Pitchside Europe

Power Rankings: Barcelona kings at Christmas

Barcelona top our Power Rankings at Christmas after further extending their lead over Real Madrid.

Despite having to deal with the news that coach Tito Vilanova had suffered a relapse and would have to undergo surgery on a tumour, Barcelona defeated Real Valladolid 3-1 on Saturday.

Having dropped just two points in 17 league games so far this season, Barcelona are now 16 points clear of Madrid and nine clear of Atletico.

They have been top of our Power Rankings since the start of the season and their current score of 4512 is just seven short of their all-time record, set in November.

The only change in the top 20 this week was Lyon leaping over Zenit St Petersburg to take 17th place.

HOW IT WORKS

To determine our Power Rankings, we use the Euro Club Index, which scientifically analyses hundreds of thousands of matches from the top divisions in all European nations as well as Europa League and Champions League games.

The Index takes into account all matches played over an eight-year period but with recent results carrying more weight than older ones.

The performance of a league's teams in the Champions League and Europa League reflects the rise or fall of the sporting level in that league.

So, for example, if English teams perform well in Europe, all Premier League teams receive a small bonus in their ECI score. The ranking and its predictive power are thus made even more accurate.