World Football

Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs as Chelsea, Barcelona Rise, Schalke Drop

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2014

Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs as Chelsea, Barcelona Rise, Schalke Drop

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    Alberto Saiz

    Welcome to our latest update of Europe's most in-form sides, with top-flight domestic leagues around the continent now rapidly drawing to a close.

    We've got two new entries into the top 20 for you this week, with sides from Spain's La Liga and Italy's Serie A making way. Liverpool picked up a high-profile defeat in a top-of-the-table clash in England, meaning there's a change at the top of our rankings, too.

    Here's the top 20—leave your comments below as always.

Honourable Mentions and Dropping out

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    Epsilon/Getty Images

    Sevilla drop out of our top 20 after defeat in their pursuit for a top-four finish in Spain, while Napoli follow suit in Italy's Serie A, drawing this weekend to make it just five wins in their last 11 league games.

    Shout-outs go to Fenerbahce who have sealed the Turkish league title, Ajax who have done likewise in Holland, Inter Milan extending their unbeaten run in Serie A, and CSKA Moscow winning a seventh straight league game in Russia.

20. Feyenoord

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    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Last week: New!

    Differential: New!

    Feyenoord racked up yet another win, their seventh in succession, with a comprehensive 5-1 thrashing of Cambuur at the weekend.

    Graziano Pelle and Tonny Vilhena were the tormentors-in-chief once more, with a late flurry of goals sealing the win in the final 15 minutes or so.

    One more win for Feyenoord seals a runners-up finish and Champions League football next season.

19. Athletic Bilbao

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    Alvaro Barrientos

    Last week: New!

    Differential: New!

    Athletic Bilbao had just one week outside our top 20 after a vital victory over Champions League rivals Sevilla this weekend.

    Markel Susaeta, Ander Herrera and Iker Muniain were the scorers in a 3-1 win, which not only saw Athletic back to winning ways but also opened up a six-point gap between themselves and the Andalucian side in fifth.

    Five points from three games seals a top-four finish for the Basque team.

18. Sporting Lisbon

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    Francisco Seco

    Last week: 18

    Differential: —

    Sporting's season is all but over after a 1-0 win at Belenenses last time out.

    They didn't play this weekend but with two games to go can rise no higher or lower than second place.

17. Lille OSC

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Last week: 19

    Differential: +2

    Lille are all but there in their quest for Champions League football.

    A 2-1 home win over Bordeaux means they need just three more points from the last three games to ensure they cannot be caught in third place.

    Salomon Kalou and Ryan Mendes scored their goals at the weekend.

16. Zenit

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    Epsilon/Getty Images

    Last week: 17

    Differential: +1

    Zenit picked up a routine 2-0 win over relegation strugglers Volga this time out, with midfield duo Axel Witsel and Viktor Faizulin showing their worth in front of goal.

    They remain one point clear at the top of the Russian Premier League with three matches left to play, on a great run of form domestically.

    Zenit play second-placed Lokomotiv next time out in what could be a title decider.

15. Everton

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Last week: 11

    Differential: -4

    Everton's Champions League hopes have hit the rails in recent weeks, with a second defeat in three games coming at Southampton this weekend.

    Two own goals from Seamus Coleman and Antolin Alcaraz cost them a 2-0 loss, leaving them now four points outside the top four with just two matches to play.

    A top-five finish is still an impressive achievement for the campaign, but their form has just deserted them at the worst moment.

14. Benfica

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    Francisco Seco

    Last week: 13

    Differential: -1

    As with Sporting, Benfica did not play this weekend.

    They wrapped up the Liga Sagres title last time out, though, and will be in the Champions League group stages again next term.

13. Arsenal

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    Alastair Grant

    Last week: 15

    Differential: +2

    Arsenal's ability to consistently overcome teams below them in the table looks to have been enough to push them over the line into the top four.

    A Monday night win over Newcastle, by a 3-0 scoreline, has moved them four points clear of fifth place with just two games to go. One more win seals a top-four finish.

    Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud scored the goals against a woeful Newcastle side.

12. Monaco

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    Lionel Cironneau

    Last week: 14

    Differential: +2

    AS Monaco left it until the second half to leave Ligue 1 bottom club Ajaccio in the dust, but with help from Dimitar Berbatov, they ran out 4-1 winners.

    The Bulgarian scored twice before Geoffrey Kondogbia and Lucas Ocampos also found the net late on.

    It kept the pressure on PSG at the top, but Monaco's title hopes are almost over. Second place is likewise almost assured.

11. PSG

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    Christophe Ena

    Last week: 10

    Differential: -1

    PSG took a small step toward their inevitable title on Sunday, drawing 1-1 with relegation-threatened Sochaux.

    Thiago Silva's own goal denied them the three points which would have won the Paris side the title, after Edinson Cavani had initially put his team ahead.

    PSG will win the title next week at home to Rennes if they win, or regardless of their own scoreline if Monaco fail to win their own match.

10. Chelsea

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Last week: 12

    Differential: +2

    Chelsea defended for almost the complete 90 minutes in their top-of-the-table fixture against Liverpool on Sunday but took the three points thanks to goals right at the end of each half.

    Demba Ba and Willian were the scorers after mistakes in possession by Liverpool, pulling Jose Mourinho's men back to within two points of top spot.

    They remain second in the table with two games to play.

9. Roma

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    Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

    Last week: 9

    Differential: —

    AS Roma's excellent season continued with a 2-0 win over AC Milan.

    Miralem Pjanic and Gervinho scored the goals in the victory, stretching further the gap between second and third.

    Roma can still just about catch top spot, but they're going to end the campaign in second.

8. Borussia Dortmund

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    Michael Probst

    Last week: 7

    Differential: -1

    BVB's winning run came to an end after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Bayer Leverkusen.

    Oliver Kirch and Marco Reus found the target to peg back their rivals each time after they had taken the lead, ensuring Dortmund retain their unbeaten form.

    With two games to play, Dortmund now know they will finish second.

7. Manchester City

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    Kirsty Wigglesworth

    Last week: 8

    Differential: +1

    Manchester City took advantage of weekend results to put themselves back in the driving seat for the Premier League title.

    Edin Dzeko and Yaya Toure scored the goals in a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, meaning City are three points off top spot, in third place, but with a game in hand. Win that and they could be top on goal difference.

    They have three matches left to play this season.

6. Juventus

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    Marco Vasini

    Last week: 6

    Differential: —

    Juventus fell behind against Sassuolo at the weekend before bouncing back to win 3-1.

    Carlos Tevez, Claudio Marchisio and Fernando Llorente scored the goals to turn the match around and take another step toward the inevitable.

    Juve require just two more points to win another Serie A title.

5. Bayern Munich

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Last week: 5

    Differential: —

    Bayern came from behind twice to win 5-2 against Werder Bremen at the weekend.

    Claudio Pizarro scored twice, Robben and Ribery scored one each and Bastian Schweinsteiger also found the net.

    Bayern's title is already secure; they are chasing silverware elsewhere to close out the season.

4. Liverpool

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Last week: 1

    Differential: -3

    Liverpool dominated possession but didn't create enough clear chances in their big game against Chelsea.

    Two mistakes cost them dearly in the end, gifting easy chances to Chelsea in a 2-0 defeat.

    The Reds remain top of the Premier League with two games to play but now need either a lot of goals to be scored or else Manchester City to drop points.

3. Barcelona

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Last week: 4

    Differential: +1

    A quite spectacular comeback from Barcelona saw them score three times in the last 25 minutes of their game against Villarreal at the weekend.

    Going 2-0 down before an hour had been played, Barca saw two own goals go their way before Leo Messi managed to score the winner with seven minutes left to play.

    It keeps the Catalan side in the hunt for the title, four points off the top with three to play.

2. Real Madrid

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Last week: 3

    Differential: +1

    Real Madrid had an extremely straightforward win over a negative and disinterested Osasuna side, with the 4-0 victory giving them the chance to both rest players from the start and sub off three key names.

    Cristiano Ronaldo scored two long-range goals before being replaced, with Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal also on the scoresheet.

    Real are third, six points off the top, but still have a game in hand.

1. Atletico Madrid

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    Alberto Saiz

    Last week: 2

    Differential: +1

    Atletico Madrid are our new leaders, top of La Liga and top of the rankings.

    They won 1-0 at Valencia at the weekend, with Raul Garcia yet again the hero with a goal in what has been a phenomenal season for the versatile midfielder.

    Juanfran was sent off late on, but it wasn't enough to half Atleti's run.

    If they win their next two games, they win the league title.

     

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