90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings 2020/21: Week 3



Tottenham beat Man Utd 6-1. | Pool/Getty Images

Following a week in which:

– Tottenham Hotspur THUMPED Manchester United 6-1.

– Aston Villa THUMPED Liverpool 7-2.

– Fabrizio Romano THUMPED the whole concept of football journalism by [redacted by editor].

We at 90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings HQ are going wayyyyyyy back in time this week to nab some quotes from 1976. So load up some David Bowie, get out your best cord flares, and let’s get to it:

Robert De Niro Applause GIF by Tech Noir - Find & Share on GIPHYLuís Miguel Afonso Fernandes 'Pizzi', Darwin Nunez, Luca WaldschmidtBenfica are top of the league | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

“Let’s stop kidding ourselves. Full-fledged messiahs don’t come in bunches.” (Network)

Unlike most other teams in Europe, Benfica were busy boys over the summer. They brought back Jorge Jesus and signed *ahem* Darwin Nunez, Everton Soares (yes, the one that was linked with all the Premier League clubs), Pedrinho, Luca Waldschmidt, Nicolas Otamendi, Jean-Clair Todibo, Jan Vertonghen and Gilberto (and breathe).

All of these moves were made with the intention of making Benfica a genuinely competitive Champions League team for the first time in, well, a lifetime.

Yeah…it didn’t work. Benfica were knocked out of the Champions League earlier that they’ve been in, well, a lifetime.

It turns out full-fledged footballing messiahs don’t come in bunches.

Still, at least they’ve won every league game so far this season. That’s something.

Renato SanchesRenato Sanches is quite good | Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

“My name’s been in the papers too much.” (All the President’s Men)

Renato Sanches may never get rid of the ‘Swansea City flop’ tag, but bah gawd is he trying to.

The still-only-23-year-old midfielder has been exceptional in recent weeks, putting man of the match performances and leading Lille to joint top of Ligue 1.

Bukayo SakaArsenal have started the season well | Pool/Getty Images

“My life has taken another turn again. The days can go on with regularity over and over, one day indistinguishable from the next. A long continuous chain. Then suddenly, there is a change.” (Taxi Driver)

The past ten years at Arsenal have been pretty bad. A long continuous chain of false dawns, sixth place finishes and the very, very, very bad defending.

But now, suddenly, there is a change.

With Mikel Arteta at the helm, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signing a new contract, Bukayo Saka breaking through, and Thomas Partey joining on deadline day, Arsenal’s fortunes look to have taken a turn for the better.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Weston MckennieJuventus’ game with Napoli was postponed | Silvia Lore/Getty Images

“This is terrific work, if you like rejection.” (All the President’s Men)

Turning up at the Allianz Stadium knowing that, in doing so, they could be awarded a 3-0 win over SSC Napoli (who chose not to travel due to COVID-19 cases in their squad) was terrific work, if Juve want to be the most hated club in Italy.

Which they already are actually – so this didn’t make much of a difference.

Vinicius JuniorReal Madrid beat Levante at the weekend | Alex Caparros/Getty Images

“I argued that television was a volatile industry in which success and failure were determined week by week; Mr. Jensen does not like volatile industries and suggested with a certain sinister silkiness that volatility in business usually reflected bad management.” (Network)

Look, we know it’s a bit surprising that it took Real Madrid three weeks to make it into 90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings, but power ranking is a volatile industry in which success and failure are determined week by week.

Now that they’re top of La Liga, Los Blancos are deserving of a place in the 2020/21 DEPR.

Liam CooperLeeds United more than held their own against Man City | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

“Is it safe?…Is it safe?”
“You’re talking to me?”
“Is it safe?”
“Is what safe?”
“Is it safe?”
“I don’t know what you mean. I can’t tell you something’s safe or not, unless I know specifically what you’re talking about.”
“Is it safe?”
“Tell me what the ‘it’ refers to.”
“Is it safe?”
“Yes, it’s safe, it’s very safe, it’s so safe you wouldn’t believe it.”
“Is it safe?”
“No. It’s not safe, it’s…very dangerous, be careful.” (Marathon Man)

‘After their very impressive start to the Premier League season is it safe to presume that Leeds United will definitely stay up?’

No. It’s not safe, it’s…very dangerous, and Leeds will need to make sure they keep up their current high standards to avoid what would be a disastrous relegation back to the Championship.

Willi OrbanRB Leipzig beat Schalke | Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

“Where’s the goddamn story?”
“The money’s the key to whatever this is.” (All the President’s Men)

Most people – myself included – expected a bit of a drop off from RB Leipzig this season after selling Timo Werner to Chelsea.

However, that hasn’t really happened.

Instead, Leipzig took that big boatload of oil money that got from Chelsea, used it to add some strength in depth to their squad, and now look better than ever. Nice one.

SSC Napoli v Genoa CFC - Serie ASSC Napoli’s game was postponed on Sunday | MB Media/Getty Images

 “I must make my witness!” (Network)

We’d just like to take the time to congratulate SSC Napoli for deciding that their player’s and staff’s health was more important than a Serie A game in an empty stadium last weekend. That took some guts. We rate it.

Ollie Watkins, Ezri KonsaAston Villa thumped Liverpool | Pool/Getty Images

“I know that man. It can’t be…Szell? Szell. Szell! Szell! Szell! My God! Stop him! Szell! Stop Szell! It’s Szell. Der Weisse Engel! Der Weisse Engel is here. Oh my God, stop him. Stop him. Der Weisse Engel! Der Weisse Engel. He has to be stopped. My God! He gets away. Der Weisse Engel is here. Szell. Stop him! Der Weisse Engel…Oh please, help me. He’s a beast. He’s a murderer. You must stop him. Oh my God. There he goes! He’s getting away!” (Marathon Man)

On three different occasions during Aston Villa’s 7-2 thrashing of Liverpool, the following was Joe Gomez’s internal monologue:

‘I know that man. It can’t be…Ollie? Ollie. Ollie! Ollie! Ollie! My God! Stop him! Ollie! Stop Ollie! It’s Ollie. Ollie Watkins! Ollie Watkins is here. Oh my God, stop him Virgil van Dijk. Stop him. Ollie Watkins! Ollie Watkins. He has to be stopped. My God! He gets away. Ollie Watkins is here. Ollie. Stop him! Ollie Watkins…Oh please, help me Van Dijk. He’s a beast. He’s a brilliant goalscorer. You must stop him. Oh my God. There he goes! He’s getting away!’

Antonio ConteTwo dropped points for Inter | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

“You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin’ to? You talkin’ to me? Well I’m the only one here. Who the f**k do you think you’re talking to?” (Taxi Driver)

Look we’re not saying that Antonio Conte went full Travis Bickle, whipping pistols out from his coat sleeves, on his Inter side after dropping two points away at Lazio – we’re just saying that it’s possible.

It was a pretty disappointing result after all.

Rafael LeaoAC Milan extended their unbeaten run | Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

“I’ve accepted it, Mama! I’ve accepted, I’ve accepted it!” (Carrie)

Ok everyone, it’s time to accept it.

It’s time to accept that AC Milan are officially BACK.

They’re unbeaten in their last 19 games, have won every game they’ve played so far this season, and have Sandro Tonali.

AC Milan are BACK. Accept it!

Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Sergio ReguilonTottenham are good | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

“You guys are probably pretty tired, right? Well, you should be. Go on home, get a nice hot bath. Rest up…15 minutes. Then get your asses back in gear. We’re under a lot of pressure, you know, and you put us there. Nothing’s riding on this except the, uh, first amendment to the Constitution, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you guys f**k up again, I’m going to get mad. Goodnight.” (All the President’s Men)

Tottenham’s players must be pretty tired, right? Well, they should be – they played a billion games in September.

They played pretty well in most of those billion games too, especially in Sunday’s meeting with Man Utd, who they thumped 6-1.

Playing this well and, for once, actually winning the transfer window by signing pretty great footballers had led to Spurs coming under a bit of pressure to win a trophy this season.

Nothing’s riding on it except the, uh, near 30 years without a trophy (we’re not counting the League Cup, it’s pointless and sh*t), the future of Harry Kane (one of the best players in the club’s history) and maybe the future of the whole bloody football club.

James RodriguezEverton won again | Jan Kruger/Getty Images

“Listen, you f**kers, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take it anymore. A man who stood up against the scum, the c***s, the dogs, the filth, the sh*t. Here is a man who stood up.” (Taxi Driver)

In the above photo James Rodriguez is saying the following:

‘Listen, you f**kers, you Premheads. I am a man who refused to take it anymore. I am a man who stood up against the Premier League fans who thought that I couldn’t cut it in your sh*tty little league, the pundits who thought I was finished, Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid, the sh*t. I am a man who stood up. And now I’m one of the best players in the f**ckin’ world.’

Robert LewandowskiJust the four goals for Lewa at the weekend | Boris Streubel/Getty Images

“You’re gonna eat lightnin’ and you’re gonna crap thunder!” (Rocky)

This past week Robert Lewandowski celebrated winning the UEFA Player of the Year award by scoring four goals against Hertha Berlin – the last of which was a last minute winner.

Yes, Robert Lewandowski is the best player in the world.

Yes, Robert Lewandowski eats lightnin’ and craps thunder.

Sam Lammers, Mario PasalicAtalanta scored 5. | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

“I was nobody. But that don’t matter either, you know? ‘Cause I was thinkin’, it really don’t matter if I lose this fight. It really don’t matter if this guy opens my head, either. ‘Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.” (Rocky)

Look, it doesn’t really matter if Atalanta don’t win Serie A.

It really doesn’t matter if Juventus win it again.

What matters to Atalanta is being the most entertaining team to watch in Europe.

They were two seasons ago, they were last season, and they look like they will be this season too.



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