Sep 1, 2009

The world's top 25 soccer clubs, Sept. 1, 2009

Well so much for posting fewer Top 25 lists! Turns out so many things happened this weekend, most of them flying in the face of our predictions, that we felt an update was in order. Here it is:

1. Real Madrid
Last ranking: 1
Record (wins-losses-ties, in all competition; two-leg match-ups count as one): 1-0-0
Results of note: None yet.
Commentary: Real got by Deportivo La Coruna 3-2 in the Liga curtain-raiser Saturday. Nothing spectacular in that, in fact nothing really impressive, but a win is a win and it keeps Real tops, for now.
Upcoming schedule: At Espanyol Barcelona when league play resumes after the international break. Then the Champions League opener at FC Zurich. Los merengues face a potentially troublesome trip to Villareal Sept. 29. Barca looms Nov. 29 at Camp Nou. The Champions League group stage campaign is of course highlighted by back-to-back dates with AC Milan (Oct. 21 at Bernabeu, Nov. 3 at San Siro).

2. Barcelona
Last ranking: 2
Record: 3-0-0
Results of note: Beat Shakhtar Donetsk in overtime in the UEFA SuperCup, Aug. 29.
Commentary: After getting the preseason SuperCups out of the way (besides the defeat of Shakhtar, Barca also beat Atletic Bilbao over two legs) Pep Guardiola's side started the Liga campaign with an easy 3-0 victory over Sporting Gijon yesterday. Zlatan Ibrahimovic got Barca's third goal eight minutes from time. Nice debut for Zlatan. Nice debut for Barca.
Upcoming schedule: Visit Getafe when league action resumes Sept. 13. Then things get real: A trip to San Siro and Inter Milan on the Champions League opener Sept. 16. Atletico Madrid visit Camp Nou after that, on Sept. 20.

3. Chelsea
Last ranking: 3
Record: 4-0-0
Results of note: None yet
Commentary: Blues had absolutely no trouble with Burnley to continue their stellar start to the season. They have yet to be tested though. Hull City, Sunderland, Fulham and Burnley do not quality competition make.
Upcoming schedule: More target practice with Stoke on Sept. 12. Then the CL opener with Porto. A Sept. 20 date with Spurs suddenly looks like it could be important for reasons other than just local bragging rights. Liverpool visit the Bridge Oct. 3. Man United come to town Nov. 17.

4. Manchester United
Last ranking: 5
Record: 3-1-0
Results of note: Beat Arsenal at home (2-1, Aug. 29)
Commentary: They may have lost their best player in the offseason, but Sir Alex' men are still a formidable side. They showed us as much in their come-from-behind victory over Gunners Saturday. We remain concerned about their midfield and who exactly is supposed to provide creative input. The job is Michael Carrick's for the taking, but he didn't really impress against Gooners.
Upcoming schedule: One down, two to go. A visit to White Hart Lane and the Manchester derby (it's pronounced dar-bee) are up next on the EPL docket. The CL opener at Besiktas Istanbul is Sept. 15.

5. Juventus
Last ranking: 6
Record: 2-0-0
Results of note: Won at Roma (3-1, Aug. 30).
Commentary: Juve vindicated their top 10 ranking with an impressive win at Roma Sunday.
Upcoming schedule: At Lazio. Then the Champions League season kicks off with Girondins Bordeaux.

6. Inter Milan
Last ranking: 8
Record: 1-0-1
Results of note: Beat AC Milan (4-0, Aug. 29).
Commentary: Inter leap two spots by virtue of their 4-0 blowout of crosstown rivals AC Milan Saturday. We thought they were done. We were obviously wrong.
Upcoming schedule: Parma is up Sept. 13. The Champions League campaign kicks off in grand style when Barcelona visit Sept. 16.

7. Liverpool
Last ranking: 7
Record: 2-2-0
Results of note: None yet.
Commentary: Reds had trouble with Bolton Wanderers, but came away with a 3-2 victory. We still aren't impressed.
Upcoming schedule: It will likely be October before Reds face quality competition, though a Sept. 29 trip to Florence is by no means a pushover. Leading up to that it's Burnley, Debreceni, West Ham and Hull City.

8. Arsenal
Last ranking: 4
Record: 3-1-0
Results of note: Lost at Man United (2-1, Aug. 29).
Commentary: Gunners had no problem advancing past Celtic in the Champions League qualification round and looked to be in the driver's seat at Old Trafford Saturday. But bad luck and inability to put Man U away ultimately resulted in a 2-1 loss. But Arse are still capable of great things this season. Whether they fulfill this promise is an entirely different question.
Upcoming schedule: At Man City when league play resumes after the international break. A potentially tricky visit to Standard Liege greets Gunners in the Champions League's first matchday, Sept. 16.

9. Bayern Munich
Last ranking: None
Record: 1-1-2
Results of note: Beat VfL Wolfsburg at home (3-0, Aug. 28).
Commentary: Bayern's first victory of the season was massive; a 3-0 decision over defending champs Wolfsburg at the Allianz Arena Saturday. But that's not the only reason they are making this leap in the rankings. The addition of Arjen Robben make Louis van Gaal's side even more dangerous. Plus now that Frank Ribery is back, Bayern can begin firing on all cylinders again.
Upcoming schedule: At Dortmund, Sept. 12 before the Champions League campaign kicks off at Maccabi Haifa, Sept. 12. HSV is on tap Sept. 26.

10. Girondins Bordeaux
Last ranking: 12
Record: 3-0-1
Results of note: A scoreless draw at Olympique Marseille (Aug. 30).
Commentary: Bordeaux's winning streak was stopped at 14 games, but only with a scoreless draw at Olympique Marseille over the weekend.
Upcoming schedule: Host Grenoble, Sept. 12. With Juventus, Maccabi Haifa and Bayern Munich, les Girondins have a group of death on their hands in the Champions League. They get the toughest one out of the way first, with Juventus on the docket Sept. 15.

11. Porto
Last ranking: 13
Record: 2-0-1
Results of note: None yet.
Commentary: After a disappointing 1-1 draw at Pacos de Ferreira to kick off the Liga Sagres campaign, Porto have now won two in a row by a combined 6-1 score. Granted, this was against mid-table Portuguese sides, but at this early stage of the season it's still enough to improve by two places in the rankings.
Upcoming schedule: Leixoes Matosinhos in Liga Sagres before the Champions League campaign kicks off Sept. 15 at Stamford Bridge.

12. AZ Alkmaar
Last ranking: 15
Record: 4-1-0
Results of note: None yet.
Commentary: The Dutch champs beat Wilhelm II by 2-1 over the weekend, to take back their rightful place at the top of the Eredivisie standings. After losing their first game of the season, Alkmaar have now cranked out four wins in a row by a 12-1 goal difference. Not bad!
Upcoming schedule: At The Hague Sept. 12, then Olympiakos in the Champions League.

13. Sevilla
Last ranking: 9
Record: 0-1-0
Results of note: None yet.
Commentary: Sevilla lost their first game of the season, 2-0 at Valencia. There is no crime in losing at Valencia--unless of course you want to have pretensions at a Top 10 spot. We still think Sevilla will come into their own and be a force.
Upcoming schedule: Real Saragossa when league play resumes Sept. 13. Then the CL opener at Unirea Urziceni (say that three times fast).

14. Hamburg SV
Last ranking: 20
Record: 4-0-1
Results of note: Won at VfL Wolfsburg (4-2, Aug. 23).
Commentary: HSV beat Cologne, 3-1, to take first place in the German Bundesliga. They're off to a fine start. Too bad they had to choke last year and miss the Champions League spots.
Upcoming schedule: Stuttgart at home, Saturday, Sept. 12. The Europa League opener at Rapid Vienna, Sept. 17. Bayern Munich come to town Sept. 26.

15. VfL Wolfsburg
Last ranking: 11
Record: 3-2-0
Results of note: Lost at home to HSV (4-2, Aug. 23), lost at Bayern (3-0, Aug. 29).
Commentary: We were afraid this might happen. After surprising everybody to take the Bundesliga title last season, Wolfsburg suddenly have a target on their backs and a packed Champions League schedule to deal with. Further compounding matters is a tough opening stretch of the Bundesliga campaign. So far, the "Wolves" came up short in both early tests against Hamburg and Bayern.
Upcoming schedule: It doesn't get any easier with a visit from Leverkusen Sept. 12 before the Champions League campaign kicks off at CSKA Moscow. Then Schalke.

16. Manchester City
Last ranking: 16
Record: 3-0-0
Results of note: None yet.
Commentary: A week after defeating newly-promoted Wolves by a goal, Man City beat Pompey by the slimmest of margins. We're about to see if Citizens are for real though, because...
Upcoming schedule: Arsenal come to town Sept. 12, followed by the Manchester derby.

17. Olympique Marseille
Last ranking: 18
Record: 2-0-2
Results of note: Drew Girondins Bordeaux at home (0-0, Aug. 30).
Commentary: L'OM became the first club in many moons to take points from French champs Girondins Bordeaux. They did so by virtue of a scoreless draw this weekend. A nice result but the Champions League will show us what they're made of.
Upcoming schedule: At Le Mans Sept. 12. Host AC Milan when the CL campaign kicks off Sept. 15.

18. AC Milan
Last ranking: 10
Record: 1-1-0
Results of note: Were trounced 4-0 by Inter Milan, Aug. 29 in a game that frankly was not as close as the score might indicate.
Commentary: The result was a giant step backwards for AC Milan, whom we gave decent chances of competing for the Serie A title. A 4-0 derby loss is not the type of thing you can simply write off as early season jitters. One can hope it will inspire Leonardo's troops. It had better, or he could be out of a job soon.
Upcoming schedule: A trip to Livorno. The CL campaign kicks off at Marseille on Sept. 15.

19. Shakhtar Donetsk
Last ranking: 14
Record: 4-2-1
Results of note: Lost UEFA Supercup to Barcelona (1-0 in overtime, Aug. 28).
Commentary: In addition to losing to game to Barca, Shakhtar also lost the services of Dmytro Chygrynskyy to the Catalan side.
Upcoming schedule: At FC Bruges in the Europa League opener Sept. 17.

20. Olympique Lyonnais
Last ranking: 21
Record: 4-0-1
Results of note: None yet.
Commentary: L'OL are off to a flying start but have yet to encounter any worthy competition. That will soon change, however.
Upcoming schedule: Host Lorient when league play resumes Sept. 12. The CL campaign kicks off with a visit from Fiorentina Sept. 16. Then it's off to Paris, where PSG have an unbeaten start of their own going on.

21. Dynamo Kiev
Last ranking: 22
Record: 5-0-1
Results of note: None yet.
Commentary: Dynamo have resumed their dominance of the Ukrainian Premier-Liga with five wins and only one draw (and a 21-4 goal difference) albeit against very suspect competition.
Upcoming schedule: The Champions League opener at home against Rubin Kazan, Sept. 16. They'll want to win that to keep their spot in the top 25.

22. Besiktas Istanbul
Last ranking: 19
Record: 1-0-3
Results of note: None yet.
Commentary: In their last game, Besiktas could only manage a scoreless draw at home against Gaziantepspor, whoever that is. But things are about to get very interesting because...
Upcoming schedule: Visit Galatasaray Sept. 13. Man United come to town two days afterwards.

23. Glasgow Rangers
Last ranking: 23
Record: 3-0-0
Results of note: Nothing yet.
Commentary: Rangers picked up right where they left off last season, winning their first three games by a combined score of 10-3. That's the good news. The bad news is none of the opponents were Celtic, the only other team in the SPL that can have any hope of challenging them for the title this season.
Upcoming schedule: Visit Motherwell Sept. 12, before the CL campaign kicks off at Stuttgart. That first game will be an important test to see if Rangers do indeed have a chance at advancing.

24. Estudiantes
Last ranking: 24
Record: 2-0-0
Results of note:
Commentary: The reigning Copa Libertadores champs are off to a perfect start to the season, with two wins from two matches by a combined score of 5-0. The opponents weren't pushovers either: Arsenal de Sarandi (Copa Sudamericana champs a few seasons back) and Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata.
Upcoming schedule: Another tough one, at San Lorenzo tomorrow. Then host Independiente Sept. 13. Unfortunately no Sudamericana action for these boys.

25. Club America
Last ranking: 25
Record: 3-1-1
Results of note: None yet.
Commentary: Won their fourth in a row Sunday, beating up on Toluca 7-2.
Upcoming schedule: At Tigres, Sept. 6. Host Tecos Sept. 13.

Dropping Out:
Atletico Madrid (17).

Also receiving consideration (in rough order of consideration received):
Olympiakos, Valencia, Paris Saint-Germain, Tottenham Hotspur, Palmeiras, Rubin Kazan, PSV Eindhoven, Lazio, Sporting Braga.

Photo taken from without permission


  1. Well you soccer blog is amazing. I would enjoy the honour of trade blog rolls?

    And Porto this year is going to get better results. I believe it is going to get a new position.

  2. Awesome post, i love to watch soccer and you have made really a good report, i really enjoy it, i hope team is going to improve but i am really surprised to see the chelsea ranking.