July 8, 2020

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6/29/20 European Football Power Rankings

20. Shakhtar Donetsk (WWWWD)

Shakhtar are undefeated in five matches since their return to league play with the usual suspects picking up where they left off. Moraes and Marlos Bonfim are still scoring at a rapid pace while the team as a whole has averaged two goals per game since the restart. The Miner’s biggest issue comes on defense as they’ve allowed five goals in as many games, two of the matches saw them give up a brace. With an offense as dominant as Shakhtar’s the issue isn’t a big one and it becomes especially smaller when you realize there are only five games left in the UPL season. However, it would be handy to tighten the screws a bit before diving back into the Europa League against a tough Wolfsburg team. Shakhtar next face off with Kyiv in a battle of the titans on July 4th.

19. Leicester City (WWDDL)

Since the return to competition Leicester have been unmistakably bad, but they still deserve a spot here in the rankings thanks to their season-to-date performance. The Foxes are sitting a point above Chelsea in the league table and don’t play any more current top 4 teams for the rest of the season. Draws to Watford and Brighton aren’t acceptable and the loss to Chelsea in the FA Cup may show some signs of regression, but there are still so many players who have developed over the course of the season that getting into Champions League at any rate is a victory. City have a chance to be truly exceptional next season if they continue their progression and get back to their winning ways this season. Leicester travel to Liverpool to play Everton on July 1st.

18. FC Porto (DLWDW)

Porto likely appreciated the break from play that allowed them to recalibrate and focus on Liga NOS. With no international competition left to worry about and only Taça de Portugal left after the season, Porto can shift their full focus on winning the league, the same one they hold a three point lead in over rivals Benfica. Porto have thrived with an attack-minded game this season and have employed two of the best wing backs in Europe as Corona lead the team in rating and has put up 4 goals with eight assists. His partner on the left side of the formation, Alex Telles, is one of five 5+ goal scorers on the roster (Telles leads the team with nine) and has five assists of his own. And if you think their 56 goals in 28 games is impressive, try out their 18 goals allowed in those same matches. Porto are a threat on both ends of the pitch and just didn’t have the reserves to compete in the larger competitions. Their focus shifts to Paços de Ferreira today on the 29th of June.

17. Sevilla (WDDDD)

Sevilla have been Spain’s 4th team this season and while they’ve been something of a boring side, they have yet to be defeated since the restart, drawing with both Barcelona and Villareal. Sevilla currently sit four points behind Atlético at 4th place in La Liga thanks to being so well-rounded. Sevilla are a top five team on both sides of the ball if you look at goals. Sevilla play a very spread out game of football that sees every player utilized. Despite having 16 goal scorers this season, only two players, Lucas Ocampos and Luuk de Jong, have more than three. On the other side of the ball Brazilians Fernando and Diego Carlos have anchored the defense, allowing just over one goal per match on the season. Sevilla travel to Leganes on June 30th, and when European football restarts they’ll be facing Roma in UEL.

16. Internazionale (LDWDW)

Beating Juventus in the league is about to as close to impossible as we’ll get, and this isn’t going to be the year that Inter does it. Despite playing world class football for most of the season, the team has collapsed in bigger moments, being hurled from the UCL groups as well as falling short in their biggest league matches. The pairing of Lautaro and Lukaku has been profitable to a degree that Inter never could have imagined, but the sheer quality that is needed at every position just isn’t evident for the Milanese side. Between underwhelming performances and knees crumbling under the spotlight, Inter won’t be lifting any silverware this season. They play host to Brescia on July 1st.

15. Wolverhampton Wanderers (DDWWW)

Wolves are a team a lot like Leicester in that they’ve absolutely broken out with tons of talent across the field. Whether it’s the unique system they field or just players coming to fruition, there is so much to marvel at here. Adama has been one of the best footballers in the Premier League and has proven he’s leagues above anyone physically. Raúl Jiménez has continued his goal scoring tear and the defense has been unbeatable recently, not allowing a league goal in four matches. At this rate Wolves could maybe catch either Chelsea or Leicester and slip into the top four with some luck. Wolves Meet Arsenal on July 4th for their next match. 

14. RB Leipzig (DWDLW)

The Bundesliga season is over and Leipzig have secured a solid 3rd place finish behind Dortmund and Bayern. This probably isn’t what the team wanted as they were competing for the title for a while, but it’ll have to suffice for this year at least. It might have to suffice for a while actually as the side is a prime candidate to be picked apart by larger clubs and Timo Werner is already on his way to Chelsea. Regardless, Leipzig played great football all season and deserved the position they finished with. If they can keep many of the key components together such as Upamecano, Nkunku, Sabitzer, and Schick, there should be room for improvement if the funds from Werner are spent wisely.

13. Borussia Dortmund (WWLWL)

When Bayern secured the title we probably all should have expected a bit of deflation from the teams chasing them, but Dortmund was flatly awful after the landmark. The only reason they didn’t fall more was due to a 2-0 win over Leipzig that kept them in second place. A 2-0 loss to Mainz was bad, but the 4-0 final loss to Hoffenheim with every goal coming from Andrej Kramarić was so miserable that one supporter even raised suspicion of match fixing. The way the team played all season was admirable but things got terribly sloppy once it was realized that they would hoist no silverware yet again.

12. Borussia Mönchengladbach (LLWWW)

A couple things went wrong down the stretch for Gladbach to the point where they probably could have snagged third, but the minor cash difference shouldn’t be too much of a discouragement for a team that performed well above expectations. With players like Thorgan Hazard, Michaël Cuisance, and Josip Drmić all leaving the club, it seemed as though regression was inevitable. However the team suited up and even led the league for a pretty long period of time earlier in the season, and now they’ll be playing Champions League football next season. Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea have been integral at the top of the formation and if their team is kept together they should be a title contender next season, assuming anyone can rock Bayern’s boat. With such a young team and solid core they need to be seen as one of Europe’s top sides.

11. Atalanta (WWWWW)

It’s been nine matches since Atalanta has dropped a point. 11 matches if you want to see when they last lost a match. In fact, they’ve been one of the sexiest teams in Europe and put a cherry on top of their season to date with an incredible 3-2 comeback win over Lazio. The highest scoring team in Europe currently sit 4th in the Serie A table and will likely stick there, but they’ll be remembered as one of the most exciting team’s we’ve ever seen. Josip Iličić, Alejandro Gómez, Duván Zapata, and Luis Muriel have combined to form a Death Star-esque weapon at the head of Atalanta’s formation and have been dusting anyone who tries to stop them. Their last five matches have yielded twenty-one (21) goals. They’re one of the toughest teams to beat in the world and anyone they face should be shaking in their boots. They host Napoli on July 7th and have beaten Sevilla to advance to the Champions League quarter finals.

10. Lazio (WWWLW)

The only blemish in that Lazio record comes against  the team just above them in the rankings, Atalanta, when Lazio were unable to stave off an inevitable goal to drain them off all points which seriously harmed their title hopes. Now sitting four points behind Juventus, they’ll need some help down the road. Luckily they still do face off against the Torino giants before the season is over. Regardless, Lazio will have to play their best football of the season in this final run of games, but you don’t need to remind them of what’s at stake. With so many players performing so well there’s a good chance that some are headed to greener pastures. This is the only shot that Lazio are going to get and they have to take advantage of it, for everyone’s sake. We NEED some interesting title race play. Lazio will play the other Turin side on June 30th.

9. Juventus (WDDWW)

Really the only reason the Juve are still ahead of Lazio are thanks to the rankings which show them as four points the better side. However, if you’ve watched I Bianconeri play in any of their recent matches you might sense that something is a bit off-kilter. Their loss to Lyon really exposed the side and ever since they’ve been off. They just slid by a 10-man Milan and lost to Napoli to miss out on silverware. They’ve looked a bit better against Lecce and Bologna, but I still fear what might happen against the top sides in Europe. The purchase of Arthur Melo for Miralem Pjanić and a small fee is a fantastic deal but that won’t save them this season. Juve face Genoa on the 30th of June before an important Turin derby.

8. Chelsea (WWWWW)

There are few teams that are hotter than the Chelsea side that have won all three matches since the restart against some top competition. The match against Villa was a bit of a warmup, but the wins over Manchester City and Leicester are no fluke. Chelsea are the most improved team of the season in England and have a shout at that accolade for all of Europe as well. Christian Pulisic seems reinvigorated by the Ziyech and Werner signings and has been the best player in recent matches. The whole squad has improved and they seem like a legitimate title challenger for next season, especially if they can get the Kai Havertz transfer sealed. The Blues face West Ham on the 1st of July.

7. Paris Saint-Germain (LWWWW)

Serie A’s season is over but that doesn’t mean PSG doesn’t have any more games left. They still have a pair of domestic cups to see out as well as the Champions League, of which they had just knocked Dortmund out. PSG have plenty to play for and just because they aren’t in a league competition right now doesn’t mean that PSG aren’t potent. They still have two of the five best players on the planet and probably the best attacking unit in many years. Dropping to seventh is mainly because we haven’t seen their form recently but you can be certain they’ll be ready to roll. PSG next play on July 24th.

6. Barcelona (WWDWD)

Being a Barcelona fan must be one of the greatest punishments on the planet. The team is in hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, the team never seems to be healthy all together, when they are the board decides to sell one of your best young stars, and the team can never consistently perform. The 0-0 draw with Sevilla and 2-2 draw with Celta were excruciating to watch as a team that could be up some four points over Madrid are now down two. The season might be lost because of those two matches and they were completely evitable. Now let’s not mince words here, Barcelona is one of the best teams in the world and should be seen as such, but they have to be more consistent before they completely waste Messi. The Catalans face off with Atlético Madrid in a huge match on July 6th.

5. Liverpool (LWLDW)

Liverpool are undoubtedly in their worst five game run in their recent history, but that doesn’t take away from what they’ve accomplished. For the first time in over 30 years Liverpool are England’s top flight champions and they’re absolutely deserving. That being said the crash out of the Champions League and loss to Watford don’t feel great, but that pain is overwhelmed and washed away by the championship. This is one of the most cohesive teams we’ve ever seen top to bottom and their record has shown it. Congratulations to Liverpool! The Reds get back to football against bitter rivals Manchester City on July 2nd.

4. Atlético Madrid (DWWWW)

While much of the world has transformed into an offense-oriented party, Diego Simeone and Atléti have continued to thrive on stout defense and opportunistic scoring. Spain’s third best team in terms of points have played their best football of the season recently including a stunning victory over Liverpool to eject them from the Champions League. João seems to be finding his role in the team and the midfield has developed into one of the best in the world. The defense has plug-and-play pieces that can be designed to beat anyone and even in an off season Jan Oblak is one of the most insurmountable keepers in the world. Napoli and Atléti were my top choices to win the Champions League this season and with the way they’re playing I feel pretty good about that prediction. Atléti will square off with Barcelona in a potential slugfest on July 6th.

3. Manchester City (LWWLW)

City have been a very curious case study this season as they’ve been fairly unpredictable. One day they’ll crush a top side and the next they’ll lose badly to Norwich. Regardless of the past, City are playing good football right now and if it weren’t for a defensive howler that gave Chelsea a goal, Liverpool might still be waiting to raise their trophy. Kevin De Bruyne has proven to be the best player in the Premier League and he has nearly the entire attacking unit in tow because of it. The defense has certainly improved thanks to Aymeric Laporte’s return and things are looking right for a shot at the FA Cup title as well as a Champions League run before their ban is imposed. City face Liverpool on July 2nd and own a 2-1 advantage over Real Madrid when Champions League returns.

2. Real Madrid (WWWWW)

Real are one of the few teams to pick up all of their points since the return of play snagging an impressive 15 of 15 available. That run has them two points ahead of Barcelona in the league race, a comfortable lead as they don’t face either the Catalans nor their crosstown rivals for the rest of the season. Casemiro and Karim Benzema are the ringleaders for Real right now as they’re playing some of the most scrumptious football on the planet, displayed in the lone goal over Espanyol. The team isn’t necessarily playing the best football of the season, they’re just playing consistently and not giving up ground when they should be standing firm. They take every minute of every match seriously and want to prove they’re still world class without Ronaldo. I’m convinced. Madrid play host to Getafe on July 2nd.

1. Bayern München (WWWWW)

It’s tough to knock a team off the top rung when they just keep winning and winning and winning. Bayern have played 22 matches in the cursed year of 2020. They’ve dropped a total of four points. FOUR. If you count the most recent 21 matches they’ve only dropped a single point and since the restart they were invincible, winning all ten of their matches including victories over Dortmund, Leverkusen, Frankfurt, and Gladbach. Say what you want about the level of competition in Germany but Bayern are unbelievably good. We’ll see Bayern play again in the Pokal final against Leverkusen and against Chelsea in Champions League after that.