Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Man Utd Plummet, PSG & Roma Rise
Welcome to the latest edition of our European club power rankings.
With the final Group Stage gameweek of the UEFA Champions League looming, how does each team shape up going into their pivotal respective clashes? Take a look inside, and if you don't agree with our thoughts, share your own in the comments below!
*All quotes were obtained firsthand.
Benfica were held at home by Arouca, and with another club in the Liga Sagres taking top spot, the Eagles (perhaps harshly) drop out.
Lille's magical run is over, as Vincent Enyeama finally conceded after 1,061 minutes of play. They're still stout in defence, but they're quickly realising they need to score goals to mix it up with the big boys.
Last Week: N/R
Sporting have gone top of the Liga Sagres for the first time in eight years after beating Gil Vicente in confident fashion this weekend.
It's a just reward for all the effort put into the club since March 2013, with homegrown players dominating midfield and astute signings excelling.
The Lions have looked first-class all season.
19. Borussia Monchengladbach
Last Week: N/R
Borussia Monchengladbach have quietly put together a six-game winning streak in the Bundesliga and turned over Schalke this weekend.
Benedikt Howedes' red card in the first half made the sledding a little easier, but they were still required to break down a top-class side at home.
Max Kruse is on fire for the Foals.
Last Week: 20
Fenerbahce found winning form once again, beating Rizespor 2-1 away from home.
Second-placed Kasimpasa could only manage a draw, and that's allowed Fener to open up an impressive eight-point lead at the top of the Super Lig.
Cristian and Pierre Webo scored the goals to ensure their comfortable lead at the summit remained intact.
17. Manchester United
Last Week: 13
Wayne Rooney had an off-game against Everton and as a result Manchester United lost. That shouldn't be a surprise, as the England international has been carrying this side on a weekly basis.
He missed the Newcastle game due to suspension and they lost again—making it two in a row at home!—there was a faint sound of booing echoing around Old Trafford at full-time.
Amazing how two results can seemingly change the perspective on the entire season.
Last Week: 16
As always, we cross the channel and go to B/R's Jonathan Johnson for an update:
Despite a relatively average display against AC Ajaccio on Sunday, Monaco managed to register their fourth consecutive Ligue 1 win.
Claudio Ranieri's side only trail Paris Saint-Germain by two points and have relatively easy games against Guingamp and Valenciennes remaining before Christmas.
Radamel Falcao continues to be absent through injury, but Emmanuel Riviere and Anthony Martial are filling in just fine. However, a title challenge would be less likely if the Colombian was to leave during the January transfer window and Ranieri has a number of holes that he needs to fill in order to have a squad with overall depth that can rival PSG's.
15. Tottenham Hotspur
Last Week: 17
Andre Villas-Boas is smiling again, as two away victories in quick succession have eased the load on his shoulders.
It's been a disappointing campaign to date for Tottenham Hotspur, but three points can change the complexion on anything. Six points in four days is a great haul, no matter the opposition, but there were still no goals for any of their strikers.
Jermain Defoe appears to be the man with a big chance heading into 2014.
Last Week: 15
Liverpool have won their last two games by 5-1 and 4-1 scorelines respectively, but they showed us nothing we didn't already know.
The Reds have made a habit of battering lesser teams—in this case Norwich and West Ham—at home, but it's the big games where they are still yet to prove their value as top-four/title contenders.
Luis Suarez's hat-trick against the Canaries midweek was absolutely stunning.
Last Week: 12
Napoli continued their questionable finish to 2013 as they drew 3-3 at home to Udinese.
The Zebrette are no longer a strong side after selling most of their best players, and failing to beat them at the Stadio San Paolo adds to a disappointing 50 days for Rafa Benitez.
Goran Pandev's up-and-down form epitomises the Partenopei at this point.
Last Week: 10
It wasn't a great week for Chelsea, who despite scoring six goals in two games, could only emerge with one hard-fought victory at bottom-of-the-league Sunderland and a disappointing loss to Stoke City.
Defensive frailties have suddenly reared their ugly heads—rather atypical for a Jose Mourino side, in truth—and it's undermining the goalscoring prowess of their midfielders.
Like Tottenham, they're struggling to get goals out of their forwards.
11. Bayer Leverkusen
Last Week: 14
Bayer Leverkusen's win at Signal Iduna Park is tough to gauge; while the performance was brilliant and a three-point haul from Dortmund is rare, the opponents were severely beat up before a ball was kicked.
The good news is that Emre Can is emerging as a true talent in more than one position and Heung-Min Son continues to torment Bundesliga defences.
Sami Hyypia's side look in strong nick—that 5-0 defeat to Manchester United aside.
Last Week: 11
Roma finally snapped a four-game winless streak (all draws, in fairness) to beat Fiorentina 2-1 at the Olimpico.
Mattia Destro, returning to the first team in place of the struggling Alessandro Florenzi in the second half, fired in the winning goal after Juan Vargas had leveled matters.
The Giallorossi are right back into the swing of things again.
9. Borussia Dortmund
Last Week: 8
Borussia Dortmund are facing up to the possibility of playing their biggest match of the season—Marseille in the UEFA Champions League—with just five fit first-choice players.
The injury list is beyond ridiculous, and Bayern Munich have used it to their advantage by pulling away at the top of the Bundesliga.
The latest loss to Bayer Leverkusen was tough to take.
8. Manchester City
Last Week: 9
Manchester City were cruising at the Hawthorns midweek, but a late rally from West Bromwich Albion called their concentration into question.
Three days later they went 1-0 up against Southampton at St. Mary's Stadium, but the home side found their feet, dominated large portions of the game and forced a draw.
Four points from six in two away games is much better than what Manuel Pellegrini's men had been managing before, but this should have been two convincing victories.
Last Week: 7
Bologna is a really tough place to go and Juventus made hard work of it, but eventually emerged with a critical 2-0 victory on Friday night.
It was made even more important by the fact that Roma won to keep the pace atop the Serie A table, and goals from Arturo Vidal and Giorgio Chiellini were eventually enough to stay at the summit.
That's seven straight league wins for the Bianconeri.
Last Week: 6
Barcelona eased to a 4-1 victory over Cartagena in the Copa del Rey, but the scoreline doesn't tell the entire story.
It was a tough outing for La Blaugrana who really had to work for their commanding lead, and must now take that goalscoring form into the next round of Liga matches to send a message to the nearest challengers.
Gerardo Martino will not be happy that Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid have caught up so early on.
Last Week: 5
Arsenal looked absolutely shell-shocked as Everton passed them off the park for 40 minutes on Sunday, but in the second half found their rhythm and eventually took the lead.
The Toffees went on to equalise via a glorious Gerard Deulofeu strike, and the final kick of the game saw an Olivier Giroud thunderbolt cannon back off the top of the crossbar.
It's difficult to know what to make of the draw: does it call Arsenal's quality into question, or shed new light on Everton's ambitions for the season?
4. Real Madrid
Last Week: 3
Real Madrid were held to a scoreless draw by Olimpic de Xativa this weekend—a team lounging in the third tier of Spanish football.
They rotated the side, but not too heavily, and despite a lack of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco and Angel Di Maria should have been able to get the job done.
They drop a teensy bit here in our rankings, but it's nothing more than a minor blip; the second leg should be a cruise.
3. Paris Saint-Germain
Last Week: 4
As always, we cross the channel and go to B/R's Jonathan Johnson for an update:
Paris Saint-Germain hit back following last Wednesday's surprise defeat at Evian with a thumping 5-0 win at home to FC Sochaux-Montbeliard on Saturday.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was in unstoppable form, bagging two goals and two assists, while he and strike partner Edinson Cavani underlined their improving partnership by laying on one goal for the other.
Immediately recovering from that blip in form away at Evian, Laurent Blanc's side are two points clear of second-placed AS Monaco at the top of the table and boast an impressive unbeaten home run in the league of 21 matches.
Next week's trip to face an unpredictable Stade Rennais side will set them up for their final game of 2013 at home to title rivals Lille OSC.
2. Atletico Madrid
Last Week: 2
Atletico Madrid made light work of their lower-league Copa del Rey opponents Sant Andreu this week, coming away with a commanding 4-0 victory after an easy night's work.
They showcased their strength in depth once again by fielding Javi Manquillo, Oliver Torres and Dani Aranzubia, and a sprinkling of the mercurial Arda Turan polished off the win.
The break came at a bad time as Diego Simeone will have been looking to keep winning in La Liga and put pressure on Barcelona, but at least the momentum is retained.
1. Bayern Munich
Last Week: 1
So Bayern Munich are pretty good then.
A 7-0 victory at Werder Bremen represents a result a long time coming, as they've been dominating games from start to finish but only securing 2-0 scorelines.
There is no better team in world football right now than Pep Guardiola's men, and they appear to be improving with every game now that Mario Goetze is fit.