Published On: Mon, Jan 15th, 2018

Footy Power Rankings: Barcelona vaults humbled Manchester City

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Michael J. Chandler, Daniel Rouse

41m ago

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) is congratulated by teammate Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez after scoring their team's fourth goal during the Spanish league football match between Real Sociedad and FC Barcelona at the Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian on January 14, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ANDER GILLENEA

ANDER GILLENEA / AFP / Getty

Taking into consideration recent domestic and continental results, along with underlying stats, we try to figure out which clubs are among Europe’s elite.

1. Barcelona (1st in La Liga)

League record GF GA Shots on target per match Shots conceded per match
16-3-0 52 9 7.2 11.1

Previous rank: 2nd

After Willian Jose and Juanmi handed host Real Sociedad a two-goal first-half lead Sunday in Basque Country, Barcelona‘s unbeaten season was suddenly under threat. Thanks to a Luis Suarez second-half brace and Lionel Messi‘s record-breaking free-kick, Ernesto Valverde’s side won at the Anoeta Stadium for the first time since May 2007, and regained a nine-point advantage on second-place Atletico Madrid. – MC

2. Manchester City (1st in Premier League)


League record GF GA Shots on target per match Shots conceded per match
20-2-1 67 17 7.3 6.7

Previous rank: 1st

Sliding one spot after Liverpool handed Pep Guardiola and Co. a maiden league defeat, Manchester City is still leaps and bounds better than its Premier League rivals with a 15-point margin to show for said dominance. City’s plus-50 goal margin is nearly twice that of any other side in England’s top flight, and its 67 goals scored is 13 better than the next closest total. – MC

3. Paris Saint-Germain (1st in Ligue 1)

League record GF GA Shots on target per match Shots conceded per match
17-2-1 59 15 6.8 9.4

Previous rank: 3rd

Ligue 1 leader Paris Saint-Germain celebrated the new year Sunday with a 1-0 victory at defensively adroit Nantes, and thanks to Monaco‘s stalemate at Montpellier and Lyon‘s draw against Angers, the capital club now boasts an 11-point domestic lead. After slumping to their first shock defeat of the season at Strasbourg in December, Les Parisiens have won four in a row whilst outscoring opponents 11-3 over that stretch. Next is a home date with Dijon, who has had a man sent off in three of its last four matches in all competitions. – MC

4. Bayern Munich (1st in Bundesliga)


League record GF GA Shots on target per match Shots conceded per match
14-2-2 40 12 7 9

Previous rank: 4th

The Bundesliga title race is a foregone conclusion. After 18 matches, Bayern Munich possesses 13 more points than second-placed RB Leipzig, and manager Jupp Heynckes noted his team’s superb discipline in Friday’s 3-1 victory at Bayer Leverkusen. The Bavarians are tipped as a likelier winner of the Champions League than Paris Saint-Germain with some bookmakers, but they should be wary of an exciting Besiktas side in the round of 16. – DR

5. Atletico Madrid (2nd in La Liga)

League record GF GA Shots on target per match Shots conceded per match
12-6-1 28 8 4.4 11.8

Previous rank: 8th

It seemed Atletico Madrid would have more firepower when Diego Costa‘s transfer was finally rubber-stamped, but the Brazil-born brute was sent off after scoring in his first start. Without the striker in its arsenal, Diego Simeone’s team was characteristically stubborn in defence when engineering a scrappy 1-0 win at Eibar, and currently enjoys a 11-point cushion in La Liga’s Champions League qualification places. – DR

6. Liverpool (3rd in Premier League)


League record GF GA Shots on target per match Shots conceded per match
13-8-2 54 28 6.6 7.9

Previous rank: 11th

For a 30-minute spell after the break Sunday against City, Liverpool played like a side bewitched, tearing the previously unbeaten side to shreds with an unyielding attack capped by a trio of world-class finishes. Days after shipping Philippe Coutinho, the Reds are making a claim for England’s second-best side and can begin looking forward to next season when Naby Keita‘s arrival and the hopeful addition of a quality shot-stopper should thrust Jurgen Klopp’s tireless charges into the title discussion. – MC

7. Juventus (2nd in Serie A)

League record GF GA Shots on target per match Shots conceded per match
16-2-2 49 15 6.4 8.8

Previous rank: 5th

Juventus‘ inactivity sees it suffer a slight fall down the rankings, but belief that the Old Lady can capture a seventh straight Scudetto continues to grow. Blaise Matuidi‘s arrival has shaken up the midfield, and Paulo Dybala seems to be back to his best after a peculiar period of bench-warming. An 11-match unbeaten run in all competitions still isn’t enough for top spot in Serie A, with Napoli owning one more point. – DR

8. Napoli


League record GF GA Shots on target per match Shots conceded per match
16-3-1 44 13 7.5 7.5

Previous rank: 6th

A spot ahead of Juventus in the league but one short of the six-time successive Scudetto champ on this ladder, Napoli has shown an uncharacteristic resolve in bouncing back from the loss to Max Allergri’s lot at the Stadio Sao Paolo in December. The Partenopei’s attack isn’t quite at the breathtaking levels it was during a stretch of eight consecutive victories to start the domestic campaign, though it hasn’t mattered as Serie A’s stingiest backline has guided Napoli to four league wins on the bounce. – MC

9. Tottenham Hotspur (5th in Premier League)

League record GF GA Shots on target per match Shots conceded per match
13-5-5 46 21 6 7.8

Previous rank: 15th

Spurs strolled to a 4-0 bashing of Everton in Saturday’s late kick-off, with Heung-Min Son continuing to impress in the Londoner’s attack. A tricky period is on the horizon for Mauricio Pochettino’s lot, however, when league wrangles with Manchester United, Liverpool, and Arsenal are followed by a Champions League trip to Juventus. It’s a two-week period that could define Tottenham‘s season. – DR

10. Manchester United (2nd in Premier League)


League record GF GA Shots on target per match Shots conceded per match
14-5-3 45 16 4.9 11.6

Previous rank: 12th

Manchester United’s matches aren’t awash with shots on target, but Jose Mourinho’s outfit is callous, preying on errors and half-chances. Even when Romelu Lukaku isn’t firing, someone like Jesse Lingard or Anthony Martial will step up. There aren’t any obvious vulnerable areas in Mourinho’s squad, but sometimes you wish he would approach games with a more positive mindset. He has the personnel on hand to trounce teams – just like United did in the season’s earlier months. – DR

11. Valencia (3rd in La Liga)

League record GF GA Shots on target per match Shots conceded per match
12-4-3 40 19 5.1 13.1

Previous rank: 11th

Marcelino continues to restore pride at sleeping giant Valencia, guiding the club into third place and tightening its grip on the Champions League qualification places. A huge chunk of the squad is made up of players who are looking to rebuild their careers – like Gabriel Paulista, Francis Coquelin, Simone Zaza, and Geoffrey Kondogbia – and Valencia is benefitting from them seizing their opportunities. – DR

12. Chelsea (4th in Premier League)


League record GF GA Shots on target per match Shots conceded per match
14-5-4 41 16 6.2 9.7

Previous rank: 7th

The goals have dried up at Chelsea. Saturday’s goalless affair with Leicester City was the third consecutive 0-0 draw for the Blues, and the fifth straight appearance Alvaro Morata hasn’t registered on the scoresheet. The Spanish striker has just five goals across all competitions since late September, temporarily stalling what appeared to be a blossoming partnership between himself and Eden Hazard. – DR

13. Sporting CP (1st in Primeira Liga)

League record GF GA Shots on target per match Shots conceded per match
14-4-0 41 10 4.8 11.4

Previous rank: NR

Power rankings debutant Sporting CP vaulted rival FC Porto for top spot in Portugal courtesy of Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Aves fuelled by a Bas Dost treble to maintain the capital club’s unbeaten start to the season. Porto – which has a match in hand – is also without defeat as the Primeira Liga boasts a top-heavy table where heavyweight Benfica sits third with just one loss. Sporting has conceded a scant 10 goals this season, and has won six in seven, with a 1-1 draw at Benfica the first week of January the sole blip on a stellar run. – MC

14. Internazionale (3rd in Serie A)


League record GF GA Shots on target per match Shots conceded per match
12-6-2 35 15 5.4 12.7

Previous rank: 10th

Tumbling a few spots courtesy of the winter hiatus and a 1-1 draw at Fiorentina the first Friday of 2018, Inter’s spot in this ranking is as tenuous as its Scudetto hopes as a stretch of five Serie A matches sans victory sees Luciano Spalletti’s side nine points adrift of table-topping Napoli. A dearth of squad depth has been largely responsible for Inter’s recent run of form, but the over-reliance on Mauro Icardi continues to be the biggest concern at the Giuseppe Meazza, with the Argentine responsible for 18 of the club’s 35 league tallies. – MC

15. PSV Eindhoven (1st in Eredivisie)

League record GF GA Shots on target per match Shots conceded per match
15-1-2 49 21 7.4 11.6

Previous rank: 13th

The ease in which Hirving Lozano has stormed the Eredivisie since moving from Mexico should make him one of the hottest properties on the planet. He’s relentless on the left-hand side, with his 11 league goals in 16 appearances often coming when he cuts onto his stronger right foot. He also leads the team for Eredivisie assists with four. He’s been instrumental in helping PSV to a five-point advantage atop Dutch football. – DR

On the cusp: Real Madrid, Istanbul Basaksehir, Lokomotiv Moscow, FC Porto

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)



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