Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Real Madrid Leap, Barcelona Slide

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterDecember 3, 2013

Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Real Madrid Leap, Barcelona Slide

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

    We're on the cusp of a double gameweek in many leagues, so be sure to check out where the top clubs grade out on their recent and overall form ahead of two sets of critical matches.

    We'll give you a hint: Real Madrid are on the up despite the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo, while Barcelona are on the slide without Lionel Messi in the side.

    All quotes were obtained privately unless otherwise noted, and all statistics are from WhoScored.com.

Honourable Mentions

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    The Viola saw off the threat of Serie A surprise package Verona on Monday, but the 4-3 win wasn't at all convincing.



    Inter drew 1-1 against relegation-threatened Sampdoria to continue their stumbling recent form. Right-wing-back Jonathan admitted to Inter's official website after the game that it "didn't go well."



    Unlucky to miss once again after winning 4-0 at the weekend.

20. Fenerbahce

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    Last Week: N/R

    Differential: New!

    A debutant in our Top 20, Fenerbahce have been performing consistently well over the course of the season. They hold a six-point lead atop the Turkish Super Lig.

    They drew this weekend, 3-3, with third-place Besiktas, but they did well to grab a point after Raul Meireles was sent off after just 30 minutes.

    Moussa Sow has found his scoring touch again for the Canaries.

19. Benfica

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    Last Week: 19

    Differential: None

    Benfica remain the only Portuguese club in our power rankings as FC Porto continue to stumble.

    Picking between the Eagles and Sporting is incredibly difficult—they're both tied atop the Liga Sagres with 26 points—but we've opted for the former as we've seen them tested on the biggest European stage (UEFA Champions League).

    A 3-1 win at Rio Ave this weekend continued their streak.

18. Lille

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    Last Week: 20

    Differential: +2

    As always, we go to B/R's Ligue 1 expert Jonathan Johnson for the Lille lowdown:

    Another 1-0 win and another clean for Lille OSC away at Valenciennes on Saturday keeps Rene Girard's side in second place, four points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain and one point clear of third-placed AS Monaco.

    Vincent Enyeama is now 231 minutes away from breaking the Ligue 1 record for minutes without conceding a goal, and Les Dogues do not look like shipping one at any time soon.

    However, LOSC have only netted 17 times so far this season compared to Monaco's 24 and PSG's 34, and the visit of Olympique de Marseille and then a trip to face Girondins de Bordeaux will seriously test their mettle.

17. Tottenham Hotspur

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    Last Week: 17

    Differential: None

    Tottenham Hotspur bounced back from their horror show at the Etihad Stadium last weekend with two strong results.

    Spurs followed a victory in Tromso with a strong 2-2 draw at home to Manchester United, with Kyle Walker and Sandro each firing in golazos to bag a point.

    Roberto Soldado's performances are improving, while the defence looks to have overcome its little bad spell.

16. Monaco

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    Last Week: 16

    Differential: None

    As always, we go to B/R's Ligue 1 expert Jonathan Johnson for the Monaco lowdown:

    While speculation over the future of Radamel Falcao continues to link him with a move away, AS Monaco are concentrating more on their on-field issues.

    Les Monegasques followed up last week's narrow 1-0 win over FC Nantes with a 2-0 home win over Stade Rennais. The Colombian's replacement, 17-year-old Anthony Martial, stepped up in his absence, as did James Rodriguez, who finally netted his first goal since signing for the club.

    Claudio Ranieri's side face a stern examination against fierce local rivals OGC Nice this midweek, before the relatively easy task of facing struggling Ajaccio at home.

    With PSG in ominous form and Lille OSC not looking likely to drop points anytime soon either, the principality outfit can't afford to suffer any more setbacks if they want to keep their title hopes alive. Ranieri has already ruled his side out of the title race effectively, claiming that "PSG can win everything this season."

15. Liverpool

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    Last Week: 14

    Differential: -1

    Liverpool endured a thoroughly disappointing afternoon on Sunday, losing 3-1 to a newly promoted Hull City side who are facing internal turmoil over a potential name change.

    Steven Gerrard fired a sweet free-kick home in their only positive moment in the game, as Luis Suarez epitomised their struggles in front of goal by squandering every chance.

    Daniel Sturridge's injury adds to their woes, and they drop significantly here.

14. Bayer Leverkusen

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    Last Week: 13

    Differential: -1

    Bayer Leverkusen continued to pile on the misery for winless Nurnberg this weekend, winning 3-0 courtesy of a superlative Heung-Min Son performance.

    However, their 5-0 loss to Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League cannot be forgotten, and it appears the Werkself have a long way to go before challenging the pedigree of established European giants.

    The inconsistencies must drive Sami Hyypia mad: How can you draw 1-1 with Bayern, yet lose 5-0 to United?

13. Manchester United

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    Last Week: 15

    Differential: +2

    Manchester United have had a great half-week, turning Bayer Leverkusen over 5-0 in Germany before grabbing a serviceable draw at White Hart Lane.

    Tottenham put up a strong fight and look to have bounced back quickly well from their humiliation at the hands of Manchester City, so for United to take a point is a strong result.

    That David Moyes' biggest problem is whether or not to bring Robin van Persie back into the starting XI is a sign of how smoothly things are going.

12. Napoli

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    Last Week: 12

    Differential: None

    Napoli finally steadied an ailing ship by beating Lazio 4-2 at the Stadio Olimpico on Monday night.

    Before that, they'd lost three on the bounce—a sort of early-season crisis, if you will—but Rafa Benitez's men are now ticking along nicely again. Gonzalo Higuain bagged a brace in the capital.

    This team have now accumulated more points at this stage of the season than Walter Mazzarri managed last year.

11. Roma

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    Last Week: 9

    Differential: -2

    Roma's 10-game win streak to start the season has been almost entirely forgotten, as they've ground out four underwhelming draws since.

    From ties against Sassuolo, Cagliari and Atalanta, Rudi Garcia's men should be collecting seven points, not three. Juventus have now pulled three ahead at the top of Serie A, and that unlikely Scudetto is looking even more distant as it stands.

    Kevin Strootman scored a last-minute equaliser at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia to rescue a draw on Sunday.

10. Chelsea

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    Last Week: 11

    Differential: +1

    Jose Mourinho's Chelsea overcame a stern test this weekend, seeing off Southampton 3-1 after falling behind to a 12-second Jay Rodriguez goal.

    The fight-back, courtesy of John Terry, Gary Cahill and Demba Ba, was extraordinary, and in the end the Blues' second-half tactical shifts were too much for the newcomers at the top.

    Another difficult test dispensed with. Sunderland and Stoke away to come.

9. Manchester City

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    Last Week: 10

    Differential: +1

    Manchester City continued their ruthless home form in beating Swansea City 3-0.

    It wasn't as one-sided as the score suggests, as Michael Laudrup's men posed a serious threat to Costel Pantilimon's goal, but it's another clean sheet for the Citizens and another solid boost to their goal tally.

    For once, Sergio Aguero didn't score. Samir Nasri netted twice.

8. Borussia Dortmund

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    Last Week: 8

    Differential: None

    Borussia Dortmund's ability to field a fit starting XI is deteriorating at an extremely alarming rate, with a number of fresh injuries ruling out some key players for the visit of Bayer Leverkusen next weekend.

    On Saturday, they squeezed by against Mainz, essentially relying upon the immense attacking firepower at their disposal, although Sokratis was great once again and Lukasz Piszczek made a return from injury.

    A setback next weekend could leave them 10 points adrift of the Bundesliga summit.

7. Juventus

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    Last Week: 7

    Differential: None

    Juventus left it late—very late—but pulled out a crucial 1-0 win at home to Udinese in the last minute this weekend.

    It was Fernando Llorente yet again that popped up with the goal—his fourth in five games—and allowed the Bianconeri to pull clear at the top of Serie A.

    Their midweek UEFA Champions League win against Copenhagen was, astonishingly, their first of the campaign.

6. Barcelona

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    Last Week: 2

    Differential: -4

    The New San Mames Stadium played host to the upset of the weekend on Sunday, as Barcelona fell to Athletic Bilbao in disappointing fashion.

    Markel Susaeta put in a spectacular performance to help seal the victory for the home side, leaving Gerardo Martino to answer a succession of questions regarding his step away from traditional Barca philosophies.

    They drop pretty ferociously in our power rankings, but it's a fair decision: With all the injuries they've sustained, they're not as formidable as several other teams.

5. Arsenal

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    Last Week: 4

    Differential: -1

    Arsenal put in another remarkably commanding performance at the Cardiff City Stadium this weekend, beating Malky Mackay's men to the tune of a 3-0 scoreline.

    Aaron Ramsey, returning to the club where he made his name as a future star, scored two sensational goals either side of a Mathieu Flamini strike and applauded the crowd as they applauded him.

    A wonderful homecoming that keeps the Gunners four points clear at the top of the table.

4. Paris Saint-Germain

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    Last Week: 5

    Differential: +1

    As always, we go to B/R's Ligue 1 expert Jonathan Johnson for the Paris Saint-Germain lowdown:

    The defending champions emphatically underlined their status as title favourites by destroying former giants Olympique Lyonnais 4-0 at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.
    Having seen their lead at the top of Ligue 1 narrowed down to just one point after Lille OSC and AS Monaco's victories on Saturday, PSG ripped Remi Garde's side apart.
    That despite Laurent Blanc's men not being at their very best, and they head into this week's doubleheader of games with a four-point lead atop Le Championnat.
    The December 22 clash with Lille shaping up to be a titanic pre-Christmas tussle between France's two leading sides at the summit.

3. Real Madrid

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    Last Week: 6

    Differential: +3

    Real Madrid made light work of Real Valladolid on Saturday, with Gareth Bale firing in his first hat-trick in Los Blancos' famed strip.

    His assist for Karim Benzema's goal was an incredible pass, and his trio of goals were considered "perfect"—left foot, right foot, header.

    Carlo Ancelotti's men are now just three points off the summit of La Liga, and they've proven they can win convincingly without Cristiano Ronaldo.

2. Atletico Madrid

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    Last Week: 3

    Differential: +1

    Atletico Madrid were rewarded for their persistent winning habits on Saturday, moving level on points with Barcelona at the summit of La Liga.

    Koke and Diego Costa scored the goals to bury Elche, and while questions loom large over La Blaugrana's identity and methods, the Colchoneros machine keeps rolling on.

    To have 40 points after 15 games is a remarkable achievement.

1. Bayern Munich

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    Last Week: 1

    Differential: None

    Bayern Munich put in a dominant display at home to Braunschweig, wiping the floor with them despite only notching two goals.

    It was a game made famous by Arjen Robben's knee slide fail, but that moment overshadowed what an incredible showing the Dutchman put in.

    They're already in cruise control, and Pep Guardiola is tinkering with the lineup to good effect.