European Club Rankings After November 9-11 Matches
What a week of continental football!
Following on from a Champions League slate in which Red Star Belgrade shocked Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund suffered their first loss of the season and late goals for both Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur shook Group B to its core was always going to be tough. Somehow, the weekend's action just about managed it.
Dortmund slew Bayern Munich in Der Klassiker, Manchester City re-established their dominance over Manchester United, and Barcelona lost a thriller at home to Real Betis.
All of this plays a prominent role in this week's European Club Rankings, a list of the continent's top teams in order of form and performance at this stage of the season.
You can read the previous set of rankings here.
20. Porto (New!)
Porto won this weekend's top-of-the-table clash in Portugal (against Braga, rather than Benfica or Sporting as you might expect). That, married with their 10-point haul in the Champions League so far, earns them a spot in our European Club Rankings.
19. Ajax (+1)
While Ajax's seven-goal haul against Excelsior this weekend was impressive, it's that second-half strike from Dusan Tadic against Benfica on Wednesday that keeps them inside the top 20. They're now in a really strong position in Champions League Group E.
18. Lyon (+1)
Watching Lyon is extremely entertaining; where they go, goals and drama follow. They blew a 2-0 lead at Hoffenheim in midweek to record a second straight draw against the German outfit but then scored four against Guingamp on Saturday thanks in part to a stunning performance from Memphis Depay.
17. Roma (+1)
It's so tough to get a gauge on Roma; they seesaw each week from good to bad, great to terrible, leaving us eternally questioning exactly how good they are.
This week was a good one for Roma, as they scooped up two wins, but when they return from the international break, they could quite easily turn in two losses.
16. Real Madrid (Stay)
The Santiago Solari era, however long it may last, has a 100 per cent win rate so far; four of four.
To those who thought this would propel Real Madrid up the rankings, we say to you: They played three really poor teams and Celta Vigo, and that's nowhere near enough to repair the damage Julen Lopetegui did.
15. Tottenham Hotspur (Stay)
Spurs' habit of grinding out away victories is keeping them ticking over nicely—no team in the Premier League has secured more points on the road than Mauricio Pochettino's men (21).
A late winner against PSV Eindhoven kept their Champions League dreams alive, though their task is clear: beat Barcelona and Inter Milan after the international break to stand a realistic chance of progressing.
14. Bayern Munich (-2)
Saturday's 3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker means Bayern Munich have just two wins from their last seven in the Bundesliga. They're languishing in fifth place and struggling to extract good form out of virtually anyone except Robert Lewandowski.
13. Manchester United (+1)
It's one step forward, one straight back for Manchester United all too often.
They followed up a famous, incredible smash-and-grab victory over Juventus midweek with an awful display against Manchester City in the derby on Sunday. It's unfortunate to have to face arguably the two best teams in Europe back-to-back, though.
12. Sevilla (+1)
Sevilla left it very late in both games last week, securing a 3-2 win over Akhisarspor in the Europa League thanks to an 87th-minute penalty and beating Espanyol courtesy of a slick 89th-minute Wissam Ben Yedder strike.
11. Inter Milan (-1)
Just like Manchester United, Inter Milan performed a smash-and-grab on Barcelona in midweek—though Mauro Icardi's late strike only netted them one point, not three.
Then, just like Manchester United, they collapsed at the weekend in league play, falling 4-1 to Atalanta in dismal fashion.
10. Arsenal (-1)
The international break might be coming at the perfect time for Arsenal, whose results and energy levels appear to have dipped over the last two weeks.
The Gunners have gone from winning 11 straight to drawing four of their last five. There are no defeats in that run, but they haven't looked particularly commanding or convincing for the most part, either.
That they have Bernd Leno to thank for a point at home to Wolves tells a story. Time to reload and recalibrate.
9. Atletico Madrid (+2)
Atletico Madrid slipped out of the top 10 last week in somewhat unfortunate circumstances but bounced straight back in after a week defined by two excellent results.
In midweek, they dealt Borussia Dortmund their first loss of the season in any competition, winning 2-0 and earning a sliver of revenge for the embarrassing 4-0 reverse they suffered at Die Schwarzgelben's hands two weeks prior.
Then at the weekend, they dug deep—really deep—to beat Athletic Bilbao, coming from behind twice and netting the winner in stoppage time.
8. Liverpool (-2)
A 2-0 victory over Fulham on Sunday—courtesy of some horrific defending from the Whites—was never going to be enough to save Liverpool from a drop this week.
The damage was done earlier in the week, on Tuesday, when the Reds fell by the same scoreline to Red Star Belgrade in a shameful showing. Not one visiting player was able to hold his head high after it—not even Virgil van Dijk!
7. Napoli (+1)
Napoli's sensational first three months of the season have shocked us, impressed us and, above all, entertained us. It was difficult to believe they'd maintain the same energy post-Maurizio Sarri, but Carlo Ancelotti is doing a wonderful job.
It's when you see them besting (not just matching) Paris Saint-Germain over 180 minutes in the Champions League that how good they are strikes home. That they only accrued two points from their meetings with the French champions feels cruel.
The time is right for the Partenopei to reach a season-high ranking of No. 7, which puts them above Liverpool—a team they have already beaten this term and might well be fancied to do so again soon.
6. Paris Saint-Germain (+1)
For the first time in quite a while, Paris Saint-Germain move from seventh—a position they've made comfortable for themselves over the last few weeks.
They're on the up mostly because Liverpool's loss to Red Star Belgrade was extremely poor, but PSG's own form has been good enough to push them up one.
Sunday's 4-0 win over Monaco isn't a particularly impressive result given the state Thierry Henry's troops are in, but it did make history: Thirteen consecutive Ligue 1 wins to open the season is the best streak of its kind any team has ever managed.
5. Chelsea (Stay)
It was hardly the most exciting week of football for Chelsea fans to digest—a battle between legends Frank Lampard and John Terry on the touchline in the Championship was arguably more interesting than the two performances the current Blues put in—but a win and a draw keep them motoring in the right direction.
Victory in Belarus against BATE Borisov secured Europa League knockout-stage qualification after four games, while the 0-0 draw with Everton—which could have been more but for Jordan Pickford's brilliance—kept the unbeaten league run intact.
4. Barcelona (-2)
Barcelona slipped up twice this week, again demonstrating the fragility that has underlined their season.
First, they conceded late to Inter Milan in the Champions League, settling for a share of the spoils, and on Sunday, they went one worse: losing 4-3 to Real Betis despite the return of Lionel Messi (who scored twice).
Since Juventus finally lost, this week represented the chance to hop on up to the top of the rankings. In response, Barca blew it.
3. Borussia Dortmund (+1)
Der Klassiker—the name given to matches between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich—is never a dull affair. It has a history of producing goals, excitement and spectacular moments, and the first edition of it for the 2018-19 season was no different in that regard.
What did feel different, though, was that BVB ended up on the right (winning) side of all the chaos.
Bayern have tended to extract the most joy from this fixture, winning four of the last six and sharing the spoils in another, but perhaps it's a sign of how this campaign will continue to go that Die Schwarzgelben came away from this one smiling.
Marco Reus played a starring role, netting twice, and Paco Alcacer stepped off the bench to net the all-important winner in a 3-2 thriller.
The gravity of this result moves BVB up one spot despite the midweek loss to Atletico Madrid—their first this term in any competition.
2. Juventus (-1)
Juventus lost a game they really, really shouldn't have lost last week—2-1 to Manchester United—and it's cost them dearly in these stakes.
Accepting the fact they were unfortunate not to be two or three goals clear by the time United's Juan Mata struck—David De Gea's woodwork took a real battering, it must be said—they imploded during the final five minutes of a game they'd dominated.
A silly challenge led to the first, and a scrambled own goal put them behind. You have to question not only how the players crumbled, but also why the manager was so negative with his second substitution, bringing on an extra defender and retreating back up the pitch.
The Bianconeri bounced back with a solid 2-0 victory over Milan on Sunday, but that's not enough to retain their perch.
1. Manchester City (+2)
Everything fell into place for Manchester City this week, paving a clear route to the top of the rankings.
First Juventus lost in the Champions League, placing them in a state not even a victory over AC Milan could salvage, and then Barcelona lost at home to Real Betis in La Liga, removing the only other contender for the No. 1 spot.
Of course, City did their own share of work to get here; the 6-0 "contest" against Shakhtar Donetsk was more of a slaughter, while a Manchester derby win will always earn you plenty of credit.
Simply put, City are one of the strongest sides in Europe, and their ability to produce win after win is unrivalled right now.