Pitchside Europe

Power Rankings: United chance to hunt down Madrid

A combo picture shows Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United's Dutch forward …

Ahead of this week's eagerly-awaited Champions League clash, Manchester United managed to close the gap ever so slightly on Real Madrid in our European Power Rankings.

United's 2-0 win over Everton in the Premier League saw them glean 14 points over the past seven days, while Real were only awarded eight for their 4-1 victory against Sevilla.

Heading into Wednesday's big game at the Bernabeu, there are now 380 points between the two great clubs, but United have a great chance to hunt down the Spanish giants over the upcoming two-legged tie.

Still way out in front at the top of our elite list of European clubs are Barcelona, who destroyed Getafe 6-1 on Sunday to maintain their seemingly relentless pursuit of the Liga title.

It was a bad week for fifth-placed Borussia Dortmund, whose 4-1 reverse at home against Hamburg saw them drop 50 points, although Manchester City were unable to capitalise on the German side's slip-up after their calamitous defeat to Southampton. The Premier League champions remain in sixth.

Chelsea, on the other hand, enjoyed a rise of two places from 11th to ninth after their 4-1 win over Wigan while their London rivals Tottenham also jumped two to 17th following their 2-1 win against Newcastle.

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.

European Power Rankings 12/02/2013