European Club Rankings After April 12-14 Matches

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterApril 15, 2019

TOPSHOT - Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 14, 2019. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

The UEFA Champions League quarter-final first legs did not disappoint, and neither did the ensuing bout of league action. This weekend we saw two title opportunities squandered and three remain tight and tense, setting us up superbly for the weeks ahead.

The European Club Rankings is a list of the top teams in order of form and performance at this stage of the season.

You can read the previous set of rankings here.


20. Eintracht Frankfurt (-4)

Frankfurt's winning streak in the Bundesliga came to a screeching halt at the weekend, with Augsburg stopping the run at six. Add this 3-1 loss to the 4-2 defeat to Benfica last Thursday, and you'll understand why Adi Hutter's men fall in the rankings.

            

19. Lyon (-4)

Three losses in a row for Lyon now, the latest a 2-1 reverse to Nantes, and last week's announcement that manager Bruno Genesio will leave at the end of the season places further question marks over the club's atmosphere.

Their slide in these rankings continues.

           

18. Real Madrid (Stay)

Los Blancos play Leganes on Monday evening.

           

Lille's Ivorian forward Nicolas Pepe (C) celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Lille (LOSC) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on April 14, 2019, at the Pierre-Mauroy Stadium in Villeneuve d'Ascq, near Lille, northern Fran
FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/Getty Images

17. Lille (+3)

Those tuning in on Sunday night expecting to see Paris Saint-Germain seal the Ligue 1 title instead watched a Lille and Nicolas Pepe masterclass.

They beat the champions-elect 5-1 with help from their star winger; he forced the sending off of Juan Bernat, scored and assisted twice in an electric display. This came on the same weekend Lille president Gerard Lopez confirmed he would more than likely leave this summer, per Goal.

Where's he going?

           

16. Benfica (+3)

Joao Felix announced his talents to the world last week, scoring a hat-trick (and assisting another for good measure) as Benfica beat Frankfurt 4-2 in the Europa League. It's by no means done and dusted, but given the rate the Eagles tend to score at, it's a healthy advantage.

A 4-2 win over Vitoria de Setubal kept them top of the league. Felix was the star again.

              

15. Chelsea (-1)

Chelsea's performance against Liverpool on Sunday wasn't particularly strong, but that's perhaps more a product of them playing one of the best sides in the world than anything else.

Three days earlier, they put themselves in a super position in the Europa League quarter-finals, beating Slavia Prague 1-0 away.

           

14. Arsenal (+3)

Arsenal's performance against Napoli last Thursday was fantastic; the players were out on their feet at the final whistle, having put absolutely everything into their 2-0 win.

They'll need to do exactly the same to finish the job in Italy this Thursday, and as a result they may temper their efforts against Watford on Monday evening.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 11:  Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Arsenal and Amin Younes of Napoli during the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final First Leg match between Arsenal and S.S.C. Napoli at Emirates Stadium on April 11, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by V
Visionhaus/Getty Images

       

13. Napoli (-1)

Having been comfortably clear in second in Serie A for some time, the closing stages of this season are all about the Europa League for Napoli.

It means Thursday is very important for them. Two down to Arsenal on aggregate, they need to summon the performance of the season to turn this around.

         

12. Atletico Madrid (-1)

Four of Atletico's last five La Liga games have ended in a 2-0 scoreline, either for or against Los Colchoneros. That's not a particularly interesting statistic, which is fitting, as their cruise to second in the table isn't particularly interesting either.

         

11. FC Porto (-1)

There's every chance manager Sergio Conceicao would have wanted to rotate his Porto crop between Liverpool games, but the nature of the Primeira Liga title race doesn't allow for that.

The 3-0 win over Portimonense featured plenty of the same players who took part in the 2-0 loss at Anfield. They'll at least have a day's extra rest on Liverpool as they prepare to attempt the seemingly impossible.


10. Paris Saint-Germain (-4)

League: 1st | Coupe de France: Final | Coupe de la Ligue: Out (Quarter-finals) | Champions League: Out (Round of 16)

LILLE, FRANCE - APRIL 14: The referee Benoit Bastien gives a red card to Juan Bernat Velasco #14 of Paris Saint-Germain during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain and Lille OSC at Stade Pierre Mauroy on April 14, 2019 in Lille, France. (Photo by
Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

Anyone else get the feeling PSG's heart is not in it anymore?

After contriving not to win the title last week, managing just a 1-1 draw with Strasbourg, they lost 5-1 to Lille on Sunday to ensure the champagne must remain on ice for another week at least. 

      

9. Manchester United (-1)

League: 5th | Carabao Cup: Out (3rd round) | FA Cup: Out (Quarter-finals) | Champions League: Quarter-finals

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 13: Paul Pogba of Manchester United celebrates scoring to make it 2-1 with team mate Marcus Rashford during the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on April 13, 2019 in Manchester,
Michael Regan/Getty Images

"We got away with it," Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted after Manchester United's 2-1 win over West Ham United, per the Guardian

Contentious offside and penalty decisions went the Red Devils' way, allowing them to prepare for Barcelona away this week with a win—but not a good performance.

         

8. Tottenham Hotspur (+5)

League: 3rd | Carabao Cup: Out (Semi-finals) | FA Cup: Out (4th round) | Champions League: Quarter-finals

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 13:  Lucas Moura of Spurs celebrates scoring his third goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Huddersfield Town at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on April 13, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian
Julian Finney/Getty Images

The new stadium is playing its part.

Since its opening for competitive fixtures, Spurs have won three straight, the most notable of which was the 1-0 victory over Manchester City in the Champions League last week.

Finishing the job at the Etihad Stadium will still be a difficult task—particularly without Harry Kane and perhaps Dele Alli—but beating Huddersfield Town 4-0 (and sustaining no new injuries) on Saturday was a good starting point in terms of preparation and confidence.

           

7. Ajax (+2)

League: 1st | KNVB Cup: Final | Champions League: Quarter-finals

(L-R) Frenkie de Jong of Ajax, Ajax coach Erik ten Hag during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax Amsterdam and sbv Excelsior Rotterdam at the Johan Cruijff Arena on April 13, 2019 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Ajax's 6-2 win over Excelsior would usually be worth celebrating, but during the weekend victory, key man Frenkie de Jong was substituted off with a hamstring injury. That places his participation against Juventus on Tuesday in doubt, and it adds fear in the minds of supporters.

The Barcelona-bound midfielder was their best player in the first leg in Amsterdam, when the two drew 1-1, and the chances of getting a win in Turin will be greatly reduced if he's absent.

          

6. Borussia Dortmund (+1)

League: 2nd | DFB-Pokal: Out (3rd round) | Champions League: Out (Round of 16)

DORTMUND, GERMANY - APRIL 13: Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund gestures during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and 1. FSV Mainz 05 at Signal Iduna Park on April 13, 2019 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

A Jadon Sancho double brought BVB a 2-1 win over Mainz and took his personal tally of goals and assists into double figures for the season. It's an incredible campaign for him, and it could yet be an incredible one for his club.

          

5. Bayern Munich (Stay)

League: 1st | DFB-Pokal: Semi-finals | Champions League: Out (Round of 16)

DUESSELDORF, GERMANY - APRIL 14: Mats Hummels of FC Bayern Muenchen, David Alaba of FC Bayern Muenchen and Kingsley Coman of FC Bayern Muenchen celebrate during the Bundesliga match between Fortuna Duesseldorf and FC Bayern Muenchen at Esprit-Arena on Apr
TF-Images/Getty Images

After Dortmund laid the gauntlet down on Saturday, Bayern responded in style on Sunday.

Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry combined to devastating effect, accounting for three of the four goals they scored against Fortuna Dusseldorf.

           

4. Juventus (Stay)

League: 1st | Coppa Italia: Out (Quarter-finals) | Champions League: Quarter-finals

coach Massimiliano Allegri of Juventus FC during the UEFA Champions League quarter final match Ajax Amsterdam and Juventus FC at the Johan Cruijff Arena on April 10, 2019 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Juventus underwent a stern examination in Amsterdam last week. Ajax placed them under immense pressure en route to a 1-1 draw. It's not the ideal result for the Bianconeri, but it is a far sight better than the 2-0 loss they sustained to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the previous round, so...progress?

Saturday saw them fail to officially wrap up the Serie A title again, losing 2-1 to SPAL. A heavily rotated XI included 18-year-old centre-back Paolo Gozzi and little-known midfielder Grigoris Kastanos, emphasising how unimportant the fixture was in the grand scheme of things.

The title is inevitable but will come at least two weeks later than expected.

          

3. Liverpool (Stay)

League: 1st | Carabao Cup: Out (3rd round) | FA Cup: Out (3rd round) | Champions League: Quarter-finals

Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 14, 2019. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / A
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Liverpool made light work of Porto in their Champions League quarter-final first leg, winning 2-0 and putting themselves in a fantastic position to progress to the semi-finals.

They then made similarly light work of Chelsea, imposing themselves on the game and dishing out the damage—to the tune of two goals—in the space of two minutes.

         

2. Manchester City (-1)

League: 2nd | Carabao Cup: Winners | FA Cup: Final | Champions League: Quarter-finals

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 14: Manchester City manager Josep Guardiola during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City at Selhurst Park on April 14, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)
Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

Eyebrows were rightly raised at the XI Pep Guardiola decided to field at Tottenham in the Champions League last week. The Spaniard has a reputation for overthinking things on the big stage, and murmurs he had done so again only increased as his side fell to a 1-0 defeat.

Then came suggestions Guardiola was prioritising the Premier League game against Crystal Palace, per Goal, so it's a good job they won that 3-1. Now, in this light, perhaps he juggled things masterfully; beat Spurs at home on Wednesday and it's job done on both fronts.

         

1. Barcelona (+1)

League: 1st | Copa del Rey: Final | Champions League: Quarter-finals

Manchester United's Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea (L) looks on as a shot from Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez strikes Manchester United's English defender Luke Shaw (2R) and is awarded as an own goal during the UEFA Champions league first leg
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

With City sustaining a midweek loss, Barcelona's stronger week lifts them to the top of the European Club Rankings—a position they haven't held for some time.

Their performance at Old Trafford midweek didn't blow anyone away, but a 1-0 win away in the Champions League is an excellent result however you frame it.

They followed that up with a goalless draw with Huesca—a result that might usually cause concern, but they're so far clear at the top of La Liga this season it just doesn't matter.

        

Instagram.com/brsamtighe

All statistics via WhoScored.com.

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