Dec 10, 2007

The World's Top 25 Soccer Clubs, Dec. 10, 2007

I made some adjustments this week because I noticed certain teams in the list were ahead of ones they trailed in their domestic league standings. While this is due to happen for a number of reasons, I felt it should be adjusted at this time, especially in the Premiership where all "Big Three" teams have done well in the Champions League and with one exception (Chelsea's loss at Old Trafford back on Sept. 23) have not played any decisive matches against each other. As a result, you may see some discrepancies with the way teams moved this week versus other weeks.

1. (1) Inter Milan. Another impressive week for the nerrazurri, who won both games by a combined 7-0 score. Saw off Lazio on Wednesday and beat up on FC Turin yesterday. The undisputed number one team in the world has only lost once this season and that was way back on Sept. 19. Travel to Eindhoven for meaningless Champions League game Wednesday followed by another road game at Cagliari Sunday.

2. (5) Real Madrid. Won the always difficult road game at Bilbao Saturday night. Next up: Lazio in their Champions League Group C finale Dec. 11. A point and they're through. Face Osasuna at home after that.

3. (2) Arsenal. Played two easy road games this week at Newcastle and Middlesbrough. Total tally from the two games? One (1) point. Host a meaningless Champions League game Wednesday with Steaua Bucharest followed by Chelsea at Emirates Sunday. Set your calendars for that one. Is it on free TV in the U.S.? It had better be!

4. (6) Manchester United. Saw off two extremely weak Premiership teams, Fulham Americans Monday and Derby County Saturday. Play meaningless game at Roma followed by Sunday trip to Anfield. Wow, it's going to be quite a Premiership weekend, innit?

(3) Chelsea. Beat Sunderland at Stamford Bridge Saturday. I don't give them any points for that. Meaningless CL game against Valencia tomorrow, followed by the clash with Arsenal.

6. (7) Barcelona. Beat Deportivo La Coruna at Camp Nou yesterday. Host Stuttgart in meaningless CL game followed by a trip to Valencia Sunday.

7. (4) FC Porto. Idle last week. Host Besiktas in Champions League Wednesday. Can only miss advancing if they lose that game and Marseille lose to or tie Liverpool. Could it happen? Yes. Will it? I don't think so. These guys have conceded only three goals at home all season and have only dropped points twice (against Belenensus and Liverpool, if you must know). They haven't lost at the Dragao since I don't even know when. Host some Portuguese team when bwinLIGA returns to action this weekend.

8. (12) Roma. Beat Cagliari in a makeup game at midweek but only managed scoreless tie to Livorno yesterday. Still enough to move up though, as they're second in Serie A. After Man U visit, travel to Torino this coming weekend.

9. (8) Juventus. Beat Atalanta Bergamo yesterday. Travel to Rome to face Lazio Saturday. Currently third in Serie A, three points behind Roma but don't play in Europe at all.

10. (14) Olympiakos. Won both games last week, the first against an obscure Greek team in that country's cup competition, the other against Levadiakos at home Saturday. Host Werder Bremen in the CL tomorrow needing just one point to advance to the Round of 16. I'll look pretty stupid having them this high up in the list if they fail to do so. But Olympiakos have only two losses this season; one at the Bernabeu in the CL and the other against Asteras Tripolis one month ago. Also host AEK Athens (the first-placed team in the Greek Super League) Sunday.

11. (9) Olympique Lyon. Lost to Caen Saturday. Will need to win at Ibrox Wednesday to advance out of their CL group. Host Nice after that, followed by trip to Nancy for a top-of-the table clash Dec. 22.

12. (21) AC Milan. Beat Celtic Monday in a meaningless CL game and are now in Japan preparing to face the winner of Sepahan and Urawa Thursday in Club World Cup semifinal. If they win that it's on to the finale and either Boca Juniors or Etoile Sportive (probably, hopefully the former). Have struggled in Serie A but boast the consensus best player in the world (that Kaka fellow) and have impressed in international competition. That could of course change this week but we'll see...

13. (10) Liverpool. Lost to Reading Saturday, their first Premiership loss of the season. Travel to Marseille facing must-win to advance in the Champs League, then Man U at home, then Chelsea in the league cup Dec. 19. Not an easy stretch of games...

(22) Atletico Madrid. The rojiblancos made their debut on the Top 25 last week and showed they belonged with wins at FC Copenhagen and to Getafe last week. Have booked trip to next stage of UEFA Cup and moved up to third in La Liga, only one point behind Barcelona. Travel to Grenada (not the country) for Wednesday Spanish cup tie followed by Recreativo Huelva Sunday.

15. (15) Lanus. Have not played since they clinched the Apertura crown over a week ago. Season's over but Argentine champs are deserving of this spot.

16. (13) Bayern Munich. Managed only scoreless tie to Duisburg at home Saturday. Travel to Berlin Saturday followed by Aris Saloniki at home in UEFA Cup Dec. 19. A month-and-a-half break ensues after that.

17. (19) Arsenal de Sarandi. Won Copa Sudamericana over Club America then beat Independiente yesterday. Apertura season concludes with a rescheduled game at Gimnasia La Plata Wednesday.

18. (11) Werder Bremen. Lost at Hannover 96 Saturday. Have to win at Olympiakos to advance to the CL Round of 16. A tough task, as Olympiakos have not lost at home all season. The game after that is no picnic either, at home against fourth-placed Bundesliga side Leverkusen on Saturday.

19. (16) Sao Paulo. Brazilian champs were idle and remain so for the foreseeable future--I'm assuming until Libertadores qualifiers some time next month.

20. (23) Atlante. The Cancun side beat Mexico City's UNAM Pumas to win the Mexican Apertura championship last night. Season over now.

21. (17) Villareal. Beat Elfsborg Wednesday in the UEFA Cup then inexplicably lost to 19th-placed Betis at home. Ouch. Host Getafe Sunday.

22. (-) Fenerbahce. Beat Galatasaray in Turkish league clash Saturday. Can advance to Champs League Round of 16 by winning at CSKA Moscow Wednesday and a Turkish league minnow this weekend.

23. (18) Celtic Glasgow. Lost their UCL game at Milan but still advanced. Then managed only a draw against lowly St. Mirren Saturday. Host Falkirk tomorrow then travel to Inverness Sunday.

24. (-) Rangers. Idle. Can clinch advancement in the CL if they beat Olympique Lyonnais Wednesday. Host Hearts on the weekend.

25. (24) Hamburg SV. Won at Dynamo Zagreb then managed only a tie at home against Energie Cottbus. Next up at Karlsruhe (it's pronounced Karls-rooh) and a trip to Basle for meaningless UEFA Cup game Dec. 20. Then the break.

Dropping out: Club America (20), PSV Eindhoven (25)

Also receiving consideration (in no particular order): Ajax Amsterdam, AEK Athens, Olympique Marseille.

To follow.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, as always. For the record, Arsenal/Chelsea is on FSC on Sunday. Liverpool/Manchester United will be on Setanta.