Europe's Biggest Underachieving Clubs: Porto Lose Again, Inter Stalled out
Welcome back to the most inauspicious list in the business: the biggest underachieving clubs in European football.
We’ve had some movement on our table over the past week—most notably at the very top, where a new leader now blushes down on some of the UEFA region’s other disappointments.
So, without further ado, let’s have a look at the six clubs that have most underperformed so far this season.
6. Inter Milan
Inter Milan have played 13 matches in 2014 but have so far recorded only four victories.
Their latest setback came on Monday against relegation-threatened Verona and stretched their latest winless run to three games.
They may be in the Europa League positions, but with seven matches to play, the Nerazzurri are 15 points adrift of the Champions League places and a whopping 32 back of Serie A leaders Juventus.
5. AC Milan
Inter’s city rivals have been even worse this season and are presently 11th in Serie A with seven rounds to play.
AC Milan have shown some recent signs of life, however, and posted a second successive win on Saturday when they beat Chievo 3-0 at the San Siro. Kaka scored twice and Mario Balotelli added another in the victory.
The Rossoneri have hardly improved under new manager Clarence Seedorf, though, and go into next Monday’s match away to Genoa five points back of the final Europa League spot and an embarrassing 39 behind Juventus.
Porto had won the last three Primeira Liga titles coming into the current season, but with five matches remaining, their chances at extending the run to four championships has long since been blown to bits.
The losses of Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez to Ligue 1 side Monaco hurt the Portuguese giants from the get-go, and ahead of Sunday’s match at home to Academica, they sit third in the top flight. They are eight points back of Sporting Lisbon and 15 off the pace set by leaders Benfica.
They’ve also won just two of their last six domestic matches, although a Europa League quarterfinal against Sevilla will serve as something of a reprieve from their woes in the Liga Zon Sagres.
Like Porto, the Europa League has served as a welcome reprieve for struggling Valencia.
They’ll travel to Basel in the continent’s secondary competition on Thursday, after which they’ll return to the rigours of La Liga when they travel to Real Valladolid.
With seven rounds remaining, Los Che are eighth in the Spanish top flight—nine points back of Villarreal and the final Europa League berth.
They’re also coming off a 3-1 defeat at home to Getafe—a side facing a relegation battle over the final few weeks of the season.
2. Manchester United
It’s amazing what a result against Bayern Munich can do for morale.
Granted, Manchester United hardly dominated the reigning Bundesliga and European champions on Tuesday, but their plucky 1-1 will no doubt serve as a rallying cry as they look to end a difficult season on a high note.
Presently seventh in the Premier League, the Red Devils are 10 points back of Arsenal and the final Champions League berth and two adrift of Spurs and the Europa League as they prepare for Saturday’s trip to Newcastle.
In 2007, Stuttgart were champions of Germany. Last spring, they went all the way to the final of the DFB Pokal and qualified for the Europa League.
This season, they’re in a fight for their Bundesliga lives.
Going into Saturday’s relegation derby at home to Freiburg, Stuttgart are third from bottom in the German top flight and two points back of safety.
Only Hamburg have a more dismal defensive record through 28 matches, and only twice in their last 13 outings have they scored more than a single goal.