Europe's Biggest Under-Achieving Clubs, Including Manchester United and Valencia

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2013

Europe's Biggest Under-Achieving Clubs, Including Manchester United and Valencia

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    It's been a few weeks since our last round-up of Europe's biggest under-achieving sides, and it's fair to say that our last batch of teams have had an up-and-down time since then.

    Plenty of the biggest teams who were expected to be among the front-runners for the league title in their respective divisions currently find themselves marooned in mid-table, and we've got them all right here for you.

    Representatives from Spain, Italy, England, France and Holland are here this time around, so let's see who has much work to do as we head deep into the winter third of the season.

6. Valencia, 9th in Spanish Primera Division

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    Valencia have continued their inconsistent start to the season, although two wins in the last four have at least put them back in the top half.

    They have still lost more games than they've won this term, however, and with an away game at Atletico Madrid next up, that statistic isn't likely to change particularly soon.

    Los Che sit ninth in the table, already nine points off the top four places and actually closer to the relegation zone.

5. Olympique Lyon, 10th in French Ligue 1

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    Over in France, the team of the 2000s, Lyon, have fallen fast.

    Their 3-1 win at Bastia at the weekend was their first in four league games, pushing them just about back into the top half of the table. Even so, 10th place is a far cry from what they have been aiming for in recent seasons.

    Lyon are 13 points off Lille in third, while even a Europa League challenge looks out of the question at this point. They are home to Marseille next time out.

4. AC Milan, 9th in Italian Serie A

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    AC Milan are on a four-match unbeaten run, which sounds marginally impressive—until you consider they've only won one of those games and that one was against the league's bottom club.

    Quite simply, they've been shockingly poor this term and their current ninth-place standing owes some debt to several late point-snatching goals.

    Their most recent game was another example of such, as an 83rd-minute Mario Balotelli strike, his second of the game, rescued a 2-2 draw at Livorno, who are currently in the relegation zone.

    Milan have won once in their last seven Serie A matches and play AS Roma, unbeaten in the league this season, at the weekend.

3. Manchester United, 9th in English Premier League

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    Over in England, the reigning champions Manchester United have just suffered back-to-back home defeats for the first time in more than a decade, following defeats to Everton and Newcastle.

    David Moyes' men have won just three matches at Old Trafford so far this season, something which would have been considered impossible only a few short months ago, and their ninth-place standing in the Premier League leaves them seven points off city rivals Manchester City, who occupy the last Champions League spot at present.

    United are away to Aston Villa next up as they head into the busy Christmas run of games.

2. PSV Eindhoven, 10th in Dutch Eredivisie

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    Into Holland now, where PSV Eindhoven are flailing in the bottom half of the table after a wretched run of form.

    PSV are, in fact, in 10th place in the 18-team Eredivisie, with just one win in 11 in all competitions and no win at all in seven in the league.

    Their latest defeat was a 6-2 home thumping by Vitesse when they were only 3-2 down with five minutes to go. They are away to Utrecht next time out.

1. Real Betis, 20th in Spanish Primera Division

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    The most severely under-performing of the bigger clubs in Europe is without doubt Real Betis.

    Still rock-bottom of La Liga in Spain, the Andalucian club have won just two of their 15 league games so far and are now three points adrift of safety, though with three points covering 14th to 19th, they will still have hope of getting themselves out of danger.

    A home draw against Rayo Vallecano in their last game was a disappointing result, especially after taking a 2-1 lead with just nine minutes to play. They travel to Real Sociedad in their next outing, searching for their first league win in nine games.