European Club Rankings After September 22-25 Matches

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterSeptember 26, 2017

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 20:  Head coach Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid CF  recats as Real Betis Balompie players celebrate their first goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Real Betis Balompie at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 20, 2017 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Double gameweeks on the continent plus midweek English cup action creates so much football to digest. You'd be forgiven if you missed a few things, with so much going on.

That's why we're here to wrap it all up for you.

The rankings are a season-long measurement of clubs. Just like last term, they track teams throughout 2017/18, taking into account results from all competitions.

Teams that have lost the fewest games naturally rank higher—though the strength of opposition met in a loss is consideredand both Champions League form and presence are used as tiebreakers for those with similar records. Those who gather big wins against strong opposition get a natural boost.


20. RB Leipzig (-2)

Special circumstances aside, any team with two losses already this season is likely to find themselves toward the bottom of the pile. The sides RB Leipzig lost toSchalke and Augsburgare good but not great, and the latter defeat has sent them to last in this edition.

          

19. Roma (New!)

Roma have quietly put together a strong start to the season. With so much of the Serie A focus on five other clubs, manager Eusebio Di Francesco has earned four league wins from five (the loss being a very unlucky one to Inter Milan), and held Atletico Madrid (just barely) in the Champions League opener.

BENEVENTO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 20:  Edin Dzeko of Roma  celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between Benevento Calcio and AS Roma at Stadio Ciro Vigorito on September 20, 2017 in Benevento, Italy.  (Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Get
Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

          

18. Arsenal (+2)

A commanding week of results from Arsenal sees them edge up a couple of spots.

On Monday they put together some absolutely scintillating passages of play against West Brom, with backheels, flicks and first-time passes all on show. This and the League Cup win over Doncaster build on that surprisingly resilient performance against Chelsea and puts the club on a strong run.

           

17. Liverpool (-1)

It always feels a little weird to watch two teams play one another in succession, and Liverpool probably got their results the wrong way round against Leicester last week.

Not that there's anything wrong with a league win, but offered cup progression and defeat in the Premier League, there are plenty of fans who would have taken that. This Reds side aren't title contenders but could stomach a league loss in return for an enhanced chance at silverware elsewhere.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23:  Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool celebrates with team mates after scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at The King Power Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Leices
Michael Regan/Getty Images

            

16. Sevilla (-1)

Sevilla's excellent start to the season had to take a turn for the worse at some point, but there's no shame in collecting your first loss at the new home of Atletico Madrid. There goes another unbeaten league start. 


15. Tottenham (+2)

As has so often been the case this season, Tottenham made life pretty difficult for themselves at the weekend. They went from 3-0 up and cruising to seeing a man sent off (Serge Aurier) and conceding two, forcing them to grind out the last moments of their victory over West Ham. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23: Mauricio Pochettino manager / head coach of Tottenham Hotspur and Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at London Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Lond
Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

           

14. Inter Milan (-2)

Inter are still unbeaten this season, but that record doesn't quite tell the whole story. They've been papering over the cracks a little and struggling to come to the boil, with wonder strikes and key men bailing them out quite often.

Last week's haul of a draw with Bologna and a win over Genoa is great on paper, but the same issues of chemistry and style arose at times.

           

13. Lazio (-3)

Lazio had their doors blown off by a rampant Napoli side in midweek. It was a result that illustrated there is still an obvious gap between Serie A's contenders and pretenders.

They rebounded from that loss with a 3-0 beating of Verona, but that's something several other teams have already done this season, and it isn't enough to retain their top-10 stock in these rankings.

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 23: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) Yannick Carrasco of Club Atletico de Madrid celebrates with Felipe Luis after scoring his teamÕs opening goal during the La Liga match between Atletico Madrid and S
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

           

12. Atletico Madrid (+2)

Now we're starting to see the real Atletico Madrid!

With home games now mixed in with away, they're finding comfort at the new stadium and also producing some sort of rhythm. They're in a good spot in La Ligasecond, unbeaten and on a three-game win streakand are even beginning to extract form out of players like Angel Correa from the start of matches.

Diego Simeone will be very happy right now.

            

11. Monaco (Stay)

Monaco became the latest club to provide a dagger to the heart of the Marcelo Bielsa hysteria project, beating Lille 4-0 away from home.

Stevan Jovetic grabbed his first goal for the club and, of course, Radamel Falcao netted two, taking him to double figures in Ligue 1 already (11). That is madness.


10. Chelsea (+3)

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23: Alvaro Morata of Chelsea celebrates scoring the third goal (his second) during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Chelsea at Bet365 Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Ri
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

They've been rising steadily for weeks, and it's now time to bring Chelsea into the top 10. If you score nine goals in three days, you probably deserve it.

The Blues have had to fight back from two straight losses to open the season if you include the Community Shield defeat to Arsenal, which is why it's only now that they're entering the top echelon. Battering Nottingham Forest midweek wouldn't have been enough, but putting four beyond Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium? Bravo.

Alvaro Morata is on fire, Tiemoue Bakayoko is rolling and when you've got a depth option of the ilk of Andreas Christensen...you've every reason to be smiling if you're Antonio Conte.

             

9. Manchester United (Stay)

Manchester United's Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku gestures on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on September 23, 2017.
Manchester Unite
GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

There are rarely goals scored at St. Mary's Stadium these days so that Man Utd only beat Southampton 1-0 shouldn't surprise. That it was Romelu Lukaku who nabbed the only one is also hardly revelatory.

Still, it was a pretty dramatic day, as the Red Devils once again came to terms with playing without Paul Pogba in midfield, and Jose Mourinho sent to the stands. Is it just us, or is it never really quiet when it comes to this club?

            

8. Borussia Dortmund (Stay)

Dortmund's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang reacts during Borussia Dortmund's training session ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group H match against Real Madrid at the BVB training center on September 25, 2017 in Dortmund, Germany. / AFP PH
PATRIK STOLLARZ/Getty Images

The bad news for Dortmund this weekend was that they conceded their first Bundesliga goal of the season.

The good news was that they scored six of their own, against a good team in Borussia Monchengladbach, and saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang net a hat-trick.

Their goal difference after six games (plus-18) is a very revealing statistic.

            

7. Real Madrid (-4)

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 12:  Head coach Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid looks on before the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Real Betis Balompie at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 12, 2017 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Last-minute, winning goals at the Bernabeu are, 99 percent of the time, scored by Real Madrid. Roared on by a loud, full stadium that demands three points, they generally pull through with the goods.

Only in midweek, we saw the one-percent game: Real Betis' Antonio Sanabria was the one who tucked the ball past Real Madrid's Keylor Navas, resulting in a first defeat of the season for Los Blancos.

That a 2-1 win at Deportivo Alaves was secured days later can't prevent Zinedine Zidane's men falling four spots. They're already seven points off Barcelona; even if they won both Clasicos, they'd still need Lionel Messi and Co. to slip up at least once more to overhaul them!

           

6. Bayern Munich (-2)

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Carlo Ancelotti of Bayern Muenchen gestures during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and FC Bayern Muenchen at Veltins-Arena on September 19, 2017 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/TF
TF-Images/Getty Images

When Bayern Munich go 2-0 up at home, the game should be over. That's always the case, no matter how illustrious the opponent, but particularly so if you're facing a struggling Wolfsburg side.

That didn't happen; Die Wolfe fought back and drew the game 2-2.

Perhaps if you're being kind it can be written off as a "new manager bounce" moment, as it was the first game in charge for Martin Schmidt, but all this does is increase the pressure on Carlo Ancelotti.


 5. Juventus (+2) 

TURIN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 23:  Paulo Exequiel Dybala of Juventus looks on during the Serie A match between Juventus and Torino FC on September 23, 2017 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images )
Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Five scored across two games with none conceded is an excellent body of work for Juventus, but particularly so given they faced Fiorentina and then fierce rivals Torino in that span.

The usual suspectsPaulo Dybala, Miralem Pjanic and Alex Sandroall sparkled in the derby, while Blaise Matuidi's assimilation in midfield continued. Massimiliano Allegri made a host of changes from one match to the other and they still got it donea pleasing turn of events for the manager.

               

4. Napoli (+2)

ROME, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 20:  Dries Mertens of SSC Napoli celebrates after scoring goal 1-3 during the Serie A match between SS Lazio and SSC Napoli at Stadio Olimpico on September 20, 2017 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Top of Serie A (on goal difference), pipping Juventus by one, is a Napoli team who cannot be stopped on Italian soil.

That they beat Lazio so convincingly midweek (4-1) in the capital rose eyebrows across the continent. After all, this is the same Lazio who beat Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana and crushed new-look AC Milan just a few weeks ago.

The only possible reason to be downbeat in Naples right now is if you're Arkadiusz Milik, who needs more knee surgery and will miss more time as a result. Such a shame.

           

3. Manchester City (+2)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23:  Raheem Sterling (L) of Manchester City celebrates scoring his sides second goal with his team mate Leroy Sane (R) during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Crystal Palace at Etihad Stadium on Septembe
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Another weekend, another frightening win for Man City. This time a 5-0 scoreline claimed over Crystal Palace, who while the worst side in the Premier League right now, were expected to tighten up under Roy Hodgson and with Mamadou Sakho fit to start.

This followed a midweek victory over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns, in which City scored a perfect passing goal that wowed the entire stadium. Leroy Sane's putting on masterclasses every time he steps onto the pitch.

           

2. Paris Saint-Germain (Stay)

MONTPELLIER, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 23: Vitorino Hilton of Montpellier, Julian Draxler of PSG during the French Ligue 1 match between Montpellier Herault SC (MHSC) and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) at Stade de la Mosson on September 23, 2017 in Montpellier, Franc
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

On Saturday, for the first time this season, PSG did not win the game they were participating in, with a 0-0 draw against Montpellier seeing them drop points.

Perhaps some will attribute the lack of goals to a lack of Neymar, but with a front three of Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Julian Draxler, there shouldn't be any problems.

Still, Unai Emery is lucky: PSG do not move down from second as their overall season has still been better than almost everyone else's, and those just below them last week (Real Madrid, Bayern Munich) messed up too.

        

1. Barcelona (Stay)

GIRONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Lionel Messi of Barcelona is tackled by Pablo Maffeo of Girona during the La Liga match between Girona and Barcelona at Municipal de Montilivi Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Girona, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alo
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

You might be able to stop Messi, but that doesn't mean you've stopped Barcelona.

Girona, and in particular Pablo Maffeo, worked hard to man-mark the Argentinian genius this weekend, but while that nullified him, it opened space for others, and a 3-0 defeat followed.

It was not vintage Barca, not by a long stretch, and they'll still be worried about Luis Suarez's form (despite him netting), but it's another win. They're clear at the top in Spain and on a results roll.

               

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