European Club Power Rankings After April 27-29 Matches

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterApril 30, 2018

LA CORUNA, SPAIN - APRIL 29:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates with his team-mates after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between Deportivo La Coruna and Barcelona at Abanca Riazor Stadium on April 29, 2018 in La Coruna, Spain.  (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

This final stretch of the season is upon us, with silverware being dished out left and right, and the Champions League latter stages doing a fine job of sorting the contenders from the pretenders.

These rankings are a season-long measurement of clubs, tracking teams throughout 2017/18 and taking into account results from all competitions. In these closing stages, Champions League performance is particularly important.

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


 20. Red Bull Salzburg (Stay)

You would be surprised if Red Bull Salzburg reach the Europa League final from here, having sustained a 2-0 away loss to Marseille in the semi-final first leg, but they've been underestimated at every turn so far and beat Lazio 4-1 at home in the quarter-finals. Stranger things have happened.

           

19. Arsenal (-1)

On the verge of two very good results, Arsenal contrived to squander great positions late on in both European and Premier League play last week.

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger leaves the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on April 29, 2018. - Manchester United won the game 2-1. (Phot
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

The late, comical concession against Atletico Madrid puts them in a rough position for the Europa League semi-final second leg, while Marouane Fellaini's 90th-minute winner on Sunday ensured Arsene Wenger will bow out with one final loss at Old Trafford.

             

18. Schalke 04 (+1)

Schalke need one more result to guarantee themselves Champions League football for next season. It won't help them keep Leon Goretzka and Max Meyer, but it might help the club replace them with adequate quality.

               

17. Inter Milan (-2)

Much of Italy and most of Europe were rooting for Inter Milan at the weekend, as they had the chance to put another dagger in Juventus' Scudetto hopes.

A red card for Matias Vecino represented an early blow, but the Nerazzurri fought their way to a 2-1 lead, making us believeonly to concede twice in two minutes late on, lose 3-2 and earn our ire rather than our praise.

               

16. Valencia (Stay)

Fourth place it is for Valencia. It's a serious achievement considering the context their season started in.


15. Lazio (Stay)

Lazio took full advantage of Inter Milan's loss to wedge a four-point buffer between the two sides in the Serie A table. 

The Biancocelesti now appear settled in that fourth spot, and it's looking all the more likely they will secure Champions League football for next season, thus making it even harder for the vultures to prise their star talent away.

              

14. Marseille (+3)

One foot in the Europa League final?

Marseille are doing their best to juggle European and domestic commitments with a squad on the small side. Rudi Garcia has done a lot with a modest team, rehabilitating a number of reputations along the way.

                 

13. Chelsea (Stay)

Chelsea are in a position where they simply must win and then figure the rest out later. The Champions League spots aren't completely beyond them, they just have to find their old, indomitable selves in order to reach them.

They did what was required at Swansea City on Saturday, winning 1-0, and now have an entire week to prepare for the visit of a Liverpool side who will play in Rome on Wednesday.

            

12. Tottenham Hotspur (Stay)

Tottenham will be in action on Monday evening against Watford. It's a must-win game given how tight the race for the top four is becoming.

               

11. Napoli (Stay)

A lot can change in a week. That's something Kalidou Koulibaly will be acutely aware of right now, given his part in both the heroic victory over Juventus and the damning defeat at Fiorentina.

His red card in the first half paved the path for a heavy 3-0 loss in which the Partenopei never really came close to threatening in. It puts them four points behind the Bianconeri with three to play. Hopes are dwindling yet again.


 10. Manchester United (Stay)

Manchester United are now guaranteed a top-four finish, with the three points gleaned from Arsenal on Sunday enough to ensure the fifth-placed team cannot catch them.

From here, it's a simple case of win out, collecting nine points in the process, and hitting the FA Cup final against Chelsea on May 19 at full steam.

             

9. Paris Saint-Germain (Stay)

Paris Saint-Germain looked set to lose just their third Ligue 1 game of the season on Sunday when they fell two behind to Guingamp, but record-breaker Edinson Cavani saved their blushes with a late double.

He's now the club's top goalscorer in the league across history with 115 and will have at least the rest of the season to add to that tally—if not a season more.

               

8. AS Roma (-1)

Are we set for another Romantada?

At 5-0 down at Anfield last week, many were writing Roma's postmortem, but a late flurry brought two goals, meaning a 3-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday will seal a spot in the Champions League final.

You might say it's not possible, but they managed exactly that against Barcelona on April 10.

            

7. Atletico Madrid (+1)

Watching Atletico go to work defensively is a privilege. No one embraces that side of the game as they do, and when they were hemmed in against Arsenal on Thursday and subjected to immense pressure, they actually appeared to be enjoying themselves.

An away goal in London courtesy of Antoine Griezmann puts them in a stellar spot ahead of the second leg, though life would be easier for them if they could keep 11 men on the pitch—they had one sent off in both matches last week. 

              

6. Juventus (Stay)

Last week, Massimiliano Allegri was left to rue his side's loss to Napoli, which allowed their title rivals to creep within a point of his team in the Serie A table.

This week, the gap is back to four, with the Bianconeri battling back against Inter Milan in a fashion worthy of champions, while their rivals fell 3-0 at the hands of Fiorentina.

Don't think it's done, though. There is likely to be one more twist in this race yet, but Juventus are in pole position.

              

5. Liverpool (-1)

Jurgen Klopp produced what many Liverpool fans have come to accept as a typical week nowadays: The team shone in the Champions League in midweek, putting one foot in the final after slaying Roma and then (understandably) struggled to find the same level in the Premier League.

They should have beaten Stoke City on Saturday. Mohamed Salah missed a one-on-one to everyone's disbelief, and the referee failed to spot a clear handball in the box. But they didn't, and as a result a top-four spot is still not sealed.

It's strange to see Liverpool move down after closing in on the Champions League final, but they're in direct competition with Real Madrid for fourth spot, and it was Los Blancos who had a better week.

             

4. Real Madrid (+1)

If there were a trophy earned for "Most Rotated Team of 2017-18," Zinedine Zidane would win it with his incredible effort against Leganes on Saturday.

MUNICH, GERMANY - APRIL 25: Javier Martinez of FC Bayern Muenchen battles for the ball with Casemiro of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final First Leg match between Bayern Muenchen and Real Madrid at the Allianz Arena on April 25, 2018
Boris Streubel/Getty Images

Just one of the XI who won in Munich on Wednesday (Casemiro, in a new position in central defence) featured at the weekend, with the other 10 spots all featuring depth options.

By the way, it should be noted here that Real Madrid's "depth options" include Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Mateo Kovacic and Dani Ceballos.

          

3. Manchester City (Stay)

Once again City put on something of a show, beating West Ham United 4-1 at London Stadium as they chase down record after record.

Sky Sports produced a neat update on which ones they've already broken and those they are still chasing, with most points and most goals the next two likely to fall.

             

2. Bayern Munich (-1)

Bayern's XI against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday included four teenagers (three of whom were debutants), with Jupp Heynckes rotating heavily ahead of a Champions League semi-final second leg on Tuesday.

One of those debutants, Niklas Dorsch, scored the opening goal of the game, while a more experienced collection of Sandro Wagner, Rafinha and Niklas Sule chimed in later.

The likes of Robert Lewandowski, James Rodriguez and Thomas Muller weren't called upon, meaning they will be relatively fresh for the trip to the Bernabeu.

             

1. Barcelona (+1)

Barcelona haven't felt like the "best" team for much of this season, but their relentless ability to win games has now led them to two trophies, with the La Liga title secured on Sunday evening thanks to a 4-2 win at Deportivo La Coruna.

This feat lifts them back to the top of the European Club Rankings, too, leapfrogging Bayern in the process.

They will likely be usurped by whoever wins the Champions League, but for now they're worthy of this spot as they continue to chase the achievement of an unbeaten league campaign.

Not the most entertaining side but certainly one of the most reliable.

               

Facebook.com/SamTigheBR

All statistics via WhoScored.com

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