European Club Rankings After October 13-16 Matches

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterOctober 17, 2017

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14:  Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Stoke City at Etihad Stadium on October 14, 2017 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

For once, it felt like the tables had actually turned.

Usually it's such a wrench to switch from domestic to international football, but with the likes of Argentina, Portugal, Egypt and Panama making things so interesting, the gauntlet was laid down for clubs to replicate the ludicrous levels of excitement and emotion certain countries did.

Somehow, they managed to pull it off.

Nabil Fekir's 95th-minute free-kick to beat AS Monaco, Paulo Dybala's 97th-minute penalty miss against Lazio, Chelsea's defeat to Crystal Palace, Arsenal's last-gasp loss and Mauro Icardi's derby hat-trick. The return of league football ticked every box and delivered every possible lofty promise.

If you missed any of it—and there's no shame if you didyou have come to the right place to fill in the blanks.

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. AS Roma (-2)

AS Roma suffered what was just their second loss of the season this weekend, but it's telling that both have been against members of Serie A's top orderfirst Inter Milan and now Napoli. It reinforces the belief that the Giallorossi are a step away from the best in the division—and therefore a step away from where they were last year.

              

19. Liverpool (Stay)

The 0-0 draw with Manchester United was frustrating, but few will blame Liverpool for that. They did what they could against a deep-set defensive structure, with Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah coming close to breaking the deadlock.

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on October 14, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICT
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

                

18. Sevilla (-2)

Like Roma, Sevilla lost only their second match of the campaign on Saturday, falling in the most typical of fashions (1-0) to Athletic Club Bilbao. 

It brings them a little closer to Earth, as their early results have belied some flawed performances. 

               

17. Valencia (New!)

It's time to respect what Valencia are putting in front of us this season. They remain unbeaten domestically and are one of just three La Liga teams who can say thatthe others being Barcelona and Atletico Madridand have scored 21 goals in eight games, good for the second-best record in the division.

             

16. AS Monaco (-1)

AS Monaco's last-gasp loss to Lyon on Friday saw a gap of six points open between themselves and the top of Ligue 1. It's still early in the season, but that seems insurmountable even at this stage.


15. RB Leipzig (+3)

Ahead of the international break, we put RB Leipzig on notice, warning that another poor result would end in tears. Well, head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl heeded those words, as his troops produced a magnificent 3-2 win away to Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

The top of the Bundesliga table looks interesting now.

Dortmund's German midfielder Gonzalo Castro, Dortmund's Turkish midfielder Nuri Sahin (L) and Leipzig's French forward Jean-Kevin Augustin (C) vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Dortmund vs RB Leipzig in D
PATRIK STOLLARZ/Getty Images

               

14. Chelsea (-4)

Few can rival Chelsea's capacity to crash and burn. They don't lose quietly.

This week, winless, goalless Crystal Palace managed to turn them over, as the absences of Alvaro Morata and N'Golo Kante were sorely felt. It was the shock result on the day Arsenal lost to Watford and Juventus lost to Lazio.

The Blues have lost 36 per cent of the games they have played in all competitions this season. That's just not good enough.

           

13. Juventus (-6)

Like many teams this week, Juventus were affected by the distances some of their players travelled over the international break and began their game against Lazio with Dybala and Alex Sandro on the bench.

It was the former who was called upon to try to save the day at 2-1 down, but the Argentinian endured a horror afternoon, striking the woodwork and missing a 97th-minute penalty.

This loss, combined with the improved form of four other teams, sees the Bianconeri tumble out of the top 10 and fall a whopping six spots.

Juventus' forward Paulo Dybala from Argentina reacts during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus Vs Lazio on October 14, 2017 at the 'Allianz Stadium' in Turin.  / AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO        (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/G
MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images

            

12. Atletico Madrid (+2)

While sharing the spoils with Barcelona is never a bad thing, a fifth draw in all competitions for Atletico this season means they have now tied more games than they've won (four).

It makes them difficult to gauge, as they're steadily plodding along, and were it not for that late loss to Chelsea in the Champions League, their record would look much stronger. But three-point hauls are lacking, and that classic resilient mindset of theirs appears to be eroding.

             

11. Inter Milan (+1)

Serie A packed a punch this weekend, and the most eye-catching game of the lot came late on Sunday, as Inter and AC Milan renewed inter-city rivalries in the Derby della Madonnina.

A thrilling encounter ensued, with beautiful goals scored by both sides, and Icardi rose to the fore, netting a hat-trick that included one jaw-dropping volleyed finish. 


 10. Tottenham Hotspur (+3)

Finally, a home win in the Premier League. At the fourth attempt, Tottenham Hotspur managed itthough not without making things difficult for themselves at times.

Breaking down Bournemouth proved tough sledding to begin with, as they reduced the space between the lines and isolated Harry Kane. But Christian Eriksen produced a moment of geniusaided by a substantial slice of fortune just beforeand it proved enough.

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino could hardly have looked more relieved afterwards.

          

9. Borussia Dortmund (-1)

Dortmund's Greek defender Sokratis (L) reacts after referee Deniz Aytekin (Unseen) shows him the red card during the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Dortmund vs RB Leipzig in Dortmund, western Germany, on October 14, 2017. / AFP P
PATRIK STOLLARZ/Getty Images

Home losses are always uncomfortable, but when they're dealt by those you are fighting against at the top of the table, they can be doubly so. 

RB Leipzig's 3-2 win at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday was a stunning watch for the neutral, inclusive of early goals, silly giveaways, red cards and penalties.

It's pointless attempting to draw too many conclusions from the game given its chaotic nature, so we'll just keep it simple: While it is only their first Bundesliga loss of the campaign, it's their fourth overall, and that's why they drop another spot in the rankings.

            

8. Bayern Munich (+1)

Welcome back, Jupp Heynckes.

His first game in charge since riding to Bayern's rescue was a 5-0 demolition of SC Freiburg, with the positive storylines from the game representing a seemingly never-ending stream.

The usual suspects of Robert Lewandowski, Joshua Kimmich and Thiago Alcantara played well, but so did David Alaba, Kingsley Coman and Thomas Mullerthree players who haven't hit their top level too often this year. That will have been particularly pleasing for Bayern fans.

            

7. Lazio (+4)

TURIN, TORIN - OCTOBER 14:  Ciro Immobile of SS Lazio celebrates a frist goal with his team mates during the Serie A match between Juventus and SS Lazio on October 14, 2017 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images)
Marco Rosi/Getty Images

What a start to the season it's been for Lazio. Any team who beats Juventus deserves an immense amount of credit, but to do it twice inside 10 games? That's phenomenal.

They rode their luck to a degree on Saturday, with the late penalty miss from Dybala ensuring the win for the capital club, but they're becoming a seriously unwelcome sight for the Bianconeri nowadays.

Ciro Immobile's brace saw him enter double figures (11) for Serie A goals this season—from eight games. That's ridiculous.

                 

6. Manchester United (Stay)

The nature of Manchester United's incredibly defensive performance at Anfield on Saturday has reopened the debate over whether manager Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho's approach to these games is right.

On the one hand, United are an expensively assembled side who have put four past opponents regularly this season, and given the state of Liverpool's defensive play this term, it's arguable the game was there for the taking.

On the other hand, though, Mourinho knows a point at Anfield is always a good one, doesn't disrupt a title charge, and he was coping without a litany of key men.

Which side of the fence do you stand on?

            

5. Real Madrid (Stay)

GETAFE, SPAIN - OCTOBER 14:  Cristiano Ronaldo (C) of Real Madrid celebrates the second goal during the La Liga match between Getafe and Real Madrid at Estadio Coliseum Alfonso Perez on October 14, 2017 in Getafe, Spain.  (Photo by fotopress/Getty Images)
fotopress/Getty Images

Everything is difficult for Real Madrid at the moment; there are no easy wins or gimmes, it seems. 

What should have been a routine victory over Getafe this weekend turned into yet another desperate exercise, with Cristiano Ronaldo coming up with an 85th-minute winner to secure all three points. 

Injuries have piled up for Zinedine Zidane, and he's doing what he can. With a game against Tottenham on the horizon, he clearly felt it necessary to rotate heavily and just about scraped through with a half-reserve selection.

            

4. Napoli (Stay)

In the league, Napoli have played eight, won eight and sit top. Their lead over Juventus was stretched to five points this weekend, and they passed a big testemerging from the Stadio Olimpico with a 1-0 win over Roma.

In a crowded, competitive and talented field, the Partenopei look the clear-best side in Italy at the moment. They're reaching their prime as Juventus reach the end of their cycle, and it's unsurprising to see the bookies' title odds shift in favour of Maurizio Sarri's men.

When was the last time Juve weren't favourites to lift the Scudetto?

             

3. Paris Saint-Germain (-1)

Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe (R) and Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar celebrate a goal with teammates during the French L1 football match between Dijon (DFCO) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Gaston Gerard Stadium i
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

"I will work and train hard, because it was not good."

That was Kylian Mbappe's honest assessment of his own performance as Paris Saint-Germain's central striker this weekend, per ESPN. He missed two glorious chances against Dijon (but did help create Thomas Meunier's late winner) and didn't hide from the fact he struggled deputising for Edinson Cavani.

The three-point haul keeps the capital club on a roll towards the Ligue 1 title, but the fact it was achieved in such an uncertain fashion means they must drop a spot in our rankings. It's tough at the top.

              

2. Manchester City (+1)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14:  Mame Biram Diouf of Stoke City tackles Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Stoke City at Etihad Stadium on October 14, 2017 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by La
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Manchester City leapfrog PSG because they scored higher on this week's "ominous meter." It takes a lot to overtake an unbeaten side who also won, but for reference, "a lot" can be defined as seven goals.

What the Citizens put together at the weekend were beautiful, rhythmic passages of football that also packed a serious punch. They toyed with Stoke City and then delivered swift strikes to the gut.

Napoli up next in the Champions League. Oh, yes.

       

1. Barcelona (Stay)

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 14:  Luis Suarez of Barcelona in action during the La Liga match between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on October 14, 2017 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by fotopress/Getty Images)
fotopress/Getty Images

Barcelona hold on to their No. 1 ranking despite failing to win at the weekend as, in fairness, drawing away to Atletico Madrid is by no means a poor result. The fact they fell behind and hauled themselves back level makes it even more impressive.

A game at the Wanda Metropolitano is one of the few scenarios in which it is acceptable for a club such as Barca to drop points, and although Real Madrid crept two closer with a win of their own, this won't alarm anyone. 

            

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