Arsenal beat Man United and Man City - in a different type of league table

Arsenal's Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring the opening goal with teammates during the English League Cup third round football match between Arsenal and Southampton at The Emirates Stadium in London on Sept 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Arsenal's Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring the opening goal with teammates during the English League Cup third round football match between Arsenal and Southampton at The Emirates Stadium in London on Sept 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

Fans of Arsenal, which has not won the European Champions League in 17 consecutive years of trying, can take solace that the Gunners have come out tops against arch rivals Manchester United and Manchester City - in a new league ranking football clubs on their financial strength.

Financial research firm S&P Capital IQ has devised a way to help investors decide who to bet on with a "Credit Football League" (CFL) table which ranks 44 publicly-listed and private European clubs according to their credit scores, CNBC reported last week.

The firm's proprietary analysis model takes into account the clubs' stock price movements if they are listed, performance on the pitch and finances.

Arsenal comes out second, behind only Ajax of Amsterdam, with Man United and Man City ranked fourth and ninth respectively.

Top of the CFL:

1. Ajax (Dutch)

2. Arsenal (English)

3. Glasglow Celtic (Scottish)

4. Manchester United (English)

5. St Etienne (French)

6. Borussia Dortmund (German)

7. Borussia Mönchengladbach (German)

8. Bayern Munich (German)

9. Manchester City (English)

10. Toulouse (French)

Source: CNBC

Reporting on this new league, the Financial Times said longtime Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's well-known reluctance to "buy" success by spending heavily on player transfers has given the club strong financials and a good credit score.

CNBC noted that match performance is also a key element of a team's financial success and the top-ranked clubs in the CFL have been consistent in this regard. Thus while Arsenal has won very few championships in recent times, they qualified for the lucrative Champions League for 18 seasons in a row.

Man Utd won a place in the top five despite its recent struggles which saw it finish seventh in the last EPL season and miss out on qualifying for the Champions League thanks to its former manager the great Sir Alex Ferguson's 20 years of success with the club.

CNBC also noted that the CFL shows up the economic divide between northern and southern Europe. Of the top 10 teams, 4 are U.K. teams, 3 are German, 2 are French and 1 is Dutch. Towards the bottom of the ranking are clubs from Italy, France and Portugal.

"If you look at the table it seems like there is a north-south divide because the countries harder hit by the recession are where consumer sentiment was a lot lower and people spent less on merchandise and tickets," Pavle Sabic, director of credit market development at S&P Capital IQ, told CNBC.

Bottom-ranked in the CFL:

34. Alemannia Aachen (German)

35. AC Milan (Italian)

36. Ruch Chorzów (Polish)

37. AS Roma (Italian)

38. Sporting Lisbon (Polish)

39. Start (Norwegian)

40. Palermo (Italian)

41. GKS Katowice (Polish)

42. Club Deportivo Tenerife (Spanish)

43. Inter Milan (Italian)

44. RC Lens (French)

Source: CNBC