Pitchside Europe

Power Rankings: United close on Madrid

Manchester United's Robin van Persie (2nd L) applauds the crowd after the Champions League match against Real Madrid …

A good week for Manchester United has seen gap between them and Real Madrid closed further in our European Power Rankings.

United's impressive 1-1 draw against Cristiano Ronaldo et al in Madrid was the bedrock for a 28-point gain over the past seven days, made all the more significant given Real's overall 26-point loss.

That means Sir Alex Ferguson's side are just 326 points behind the Spanish giants and, with the possibility of a second treble still very much alive for the Premier League club, United could yet snatch second place in this season's rankings of Europe's elite.

Elsewhere, Benfica are the biggest winners this week, the Portuguese club gaining 50 points to jump two places into ninth. Chelsea were also big winners, with 42 points, but the Blues were still bumped down to 10th due to Benfica's monster haul.

Arsenal, still to play their last 16 first leg Champions League match against Bayern Munich, lost 25 points but Arsene Wenger's side remain in 15th while north London rivals Tottenham gained to the tune of 36 points, but like the Gunners stay where they are in 17.

The week's biggest losers were Valencia, following their defeat to Paris St Germain at the Mestalla last week; the Liga side lost 46 points and fell two places to 14th.

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 19 February 2013