Football Power Rankings January 2022: New Number One Crowned As Spurs Make Top 20

There's only one team that can be on top spot as we enter the new year
07:00, 08 Jan 2022

It is now January, which means it is time for the next update of The Sportsman’s Football Power Rankings, a new monthly series where we crown the best team in the world at this current moment in time. The winter break in other countries has affected this list slightly, with now seven English clubs making the top 20. Here we go! 

20) Tottenham Hotspur (New Entry)

Antonio Conte is changing things at Spurs. Now on the edge of the European places, with games in hand and in the Carabao Cup semi-final, Spurs will be hoping to make more progress over the next month.

19) Napoli (+1)

Napoli beat Milan before a shock loss to Spezia, which means they are now third, six points off top. Meanwhile, they finished second in their Europa League group, but that sets up a huge clash against Barcelona next month. 

18) Manchester United (-5)

United have endured a nightmare start to the season and the last three results haven’t been good enough. A draw against Newcastle, a win over Burnley and a defeat to Wolves means that Ralf Rangnick’s start to life in the dugout has been far from perfect. Only their Champions League status keeps them in the top 20.

17) Atletico Madrid (-6)

Three defeats in a row over the last month have meant Diego Simeone’s men are off the pace in fourth in La Liga and they’ve lost Kieran Trippier, but they still have European football ahead of them. They progressed from Liverpool’s Champions League group and will now look to dump Manchester United out in the last 16.

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16) Benfica (-2)

How about qualifying in second place from a Champions League group which contained both Bayern Munich and Barcelona? The Portuguese giants pipped Barca to second spot to make it into the last 16 and are currently third in their league, but have lost more ground on the unbeaten duo of Porto and Sporting.

15) Arsenal (New Entry)

New boys to our top 20 are Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal. Over Christmas they went on a winning run that has seen them break into the top four and reach the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup. 

14) Sevilla (New Entry)

Combined with the poor form of others, Sevilla find themselves as this month’s biggest climbers. They just missed out on our top 20 last month but have now put themselves in title contention in Spain, just five points behind Real Madrid with a game in hand. 

13) AC Milan (+2)

Forty-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still banging in the goals and even though Stefano Pioli’s side have dropped points, the gap to Inter is just a point, they remain in second place, and the title is still within reach.

12) Borussia Dortmund (+4)

The Germans currently lie second in the Bundesliga but there is now a nine point gap between them and Bayern, one of the best teams in the world. They move upwards due to the poor form of others, and the fact that the Europa League could provide an opportunity for a European trophy, with Rangers up next.

11) Juventus (+1) 

The toughest team to place. Balancing European football and domestic duties has been a nightmare for Juve this season but over the past month they have climbed from seventh to fifth in the league, and this season they have won a Champions League group that contained reigning champions Chelsea with five wins out of six. 

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10) West Ham United (+1)

The good league form continues. Fifth placed Hammers are also the only English representatives left in the Europa League having won their group, and as a result go straight into the last 16. The Hammers have smashed it in Europe, and even though there were concerns over their domestic hopes in pre-season, as things stand they are well in contention to finish in the top four.

9) Sporting CP (-) 

Ruben Amorim has done a remarkable job to get Sporting out of their Champions League group given they faced Ajax and Borussia Dortmund. However, they lost their unbeaten status in the league on Friday night in an unlikely 3-2 defeat to Santa Clara. That rare loss could prove costly, as Porto have joined them at the summit of the Primeira Liga table with a superior goal difference and a game in hand. Manchester City await in the UCL last 16.

8) Paris Saint-Germain (-)

Perhaps PSG feature lower in this list than you might expect, but the French giants failed to produce enough consistency in Europe to win their group, even after beating Manchester City at home. They are running away with Ligue 1, with a 10-point lead at the time of writing, but they still look disjointed when put under pressure and Real Madrid will push them to the limit.

7) Ajax (-)

The first club mentioned to go six from six in their Champions League group have won both league matches since the last update and come out of the winter break in second place in the league. Sebastian Haller has been a revelation up front and although they lost top spot in the Eredivisie to PSV and while they face a huge fight to retain their title on a domestic front, their European dominance gets them into the top seven. 

6) Chelsea (-)

The current European champions have had a tricky month with a succession of home draws and that Romelu Lukaku interview. That has put them off the pace in the title race but they still remain in second place in the league. 

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5) Real Madrid (-1)

Despite a shock loss to Getafe last time out, Real Madrid are still five points clear at the top of La Liga and they look well on course to win the title back from their closest rivals. A last-16 tie against PSG next month will truly test their European credentials. 

4) Inter Milan (+1)

Winter breaks have hampered this list slightly, but Inter have won seven league games in a row. With Lautaro Martinez committing his long-term future to the club and Romelu Lukaku stating his desire to return one day, they have lost just once in the league so far and currently have a one point lead, and a game in hand over their city rivals. 

3) Liverpool (-2)

Jurgen Klopp’s side may have breezed through their Champions League group with six straight wins, but it has been a tricky winter month for them which has seen them drop from first to third. A defeat at Leicester and draws to Tottenham and Chelsea has given Man City a huge lead, while Mo Salah and Sadio Mane are off to the AFCON.  

2) Bayern Munich (-)

The winter break means that the German giants have played just twice since they last ranked third, extending their lead at the top to nine points with a 4-0 win over Wolfsburg, before a shock loss to Monchengladbach. However, they are second favourites for the Champions League behind Manchester City with Betfred, and romped their group with six wins from six, scoring 22 and conceding just three in the process. 

1) Manchester City (+2)

A rise from third to first is not unexpected from Pep Guardiola’s side. The Premier League leaders have won their last ten league games and are now ten points clear at the top, as they now look certain to defend the crown they won last season. Betfred have even paid out on them doing so. 

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