Liverpool’s luck, Leo Messi’s magic, Moise Kean’s efficiency - this weekend was pretty entertaining, right? Top European clubs don’t give up on the fight for dominance over the continent but who’s nearest to it right now? Find out by reading the “Europe Throne”, OneHash’s Power Ranking with the best European clubs at the moment.
- Manchester City at their top
- Leo Messi is Barcelona’s blessing and curse
- Ajax and Napoli are yet again magnificent
1. Manchester City
Citizens have a chance and potential for historical four trophies in one season. They have already lifted the Carabao Cup and in the upcoming weeks will meet Brighton Hove Albion in the FA Cup semi-final and Tottenham in Champions League quarter-final. In Premier League Spaniard’s boys are on second place, two points behind table leaders Liverpool but they’ve played one game less than The Reds. Last Saturday’s 2:0 win at Fulham showed City’s squad depth. Kevin de Bruyne, Sergio Aguero or Raheem Sterling don’t play whole matches and Leroy Sane doesn’t play at all? No prob, team continues winning streak that for now lasts 12 games. Wednesday’s home league clash with Cardiff and Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Brighton should only extend this streak.
Two goals in national team and then win against Empoli - it was Moise Kean’s week. 18-years-old sensation has made an instant impact on Italian football and perfectly stepped into Cristiano Ronaldo’s shoes. Injured Portuguese superstar still didn’t come back from a thigh injury but he claimed that there were no worries about return for Champions League’s quarter-finals with Ajax. Although is there a need for Cristiano’s comeback? In Juve’s locker-room there is a player that has greatness written in his stars. Yes, he Kaen do it against Cagliari on Tuesday and Milan on Saturday.
3. FC Barcelona
Another win on Catalan capital derby, ten points advantage over runner Atletico and 75 league goals (from top five European club only 87-goals PSG has a better score) - Barca is nearly at its best. Nearly because of addiction to one player. Against Espanyol Leo Messi again did Leo Messi’s things and scored yet another two beautiful goals. Especially the first, breathtaking panenka free-kick, was out of this world. Nevertheless the whole team treads dangerously on the ground. Everything in Camp Nou depends on Messi. EVERYTHING! His one or two worse nights won’t effect LaLiga, still it looks differently in cups. Just think about Stadio Olimpico’s horror from the last year. Argentinian is a curse and a blessing for Ernesto Valverde. Barcelona’s coach must find alternatives for Messi or some way to rest him. Tuesday's trip to Villarreal will be perfect for that, Saturday’s clash with Atletico not necessarily.
4. Liverpool FC
If not for Toby Alderweireld’s own-goal, Liverpool would probably drew against Tottenham and team’s hopes for Premier League trophy could be dead and gone. Nevertheless Jurgen Klopp’s boys still believe that it’s their season. The Reds are on top of the table with six league games remaining. Some say that luck is finally on Liverpool’s side, others are not that delighted with PL leaders, but the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Liverpool is capable of everything. Both winning a double and finishing with nothing. The big month for LFC will start on Friday in Southampton, with certainly one of the easiest of upcoming challenges.
5. Ajax Amsterdam
Don’t be so surprised. Amsterdamians deserves all the credits they got. Forget about that night in Madrid; Ajax delivers nearly every week. Last Sunday they won 3:1 a must win battle against PSV despite going down to ten men early in the second half. De Godenzonen are only one of three remaining teams in Europe that still fight for treble. Don’t be so surprised again if they succeed. Firstable in Eredivisie against FC Emmen on Wednesday.
6. Manchester United
Ole’s first time at the wheel was a success. Red Devils won another game under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who’s now a manager on a permanent basis. Maybe 2:1 victory over Watford wasn’t as impressive as expected, still in football no one give points for style. Solskjaer’s work at Old Trafford silenced the critics and brought the team closer to achieve the most important goal of this season. Finishing at the top four of Premier League. United leveled on points with Tottenham with six games remaining. There is no shortage of energy and good atmosphere at Old Trafford - that’s for sure. But will it be enough against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday? We have our doubts.
There are not a lot of teams in Europe that can play equally effective football to Carlo Ancelotti’s side (just watch this beauty from Arkadiusz Milik). Azzuri scored four goals in the impressive style against AS Roma at Stadio Olimpico. They seem relaxed and focused on the rest of the season. Finishing Serie A as runner-ups is certainty; reaching Europe League’s final leaves more questions. Napoli will prepare to quarter-finals with Arsenal by playing two league games - with Empoli on Wednesday and Genoa on Sunday.
8. Borussia Dortmund
Maybe Champions League’s departure was the best thing that could have happened to BVB. Borussia are once again at Bundesliga’s top of the table after 2:0 win against Wolfsburg and Bayern’s 1:1 draw with Freiburg. Young core from Dortmund couldn’t keep up the pace of fight on two fronts. That’s why it’s way easier for them when they have to think only about league. This team delighted us many times this year and showed that can really stop Bayern’s hegemony in Germany. Saturday’s Der Klassiker at Allianz Arena will be the key for seasons of both teams.
If The Gunners win on Monday against Newcastle, they will join Premier League’s top three and pass the perfect start of, as Unai Emery called it, the month of truth. April will be very rough for The Gunners who will play eight games in only 29 days. Three of those matches will take place on Emirates Stadium where Arsenal won all of this year’s six domestic games.This week Emery’s boys will play two times. Six days after Newcastle’s clash they will go to Goodison Park for clash with Everton.
10. Paris Saint-Germain
Domestic Dr Jekyll and Continental Mr Hyde - it’s hard to find better terms to define Parisians. They somehow recovered after embarrassing fall from Champions League round of 16 against Manchester United and only increased distance over the rest of Ligue 1. Now PSG has 20 (verbally TWENTY) more points than second-placed Lille despite playing one game less than most of the league. So in upcoming two months Kylian Mbappe (31 goals this season!) and his teammates will try to face the past. Three years ago Paris Saint-Germain led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic won league with record 96 points, 29 ahead of then second Lyon. Next step of what might be Thomas Tuchel’s boys historical run is Sunday’s game against Strasbourg.