Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Atletico Rise, Manchester City Fall
Welcome to the latest edition of our European club power rankings!
Every league is back in full swing, there are matches everywhere you look and our rankings have shuffled considerably this time around.
Matters in La Liga took yet another twist, things in the Bundesliga got a whole lot clearer, and the Premier League produced a result that blows the title race wide open.
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Frank de Boer's men drew at the weekend to FC Utrecht, but retain their spot at the top of the Eredivisie.
A loss to Stoke City drops them out of our top 20. They've lost five games already this year.
With Bayer Leverkusen stumbling, the Royal Blues have been able to make serious ground on second.
A Monday night win over Osasuna keeps them within touching distance of fourth in La Liga.
Last Week: 18
Sporting were held to a 0-0 draw by Academia this weekend, meaning they were unable to cash in on Benfica and Porto's slips.
William Carvalho picked up a yellow card and will now be suspended for the tie away to Benfica this weekend. With the club's depth in midfield dwindling, this will be a real test of their resolve.
Last Week: 19
Benfica drew 1-1 at Gil Vicente this weekend as all of Portugal's "Big Three" dropped points.
They welcome Sporting to the Estadio da Luz next weekend in a tie that could well drop serious hints as to who, of the two, will win the Liga Sagres this year—because on current form, it won't be FC Porto.
18. Athletic Club
Last Week: 20
Athletic Club continued their impressive record in the New San Mames stadium by holding Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw.
Ibai Gomez stepped off the bench to provide the equaliser late in the second half, preserving the club's unbeaten home record in Liga games since the new ground was built.
Los Leones are three clear of Villarreal and seven clear of Real Sociedad.
17. Bayer Leverkusen
Last Week: 17
Bayer Leverkusen snapped a three-game losing streak this weekend, beating Stuttgart 2-1 at home.
Eren Derdiyok, a forgotten man in world football, scored the winner to lift the Werkself out of an untimely slump, but Borussia Dortmund and Schalke have been able to close the gap to second.
The race for the runner-up is on.
16. Tottenham Hotspur
Last Week: 16
Tottenham Hotspur slipped up at the KC Stadium on Saturday, and while it's by no means a bad result—Hull have upset plenty of big teams at home—it's not what the fans have come to expect.
Under Tim Sherwood, bar the Manchester City mauling, this side have been superb. The chase for the top four has been restored under his tutelage, but the charge took a real hit here.
Last Week: 14
Napoli lost 3-0 to Atalanta this weekend, and as a result move down in our rankings.
La Dea are by no means an awful side, but if you're looking to challenge Juventus for this Serie A title—or even stave off Fiorentina for third place—you cannot go to Bergamo and lose like this.
German Denis put in a heroic performance, though.
Last Week: 12
Monaco could only manage a draw at Lorient this weekend, and it was Layvin Kurzawa—the world's best free-scoring left-back, apparently—who bagged the equaliser in the 87th minute.
It leaves les Monegasques five points and 17 goals behind Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the table, and unless Dimitar Berbatov can provide a spark to this team very quickly, there's no chance of an overhaul.
13. Borussia Dortmund
Last Week: 14
By beating Eintracht Braunschweig 2-1 on Friday night, Borussia Dortmund won their first game since November 30, 2013.
It's been a season to forget for last year's UEFA Champions League runners-up, and with the squad decimated due to injury, their lack of depth has come to the fore.
Still, three points always put an entirely different complexion on things, and this is no different.
Last Week: 13
Everton overcame the challenge of Aston Villa on Saturday to close the gap on Liverpool in fourth.
They fell behind to a Leandro Bacuna goal in the first half but came back roaring, dominated possession and could have scored a third in the closing stages.
Kevin Mirallas is a match-winner.
Last Week: 11
Liverpool put in a very poor performance against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
After rinsing Everton in midweek to pull clear of them in the table, this was the perfect chance to assert their authority over their local rivals, but all the hard work was undone when Kolo Toure's hospital pass across goal was converted by Victor Anichebe.
Defensive questions will be raised every game from now until the end of the season.
Last Week: 10
Roma's game against Parma was abandoned due to poor weather on Saturday. Check the picture above and you'll see exactly why.
It leaves them in limbo, and they had to watch Juventus pull nine clear by beating Internazionale later that night.
9. Paris Saint-Germain
Last Week: 9
Paris Saint-Germain slipped up at Guingamp last week, but resolidified their grasp on the top spot in Ligue 1 by beating Bordeaux 2-0 on Friday night.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alex scored the goals to crown a prime-time win, and the Parc des Princes got their first glimpse of Yohan Cabaye—albeit as a substitute.
The one down note was Edinson Cavani going off injured.
Last Week: 7
Arsenal made tough work of it, but they managed to see off the challenge of Crystal Palace thanks to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's magic.
The English youngster scored two goals in magnificent fashion after initially being frustrated by the Eagles, and the three-point haul took them top of the Premier League once again.
Manchester City's slip saw the lead hold, and while the Gunners move down in our rankings, that's more to do with the seismic change up above.
Last Week: 3
Barcelona slipped up at home for the first time this season, losing 3-2 to an enthusiastic Valencia side.
Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring and Lionel Messi leveled to make it 2-2 in the second half, but los Che were not to be deterred; fighting back every time and eventually taking the lead.
Pablo Piatti, who is 5'2", scored a header.
6. Manchester City
Last Week: 4
Manchester City blew it big time on Monday night.
They had the chance to pull clear at the top of the table, and while Chelsea are no easy nut to crack, the Citizens had won every single game at home this season. Until now.
For the rest of the league this is a fantastic result; it blows the title race wide open.
Last Week: 8
On Monday, Chelsea did what no other team has been able to do this season (bar Bayern Munich): beat Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
It allowed the Blues to pull level on points with the Citizens, and both lie just two from league-leaders Arsenal at this stage.
It very much looks a three-horse race for the title at this point.
4. Real Madrid
Last Week: 2
Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw at the New San Mames in Bilbao, but to get a point there is an achievement.
Athletic Club are yet to lose in the stadium (in the league), boasting an impressive tally of nine wins and three draws. One of those nine was against Barcelona, too, so los Blancos have nothing to be ashamed of.
They did miss the chance to pull two clear of their Catalan rivals, though, and Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off.
Last Week: 5
We're still waiting on Internazionale's revival following the capture of Hernanes, but in fairness it was always going to be delayed given they were travelling to Juventus this weekend.
The Old Lady dismantled their historic Serie A rivals in alarming fashion, with Andrea Pirlo playing some of the finest football you'll ever see and the home side's midfield step up to the plate.
They're now nine points clear.
2. Atletico Madrid
Last Week: 1
On Sunday, Atletico Madrid moved top of La Liga for the first time since 1996.
It's a remarkable achievement given the faulty money distribution methods still haunting the Spanish top tier, and the fact that the win to go top was a 4-0 demolishing of Real Sociedad makes it even more impressive.
Many have questioned our commitment in placing Atletico so high week after week. The truth is, they are the most reliable, consistent and trustworthy Spanish club.
1. Bayern Munich
Last Week: 1
Bayern Munich have resumed normal service in the Bundesliga following a winter break and crushed Eintracht Frankfurt at the weekend.
Thiago Alcantara set records in the passing game and Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben got themselves on the scoresheet. The final score, of 5-0, was fair reflection of their dominance.
Can anyone stop the Bayern machine?
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