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Europe's Biggest Underachieving Clubs: Man United and Milan Sides Struggling

Jerrad PetersWorld Football Staff WriterFebruary 5, 2014

Europe's Biggest Underachieving Clubs: Man United and Milan Sides Struggling

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Each of the five clubs included in the following slideshow have won the European Cup since 1988—two of them at least twice.

    In total, they have combined to win European football’s most prestigious prize on 15 occasions. However, if the Champions League places were settled today, only one of them would be involved in the competition.

    Here is this week’s instalment of Europe’s Biggest Underachieving Clubs.

5. PSV Eindhoven

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    Peter Dejong/Associated Press

    European Cup winners in 1988, Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven are presently seventh in the Eredivisie—a whopping 15 points back of league leaders Ajax.

    They have won only three times since the first week of October—a run of 12 matches—and go into the weekend’s encounter away to Cambuur Leeuwarden on the back of a 2-0 defeat to RKC Waalwijk.

    In such a high-scoring division, Memphis Depay leads the team with six goals. That is simply not good enough. As a result, PSV signed Bryan Ruiz on loan from Fulham during the January transfer window. 

4. Borussia Dortmund

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Don’t look now, but one of last year’s Champions League finalists could have a top-four fight on its hands.

    Last weekend’s 2-1 win away to promoted Braunschweig was Borussia Dortmund’s first victory since the end of November, and ahead of Saturday’s crucial trip to Werder Bremen, the Bundesliga and Champions League runners-up have won just two of their last eight matches in the German top flight.

    Presently third in the standings, Dortmund are being tracked down by Schalke, who are just two points adrift. Meanwhile, both Borussia Monchengladbach and Wolfsburg could be heard from as well if manager Jurgen Klopp’s side can’t escape its slump. 

3. AC Milan

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    They may be four points back of city rivals Inter Milan, but AC Milan have taken seven of a possible nine points since last month’s appointment of Clarence Seedorf as manager and have drastically cut the number of goals against.

    That said, goalscoring remains a problem for the Rossoneri, with only Mario Balotelli having tallied more than five times in Serie A so far this season.

    Saturday’s trip to third-place Napoli will represent a massive test for the club, as will a Champions League encounter at home to Atletico Madrid on February 19. 

2. Inter Milan

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Sunday’s 3-1 scoreline in a Derby d’Italia defeat to Juventus actually flattered Inter Milan, who have scored just three goals in their last six matches.

    The Nerazzurri’s last victory was a 1-0 win against AC Milan on December 22. Beyond that, you have to look to early November for another victory.

    The goals have simply dried up for manager Walter Mazzarri’s side, and to that end Lazio playmaker Hernandes was acquired in January with an eye to linking the midfield and attack. 

1. Manchester United

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Talk about deflated morale.

    The disappointment of last month’s Capital One Cup exit was followed in short order by both the £37 million capture of Chelsea’s Juan Mata and 2-0 win over Cardiff that followed.

    The returns of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney also gave United fans reason for hope, but then came Saturday’s 2-1 loss away to Stoke that put a pin in the balloon.

    United are seventh in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s visit of Fulham. However, on February 12, they’ll face the daunting assignment of Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, where more embarrassment could be in store. 

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