Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Real Madrid Rise, Chelsea Fall

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterFebruary 18, 2014

Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Real Madrid Rise, Chelsea Fall

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

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

    Each of the top three in Spain and Italy claimed victories, but in England and Germany, that wasn't the case. Bayer Leverkusen lost their fourth game in six and Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup—how will that effect their stock here?

    Read on to find out!

     

Honourable Mentions

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    Paulo Duarte/Associated Press

    Sporting

    Sporting won at home to Olhanense and perhaps stand unfortunate not to crack the top 20 this week.

     

    Porto

    Porto won again, this time away from home, and their momentum is taking them up the table at the right time.

     

    Ajax

    Ajax dispensed with Heerenveen in easy fashion, collecting three goals from Lasse Schone while keeping a clean sheet.

     

    Real Sociedad

    La Real picked up a superb 1-0 win away at Malaga on Monday night, pulling level with Villarreal and now sit just four points off Athletic Club.

20. Bayer Leverkusen

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Last Week: 16

    Movement: -4

    Bayer Leverkusen's loss to Schalke made it four losses from their last six Bundesliga games.

    They built up a large lead on Borussia Dortmund pre-Christmas, but it's been swatted away gradually now, and the Werkself stand just a point ahead of Jurgen Klopp's men.

    They're no longer favourites to claim second.

19. Athletic Club

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    Alvaro Barrientos/Associated Press

    Last Week: 18

    Movement:  -1

    Athletic Club suffered their first home Liga loss of the season in astonishing circumstances, falling 2-1 to Espanyol of all teams.

    They've beaten Barcelona and drawn with Real Madrid at the new San Mames this season, but football is a crazy, crazy game.

    Even worse, Aritz Aduriz picked up a red card in the closing stages.

18. Schalke

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Last Week: 19

    Movement: +1

    Schalke set up barricades at the Bay Arena this weekend and came away with a 2-1 victory.

    They were a little lucky, certainly, but their stout defending deserved three points, and the only goal Bayer Leverkusen scored was an own goal off Felipe Santana's leg...when he wasn't even looking.

    Leon Goretzka scored a stunning, stunning goal.

17. Benfica

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    Paulo Duarte/Associated Press

    Last Week: 20

    Movement: +3

    Benfica picked up a solid 2-0 win over an improving Pacos de Ferreira and stay top of Liga Sagres by four points.

    Their form hasn't really suffered since losing Nemanja Matic to Chelsea in the January window, and their important win vs. Sporting last week allowed them to create clear daylight between themselves and the rest of the pack.

16. Everton

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Last Week: 17

    Movement: +1

    Everton secured an easy 3-1 win over Swansea City in the FA Cup on Sunday.

    They barely had to hit second gear to claim the victory despite a few defensive lapses and the inefficiency of the rusty, out-of-practice Lacina Traore up front.

    Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar showed good chemistry throughout.

15. Tottenham Hotspur

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Last Week: 15

    Movement: None

    Tottenham Hotspur are the only team in our rankings that had the week off, as they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Arsenal back in the third round.

    They'll still be riding high after an incredible 4-0 victory over Newcastle United in midweek, though, with Emmanuel Adebayor continuing his great form by scoring a brace.

14. Monaco

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    Lionel Cironneau/Associated Press

    Last Week: 14

    Movement: None

    We go to Ligue 1 guru Jonathan Johnson for a Monaco update:

    Although Paris Saint-Germain will feel that they dropped two points in the principality a fortnight ago, AS Monaco will feel they should have won that game considering the amount of chances they created.

    Claudio Ranieri's men did not let that setback dampen their resolve to continue their title challenge though: Instead, ASM reacted in impressive fashion by emerging from Corsica with a James Rodriguez-inspired 2-0 win.

    Les Monegasques have been in impressive form in recent weeks, really pushing on since the start of 2014, and you get the feeling that PSG are not quite safe in top spot while the gap stays at just five points now that UEFA Champions League football is back underway.

    Monaco host Stade de Reims, something of a bogey side for the principality outfit this season, on Friday and can put pressure on PSG ahead of their away game at Toulouse on Sunday.

13. Napoli

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Last Week: 13

    Movement: None

    Napoli put on an attacking show this weekend, defeating the lively Sassuolo by two goals to nil.

    Lorenzo Insigne and Blerim Dzemaili struck in each half to the end the contest in the 55th minute, and Rafa Benitez was able to begin substituting key players like Marek Hamsik and Gonzalo Higuain.

    In many ways, a perfect day of work for the Partenopei.

12. Liverpool

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    Last Week: 9

    Movement: -3

    Liverpool were unfortunate to exit the FA Cup on the back of a contentious decision, but in truth, they need to focus on the league anyway.

    Fourth spot is right up for grabs in the Premier League and Brendan Rodgers' men have the capability to reach it. If they do, the Reds will finally be back on the right track and stand a chance of keeping Luis Suarez this summer.

11. Borussia Dortmund

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    Last Week: 12

    Movement: +1

    Borussia Dortmund sealed their second consecutive win by a four-goal margin this weekend, and they're beginning to hot up just at the right time.

    The demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt saw everything go right for them, and even debutant Milos Jojic came on as a substitute and scored with his first touch!

    A tough trip to Zenit is next.

10. Roma

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    Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

    Last Week: 11

    Movement: +1

    Roma tore Sampdoria to pieces on Sunday night, with Miralem Pjanic stealing the show in midfield.

    They were initially frustrated with their opponents for sitting so deep, and for a while, it didn't seem the breakthrough would come. But Mattia Destro rose to head a wonderful corner home, and from there, the floodgates opened up.

9. Arsenal

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    Last Week: 8

    Movement: -1

    Arsenal squeezed past Liverpool in controversial circumstances in the FA Cup on Sunday.

    They took a 2-0 lead through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski, but then, they gave away a penalty and should have conceded a second.

    Lucky for the Gunners, Howard Webb was unmoved by Luis Suarez's theatrics—despite it clearly being a foul.

8. Paris Saint-Germain

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    Jacques Brinon/Associated Press

    Last Week: 10

    Movement: +2

    B/R's Jonathan Johnson gives us the scoop on Paris Saint-Germain:

    After missing the chance to go eight points clear at the top of Ligue 1 last week following a draw with title rivals AS Monaco in the principality, PSG bounced back in superb style by sinking struggling Valenciennes 3-0 at home last Friday.

    Once again, it was far from a vintage performance from Laurent Blanc's side. But they managed to put the game beyond Ariel Jacob's men inside of an hour, enabling optimum squad rotation ahead of this week's Champions League trip to face Bayer Leverkusen in Germany.

    The big test now will be how PSG react to being back in Europe and competing on two fronts, with only a five-point lead at the top of Le Championnat and Monaco in ominous form despite the absence of Radamel Falcao.

    All the pressure could be on PSG come Sunday, with Les Monegasques hosting Stade de Reims on Friday before Blanc and his side head to Toulouse.

7. Atletico Madrid

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Last Week: 5

    Movement: -2

    Atletico Madrid got back to winning ways on Saturday by beating Real Valladolid 3-0...but still move down in our rankings.

    Diego Costa scored a sumptuous 30-yard chip after Raul Garcia had put the home side ahead early on, and from there, it was typically plain sailing until the final whistle.

    Emiliano Insua's form at left-back hasn't matched Filipe Luis', but he's been encouraging as a backup for now.

6. Barcelona

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Last Week: 6

    Movement: None

    Barcelona smashed poor old Rayo Vallecano to pieces on Saturday, readying themselves perfectly for a tough test at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

    It represents the toughest and the biggest game of Gerardo Martino's tenure to date, and how better to prepare than by scoring six goals?

    They sit first in La Liga and beat Real Sociedad last week to reach the Copa del Rey final.

5. Chelsea

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2

    Movement: -3

    Chelsea fell to a disappointing loss to Manchester City on Sunday, totalling just three shots on goal over the course of 90 putrid minutes.

    It was as much a Manuel Pellegrini tactical victory than it was a Jose Mourinho failure, and the Blues' strong traditional run in the FA Cup is over early this year.

    Eden Hazard went from hat-trick hero to ineffectual and redundant.

     

4. Manchester City

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Last Week: 7

    Movement: +3

    Manchester City put in an astonishing show on Saturday to defeat Chelsea in the FA Cup.

    Mourinho got the better of Pellegrini several weeks ago in the league, but the Spaniard responded with a strong strategy and limited the Blues to just three shots on goal.

    Barcelona at home awaits.

3. Juventus

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    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3

    Movement: None

    Juventus destroyed Chievo on Sunday afternoon to move 12 points clear at the top of Serie A on a temporary basis.

    They dominated from the off, and the opening goal simply seemed a matter of time; Kwadwo Asamoah obliged with an absolute screamer, then Claudio Marchisio and Fernando Llorente sealed the deal.

    You just cannot see them dropping enough points to allow Roma to catch them.

2. Real Madrid

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4

    Movement: +2

    Real Madrid eased to a 3-0 victory over Getafe at the Alfonso Perez on Sunday to keep pace with their prime La Liga rivals.

    It was a local derby—though the attendance figures would belie that statement—and los Blancos did well to come through it unscathed with a clean sheet and with minimal fuss.

    Jese scored a screamer, and if you haven't heard by now, he looks quite the prospect.

     

1. Bayern Munich

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    Rene Ruprecht/Associated Press

    Last Week: 1

    Movement: None

    Bayern Munich demolished Freiburg 4-0 to stay top of the Bundesliga by 16 points.

    They're still on course for an unbeaten domestic season, remain favourites to lift (and retain) the UEFA Champions League and look a safe bet to reach the final of the DFB Pokal.

    The world eagerly awaits their tie with Arsenal.