Power Ranking the Top 25 European Clubs After Weekend of August 29
Welcome to the latest edition of our European club power rankings, where we order the top teams on the continent based on early season form and squad strength.
All of Europe's top five leagues are back after Serie A resumed, finally, this weekend. The Bundesliga, the Premier League, La Liga and Ligue 1 are now in full flow and form is really starting to take shape.
How does that affect our order this week? There's a new No. 1!
Marseille—It's coming together for Marcelo Bielsa, but we're not there yet.
Manchester United—Remain winless under Louis van Gaal.
Villarreal—A narrow loss to Barcelona is nothing to be sniffed at.
Ajax—Two losses in a row see them mid-table in the Eredivisie.
Monaco—Another draw, and they've lost Radamel Falcao to Manchester United, as the club announced.
Last Week: 19
Everton went down 6-3 to Chelsea on Saturday, and despite their strong performances in all three games thus far, they're still stuck on a measly two points.
That shifts them right to the bottom of our power rankings again after climbing last week in impressive fashion. Roberto Martinez will be relaxed about his team's performances, but they need to start collecting wins.
Last Week: N/A
Sneaking into our top 25, admittedly partly on future faith, is Milan.
It's been a long time since the Rossoneri troubled the big boys, but Filippo Inzaghi's start against Lazio was a strong one and the return of Stephan El Shaarawy was oh-so-spectacular indeed.
Onward and upward for the famous red and black?
Last Week: 23
Lille pulled off a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Monaco this weekend, staying true to their tight defensive philosophy and limiting les Monegasques to just two shots on target, per WhoScored.com.
Firepower is going to be an issue for them all season long after failing to pick up a notable striker in the transfer window, but they can rely on their rock-solid defence in lieu of this.
22. Schalke 04
Last Week: N/A
Schalke 04 held Bayern Munich to a draw on Saturday, and that result alone propels them into our top 25 for the week.
They were looking good in pre-season but lost their opener to Hannover. However, fans will hope the Royal Blue we saw this weekend is the real make-up of the side.
Last Week: 21
Bordeaux's winning run under Willy Sagnol came to an end with a 1-1 home draw against Bastia, but a positive can be found in the fact Diego Rolan, a promising young attacker, scored the equalising goal.
Paris Saint-Germain were able to close the gap to two points at the top of the table as a result of their victory, but 10 points from four games is a very reasonable return for the fans so far.
20. Athletic Bilbao
Last Week: Honourable Mention
Athletic Bilbao are going to be a lot of fun to watch this season under Ernesto Valverde, and it's possible they could even top their achievements of last year despite Ander Herrera's exit.
Iker Muniain is on fire once again, and although Benat is playing poorly, they're carrying him and and finding a way to win regardless.
19. PSV Eindhoven
Last Week: 20
PSV Eindhoven sit atop the summit of the Eredivisie table at present, with four wins from four games—including an away victory over Ajax—giving them a three-point cushion early on.
Their latest victory over Vitesse was as professional as they come, and Memphis Depay's long-range chip that hit the bar only served to heighten the hype surrounding him.
Last Week: 17
Benfica dropped their first points of the season in the Lisbon derby this weekend, with Artur Moraes ensuring he's shimmied out of the starting XI as quickly as possible by literally handing Sporting a goal in the first half.
With FC Porto winning again the points gap is already at two, and the Eagles know this is going to be a hard slog given the amount of players they sold in the summer window.
17. Bayer Leverkusen
Last Week: 18
Bayer Leverkusen continued their eye-popping start to the season by beating Hertha Berlin 4-2 at the BayArena.
Tin Jedvaj scored in both goals and Hakan Calhanoglu stole the show again, proving he was worth the outlay from Hamburg SV this summer.
Roger Schmidt is hot property right now.
16. FC Porto
Last Week: 16
Jackson Martinez struck twice as FC Porto cruised to a 3-0 victory over minnows Moreirense in the Liga Sagres on Sunday, making it three wins from three for Julen Lopetegui's side.
They look a different animal entirely, and with more than 15 new players arriving this summer, it's perhaps surprising that they've gelled so quickly.
There's a good feeling at the Dragao.
15. Zenit St. Petersburg
Last Week: 15
Andre Villas-Boas made it six wins from six for Zenit St. Petersburg this weekend, beating Russian powerhouse Lokomotiv Moscow 1-0 in a tricky away tie.
Summer signing Javi Garcia netted the only goal of the game, and although for once Hulk was kept quiet by a capable defensive line, Zenit ground out the three points.
14. Tottenham Hotspur
Last Week: 11
Mauricio Pochettino's first loss in charge of Tottenham Hotspur was a truly ugly one, going down 3-0 to Liverpool in front of the home fans.
OK, so it wasn't as bad as Luis Suarez's demolition of Andre Villas-Boas' men last year, but it was still clear the Reds have the upper-hand on Pochettino's tactical way of thinking.
Time to reload.
Last Week: 14
Napoli looked impressive in their victory over Genoa, but they didn't secure the winning goal until the 90th minute via super-sub Jonathan De Guzman.
Rafa Benitez has changed his squad in a quiet, yet effective fashion and has building blocks in Kalidou Koulibaly, Jorginho, Marek Hamsik and Gonzalo Higuain. Jose Callejon is already off the mark, and he figures to be a huge presence in this side once again.
12. Borussia Dortmund
Last Week: 13
Borussia Dortmund switched from 4-3-1-2 to a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3-esque shape on Friday night and looked far, far more accomplished as a team.
The late goal rush from Augsburg, making the scoreline a close 3-2 finish, will concern Jurgen Klopp but at least they're off the mark and Bayern Munich dropped points on the same day.
Last Week: 7
Arsenal's draw with Leicester City was disappointing on many a level, with issues in the build-up, chance creation and defence all rearing their heads.
The Foxes played very basic, Championship-style football and the Gunners simply couldn't handle it, with Leonardo Ulloa really testing the back line.
Danny Welbeck's an excellent deadline-day signing, though, which was confirmed by the club on Tuesday.
Last Week: 10
Roma started the season superbly, beating Fiorentina 2-0 at the Olimpico in a game where they could, and should, have scored more.
Radja Nainggolan netted early on after great work from his forwards, then Gervinho finally claimed a deserved goal late on to seal it. The Ivorian could have had a hat-trick if he had shown some composure while finishing.
Last Week: 12
Liverpool's 4-4-2 diamond was rolled out at White Hart Lane this weekend and the goals, quite predictably, flowed.
A 3-0 win, a debut for Mario Balotelli, a star showing from Raheem Sterling and a goal for left-back Alberto Moreno? Had you asked Brendan Rodgers to draw up the ideal day on Sunday, it wouldn't have looked too different in truth.
8. Paris Saint-Germain
Last Week: 9
Paris Saint-Germain thumped Saint-Etienne this weekend, scoring five goals and seeing Zlatan Ibrahimovic bag a hat-trick.
A slow start for the reigning champions can officially be considered over and done with; les Parisiens are in their groove and looking for yet another title.
7. Atletico Madrid
Last Week: 8
Atletico Madrid struggled to overcome Eibar on Saturday, with the newly promoted club really testing their mettle late in the game.
This isn't quite the Colchoneros side we saw last season, but Diego Simeone is banned from the touchline and is unable to work his magic.
At the very least, Mario Mandzukic is scoring goals.
Last Week: 6
Juventus ground out an opening-day win over Chievo on Saturday, getting their Serie A title tilt off to a strong start.
The pressure was on Massimiliano Allegri, stepping into Antonio Conte's big, big shoes, as injuries riddled the XI and hindered his selections.
The unlikely figure of Martin Caceres forced the ball home for the winner, though it's been credited as a Cristiano Biraghi own goal.
5. Manchester City
Last Week: 5
Manchester City slipped to a rare home loss early in the season, falling to Stoke City 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
Mame Biram Diouf was allowed to run from inside his own half, nutmeg a defender and then slip a finish between Joe Hart's legs, too.
Manuel Pellegrini's side eventually ran out of ideas, with Ryan Shawcross unbeatable at the back.
4. Real Madrid
Last Week: 1
Real Madrid took a 2-0 lead early on at Real Sociedad and everything looked, well, set for the evening. Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos had set the tone for another victory, and la Real were headed to their second straight defeat of the season already.
But los Blancos fell apart, and David Zurutuza and Co. put their defensive structures to the sword by replying with four goals.
This being the first result post-Xabi Alonso's sale, the fans are not happy.
3. Bayern Munich
Last Week: 4
Schalke 04 held Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw at the Veltins Arena on Saturday.
In a game in which an incredible seven FIFA World Cup 2014 winners were on display, Benedikt Howedes was the man who rescued a point for the home side after resuming in the left-back role we saw for Germany at the summer.
Xabi Alonso debuted, and Bayern move up on account of Real Madrid's loss.
Last Week: 2
Barcelona squeezed past Villarreal on Sunday evening courtesy of a Sandro Ramirez goal off the bench. With Munir El Haddadi acing his audition last week and another La Masia graduate saving the day at El Madrigal, it's clear Luis Enrique's faith in youth is paying off.
The transfer window closed on Monday evening and the Blaugrana cannot sign any more players for more than a year; this will be the true test of the youth talent factory the club so admirably value.
Last Week: 3
Chelsea's defensive solidity, usually so dependable under Jose Mourinho, has started the season on holiday as the goals are flying in.
Luckily Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Co. can seemingly outscore anyone, and the 6-3 win over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday is proof that the Blues mean business this season.
They are a scary proposition for anyone to take on.