Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs

Christopher AtkinsContributor IDecember 27, 2013

Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs

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    Welcome to the latest publication of our weekly European club power rankings.

    Based on their recent form, we rank the continent's best clubs taking into account all competitions and adding weight to those who perform on the biggest stages.

    With most leagues on a mid-season break, it is to the Premier League that we look to most for movement right across the pack.

20. Newcastle

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    Last Week: N/R

    Differential: New!

    Just one defeat in nine games sees Newcastle storm into our top 20, winning seven of those fixtures as a great run of form continues.

    This week has brought comprehensive victories over both Crystal Palace and a 10-man Stoke side, with the Magpies cementing themselves in the race for European places.

    The recent improved form of Manchester United means the Red Devils are hot on their tails in the league, but while the French trio of Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Loic Remy keep firing, they are a real threat to any Premier League side.

19. Sporting CP

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    Last Week: 20

    Differential: +1

    Sporting remain top of the Liga Sagres standings on goal difference after a 0-0 draw with Nacional de Madeira maintained their excellent record this season.

    After four wins on the bounce, one point doubtless seemed a disappointment for the club's fans. However, it must be remembered that the side are well-exceeding all pre-season expectations.

    The club face some of the Portuguese top flight's weaker sides in coming league games and must endeavour to ensure the fine run continues if they are to achieve Champions League qualification next season.

18. Fenerbahce

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Last Week: 17

    Differential: -1

    Fenerbahce remain seven points clear at the top of the Turkish top flight, but came unstuck last weekend in a 2-1 defeat to Karabukspor.

    Emmanuel Emenike got himself on the scoresheet once more in Karabuk, but Fener were unable to prevent what was only a second league defeat of the season.

    Despite that result, Ersun Yanal and his side are comfortably Turkey's best side at present.

17. Everton

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Last Week: 18

    Differential: +1

    A mixed week for Roberto Martinez's side has seen away victory over Swansea followed by just a second league defeat of the season against relegation threatened Sunderland.

    They were hampered in their efforts to maintain their phenomenal record this season by the first-half dismissal of goalkeeper Tim Howard, but young attacking midfielder Ross Barkley's absence from the starting line-up was keenly felt.

    The Toffees, though, will be delighted with their start to the season and continue to be the hardest side to beat in the Premier League this season.

16. Monaco

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    Didier Baverel/Getty Images

    Last Week: 15

    Differential: -1

    It was a bad week for the few supporters of AS Monaco, who saw their side fall to a 2-1 defeat against relegation threatened Valenciennes on Friday night.

    The result then allowed PSG to extend their lead at the top of the table to three points following a draw with third placed side Lille.

    A missed penalty from star name Radamel Falcao compounded the agony on what was a real missed opportunity given the clash of two title rivals following a run of five consecutive wins.

15. Bayer Leverkusen

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Last Week: 14

    Differential: -1

    A second consecutive 1-0 defeat for Bayer has seen them concede a seven-point lead to league leaders Bayern Munich, as well as a game in hand.

    Having snuck through to the knockout stage of the Champions League, Sami Hyypia will be disappointed to have conceded that momentum so quickly with two goalless displays in as many weeks.

    Leverkusen have plenty of talent but have not truly competed for titles in a few seasons and they will need to prove they are capable of performing for the entire course of a campaign if they are to retain their top-two spot.

14. Napoli

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    Enrico Locci/Getty Images

    Last Week: 13

    Differential: -1

    Heading into the winter break, Napoli find themselves 10 points off the top of Serie A after a weekend 1-1 draw at Cagliari saw Rafa Benitez's side lose ground on the top two sides.

    Cagliari are unbeaten in five games and are proving difficult to beat. However, Benitez will be disappointed with his side's lack of incision in a game where his side's only goal came courtesy of a Gonzalo Higuain penalty.

    Napoli are still in the top three and on course for Champions League qualification, but they will have to work for their aims with Fiorentina lurking just three points behind.

13. Manchester United

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    Last Week: 16

    Differential: +3

    It's been another good week for David Moyes, whose Manchester United side scored six goals in two games to claim victories over West Ham and Hull.

    While league form was not ideal until recent weeks, the club are in the League Cup semifinals and sauntered through to the Champions League knockout stages. Suddenly, despite lying seventh, there is positivity around the team and their performances.

    The game with Hull on Boxing Day was crucial, with the side coming back after two early goals conceded to claim a victory that showed character that had been missing at times this campaign.

12. Chelsea

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    Last Week: 12

    Differential: None

    It's fair to say that Jose Mourinho's Chelsea have not yet found top gear this season, but an away draw at Arsenal and victory over Swansea represent a good week's work in the Barclays Premier League.

    Neither was achieved with any great swagger, with just one goal scored over the two games but, crucially, no goals conceded.

    If they can pull together the attacking quality they do have on a regular basis, Chelsea's defensive solidity is ominous. There are few signs that they will do so anytime soon, though.

11. Liverpool

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Last Week: 11

    Differential: None

    Liverpool may have been defeated 2-1 by Manchester City on Boxing Day, but the result was harsh on the Reds who could have become the first team to deny Manchester City all three points on home soil this season.

    Brendan Rodgers' side may be without both Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge, but they are arguably playing their best football of the campaign, as the likes of Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson step up in their absence.

    The weekend win over Cardiff was completed in no nonsense style, with Henderson particularly impressive. The undisputed star of the show, though, was Luis Suarez.

10. Borussia Dortmund

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    Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

    Last Week: 9

    Differential: -1

    Borussia Dortmund slip a place in our rankings after a 2-1 home defeat to Hertha BSC saw them fall to fourth in the Bundesliga table.

    Eric Durm and Marian Sarr continued to fill in as defensive injury concerns remain and there is no doubt that the club's notable absentees have contributed to the side's indifferent recent form.

    Jurgen Klopp now has a few weeks to bring back some of his wounded players and will hope that January sees a return to the form of early season.

9. Roma

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    Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

    Last Week: 10

    Differential: +1

    A 4-0 victory over Catania will have seen Roma go into Christmas delighted with their league form, having avoided defeat thus far in the 2013-14 season.

    The excellence of Juventus means that they are somehow five points off the summit of Serie A, but they could have done little more up to this point. It was fitting, in many ways, that it was a brace from the excellent Medhi Benatia that saw them into the break.

    Rudi Garcia has created a very well balanced side at the Stadio Olimpico, with consistent performers running throughout the side. The return to form of Mattia Destro, also, will be pleasing ahead of coming tests.

8. Arsenal

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Last Week: 8

    Differential: None

    A Boxing Day success over West Ham saw Arsenal return to the top of the Premier League and end a run of four games without a success over the past fortnight.

    Monday Night Football brought a 0-0 draw with Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium and, while the Blues were the better side for much of the game, Arsenal had golden opportunities to claim victory.

    They once more failed to convince against West Ham, falling behind in the opening moments of the second half. Once more, striker Olivier Giroud was wasteful but was spared by the excellence of winger Theo Walcott in the late stages.

7. Juventus

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    Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

    Last Week: 7

    Differential: None

    A ninth consecutive league win on Sunday saw the Old Lady take a five-point lead into the winter break last weekend, with only the side's inability to progress in the Champions League keeping them down in the rankings.

    Their continental travails, though, couldn't be further from their league form and, on this occasion, it was Atalanta who were handed a comprehensive 4-1 hiding on home turf.

    Carlos Tevez, an individual whose form domestically and continentally mirrors that of his side, was key to the success, while Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba and Fernando Llorente were also on the scoresheet.

6. Real Madrid

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    Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    Last Week: 5

    Differential: -1

    A late strike from young star Jese Rodriguez was required to secure a 3-2 away victory over Valencia last Sunday, keeping Real within touching distance of La Liga's top two.

    Los Merengues were pegged back twice after taking the lead through both Angel di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo, before eventually managing to see out the final minutes following Jese's strike.

    Five points looks a sizable gap at the top of the league given the incredible form of both city rivals Atletico and Barcelona. However, if they can continue to maintain pressure then cracks could appear above them later in the campaign.

5. PSG

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    Last Week: 3

    Differential: -2

    A 2-2 home draw with high-flying Lille last Sunday was an excellent end to 2013 for the French champions, adding an extra point to their tally in what was one of the toughest games they will play this season.

    The game, though, will also offer further evidence to Laurent Blanc's side that winning Ligue 1 this season will be far from straightforward as both Monaco and Lille present strong challenges.

    There is great quality in the PSG side and they will be confident of kicking on in the second half of the season, having been defeated just once domestically so far this campaign.

4. Barcelona

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    Last Week: 4

    Differential: None

    A Pedro hat-trick and a brace from Cesc Fabregas saw Barcelona to a 5-2 victory over Getafe last Sunday, leaving the reigning champions top of La Liga heading into the New Year.

    While a feeling exists that everything is not quite clicking under Tata Martino thus far, their incredible record of 15 wins and just one defeat after 17 league games would suggest that there cannot be too many complaints.

    Lionel Messi will soon return from his latest injury absence, adding his incredible firepower in the second half of the campaign while Neymar should continue to improve as he further settles into Spanish life.

3. Manchester City

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Last Week: 6

    Differential: +3

    Another two wins and another six goals have seen Manuel Pellegrini's side rise to just one point off the top of the Premier League in fine style.

    Built upon what is becoming a magnificent central midfield partnership between Fernandinho and Yaya Toure, City showed against Liverpool on Boxing Day that they can take on excellent sides blow for blow and be confident of success.

    The magnificent Sergio Aguero may be absent but Alvaro Negredo is leading the line with aplomb for the time being, while the pace of Jesus Navas is proving an excellent complement to the subtlety of compatriot David Silva.

2. Atletico Madrid

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2

    Differential: None

    Having fallen behind after just two minutes, Atletico Madrid showed excellent mental strength to come back and defeat Levante—despite the visitors also pulling the score back to parity at 2-2 in the second half.

    With 15 wins and just one defeat in 17 matches this campaign, Diego Simeone's side will be ecstatic with the start to the season that has seen them move level on points with Barcelona at the summit at the winter break.

    Diego Costa, with 19 goals to his name, has been the league's standout centre-forward this campaign, adding two more last weekend, while emerging homegrown talent embellishes the side's success.

1. Bayern

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    Steve Bardens/Getty Images

    Last Week: 1

    Differential: None

    Over the past week everything we already knew has been confirmed. Bayern are the best side in world football at present.

    While Guangzhou Evergrande and Raja Casablanca will not be the toughest opponents the German champions will face this season, both are decent sides and were comfortably dispatched by UEFA's best.

    Manager Pep Guardiola added to his own immense personal record, but this was a success earned under his predecessor Jupp Heynckes.