I think there is a general bug in the way battles are conducted. For example we have the first two places Theo and Elax constantly attacking each other and getting Gold/Sheep/Defense/Attack the first two places each time. I am not saying that they are cheating but they are smart enough to exploit the system to the max.
I think this has enabled the first two big players to earn more than anyone else in this game (pearls... lots of them). I think this should be fixed asap since it is an easy fix to do!
The best way to prevent this is when I attack a base (win or loose) that base should be hidden from me at least for 24 hours! Any other suggestions might work as long as this is fixed.