Pitchside Europe

Power Rankings: Boffins favour United


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Real Madrid may be above Manchester United in our Power Rankings, but Sir Alex Ferguson's side are slim favourites for tonight's showdown, according to the statisticians.

This week Madrid's second Clasico win over Barcelona in a week propelled them upwards to the tune of 57 points which, coupled with Barca's negative 56, means they are now just 158 points behind the runaway leaders in our standings.

And with United scoring just six points over the past seven days, Real were able to further widen the gap between them and the third-placed Premier League side.

Yet, according to the Euro Club Index, from which our rankings are derived, United head into the seismic Champions League clash at Old Trafford tonight as slight favourites to win and progress to the quarter-finals.

United do hold the advantage of having an away goal under their belt already, meaning Real will have to score in Manchester to stand any chance of progression. In addition, they are playing at home, so the experts believe United hold a 39 per cent chance of winning, compared to Real's 35 per cent.

Should United prevail against the returning Cristiano Ronaldo et al, they will no doubt edge closer to Real, but such are the size of the gaps, it is far more likely that the Madrid side will be able to chase down Barca at the top of the table rather than be caught by United before the end of the season.

Otherwise this week, there is little change to our top 20. The only movements see Paris St-Germain drop 44 points and fall two places following their shock defeat at Reims, with Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk the teams to benefit, while AC Milan and Valencia swap places in 14th and 15th.


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.

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