Taking into consideration recent domestic and continental results, along with underlying stats, we try to figure out which clubs are among Europe's elite.
Previous rank: 2nd
Manchester City climbs back to first in our rankings after picking up a solid 3-0 win over West Brom, drawing Burnley 1-1, and then resoundingly demolishing Leicester City 5-1 over the last two weeks, resulting in a 16-point gap atop the Premier League table. Pep Guardiola's side is firing on all cylinders, much to the benefit of Sergio Aguero, who has emerged as a Golden Boot contender after his four-goal performance against the Foxes.
Previous rank: 1st
Barcelona remains unchallenged atop La Liga, but stumbled in back-to-back draws with Espanyol and Getafe in league play over these last couple weeks, opening the door for City to reclaim the top spot in our rankings. Though the Blaugrana ought to be pleased with a berth in the Copa del Rey final, Ernesto Valverde will hope his players can find their scoring feet again: Barcelona has found the back of the net just four times in its last four matches.
Previous rank: 3rd
PSG remains third, though the margin between the top four is quite narrow. A quartet of victories in these last two weeks assured the French outfit its spot in the top three, though a pair of red cards in as many matches will be somewhat concerning for Unai Emery. In Ligue 1, the Parisians are unrivaled, enjoying a 12-point gap atop the table, but a date with Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 might prove to be the year's make-or-break moment.
Previous rank: 4th
What can we really say about Bayern Munich? This team just knows how to win, and that's all they did in these last two weeks. The Bundesliga race is now all but over, with Bayern boasting a massive 18-point gap over second-placed RB Leipzig, and Jupp Heynckes' side will also be pretty confident of advancing past Besiktas in the Champions League. Things are good in Bavaria.
Previous rank: 5th
It may just be a one-point lead atop the Serie A table, but for Napoli, it's as precious a treasure as can be imagined. Maurizio Sarri's side enjoyed a pair of victories to ensure that marginal advantage over Juventus, with a 4-1 win over third-placed Lazio preventing any twists in the Scudetto race. The only question Napoli faces is of sustainability – can they keep it up?
Previous rank: 7th
Not far behind Napoli – and rightfully so – is Juventus, who picked up a pair of victories this week to keep pace for the Italian title. An emphatic 7-0 rout of poor Sassuolo set the stage for a solid 2-0 victory over Fiorentina, so there's little to complain of from this latest stretch of fixtures. What Massimiliano Allegri needs now is for Napoli to slip up: Juventus' consistency is its advantage.
Previous rank: 9th
A pair of 1-0 wins over Valencia and Malaga sees Atletico Madrid move within seven points of first-placed Barcelona in La Liga and up another couple spots in our rankings. While there are certainly questions regarding the potency of Diego Simeone's attacking ranks, there are none regarding the team's defensive efficiency: Atletico has conceded just nine times in 23 league matches, the fewest of any team in the top five European leagues.
Previous rank: 12th
Real Madrid is hoping its fortunes are finally changing for the better, and while a 10-point gap behind Atletico is less than ideal, Zinedine Zidane's side is starting to look threatening once again. Perhaps the Champions League will be the primary focus, as Los Blancos still haven't shaken their poor league form, as evidenced in a 2-2 draw with Levante. Still, Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. turned it around with a 5-2 win over Real Sociedad right afterward.
Previous rank: 14th
Tottenham will be quite pleased with the results of its efforts over these last two weeks, having taken points from three Premier League giants while also dispatching Newport County in the FA Cup. A 2-2 draw with Liverpool came with some controversy, but Mauricio Pochettino's side left no doubts of merit in beating Manchester United 2-0 and Arsenal 1-0 in league play.
Previous rank: 6th
It's been a rough few weeks for Manchester United. The Red Devils dropped a crucial tilt with Tottenham, then turned it around with a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town, only to lose to Newcastle on Sunday. Inconsistency is the main problem Jose Mourinho faces at Old Trafford, though his next league match is against Chelsea, and presents a chance to make something of a statement.
Previous rank: 13th
Still undefeated in league play, FC Porto is starting to turn heads, and for good reason: the Dragoes sit atop the Primeira Liga table, having dispatched both Chaves and Braga in league action in recent days. Porto will also enjoy a round of 16 matchup with Liverpool in the Champions League, where Sergio Conceicao's men might just surprise a few onlookers.
Previous rank: N/R
Those ol' defensive issues once again plagued Liverpool against Tottenham, but they were nowhere to be seen as the Reds dispatched Huddersfield Town and Southampton on either end of that 2-2 draw. As a result, Jurgen Klopp's side sits pretty in third in the Premier League, and has also returned to our rankings after dropping out last time around.
Previous rank: 8th
Back-to-back losses against Bournemouth and Watford spell the story of a Chelsea team in a bit of momentary turmoil, and manager Antonio Conte is facing the music as a result. Does he deserve it? He reckons not, but it won't make a bit of difference unless the Blues can turn it around and pick up wins. Unfortunately for Conte, the last two Chelsea managers were sacked after losing to West Brom, and that's who his team faces next. No pressure.
Last time around, Lyon made enough of a splash to warrant a spot in our top 15, but AS Monaco quickly reversed that inclination by twice defeating Bruno Genesio's side – as well as holding Marseille to a 2-2 draw – to regain second in Ligue 1. Leonardo Jardim will be pleased with his team's offensive potency, as Monaco reached the 60-goal mark for the season by scoring thrice against Lyon in a 3-2 win, before adding four more in a 4-0 win over Angers.
Previous rank: 15th
Three consecutive victories in league play keeps PSV among Europe's elite, though an eliminating loss to Feyenoord in the KNVB Cup quarter-finals isn't quite as nice. Still, Phillip Cocu's side keeps a seven-point gap over Ajax in the Eredivisie standings, which might only be narrowed in April when the two sides meet for a second league tilt in Eindhoven.
On the cusp: Marseille, Arsenal, Internazionale, Sevilla, Benfica, AEK Athens
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)
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