Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Arsenal Fall, Roma and Barcelona Climb

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2014

Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Arsenal Fall, Roma and Barcelona Climb

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    Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

    Welcome back folks, to our latest round of European Power Rankings, as we take a look at the form of the biggest clubs in the game and rank them according to their most recent results.

    This past weekend has seen big hitters fail to win in several major leagues, with Napoli and Fenerbahce losing and Ajax managing only a draw—while Bayern Munich fell to their first Bundesliga defeat of the season at Augsburg.

    Will that affect their top-spot ranking? How will others take advantage? Read on and find out!

Honourable Mentions

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    Frank Augstein

    We don't have any new entries this week, with a handful of clubs who were pushing for a top-20 spot having failed to impress over the weekend.

    Even so, a few others bear watching over the closing matches of the campaign.

    Fenerbahce lost 1-0 to massive rivals Galatasaray, but still sit seven points clear at the top of the Turkish SuperLig.

    Feyenoord won their fifth match in succession in the Dutch Eredivisie to move into second place, six points off top spot which is occupied by Ajax—but they could only draw at Vitesse this week.

    Borussia Moenchengladbach are now up into fourth in the Bundesliga in Germany, overtaking Bayer Leverkusen, who have endured a miserable fall from second to fifth since the winter break. 'Gladbach have won four of their last five, with a 2-0 away win at Nurnberg the latest. A Champions League finish is in sight for them now.

20. Schalke 04

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    Martin Meissner

    Last week: 17

    Differential: -3

    Schalke 04 kept up their unbeaten run and a top-three finish still seems likely, but they could only manage a draw this weekend.

    Playing at Werder Bremen, they had to come from behind to secure a 1-1 result thanks to Leon Goretzka's equaliser. It was the teenager's fourth goal of a promising campaign.

    Schalke now have a seven-point buffer between themselves and Leverkusen in fifth, meaning Champions League football is virtually theirs for next term.

19. Athletic Bilbao

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Last week: 19

    Differential: —

    Athletic Club ran out 2-1 winners at Levante, thanks to a first-half brace from striker Aritz Aduriz, despite Mikel San Jose scoring on own goal after the break.

    Having failed to win their previous two matches, they'll be glad to get three points back on the board, as they look to close out the season in the top four of La Liga and get Champions League football back to the Basque country for next season.

18. Sporting Lisbon

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    Armando Franca

    Last week: 18

    Differential: —

    Sporting CP faced relegation strugglers Pacos de Ferreira away from home at the weekend, and made no mistake with a 3-1 victory.

    They were already ahead by that scoreline by the time the home team had a man sent off, meaning the game was beyond doubt thereafter.

    Visiting scouts may have been looking at William Carvalho for the defensive qualities he can bring, but it was he who opened the scoring early on in the match.

17. Lille OSC

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    Michel Spingler

    Last week: 20

    Differential: +3

    Lille faced a potentially tough test playing away to Toulouse at the weekend, but their rivals have not enjoyed the best of campaigns on home soil this term—and so it proved again.

    Lille ran out 2-1 winners, thanks to goals from key forward duo Nolan Roux and Salomon Kalou, with the in-demand Serge Aurier also on the scoresheet for the home side.

    The result allows LOSC to keep the pressure on the top two, while also extending the gap between themselves and fourth.

16. Napoli

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    Marco Vasini

    Last week: 13

    Differential: -3

    Napoli's inconsistent season cost them again at the weekend, as they suffered a 1-0 reversal at Parma.

    They haven't managed to string together three Serie A wins in a row since late November/early December, and that kind of form simply isn't enough to cope with the top two.

    Napoli shouldn't have any issues seeing out the season in the top three, assuring Champions League football, but they haven't really taken any strides forward this season after that blistering start they made to the campaign.

15. Monaco

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    Lionel Cironneau

    Last week: 16

    Differential: +1

    James Rodriguez made the difference once again for AS Monaco, as they got back to winning ways with a 3-1 win over Nantes on Sunday evening.

    Andrea Raggi also scored, with James' brace—the second a penalty—sandwiching the defender's goal.

    It was Monaco's first win in three and keeps them six points above Lille.

14. Arsenal

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Last week: 12

    Differential: -2

    Arsenal's familiar problems cost them dearly once more at the weekend, as Everton exploited their slow and frail midfield to record a big win in the race for fourth place in the Premier League.

    Arsene Wenger's men lost 3-0, never looking as though they were in the game and once more suffering a heavy away defeat to a top-four rival.

    Their destiny for Champions League football is no longer in their own hands, and they'll be hoping their easier finish to the season than Everton's will count for plenty.

13. Benfica

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Last week: 14

    Differential: +1

    Benfica kept up their winning streak with a ninth straight Primeira Liga victory.

    They comfortably thrashed Rio Ave 4-0 at home, with Oscar Cardozo's two penalties adding to strikes from Rodrigo and Nicolas Gaitan.

    They remain seven points clear and on course for the title.

12. Everton

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Last week: 15

    Differential: +3

    The reverse of Arsenal's situation. Everton looked energetic, vivacious, impressive and like a team with plenty to play for.

    A 3-0 win was no less than they deserved, and they know a win in their game in hand will take them into fourth now in the Premier League—but they do have a tougher run-in. With six straight wins though, they won't fear any opponent unduly.

11. Borussia Dortmund

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    Martin Meissner

    Last week: 10

    Differential: -1

    Borussia Dortmund managed to beat Wolfsburg 2-1 this weekend to extend their lead over third-place Schalke to three points, but we're at the stage in the rankings where it's not only results which matter, but form, performances and opposition.

    Only one of the top 10 failed to win this week, so the comeback victory for BVB isn't enough to hold them inside that group.

    Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus scored the goals which keep them clear in second.

10. Chelsea

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    Sang Tan

    Last week: 9

    Differential: -1

    Chelsea didn't need to be at their best to see off Stoke City, but certainly picked up on recent displays to record a decent 3-0 win at home.

    Mohamed Salah was an impressive performer, scoring and being involved in another goal, but Chelsea will simply view this as "job done" as long as they recorded three points—and get set for a massive midweek Champions League game.

    The blues did momentarily go top, but have since returned to second place in the Premier League.

9. Roma

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    Max Solinas

    Last week: 11

    Differential: +2

    Mattia Destro was the hat-trick hero for Roma at the weekend, firing in a treble at Cagliari—taking himself to 13 goals for the season in the process.

    Destro struck once in the first half and twice in the second to give his side a commanding lead, while a late penalty against them meant they ended up winning 3-1.

    That's six straight wins for AS Roma in Serie A now, as they finish the campaign strongly and open up a significant 12-point gap on third-place Napoli.

8. Juventus

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    Massimo Pinca

    Last week: 8

    Differential: —

    Juve got back to winning ways in Serie A with a straightforward 2-0 home result over relegation strugglers Livorno.

    Spanish striker Fernando Llorente scored twice in three minutes in the first half to keep Juve's eight-point advantage at the top.

    With six matches to play, they are closing in on another title to celebrate.

7. Paris Saint-Germain

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    Christophe Ena

    Last week: 6

    Differential: -1

    PSG made it eight straight Ligue 1 wins with a 3-0 victory over mid-table Reims.

    Edinson Cavani stepped up once more in the absence of injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, while a pair of own goals from Algerian defender Aissa Mandi also contributed heavily to the scoreline.

    PSG are 13 clear at the top and on course to retain their title.

6. Manchester City

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Last week: 7

    Differential: +1

    Manchester City picked up a big 4-1 win over Southampton, essentially winning the game with two strikes just before half-time.

    Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri have been in good form and scored again, but David Silva continues to be the man shining brightest for City.

    That win keeps their title hopes strong and realistic, being four points off the top of the table with two games in hand.

5. Atletico Madrid

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Last week: 4

    Differential: -1

    Atletico Madrid had captain Raul Garcia to thank again, as he scored the only goal in a 1-0 home win over Villarreal.

    Atleti were given a tough game and in the absence of Diego Costa were not as incisive as they can be, but another win—by any means necessary—keeps them top of La Liga with six matches left to play.

    That's six straight wins for Atleti in the league now.

4. Liverpool

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Last week: 5

    Differential: +1

    Liverpool are the most in-form team in Europe's big leagues right now, having ground out a 2-1 win at West Ham United to make it nine consecutive league victories.

    The result took them back to the top of the Premier League, two points clear of Chelsea, with only five matches left. They still have to face the second and third-placed teams, but both games are at home.

    Steven Gerrard's two penalties gave them the win at Upton Park this time around.

3. Real Madrid

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    Alvaro Barrientos

    Last week: 3

    Differential: —

    Real might have been expecting a difficult game at Real Sociedad at the weekend, but once they got their noses in front, they took control of the game in a big way.

    A 4-0 win was the end result, with Gareth Bale on the scoresheet once more. Illarra, Pepe and Alvaro Morata also all scored.

    Real Madrid sit third, with just three points separating La Liga's top three.

2. Bayern Munich

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    Matthias Schrader

    Last week: 1

    Differential: -1

    Bayern Munich have already won the league title and can turn their attentions to completing another treble, focusing on the DFB Pokal and the Champions League, but it was still a big surprise to see them lose at the weekend.

    They went down to a 1-0 defeat at Augsburg, meaning they've dropped more points in their last two league games than they had done so in the previous 27.

    It won't matter, nobody can catch them and the title is already assured.

1. Barcelona

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    Manu Fernandez

    Last week: 2

    Differential: +1

    We do indeed have a new leader!

    Barcelona faced one of the easier games for teams this season, beating bottom-placed Real Betis 3-1 at home.

    Leo Messi was on target twice, with an own goal in between adding to the scoreline. Barcelona have won five in a row now and seem to be hitting their best form at just the right time, with the Champions League still in their sights and the domestic league title seeing a terrific three-way race.

    Barca sit just one point behind Atletico Madrid, so there's still plenty to play for in Spain.