Europe's Biggest Under-Achieving Clubs Featuring AC Milan and Manchester United
Welcome back to domestic football after the international break, and with it, our latest instalment of under-achieving big clubs around the Continent.
Two weeks on since our last roundup, we have just one departure from then in the new listing, with Spanish side Real Sociedad picking up a vital—and impressive—2-1 win at Valencia over the weekend.
Taking their place we actually have two teams sharing joint-eighth spot, as we couldn't separate these struggling champions.
For the first time there is no change in the bottom five, with those clubs who have started the season struggling for form continuing to do so for now.
Joint-8: Manchester Utd, Eng. Premier League/CSKA Moscow, Russian Premier League
In England, David Moyes' Manchester United side have suffered early in the season but remain only a point or two away from a top-six place on account of the tight league, but their weekend draw at home to Southampton changed all that.
Leading the game by a goal going into the final minutes, United couldn't keep the away team at bay and Southampton stole an 89th-minute equaliser, which now leaves Moyes and his side in eighth place in the Premier League—four points behind seventh-place Everton, who they will now not catch next week regardless of their next result.
It's early in the season, but United have to improve. Having won the league title last season they have won just one of their last four league games, and play at home to Stoke City next time out.
Travelling East a few time zones, Russian Premier League champions CSKA Moscow started the season well—but have gone rapidly downhill.
After initially winning six of their first eight matches, CSKA have been hit by injuries to key attackers and have now lost four of their last five—and haven't scored a single goal in that period.
Even before their weekend 2-0 defeat to title rivals Zenit St. Petersburg, it was already a record length without a single strike for them.
Following that latest defeat, CSKA are down to sixth place and trail Zenit, top of the league, by 11 points.
7. Galatasaray, Turkish Super Lig
Galatasaray finally got back to winning ways at the weekend, beating Karabukspor 2-1 at home, as they bid to turn around their horrible start to the season.
That win, their first in nine matches in all competitions—including a suspended match at Besiktas—sees them move back up to 11th in the Super Lig table, but Roberto Mancini's men remain well off the pace of the title race.
Wesley Sneijder was the hero for team, netting both goals including a winner just seven minutes from time, after Karabukspor had been reduced to 10 men.
It's a start for the newly appointed Mancini, but that's all it is. There's a long road ahead for Galatasaray.
6. AC Milan, Italian Serie A
AC Milan are finally back into the top half of Serie A after a 1-0 home win over Udinese at the weekend, but it's not enough to lift them out of the rankings of the biggest under-achievers around at this time.
Valter Birsa was the goalscorer in the first half, which turned out to be enough to record the three points.
After only eight matches, Milan are four points behind city rivals Inter, eight points off a Champions League place in the top three and a whopping 13 points behind runaway leaders AS Roma.
They face a trip to Parma next time out, where they will look for their first away win of the season.
5. Bordeaux, French Ligue 1
No change for either of our Ligue 1 combatants this week, after Bordeaux and Lyon faced each other and drew 1-1.
It was so close to being far better for Bordeaux, though, who led for the latter part of the second half and saw Lyon down to 10 men—but a 90th-minute equaliser denied them what would have been a second win on the bounce and only a third of the season.
Without that equaliser Bordeaux would have been up to 10th in Ligue 1 and possibly out of this ranking league, as it happens, they remain in 15th place and just four points above the relegation zone, with only one win in five.
They play at home to Montpellier next.
4. Hamburger SV, German Bundesliga
Into the Bundesliga now and to Hamburger SV, who had to come from behind three times against Stuttgart at the weekend to record a point.
It wasn't the result they will have been hoping for after a really poor start to the season, but it does at least keep them in touch with the teams above them, with none of the clubs placed 10th or lower managing to win over the same game week.
Pierre-Michel Lasogga, Max Beister and Rafa van der Vaart scored the three equalisers, but Hamburg are now with just one win from their last five games and occupy 15th place, the lowest place in the table outside of the relegation spots.
They are away to Freiburg next up, with their opponents yet to win a league game this season.
3. Olympique Lyonnais, French Ligue 1
As per the Bordeaux slide, Lyon could only manage a late home draw thanks to a last-minute stabbed equaliser from Jimmy Briand and finished the game with 10 men.
Alexandre Lacazette will feel a little harshly done by for being red-carded, though, for what seemed an innocuous tackle on Henri Saivet for the second yellow.
Regardless, the result leaves Lyon in 12th place, without a win in four and a long way from challenging for European places this season.
It doesn't get any better either, as they face Monaco away next time out.
2. Sunderland, English Premier League
It wasn't the best introduction to life in the Premier League for new Sunderland boss Gus Poyet, as his team were trounced 4-0 by Swansea City at the weekend.
As if that wasn't bad enough, his players netted two of them themselves, with Phil Bardsley and Steven Fletcher scoring own goals.
Sunderland have suffered six straight defeats in the league, have managed just one point from eight games all season and are the second-lowest scorers in the entire league.
Oh, and they have the worst defensive record, too.
It's going to be anything but straight forward for Poyet, whose next match is the small matter of the North-East derby against Newcastle United.
1. Anzhi Makhachkala, Russian Premier League
We started with the English and Russian Premier Leagues, and we finish with them.
Anzhi Makhachkala remain rooted to the bottom of their domestic league and of our rankings having suffered a seventh defeat of the season at the weekend.
The 1-0 home loss to Spartak Moscow means Anzhi have now gone 13 games from the start of the season without victory.
They are now seven points from the teams outside of the relegation playoffs, but at this rate, even avoiding the bottom two places—with automatic relegation—is going to be a stretch for a team who, only four months ago, had aspirations of fighting for the title and landing Champions League football for next season.
Anzhi Makhachkala are away to Kuban' Krasnodar on Monday night.