European Club Rankings After April 19-21 Matches

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterApril 22, 2019

TURIN, ITALY - APRIL 16: Joel Veltman of Ajax of Ajax celebrate the victory with Lasse Schone of Ajax, Matthijs de Ligt of Ajax during the UEFA Champions League  match between Juventus v Ajax at the Allianz Stadium on April 16, 2019 in Turin Italy (Photo by Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Football is weird.

It's a statement that springs to mind quite often, be it regarding decisions, performances, results, fandom or any other volatile facet of the game. Weird things happen on a week-to-week basis, it's what makes the game so fun.

It's also a statement you'll need to keep in mind as you read through this edition of the European Club Rankings. Clubs who lost games last week move up, and clubs who won games convincingly move down.

Confused? We thought you would be. Just make sure you read the explanations for each club, and remember the usual rules: 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. Benfica (-4)

A 2-0 away loss to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarter-final second leg spells the end to Benfica's European hopes for the season (4-4 aggregate, Frankfurt won on away goals). They'll resume their domestic fight on Monday night against Maritimo. They simply have to win.

      

19. Lyon (Stay)

Lyon battered Angers on Friday night despite the scoreline only reading 2-1, with Houssem Aouar and Martin Terrier running riot in attack for the hosts.

It's a win that halts a run of three straight losses, putting Les Gones back on track as they seek to secure third place in Ligue 1.

       

18. Lille (-1)

A hallmark of Lille's fantastic season has been their impressive ability to keep clean sheets, but Sunday's one was their first in more than a month. Sadly, the attack couldn't pull their weight, leading to a bore 0-0 draw with Toulouse.

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 21: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates goal 1-0 during the La Liga Santander  match between Real Madrid v Athletic de Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 21, 2019 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Gett
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

17. Real Madrid (+1)

Sunday saw Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 3-0, with Karim Benzema not only bagging a sensational hat-trick but moving past the 20-goal mark in La Liga for the first time since 2016.

He's netted 10 and assisted three since the start of March!

      

16. Eintracht Frankfurt (+4)

Now into the Europa League semi-finals, courtesy of a 2-0 second leg win over Benfica last week, Eintracht Frankfurt's 2018-19 season is on the verge of being very memorable.

They're still in the hunt for a Champions League spot via the Bundesliga, too, and will play Wolfsburg Monday evening for the chance to open up a four-point gap on fifth.

       


         

15. Manchester United (-6)

A horror week of results (and performances) has completely changed the outlook of United's season. Suddenly, "Ole's at the wheel" has a different inflection, and the view of his players has drastically altered from a month ago.

A 3-0 defeat at the Camp Nou was followed by a 4-0 rollicking at Goodison Park, capping one of the worst five-day periods in the club's recent history. They move down six spots in the rankings to reflect it all.

     

14. Napoli (-1)

Napoli will finish another season trophyless, and while that's not something to regret from a Serie A perspective, they'll feel a good chance to win either the Coppa Italia or the Europa League has passed them by.

The 3-0 aggregate loss to Arsenal in the Europa League quarter-finals over the last two weeks is a result that resets the perceived European footballing order somewhat.

      

13. Arsenal (+1)

What to make of Arsenal's week? We ask this question a lot, but we do so because they are so inconsistent.

A drab loss to Everton is followed by a win over Napoli, in which they look superb. They finish the job in Naples, progressing to the Europa League semi-finals in the process, then roll over against Crystal Palace, once again surrendering any impetus in the chase for the top four.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: Pedro of Chelsea celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 4-1 during the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Chelsea and Slavia Praha at Stamford Bridge on April 18, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Ja
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

12. Chelsea (+3)

Carrying a 1-0 aggregate victory over Slavia Prague into the home leg, everyone assumed Chelsea were high and dry—but the Europa League doesn't work like that!

A rip-roaring match, including some brilliant goals, put the Blues' mettle to the test and forced them to score four to ensure progression.

They play Burnley in the Premier League this evening as their fight for the top four continues.

      

11. FC Porto (Stay)

On B/R Football Ranks last week, we referenced the glass ceiling that exists over Portuguese football. If you're looking for evidence of what that is, see Porto's 6-1 aggregate defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-finals; they just can't compete at the highest level.

Attention now fully turns to the Primeira Liga, and Porto beat Santa Clara 1-0 on Saturday to take temporary control of the league. 

       


       

10. Atletico Madrid (+2)

League: 2nd | Copa del Rey: Round of 16 (Out) | Champions League: Out (Round of 16)

Atletico's 1-0 win over Eibar on Saturday continued what has been an efficient season when playing against the "lesser" sides of La Liga, as ESPN's Dermot Corrigan observed:

9. Paris Saint-Germain (+1)

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

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian defender Dani Alves (bot) and Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe celebrate after scoring a third goal during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Monaco (ASM) on April 21, 2019
ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/Getty Images

Kylian Mbappe scored a thrilling hat-trick against his former club as PSG beat Monaco 3-1 on Sunday night.

They had already been crowned Ligue 1 champions before kick-off after Lille failed to beat Toulouse, so they put on a show for the fans, helping them celebrate in style.

Neymar returned to the pitch for the first time since January and played 45 minutes, which is fantastic news for Thomas Tuchel as he plans for this weekend's Coupe de France final.

      

8. Borussia Dortmund (-2)

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

Dortmund's English midfielder Jadon Sancho celebrates after he scored the first goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match SC Freiburg v Borussia Dortmund in Freiburg, southern Germany, on April 21, 2019. (Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE / AF
THOMAS KIENZLE/Getty Images

Dortmund destroyed Freiburg on Sunday, with Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Paco Alcacer all scoring in a 4-0 win.

Their reward is...a drop of two, which may look odd at face value, but when you scroll a bit further down, it will all start to make sense.

      

7. Tottenham Hotspur (+1)

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

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 20: Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on April 20, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Tottenham's quite remarkable 4-3 loss to Manchester City last Wednesday will go down as one of the greatest Champions League games ever. Despite failing to win on the night it was enough to see them through on aggregate, with Heung-Min Son the man of the match and hero.

Three days later, they lost to the same opponent in the same stadium, this time by a more measured 1-0 scoreline, but with the clubs around them in the league losing too, it didn't end up costing them a whole lot.

So, in all, an excellent week for Spurs, who played two games and lost them both.

      

6. Bayern Munich (-1)

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

MUNICH, GERMANY - APRIL 20: Niklas Suele of FC Bayern Muenchen celebrates after scoring his team's first goal with team mates during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and SV Werder Bremen at Allianz Arena on April 20, 2019 in Munich, Germany
TF-Images/Getty Images

That 1-0 victory over Werder Bremen that Bayern Munich eked out on Saturday? That's what championships are made of.

For a long time, it looked as though a stubborn defence and in-form goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka were going to hand Borussia Dortmund a lifeline in the title race, but Niklas Sule's strike rescued the three points, and Die Bayern remain top of the table.

Four to go.

     

5. Juventus (-1)

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

(From L) Juventus' Colombian midfielder Juan Cuadrado, Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus' French midfielder Blaise Matuidi and Juventus' German midfielder Emre Can celebrate after Juventus secured its 8th consecutive Italian 2018/19
MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images

Juventus finally sewed up their eighth straight Scudetto win this past weekend, coming from behind to beat Fiorentina 2-1.

It's perhaps telling that while manager Massimiliano Allegri was clearly happy to have hauled in another title, he and the club are still smarting from their defeat to Ajax in the Champions League.

Amid the celebrations on Saturday, the Italian told DAZN (h/t CalcioMercato.com) that he was sorry for what had happened in the quarter-finals.

       

4. Ajax (+3)

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

GRONINGEN, NETHERLANDS - APRIL 20: Klaas Jan Huntelaar of Ajax celebrates 0-1 with Hakim Ziyech of Ajax  during the Dutch Eredivisie  match between FC Groningen v Ajax at the Hitachi Capital Mobility Stadion on April 20, 2019 in Groningen Netherlands (Pho
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

It was a big, big week for Ajax and they came through it with the results they needed.

First they beat Juventus in Turin to progress to the Champions League semi-finals—in the process becoming everyone's favourite team (well, except for those with a Liverpool, Barcelona and Tottenham affiliation)—and then at the weekend dug out a crucial victory in tough circumstances against Groningen, keeping themselves top of the Eredivisie in the process.

The vibrant and youthful look to their collection of players has gained them many fans. They're the official Feelgood Story™ of the season.

       

3. Manchester City (-1)

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

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 17:  Bernardo Silva of Manchester City celebrates scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at at Etihad Stadium on April 17, 2019 in Manchester
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Few clubs have endured more exhausting weeks than the one Manchester City just have, and although they technically won both of their matches against Tottenham Hotspur, things didn't all go the way they wished.

Dumped out of the Champions League by the finest margin, a riposte in the form of a victory in the Premier League was an absolute must—unless they wanted to see their season melt away in the space of four days.

They managed it, but by the skin of their teeth. They're still on track to win the league if they win all their games, but they must hold their nerve again in the Manchester derby next.

        

2. Liverpool (+1)

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

CARDIFF, WALES - APRIL 21:  Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool (front) celebrates as he scores his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Cardiff City and Liverpool FC at Cardiff City Stadium on April 21, 2019 in Cardiff, United Kingdom.
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Liverpool made lighter work of FC Porto—the reigning Portuguese champions—than relegation-threatened Cardiff City last week. Sometimes it just goes that way.

The Reds' high performance levels of late have encouraged many to tip them as Champions League favourites, even with two legs with Barcelona on the horizon, and the only thing that seems likely to stop them winning the Premier League is if Manchester City win all of their remaining games.

      

1. Barcelona (Stay)

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

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 16: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona, Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona, Sergi Roberto of FC Barcelona and Philippe Coutinho of FC Barcelona celebrate his team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match bet
TF-Images/Getty Images

Fresh off destroying Manchester United 3-0 in the Champions League quarter-final second leg in midweek, Barcelona edged past Real Sociedad 2-1 to take another big step toward the Liga title.

Nine points clear at the top of La Liga with just five games to go, the hardest of which comes against fourth-placed Levante, is an incredibly strong position to be in, and it will give Ernesto Valverde the liberty to rotate his pack between the two legs with Liverpool.

      

Instagram.com/brsamtighe

All statistics via WhoScored.com 

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