Dec 31, 2007

The World's Top 25 Soccer Clubs, Dec. 31, 2007

This is it! The final list of the year! Obviously not that much changed since last week, with English and Scottish Premiership squads and the odd Greek team the only ones playing competitive games this week. There was drama galore in the EPL of course. How did that affect the rankings? Uh, not all that much. But here is your updated version anyway:

1. (1) Inter Milan. Idle until Jan. 13, when they play Siena. I reckon they'll be number one until then.

2. (2) Real Madrid. Idle last week. Next up: Alicante in a Copa del Rey match Wednesday and Real Zaragosa Sunday.

3. (3) Arsenal. After a disappointing scoreless draw at Pompey on Boxing Day, Gunners had an impressive win at Goodison Park Saturday to retake their lead in the Premiership. Next up: Man U. vanquishers West Ham visit Emirates tomorrow and an F.A. Cup tie at Burnley Sunday.

4. (4) Manchester United. Beat the crap out of Sunderland on Boxing Day before losing at Upton Park Saturday. Birmingham City visits Old Trafford tomorrow followed by a tough F.A. Cup trip to Villa Park.

5. (5) Chelsea. Played Aston Villa to a 4-4 tie in what may have just been the game of the season thus far (after another 4-4 draw at White Hart Lane of course) then came back to beat Newcastle late. Up next: a trip to Craven Cottage and struggling Fulham tomorrow, followed by Queens Park Rangers in the weekend F.A. Cup tie. Hey, does Fox Soccer Channel carry F.A. Cup games? They better!

6. (6) Roma. Idle until Jan. 13 when they play at Atalanta Bergamo.

7. (7) Barcelona. Idle last week. Next up: Alcoyano in a Spanish cup tie Wednesday, followed by a trip to Mallorca Sunday.

8. (8) FC Porto. Idle until Jan. 6. Sporting Lisbon looms Jan 27.

9. (9) Juventus. Idle until Jan 12 trip to Catania.

10. (10) Olympiakos. Beat Xanthi in Super League action Saturday but it wasn't enough to retake first place as AEK Athens beat Saloniki yesterday. Next up: Some other Greek team on Saturday. Third-place Panathinaikos looms Jan. 13.

11. (11) AC Milan. Idle until Jan. 13 (Napoli at San Siro).

12. (12) Olympique Lyon. Idle last week. Play at Creteil in French cup game Saturday. Ligue Un returns to action Jan. 12.

13. (13) Fenerbahce. Idle last week. Next up: Kayserispor (who?) in a cup tie Sunday.

14. (15) Liverpool. Was oh so lucky to beat Derby on Boxing Day. But the tables were turned on them yesterday, when they ended up in a scoreless draw at Man City, despite having outplayed them in the second half especially. Took back fourth place and have a game in hand on the other teams in that region of the table, which is good enough to move them up a spot (no this is not a concession to Liverpool fans who sent me hate mail and in one case--you know who you are--death threats). Next game: Wigan on Wednesday.

15. (14) Bayern Munich. Idle until Jan. 29 (German cup game). Bundesliga returns to action Feb. 1, with Hansa Rostock on the docket. A top-of-the-table cracker with Werder Bremen looms Feb. 10. Set your calendars for that one.

16. (21) Espanyol Barcelona. Idle last week but moved up because I reordered the Spanish teams to reflect their standings in the Primera Divison (it's only fair. I did the same thing in the EPL awhile back). The Periquitos have not lost since Sept. 22 (16 games, if my count is correct) but are not in Europe. Face Villareal Saturday in what promises to be a big game.

17. (20) Villareal. Idle last week. Face Las Palmas in the Copa del Rey Wednesday followed by the clash with Espanyol Saturday.

18. (16) Atletico Madrid. Idle last week. Face Grenada (not the country) in return leg of Copa del Rey Wednesday, followed by Deportivo Sunday. Valencia looms Jan. 13.

19. (17) Lanus. Have not played since they clinched the Apertura crown. Clausura season kicks off Feb. 10 with a tough game against Independiente (that tidbit comes courtesy of our friends at Hasta El Gol Siempre). Will play in the Copa Libertadores where they will face Ecuadorian side Olmedo in a play-in game. If they win, they're in to the group stage where they will face Estudiantes, Uruguay's Danubio and Deportivo Cuenca from Ecuador.

20. (18) Arsenal de Sarandi. The Copa Sudamericana champs will also play-in match for the Copa Libertadores, where they will face Venezuelan side Mineros de Guyana. Assuming they win that (how could they not? Well, strange things happen in the Copa Lib) they will be in Group 8 with Fluminense, Paraguay's Libertad and Liga de Quito (even I know that's Ecuador). The top two teams from each group advance to the Round of 16. None of these games have been scheduled yet.

21. (19) Werder Bremen. Idle until a cup tie at Borussia Dortmund Jan. 29.

22. (22) Fiorentina. Idle until Jan. 13 (Parma).

23. (23) AS Nancy-Lorraine. Idle last week. Next up: Stade Reims in the French cup Sunday, followed by a trip to Caen Jan. 12.

24. (24) Sao Paulo. Idle. The Brazilian champs have a direct pass into the Copa Libertadores group stage, where they face Bolivia's San Jose, Colombia's Cucuta Deportivo and Chivas de Guadelajara.

25. (-) AEK Athens. The Greek team make their debut on this list by virtue of their first place status in the Super League as well as their passage into the UEFA Cup Round of 32, where they face Getafe. Hopefully they'll win to vindicate this ranking. Just kidding. Beat some Greek squad yesterday. Next up: Asteras Tripolis, Sunday.

Dropping out: Bordeaux (25--I accidentally had two #10 teams last week), Hamburg SV (25).

Also receiving consideration (in no particular order): Manchester City, Leverkusen, Udinese, Glasgow Rangers, Celtic.

Commentary
To follow

4 comments:

  1. You don't even consider Sevilla?? Sure they are 8th in La Liga, but they won the Champions League group, just put a trouncing on Racing 4-1.

    They are better than at least 5 teams on your list. At least.

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  2. There are some issues with your analysis. Derby actually plays quite well at home, especially under Jewell, whom under they've yet to lose by more than goal at Pride Park. Also Liverpool played four days earlier against Portsmouth at Anfield which they beat 4-1. If Man U beating Sunderland at the Theatre of Dreams, 4-0, including their usual late penalty, is 'beating the crap out' of Roy Keane's side, than Liverpool is due equal respect for dismantling Pompey, a team that sits significantly higher on the table than the Black Cats and had yet to lose on the road this season.

    Furthermore, a loss at Upton Park is significantly worse than a draw at Man City, who are undefeated at home in the league. Waving off such an embarrassing loss, while making such a big deal about a decent win for the Reds, is an indication of either incompetence or favoritism. Maybe you should actually try objectivity instead of bias and/or ignorance. Also, try actually watching a match instead of getting a feel from reading about it.

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  3. OK, a draw today for Liverpool with Wigan. The official death watch for Rafa begins. I give him less than two weeks. Dead man walking.

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  4. 1º Sevilla FC!!!

    ReplyDelete