hopefully we've found more legitimate reasons to downgrade Spurs. Considering it's Arsenal's jump in the rankings that's helped Spurs' fall, it appears we have.

Next match: hosting Wigan on Saturday.

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
6 (6) Liverpool
67% 16% 83% 83% 0%

 

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
7 (7) Aston Villa
SB Nation Blog: 7500 to Holte 60% 0% 0% 100% 0%

A couple of curiously high rankings for Liverpool and Aston Villa gives some insight into how the SB Nation panel thinks. Voters are ranking these clubs less on accomplishment and more on how strong they are moving forward.  Despite losing by a combined nine goals this weekend, Liverpool and Villa maintain their spots.  Evidently it will take more than one week slips for these clubs to fall.

Next matches: Liverpool hosts West Brom, Aston Villa hosts Everton, both on Sunday.

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
8 (9) Fulham
SB Nation Blog: Cottagers Confidential 59% 0% 16% 66% 0%

Fulham jumps one spot in the ranking, but their biggest boost was in the Champions League rating.  Last week nobody thought the Cottagers a threat to finish in the top four.  Now, they have some support.

Next match: at Blackpool on Saturday. 

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
9 (12) Birmingham City
58% 0% 0% 33% 0%

Craig Gardner's brace at Paul Robinson's expense lifts the Blues three spots and has made believers of the few voters who thought them likely to battle relegation. Last week, relegation was 12 percent for Birmingham City.  This week, nada.

Next match: at Bolton on Sunday.

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
10 (14) Bolton Wanderers
55% 0% 0% 0% 16%

No such confidence in Bolton's four points, which may say as much for the lack of belief in West Ham as it does the Trotters. Even if we can't take a lot from Bolton's three points at Upton Park, a potential awakening of Johan Elmander would give Owen Coyle enough goal scoring to push toward the top half of the league.

Next match: hosting Birmingham City on Sunday.

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
11 (17) Newcastle United
52% 0% 0% 33% 0%

The Magpies are the big riser this week, and while some may look at the ranking relative to Villa's with a furrowed brow, they shouldn't be so negative. The Toon gained 29 percentage points worth of overall support, lost all 75 percent of their relegation speculators, and have some people believing they have a Europa challenge in them.  Always look on the bright side of life.

Next match: at Wolves on Saturday.

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
12 (10) Blackburn Rovers
50% 0% 0% 0% 0%

Blackburn drops two spots, but again, the individual ratings are more telling. Last week: 51 percent in overall and 12 percent for relegation. There seems to be more confidence in Sam Allardyce's team after their close call at St. Andrew's.

Next match: hosting Arsenal on Saturday.

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
13 (15) Wolverhampton Wanderers
48% 0% 0% 0% 33%

Four points and Mick McCarthy has yet to have Kevin Doyle and Steven Fletcher on the pitch at the same time. Coming-off a strong point from their trip to Goodison, this week's visit from the Magpies gives Wolves a chance to solidify a stellar start.

Next match: hosting Newcastle on Saturday.

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
14 (8) Everton
SB Nation Blog: Royal Blue Mersey 42% 0% 0% 83% 0%

Where Newcastle's the list's big gainer, Everton is the tumbler, falling six spots and losing the Champions League support they had (was 37 percent last week). But look at the Europe figure and you see our panel likes Everton to rebound. Unlike the Liverpool and Villa ratings, this one is a snap-shot.

Next match: at Aston Villa on Sunday.

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
15 (16) Stoke City
27% 0% 0% 0% 16%

When we discussed Tottenham, I mentioned the effect of Walters' non-goal. Here we see Stoke, despite no points through two matches, moving up one spot. What's more, their relegation figure's down from 50 percent. Unfortunately for Tony Pulis, the fixtures do not get easier this week, but our panel's looking at the strength of opposition like Spurs and Chelsea and giving the Potters the benefit of the doubt.

Next match: at Chelsea on Saturday.

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
16 (20) West Bromwich Albion
24% 0% 0% 0% 100%

 

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
17 (11) Sunderland
23% 0% 0% 0% 66%

It's difficult to speculate where these clubs would have ranked where it not for Peter Odemwingie's late goal, but Brom's 1-0 win has vaulted them from the bottom of our rankings while giving the Black Cats an Everton-equaling fall. Look at the relegation figure, though, and you see more confidence in Sunderland's long term prospects. Still, many Sunderland supporters would have been disappointed to see that two weeks into the season nobody thinks Europe's a realistic goal. Last week, somebody did.

Next matches: West Brom is at Liverpool while Sunderland hosts Manchester City, both on Sunday.

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
18 (13) Blackpool
22% 0% 0% 0% 100%

The Tangerines may have quickly found their level in our Power Rankings, but their three points in real life puts them squarely mid-table. They will be without Ian Evatt this weekend, the central defender suspended for last week's red card. It could prove an important absence against a team from whom they would have hoped to get points.

Next match: hosting Fulham on Saturday.

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
19 (18) West Ham United
11% 0% 0% 0% 100%

 

Rank Club Overall Title Champs Europe Relegation
20 (19) Wigan Athletic
5% 0% 0% 0% 100%

Let's just have these two play each other right now. Loser get swapped with QPR immediately. Winner gets to play-out the season.

Next matches: West Ham's at Manchester United while Wigan's at Tottenham, both on Saturday.

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