Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Arsenal & Barcelona Rise, Spurs Fall

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterOctober 8, 2013

Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Arsenal & Barcelona Rise, Spurs Fall

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

    There are no new additions to the list this week but plenty of movement within the 20 clubs, as the UEFA Champions League hangover struck several of our finer sides.

    Where is your club ranked? Have a gander and drop your comments below if you disagree!

Honourable Mentions

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    Shakhtar Donetsk

    The Hirnyky are back on the radar after crushing Arsenal Kiev 7-0 this weekend and drawing with Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League.



    LOSC have kept seven clean sheets in nine matches and have won five and drawn two. Despite not being a free-scoring side, Marseille showed last year that a rock solid defence is the way to break into Ligue 1's top three.


    Athletic Club

    Inconsistencies still haunt Ernesto Valverde's side, and they should have beaten Valencia this weekend at the New San Mames.

20. Fiorentina

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    Last Week: 18 

    Movement: -2

    Fiorentina went to Ukraine and beat Dnipro in midweek—one hell of a feat—but struggled to find their groove and drew 0-0 with Lazio at the weekend.

    It's common for teams playing in Europe, who aren't fully equipped to deal with the rigours, to struggle in their domestic games after a big effort on the Continent, and trips don't get much more imperious than far-eastern Europe.


19. Manchester United

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    Last Week: 19

    Movement: None

    Much has been made of Manchester United's poor form solely because they are who they are, but David Moyes can be confident he's overcome two difficult away trips and gleaned a respectable four points.

    Very few visit the Donbass Arena and escape with anything to show for it, and despite Shakhtar Donetsk's slight fall from grace, they are still a formidable rock that rarely bleeds.

    The Sunderland game was a struggle, but in tough times a player usually rises to the occasion. Despite the star presence of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, it was midfielder Adnan Januzaj who produced the goods.

18. Porto

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    Last Week: 17

    Movement: -1

    Porto continued their dominance in the Liga Sagres by beating Arouca 3-1 away from home, but they fell midweek to Atletico Madrid as they failed to turn possession into goals.

    Winning at the Dragao has always been a staple in European football for the Portuguese club, and losing this early in the competition makes them look extremely fallible.

    That said, los Colcherones are some team right now.

17. Chelsea

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    Last Week: 20 

    Movement: +3

    If you're a Chelsea fan you should be delighted, as the past seven days were far superior to the weeks preceding them.

    Carrow Road is not an easy place to visit and Jose Mourinho outsmarted Chris Hughton, and midweek the Blues destroyed Steaua Bucharest in Romania.

    With Romelu Lukaku scoring for fun at Everton, Jose will continue to receive questionable press. As it stands, however, the Blues' formidable season is back on track.

16. Manchester City

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    Last Week: 16 

    Movement: None

    Manchester City were beaten soundly midweek by Bayern Munich, and although Manuel Pellegrini flunked the match from a tactical perspective, they weren't expected to pull up any trees to start with.

    They bounced back with a strong 3-1 win over previously unbeaten Everton though, ending Roberto Martinez's impressive streak as Toffees manager and maintaining their own 100 percent home start to the season.

    After the international break they travel to West Ham, and if they don't secure a result there alarm bells will truly start to ring.

15. Internazionale

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    Last Week: 12

    Movement: -3

    Internazionale slipped up for the first time this season, incurring their first loss at home to a rampant Roma.

    There's no shame in that—Rudi Garcia is working early-season miracles with the Giallorossi—and the next game away to Torino becomes key in sustaining a solid early-season showing.

    Walter Mazzarri won't be expecting the title this season, but if they can keep it up European football next season beckons.

14. Tottenham Hotspur

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    Last Week: 11

    Movement: -3

    Most common words used to desribe Tottenham Hotspur's 3-0 home loss to West Ham: "Ouch," "What?," and "Huh?"

    No one, and we mean no one, saw that coming, as Spurs looked impotent in attack and opened the defensive floodgates against a bruising, physical Hammers side.

    Sam Allardyce is very proud of his 4-6-0 formation, but had Andre Villas-Boas not forgotten he has a left flank as well as a right flank, the result could have been different.

13. Bayer Leverkusen

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    Last Week: 15

    Movement: +2

    Bayer Leverkusen have jumped up our rankings thanks to a wonderful week of football at the BayArena.

    They beat Real Sociedad midweek in the UEFA Champions League, and although Jagoba Arrasate's team are enduring a difficult time, they remain a lethal outfit to take on.

    Add this to a home draw with Bayern Munich, in which the Werkself dug in and held out, and it's easy to see why Sami Hyypia's team are rising in many's estimations.

12. Liverpool

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    Last Week: 14

    Movement: +2

    After a brief stutter, Liverpool are back in winning form and Luis Suarez is back in the side.

    He and Daniel Sturridge, dubbed "SAS" at Anfield, are firing this team forward, and Brendan Rodgers is utilising an interesting 3-4-1-2 formation.

    The Reds currently sit joint-top of the Premier League table, second to Arsenal only on goals scored, and benefit from a lack of European football distractions.

11. Real Madrid

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    Last Week: 13

    Movement: +2

    It's difficult to know what to make of Real Madrid at the moment given their propensity to either crush or struggle against all manner of sides. There is no middle ground.

    In the UEFA Champions League they've been brilliant, but in La Liga they're scraping one-goal victories against lesser times thanks to late goals and questionable penalties.

    Carlo Ancelotti is still trying to find the best way to play his team, and the Gareth Bale injury circus can't be anything other than detrimental to his focus.

10. Napoli

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    Last Week: 8 

    Movement: -2

    Napoli were dismantled by Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League, shocking many who thought Rafa Benitez's side were good value to win the group.

    It was a set-back that followed a disappointing draw against Serie A bottom-feeders Sassulo, but the Partenopei have bounced back by crushing Livorno 4-0 on home turf.

    When Gonzalo Higuain goes missing, Goran Pandev can step up and replicate his Lazio form.

9. Paris Saint-Germain

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    Last Week: 10

    Movement: +1

    We spoke to B/R's Jonathan Johnson privately to get the low-down on Paris Saint-Germain:

    PSG's 2-1 win at Marseille in Le Classique on Sunday was a statement of the capital side's title credentials this season.

    A man down and a goal down after 34 minutes, Laurent Blanc's tactical ingenuity allowed PSG to preserve their dominance of possession which eventually made the difference at the Stade Velodrome.

    The result turns a good start to life in the french capital into an excellent one for Blanc, who was not even seen as first choice to take over at the Parc des Princes in the summer.

8. Monaco

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    Last Week: 9

    Movement: +1

    We spoke to B/R's Jonathan Johnson privately to get the low-down on Monaco:

    A 2-1 win over Saint-Etienne keeps Monaco ahead at the top of Ligue 1 by virtue of their goal difference.

    James Rodriguez was in inspired form against Les Verts, no doubt inspired by Claudio Ranieri's criticism early in the week that he needs to adjust his mentality.

    The Principality outfit travel to struggling Sochaux once the international break is over but will reflect on the first nine games of the season with great satisfaction having dropped just six points.

7. Roma

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    Last Week: 7 

    Movement: None

    Roma made it seven wins from seven games this weekend, beating Internazionale 3-0 at San Siro—easily their finest result yet.

    Rudi Garcia has produced a magnificent midfield three in Kevin Strootman, Miralem Pjanic and Daniele De Rossi, while Francesco Totti's eternal brilliance and a Gervinho reborn have the club firing on all cylinders.

    They've scored 20 goals so far and let in just one.

6. Juventus

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    Last Week: 5 

    Movement: -1

    Milan might look a weak prospect, but they're a big side who can turn it on at any moment, and Juventus did well to down them 3-2 at the weekend.

    The Bianconeri are keeping pace at the top of the league despite Roma starting the season on fire, and they have dropped just two points from seven games so far.

    If only the results in the UEFA Champions League would follow suit.

5. Arsenal

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    Last Week: 6 

    Movement: +1

    Arsenal's ruthless winning streak came to a screeching halt this weekend as West Bromwich Albion stole a point at the Hawthorns.

    The Gunners didn't play too well—particularly when you take into account the high standard they've set—and grabbed a draw courtesy of a deflected Jack Wilshere equaliser.

    Their midweek win over Napoli showed a lot of fans this side is up there with the best, though, and it's arguable that Arsenal are the best-set English side to make a run in the UEFA Champions League.

4. Borussia Dortmund

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    Last Week: 3

    Movement: -1

    In the week Bayern Munich drop two points...Borussia Dortmund fail to take advantage.

    A 2-0 loss to Borussia Moenchengladbach hurts all the more given the missed opportunity, but the Foals are extremely strong on home turf and took full advantage of a late Mats Hummels red card.

    BVB slip to second in the table—ahead of Bayer Leverkusen only on goal difference—but it doesn't matter too much at this stage. The Bundesliga's three-horse race for the title should entertain all year round.

3. Barcelona

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    Last Week: 4

    Movement: +1

    Barcelona's return to Celtic Park had the nerves flowing among Cules worldwide, and eventually a Lionel Messi-less side found a single goal to bury their old enemies.

    Neymar was magnificent throughout and Alexis Sanchez's cross for Cesc Fabregas was a peach, earning the Chilean a start in els Blaugrana's 4-1 demolition of Real Valladolid.

    Alexis was superb again—is this the up-turn in form we've all been waiting for?

2. Bayern Munich

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    Last Week: 2

    Movement: None

    Bayern Munich rolled into the North of England and destroyed Manchester City, claiming a 3-1 away win to settle them as easy group favourites in the UEFA Champions League.

    They were brought down to earth with a bump on Saturday, though, as they failed to beat a stubborn, dogged Bayer Leverkusen side.

    They conceded a rather amateurish goal on the break, and Thomas Mueller missed an open goal in the second half. A 1-1 draw at the BayArena is not a bad result, but die Bayern should have won this.

1. Atletico Madrid

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    Last Week: 1 

    Movement: None (third consecutive week atop the rankings)

    Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid simply cannot stop winning, and the Argentine must be getting a little annoyed that rivals Barcelona have also failed to slip up.

    Los Colcherones completed a routine win over Celta Vigo this week thanks to another sensational performance from Diego Costa and recorded the same scoreline away at the Dragao without their Spanish/Brazilian star.

    Defeating Porto, in Porto, is some feat.