World Football

Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Spurs Plummet, Barcelona & Napoli Rise

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterDecember 17, 2013

Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Spurs Plummet, Barcelona & Napoli Rise

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Welcome to the latest edition of our European club power rankings.

    We rank the continent's best clubs in order of recent form to give you an idea of how they're doing, taking into account domestic and European results and performances.

    A crazy weekend in the Premier League has caused a tonne of movement in the middle of the pack, we have one new entry and there's a shuffle near the top too.

     

Honourable Mentions

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Benfica

    A strong showing from the Eagles' Serbian contingent helped Jorge Jesus to a 3-2 to win at Olhanense.

     

    Lille

    Lille have lost their incredible defensive record, but they're still grinding out points with regularity.

     

    Shakhtar Donetsk

    Shakhtar are back in business after a rocky start and currently sit top of the Ukrainian Premier Liga.

     

    Borussia Moenchengladbach

    Dropping out this week, BMG snapped their impressive win streak with a disappointing 0-0 draw with Mainz. 

     

    Athletic Club

    Ernesto Valverde's men have put together a nice run of unbeaten games and currently sit fourth on 30 points in La Liga.

20. Sporting

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    planetfootball360.com

    Last Week: 20

    Differential: None

    Sporting retain their spot in our top 20 thanks to a 3-0 victory over Belenenses.

    Financial issues may have haunted the club in recent years, but a point of real pride can be found in manager Leonardo Jardim's ability to field so many academy products in a top-tier side.

    Andre Martins, Adrien and William Carvalho all started this weekend, the first two scored, and all are products of the Academia Sporting.

     

19. Tottenham Hotspur

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Last Week: 15

    Differential: -4

    Andre Villas-Boas has been sacked following a horrendous 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at home, marking the second time this season where his side have been destroyed by a fellow competitor for a top-four berth.

    Whether you agree with the decision to remove the Portuguese from his duties is now irrelevant; the man charged with picking up the pieces, whoever it is, must now put together a formula to get a high-powered, deep, talented side firing—and fast.

    Can Spurs relaunch their Champions League ambitions?

18. Everton

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    Paul Thomas/Getty Images

    Last Week: N/R

    Differential: New!

    After 16 Premier League games, Everton are just two points off second place—hands up if you had that one coming into the season?

    Roberto Martinez is doing a phenomenal job, and the 40 minutes of near-total football played at the Emirates last weekend opened the eyes of many who are doubting this club.

    That they beat Fulham 4-1 this weekend but fans still found reasons to be unhappy is a sign of the times. They're progressing rapidly and getting stronger as the season goes on.

17. Fenerbahce

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Last Week: 18

    Differential: +1

    Fenerbahce dispatched Akhisarspor with ease this weekend, waltzing to a 4-0 scoreline that didn't flatter them one bit.

    All of the Turkish side's forwards got themselves on the scoresheet as the goals were shared around, with Emmanuel Emenike finding his golden touch again after a short dry spell.

    Fener remain eight points clear of second-placed Kasimpasa and 11 points clear of Galatasaray.

16. Manchester United

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Last Week: 17

    Differential: +1

    The pressure on Manchester United to perform is just crazy.

    After two successive losses fans were again calling for David Moyes' head, but after two wins (and two clean sheets), everything is looking a little rosier again.

    Robin van Persie is out for a month, that's a blow, but if Danny Welbeck can continue the form shown against Aston Villa, the Red Devils could surprise a few by putting together a very strong Christmas period.

15. Monaco

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    Harry Engels/Getty Images

    Last Week: 16

    Differential: +1

    As always, we go to Ligue 1 expert Jonathan Johnson for the Monaco lowdown:

    Having seen PSG open up a provisional five-point gap with Saturday's win over Stade Rennais, AS Monaco immediately hit back with a 2-0 win over 10-man EA Guingamp.

    Radamel Falcao was absent once again, but it did not matter. His replacement, 18-year-old Anthony Martial, netted once and Layvin Kurzawa grabbed the other. James Rodriguez has stepped up in his absence and provided both assists to make him Ligue 1's leading creator with seven this term.

    Claudio Ranieri's side face a straightforward home clash with Valenciennes on Friday and could, temporarily at least, take a one-point lead at the top of Le Championnat. There is no midweek Coupe de la Ligue action as Les Monegasques were eliminated in the previous round by Stade de Reims, so the principality outfit will be in great shape for their final game of 2013.

    Questions continue to surround Falcao's future at the club though and his supposed unhappiness could yet derail the side's title tilt.

14. Bayer Leverkusen

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Last Week: 11

    Differential: -3

    Bayer Leverkusen celebrated qualification from a very tough group in the Champions League on Tuesday, but came crashing back down to earth this weekend with a loss to Eintracht Frankfurt at home.

    It's not often the Werkself are held scoreless, but Sami Hyypia's men had no answer to a tight, stingy defensive led by Sebastian Jung.

    The hiccup has allowed Bayern Munich to pull seven clear in the Bundesliga.

13. Napoli

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    Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

    Last Week: 13

    Differential: None

    Napoli exacted sweet revenge over Walter Mazzarri, as their former boss' return to the Stadio San Paolo ended in a 4-2 loss.

    Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens were among several key performers on the night as the Partenopei hauled themselves back on track, and in the process kept the distance between themselves and fourth-placed Fiorentina at five points.

    In midweek they beat Arsenal 2-0 but dropped to the Europa League due to goal difference.

12. Chelsea

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Last Week: 12

    Differential: None

    It was far from glamorous, but Chelsea got the job done against Crystal Palace this weekend.

    Defensive jitters haunted the flow of the home side's game once again and the striking play looked far from convincing. The Blues must become more ruthless in front of goal if they are to challenge for the Premier League title.

    In the Champions League, Didier Drogba awaits.

11. Liverpool

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Last Week: 14

    Differential: +3

    So, who saw that coming?

    A Liverpool side absent of any left-backs, Steven Gerrard, Daniel Agger or Daniel Sturridge waltzed into White Hart Lane and cained Tottenham Hotspur by a 5-0 scoreline.

    It was a magical display from a number of players that did the trick—not least the energetic Jordan Henderson and the magical Luis Suarez—and Brendan Rodgers will have also been delighted to see youngsters Raheem Sterling and Jon Flanagan stepping up the plate.

     

     

10. Roma

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Last Week: 10

    Differential: None

    Roma may have won their first 10 games, but it seems they've been stoutly devoted to drawing the next 10 and ruining their perfect start.

    A highly entertaining game at San Siro ended 2-2 as two Italian giants battled for a season-defining win, and Rudi Garcia will at least be happy to have Mattia Destro back in goalscoring form.

    Five draws from their last six games has seen Juventus pull five points clear atop the Serie A table.

9. Borussia Dortmund

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Last Week: 9

    Differential: None

    As unconvincing as Borussia Dortmund have been, they've done pretty well to negotiate this week with points on the board.

    They've traditionally struggled in the Bundesliga after a Champions League round, and after securing victory in Marseille to send themselves top of the group, they achieved a 2-2 draw with the lively, entertaining Hoffenheim.

    When you look at the defence they fielded (Erik Durm, Marian Sarr), you have to say they've done well here.

8. Arsenal

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Last Week: 5

    Differential: -3

    Arsenal haven't had a good week.

    They lost to Napoli in midweek, forfeiting top spot in the Champions League group in the process, and then returned to England to receive a 6-3 beating at the hands of Manchester City.

    You can forgive the Gunners for being tired given their travel issues and it's a difficult game to draw conclusions from—so many individual errors caused a large portion of the goals and some questionable decisions hurt their chances of drawing level—but they will now have to regroup and re-establish why they are title contenders this season.

7. Juventus

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    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    Last Week: 7

    Differential: None

    The statistics for Juventus are beginning to look astonishing.

    They've won eight games in a row and are yet to concede a goal during that spell, with the latest a convincing 4-0 thrashing of Serie A whipping boys Sassuolo.

    But no matter how well they're performing domestically, it's impossible to ignore their failings on the European stage. They've exited the Champions League at the Group Stage, and that comes as a real roadblock in terms of progression.

6. Manchester City

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Last Week: 8

    Differential: +2

    Christmas came early at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday for Manchester City fans, as they sat back and watched their charges beat Arsenal 6-3 in a wildly entertaining game.

    The only bad news to emerge from it is that Sergio Aguero will be out for a month with a calf injury which puts their position in doubt, but Manuel Pellegrini has accumulated enough depth and quality to cover for the loss short-term.

    Fernandinho's performance, in particular, was phenomenal against the Gunners.

5. Real Madrid

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4

    Differential: -1

    Real Madrid have been on fire recently, so it came as a surprise to see them slipping by Copenhagen with just a 2-0 win.

    Still, it was away from home and Cristiano Ronaldo was back on the scoresheet, so it felt like another three-point haul for the Blanco machine that just keeps rolling on.

    But Carlo Ancelotti's men came crashing back down to earth this weekend with a 2-2 draw at Osasuna, and that's allowed Barcelona and Atletico Madrid to re-establish a five-point gap at the top of La Liga.

4. Barcelona

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Last Week: 6

    Differential: +2

    Barcelona bounced back from their first La Liga defeat of the season by dispatching Villarreal 2-1.

    Neymar bagged a brace and hit the woodwork as the Camp Nou crowd cheered their charges on, and while the scoreline doesn't look too impressive, El Submarino Amarillo are a tough nut to crack.

    La Blaugrana's incredible 6-1 victory over Celtic in the Champions League contributes to their rise in our rankings here.

3. Paris Saint-Germain

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    Harry Engels/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3

    Differential: None

    As always, we go to Ligue 1 expert Jonathan Johnson for the Paris Saint-Germain lowdown:

    Last Saturday's 3-1 win at Stade Rennais maintained PSG's two-point lead at the top of Ligue 1, initially stretching it to five before it was whittled down again by AS Monaco a few hours later. Laurent Blanc's side now just need at least a draw at home to Lille OSC on Sunday to be crowned Le Championnat's winter champions.
    The capital club started a run of three key games on the right note, with an important Coupe de la Ligue clash against holders AS Saint-Etienne to come on Wednesday before entertaining Lille. Blanc's squad rotation should ensure that PSG remain competitive on all fronts, although it did mean that they suffered defeat in their final Champions League group stage encounter against SL Benfica.
    However, another commanding result at Rennes included a goal apiece for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani. The pair now have 26 goals between them, making them the most prolific strike force in Europe (Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema have 25).

2. Atletico Madrid

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2

    Differential: None

    Atletico Madrid made light work of Valencia this weekend thanks to a Diego Costa brace and sealed a commanding Champions League group win with a 2-0 victory over Porto midweek.

    It's just par for the course for Diego Simeone's men, as they continually churn out results and rotate their squad effectively. Twenty-two players have been used so far this campaign, and it's exciting to see U-20 World Cup stars Javi Manquillo and Oliver Torres given a good go.

     

1. Bayern Munich

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    Lars Baron/Getty Images

    Last Week: 1

    Differential: None

    For the first time in a long time, Bayern Munich wobbled a little and threw away a 2-0 lead against a Manchester City B-side at home.

    For many it was a shock to the system—the invincibles are beatable?—and had Manuel Pellegrini got his mathematics right, they could have been looking at a second-placed finish in the group.

    They responded by beating Hamburg 3-1, with Mario Goetze netting an incredible strike and Thiago Alcantara having what is arguably his finest game in a die Bayern shirt yet.

    Atletico are closing the gap here, but one slip-up doesn't nullify a season of excellence thus far for die Bayern.

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