90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings: Week 13 – UEFA Champions League Special

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In a week in which:

– Liverpool fans, players and coaches complained incessantly.

– Neymar proved he’s better than Mohamed Salah.

– Virgil van Dijk proved he’s not the best centre back in the world.

Enjoy another edition of 90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings, and some quotes from David O. Russell’s filmography.

15. Manchester United (Down 1)

“You’re nothing to me until you’re everything.” (American Hustle) 

Manchester United’s best player?

No, it isn’t Paul Pogba.

It isn’t Alexis Sanchez.

And no, it definitely isn’t Romelu Lukaku.

At this current moment in time, Manchester United’s best player is Marouane Fellaini, and he proved it on Tuesday night as the towering Belgian scored a crucial last minute winner in the Red Devils’ win over Young Boys.

14. Inter (Down 5)

“There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” (The Fighter) 

Inter were well aware of the fact that a draw at Wembley Stadium would have all but guaranteed their place in the UEFA Champions League round of 16.

They knew this…but lost to Tottenham anyways.

They will likely still qualify – as they face PSV Eindhoven at San Siro in their final group game while Spurs face a trip to Camp Nou to face the team Lionel Messi plays for – but a win over Tottenham at Wembley been a huge statement by I Nerazzurri; sadly, it was one they couldn’t make.

13. Liverpool (Down 3)

“Don’t ever think that the world owes you anything, because it doesn’t. The world doesn’t owe you a thing.” (Joy)

Liverpool’s players, fans, coaches, kit men, groundsmen, canteen staff, stewards etc. etc. etc. cried foul play on Wednesday night as Paris Saint-Germain humbled their beloved Reds and left them on the brink of an early UCL exit.

Despite the cries of:

“Neymar is a diver!” 

“Those guys that play for PSG are all cheaters!” 

“Liverpool are just nice guys who are trying to play football but they can’t because those PSG players keep falling over!” 

The Reds were in fact outplayed for large periods of Wednesday night’s game and now find themselves where – after three consecutive away defeats – they deserve to be: on the brink of elimination.

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12. Sevilla (Re-Entry)

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” (American Hustle) 

No one is quite sure how, but Milan flop Andre Silva is scoring goals and Sevilla are now top of La Liga…ahead of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

11. Borussia Monchengladbach (Up 1)

“When life reaches out at a moment like this it’s a sin if you don’t reach back, I’m telling you it’s a sin if you don’t reach back! It’ll haunt you the rest of your days like a curse. You’re facing a big challenge in your life right now at this very moment, right here.” (Silver Linings Playbook) 

With Bayern Munich out of the picture (for the time being at least), Borussia Monchengladbach noticed life reaching out; and they reached back.

Aside from trouncing every team they’ve played in recent weeks – including Bayern Munich – ‘Gladbach have also made efforts to win the Bundesliga title on Twitter, asking the league’s official the BuLi crown in exchange for RTs…

10. Ajax (Up 5)

“If you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining.” (Silver Linings Playbook) 

After years of being considered one of Europe’s ‘sleeping giants’, Ajax seem to be finally, well, awake again.

For the first time since 2006, Ajax have made it through to the UEFA Champions League knockout stages.

Well done lads.

9. Atletico Madrid (Re-Entry)

8. Arsenal (-)

“He has a chance to do something I never did…” (The Fighter) 

In his first season as Arsenal manager, Unai Emery could achieve something that Arsene Wenger could not: win a European trophy.

Although it’s ‘only the Europa League’, after securing their path into the knockout rounds of the competition, and with a three-time winner at the helm, the Gunners should see this as an opportunity to win their first European trophy in 24 years; and qualify for the Champions League for the first time in three years in the process.

7. SSC Napoli (Down 1)

“The world’s hard enough as it is. It’s hard enough as it is. Can’t somebody just be positive?” (Silver Linings Playbook)

It was a mixed week for Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

While their bore draw with Chievo Verona (a team who haven’t won a single game this season) all but handed the Scudetto of Juventus, their midweek win over Red Star Belgrade has put Napoli on the brink of UEFA Champions League progression.

So one good result + one bad result = down one in this week’s Definitive European Power Rankings.

6. Tottenham Hotspur (Up 5)

“Somebody who people can pin their beliefs and their dreams on.” (American Hustle)

Despite the lack of summer signings, Mauricio Pochettino – somehow – continues to find ways to consistently improve this Tottenham side.

A trouncing of Chelsea at Wembley Stadium was followed by an equally impressive win over Italian giants Inter in midweek, as Spurs finally hit top gear.

No signings, no problem.

5. Borussia Dortmund (Down 2)

4. Barcelona (-)

“This right here, this is a special power.” (Joy) 

What is there left to say about Lionel Messi that hasn’t already been said?

The number ten scored his 106th goal (yes, 106) for Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday night.

God only knows where La Blaugrana would be without him?

3. Manchester City (Down 2)

“You’re not a standup guy today.” (Silver Linings Playbook) 

Although he is undoubtedly one of the best managers in the world, there is one thing which Pep Guardiola consistently falls foul to:

Himself.

In his attempts to re-invent the tactical wheel, Pep Guardiola has a tendency to out-smart himself; and that’s exactly what he did on Tuesday night. Playing Raheem Sterling, the club’s most potent attacker, in midfield proved to be his side’s undoing as City hobbled to a 2-2 draw with Lyon.

2. Juventus (-)

“You know what you are? You’re like a gas leak. We don’t see, we don’t smell you, and your silently killing us all.” (Joy)

Max Allegri’s men may not be stealing headlines with wonderful progressive football, be it in Serie A or the Champions League, but they are quietly going about their business. Beating every single team that’s put in front of them.

Ignore La Vecchia Signora at your own peril.

1. Paris Saint-Germain (Up 6)

“I’m sorry it took so long for me to catch up. I just got stuck.” (Silver Linings Playbook)

Finally.

The Paris Saint-Germain that has dominated Ligue 1 with consummate ease this season finally reared its head in the UEFA Champions League; and they did so by comfortably beating last season’s finalists.

With Kylian Mbappe and Neymar within their ranks, the sky’s the limit for PSG this season in both domestic and continental competitions.

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