European Club Power Rankings After September 15-18 Matches

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterSeptember 19, 2017

Paris Saint-Germain's Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani (L) and Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar react during the French Ligue 1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lyon (OL) on September 17, 2017 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris.  / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE        (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

The week in which the Champions League group stage starts is always a fun one, as it brings an extra dose of top-class football to an already jam-packed schedule.

It makes things interesting for the European Club rankings, too, as it's our first chance to measure teams from different leagues against one another and gauge their relative strengths.

The rankings are a season-long measurement of clubs. Just like last term, they track teams throughout 2017/18, taking into account results from all competitions.

Teams that have lost the fewest games naturally rank higher—though the strength of opposition met in a loss is consideredand Champions League form and presence are used as tiebreakers for those with similar records. Those who gather big wins against strong opposition get a natural boost.

(Here's a look at last week's rankings.)


 20. Arsenal (Stay)

Arsene Wenger shocked the world on Sunday by turning up to a big game with a well-organised team and a plan in place. The Gunners boss has been so tactically passive over the last few years—and that's led to so many shellackings from big sides—that for him to change was unexpected.

His team managed to grind out a tough 0-0 draw with Chelsea, utilising high work rate and aggression throughout the side. Added to the 3-1 victory over Cologne gained in the Europa League, that makes for a successful week that keeps them in the top 20.

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger looks on from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in London on September 17, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. N
BEN STANSALL/Getty Images

19. RB Leipzig (-2)

RB Leipzig drop in our rankings after stringing together two consecutive home draws. 

Neither result can be regarded as poorparticularly given the calibre of their opponents, Monaco and Borussia Monchengladbachbut given Sevilla and Milan garnered better results, they must descend.

             

18. AC Milan (+1)

Last week Nikola Kalinic made his first two starts for Milanone in Europe, and one in Serie Aand emerged from them with two goals and an assist.

He linked with Andre Silva and Hakan Calhanoglu superbly, and he was denied a hat-trick against Udinese at the weekend because of a tight VAR (video-assistant referee) call.

Having lost heavily to Lazio the week before, Milan provided the perfect rebuttal.

           

17. Tottenham Hotspur (-2)

If Tottenham could decide whether they're good, then inform us of the decision, that'd be grand.

They seem to yo-yo dangerously in form and performance from game to game; to see them beat an excellent Borussia Dortmund side midweek only to fail to breach Swansea City's defence days later, must be infuriating for fans.

A poor start cost them in the title race last season, and they've once again struggled to get themselves up and running early this term.

           

16. Liverpool (Stay)

How predictable was Liverpool's failure to beat Burnley at home on Saturday? They're exactly the type of team the Reds have struggled to overcome in the last year, and without a full-strength attacking collection, they failed to break them down over and over.

It's arguable that with a sharp Philippe Coutinho and an available Sadio Mane (three-match ban after red card), this wouldn't have happened. However, what you can say is that, due to defensive frailties, Liverpool cannot expect to win a game in which they score just once.


15. Sevilla (+3)

It feels like Sevilla are yet to find their rhythm, yet they sit second in La Liga, unbeaten thus far, and managed a 2-2 draw at Anfield in midweek. 

Their latest result was a tight 1-0 victory over Girona, with Luis Muriel scoring his first league goal for his new club. You can't fault their capacity to grind results.

            

14. Atletico Madrid (-1)

Atletico ended what felt like an age on the road this weekend by playing their first game at their new stadium, the Wanda Metropolitano. They christened the fresh turf in the only way they know how: a tight 1-0 victory over Malaga, with Antoine Griezmann bagging the goal.

Starting off in a positive fashion helps push memories of midweek by the wayside. Atletico met AS Roma in the Champions League and dominated at the Olimpico, but poor finishing cost them dearly. Saul Niguez's late, close-range effort that struck the post should have won them the game.

  

13. Chelsea (+1)

Chelsea were disappointing against Arsenal, failing to circumvent their opponents' pressing and therefore struggling to find a passing rhythm. Even Marcos Alonso was pinned back quite effectively on the whole in the 0-0 draw.

The only player to impress was David Luiz, whose positional play, passing and strength were fantastic...until he was shown a straight red card for a horrible tackle on Sead Kolasinac. Even the Blues' plus-points from the day were ruined.

Inter Milan's Slovak defender Milan Skriniar (C-L) celebrates with his teammate Inter Milan's Argentinian forward Mauro Icardi during the Italian Serie A football match FC Crotone vs FC Internazionale Milano on September 16, 2017 at the Ezio Scida Stadium
CARLO HERMANN/Getty Images

12. Inter Milan (Stay)

Inter's perfect start in Serie A (played four, won four) is perhaps a little misleading given some of the performances, and this weekend's effort against Crotone wasn't a crowd-pleaser.

Milan Skriniar, the Nerazzurri's new towering centre-back, broke the deadlock late and then Ivan Perisic added a second, but it glossed over a performance that was rough at times.

Still, 12 points from 12? Manager Luciano Spalletti isn't complaining.

             

11. AS Monaco (Stay)

Monaco can be pleased with their week's work. A draw away to RB Leipzig is a positive result, while back in Ligue 1, the disappointment of last week's loss to OGC Nice was shrugged off with a routine 3-0 triumph over Strasbourg.

Radamel Falcao has been the story of their season so far; he's been scoring freely, netting at a rate similar to Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2014/15. Perhaps it's time to put him back into the elite tier of strikers.


10. Lazio (Stay)

Lazio are on a four-game win streak and have just negotiated a difficult seven-day period in which they've faced Milan, Vitesse and Genoa.

Those doubting the job Simone Inzaghi has done need only look at their unbeaten run dating back to their August triumph over Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana. With Ciro Immobile firing and the midfield supplying chances, they're tough to beat.

            

9. Manchester United (Stay)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17:  Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United celebrates scoring his sides third goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford on September 17, 2017 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Yet another 4-0 victory for Manchester United in the Premier League. That's three from a possible five, and this one marked their fourth clean sheet of the season already.

Dig a little deeper, though, and by no means did it look like a 4-0 game. Everton were right in it up until around the 80th minute, and David De Gea was relied upon for two super saves with the score at 1-0.

We'll see over the course of the season how sustainable these big scorelines are, but for now, the Red Devils will be relieved to get through their first full game without the injured Paul Pogba.

             

8. Borussia Dortmund (-2)

Dortmund will have come away from Wembley last Wednesday a little exasperated. They dominated Tottenham for long spells but contrived to miss a lot of chances and wilt defensively on the counter. This resulted in a 3-1 loss.

They took their frustrations out on poor, tired, injury-hit Cologne on Sunday, beating a side who had lost both the game and key midfield man Jonas Hector to Arsenal on Thursday, by a 5-0 scoreline.

That day at Signal Iduna Park, everything went right: Max Philipp scored his first for the club, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang chimed in with two and summer signings Andriy Yarmolenko and Mahmoud Dahoud grabbed assists.

             

7. Juventus (Stay)

A sparkling performance from Paulo Dybala on Sunday led Juventus past Sassuolo and continued their flawless start to the Serie A season (4-0).

La Joya netted three beautiful goals to boost his own stock even further in world football. All were with his left peg, from distance, and they left the goalkeeper helpless.

It went some way to removing the pains of midweek, when a loss to Barcelona showed they have fallen off a step or two in comparison to the elite.

              

6. Napoli (-2)

Oh, Napoli. Napoli, Napoli, Napoli.

Last week we sang their praises, detailing how they hadn't lost away from home in a year and had done nothing but win so far this season...and their response was to lose to Shakhtar Donetsk in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Granted, manager Maurizio Sarri rotated a little, and leaving striker Dries Mertens on the bench proved damaging. However, this is a poor result against a side who don't play at their real home due to political circumstances.

It doesn't even matter that they beat relegation fodder Benevento 6-0 in a display of fire and fury on Sunday. The midweek loss is too damaging to their claim to legitimacy.

            

5. Manchester City (+3)

Manchester City have scored 15 goals in their last three games, with their latest outing a stunning, comprehensive 6-0 deconstruction of Watford at Vicarage Road.

In that three-game span, Gabriel Jesus has scored four and Sergio Aguero five, while centre-backs Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones have chimed in, too. This entire side is purring and contributing in every facet of the game.

They're making good on their pre-season tag of Premier League title favourites, though there are still those rightly wary of last season's collapse. Still, best of luck to any side who catches them in this kind of form.

           

4. Bayern Munich (+1)

The weekend before last went horribly for Bayern Munich, but sometimes that happens. The important thing was for the club to respond in an appropriate fashion. They have done that by sticking three past Anderlecht and four past Mainz since then.

The star of the week was Joshua Kimmich, who, from right-back, picked up four assists and a goal over the course of those two matches. Thomas Muller also netted, having been given the chance to redeem himself after a poor previous showing.

B/R's Andy Brassell wrote about the potential demise of Bayern last week, illustrating the pressure that head coach Carlo Ancelotti is now under at the Allianz Arena. These two wins will at least stem the tide.

          

3. Real Madrid (-1)

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 17:  Borja Mayoral of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring a goal during the La Liga match between Real Sociedad de Futbol and Real Madrid at Estadio Anoeta on September 17, 2017 in San Sebastian, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Ma
Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Real Madrid ended a two-game winless streak in La Liga by beating a strong Real Sociedad side 3-1 at Anoeta this weekend. The San Sebastian club have started the season well, so to emerge victorious from this with the rotated team sent out is quite the feat.

Borja Mayoral stepped into the void at centre-forward and netted the opener, performing well. Theo Hernandez also impressed from left-back, and Gareth Bale scored a nice goal, too.

Despite this, and the win over APOEL Nicosia in midweek, they move down again. Why? Because each of the top three won both games this week, and Los Blancos' set of results was the weakest of the lot.

              

2. Paris Saint-Germain (-1)

PSG negotiated a potentially tricky tie with Lyon on Sunday, winning 2-0 at the Parc des Princes, but the result was not the main storyline.

Neymar and Edinson Cavani's argument over who should take a penaltywhich Cavani eventually misseddominated the headlines instead. Suggestions of a "power struggle" between the capital club's elite forwards will now be force-fed into the narrative surrounding the club (even though this sort of thing happens quite a lot).

You might be wondering why, after winning two games last week by an aggregate score of 7-0, PSG move down in our rankings. Well, the new No. 1 produced a win that was by far and away the most impressive of them all and deservedly leap upward.

           

1. Barcelona (+2)

GETAFE, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 16: Paulinho of FC Barcelona celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's 2nd goal during the La Liga match between Getafe and Barcelona at Coliseum Alfonso Perez on September 16, 2017 in Getafe, . (Photo by Denis Doyle/Get
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Hands up if you're just a little bit happy for Paulinho?

The Brazilian has long been a laughing stock of world football due to his ill-fated spell in England with Tottenham, so some fans were left aghast when learning Barcelona had paid €40 million for his services.

But little did they know he'd been shining in China, rebuilding his career, and starting regularly for a Brazil side many fancy to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The transfer was mocked, but it was he who was laughing on Saturday as he swept home a late winner against Getafe for his new side.

That, combined with a Lionel Messi-inspired slaying of Juventus in the Champions League midweek, pushes Barcelona to the top of the rankings. Paris Saint-Germain might feel hard done by, but they didn't beat one of the best teams in Europe last Tuesday. 

                  

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