September is about to draw to a close and it is difficult to deny that one club, Chelsea, has looked like the class of Europe so far this season.
This is the first official installment of SBI’s European Club Top 25. I know I did an initial one a while back, but with the season now in full swing, and some games to get a sense of where teams stand, this Top 25 will serve as the real starting point for the season.
While some accuse SBI of being an EPL-loving site, the Top 10 is actually dominated by La Liga, which boasts four Top 10 squads. The EPL has three, due in part to Hull’s shock upset of Arsenal.
Some things to keep in mind before viewing the Top 25. The rankings are not based solely on domestic record, but a combination of domestic and European cup performances. There are some surprise teams leading their respective European leagues that you may not see here, but I took into account opponents played so far when ranking teams. This is why Lazio is first in Serie A but third among Serie A teams here, and why Valencia is only 11th here (and fifth among La Liga teams) despite being in first place in La Liga.
Now, onto this week’s edition of the SBI European Club Top 25:
European Club Top 25
1. CHELSEA (4-0-2 league record). Last week– Beat Stoke, 2-0, on Saturday. This week– at CFR Cluj-Napoca (UCL) on Wednesday, vs. Aston Villa on Sunday.
2. LIVERPOOL (4-0-2). Last week– Beat Everton, 2-0, on Saturday. This week– vs. PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday (UCL), at Manchester City on Saturday.
3. VILLARREAL (4-0-1). Last week– Beat Sporting Gijon, 1-0, on Saturday. This week– vs. Celtic on Tuesday (UCL), vs. Real Betis on Saturday.
4. REAL MADRID (4-1). Last week– Beat Real Betis, 2-1, on Saturday. This week– at Zenit St. Petersburg on Tuesday (UCL), vs. Espanyol on Sunday.
5. AC MILAN (3-2). Last week– Beat Inter Milan, 1-0, on Sunday. This week– at FC Zurich on Thursday (UEFA), at Cagliari on Sunday.
6. INTER MILAN (3-1-1). Last week– Lost to AC Milan, 1-0, on Sunday. This week– vs. Werder Bremen on Wednesday (UCL), vs. Bologna on Saturday.
7. BARCELONA (3-1-1). Last week– Beat Espanyol, 2-1, on Sunday. This week– at Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday (UCL), vs. Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
8. MANCHESTER UNITED (2-1-2). Last week– Beat Bolton, 2-0, on Saturday. This week- at AaB on Tuesday (UCL), at Blackburn on Saturday.
9. SEVILLA (3-0-2). Last week– Beat Atletico Madrid, 1-0, on Sunday. This week– at Red Bull Salzburg on Thursday (UEFA), vs. Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
10. LYON (6-0-1). Last week– Beat AS Nancy Lorraine, 2-1, on Saturday. This week. at Bayern Munich on Tuesday (UCL), at Rennes on Sunday.
- 11. Valencia (4-0-1)
- 12. Arsenal (4-2)
- 13. Atletico Madrid (3-2)
- 14. Hamburg (4-1-1)
- 15. Lazio (4-1)
- 16. Napoli (3-0-2)
- 17. Aston Villa (4-1-1)
- 18. Juventus (2-0-3)
- 19. Schalke 04 (3-1-2)
- 20. Standard Liege (5-0-1)
- 21. Udinese (3-1-1)
- 22. Werder Bremen (3-1-2)
- 23. Benfica (2-0-2)
- 24. FK Rubin Kazan (14-3-6)
- 25. FC Porto (2-0-2)
Others Receiving Consideration: Marseille (3-0-4), Besiktas (3-0-1), Sporting Lisbon (3-1), Bayer Leverkusen (4-2), Olympiakos (3-0-1), Bayern Munich (2-2-2), PSV Eindhoven (3-1), Borussia Dortmund (3-1-2).
Top 25 match-ups this week
TUESDAY- No. 25 FC Porto at No. 12 Arsenal
WEDNESDAY- No. 22 Werder Bremen at No. 6 Inter Milan
SATURDAY– No. 13 Atletico Madrid at No. 7 Barcelona
SUNDAY– No. 17 Aston Villa at No. 1 Chelsea
If there is a team I ranked too highly this week I will say it is probably AC Milan. I know Milan started poorly, but is rolling now and consecutive wins against Lazio and Inter Milan give the club the ranking it currently holds.
Some folks might also object to Manchester United being No. 8 but I’m not really planning on budging there. Man Utd. lost to Liverpool at Anfield and tied Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, while also tying Villarreal in Champions League play. It’s been a very tough early schedule for a team that only recently got Cristiano Ronaldo back.
Russian League leaders Rubin Kazan get a nod this week, but don’t expect them to stick around long without European Cup competition to keep them on pace with other teams in the neighborhood.
My team to watch this week is Napoli. The young Italian club is off to a very good start and boasts some serious firepower. Even if you’re not much of a Serie A fan (and there are plenty of Serie A haters out there), you might want to see Napoli play when you get the chance.
As a reminder, these rankings are subjective and I’m not going to pretend they are perfect (in my opinion, there is no such think as a perfect ranking of all European soccer teams). Use the rankings to help you keep track of how top teams in Europe are doing, as well as to find out about quality upcoming matches.
What do you think of the rankings? What match-ups are you most looking forward to seeing this week and this weekend? Which ranking or rankings did you have a problem with. I welcome discussions about the rankings, but as I said before, there are no truly accurate rankings.
Share your thoughts on the SBI European Club Top 25 below.
If Sevilla is No. 9, then Napoli definately deserves a Top 10 spot. Forza Napoli!
I agree with your assessment Ives. I will be curious to see how Bremen, Schalke and Villa do in the coming weeks.
Oh, and while you can’t blame Arsenal for having a soft schedule to start, you can be a bit suspicious of their strength given the following EPL opponents so far:
I love rankings talk! Besides the roster of the USMNT, nothing stirs so much interest.
I’ll venture to say that Aston Villa is a bit better than their ranking but we’ll see next weekend when they visit Stamford Bridge.
Villareal is really, really good and I think they are #1 or #2 in La Liga again this year. Barca, AC Milan, and Arsenal are all the same deal when trying to rank them….which team will show up and will their weaknesses prevent consistent results…I think all teams will be somewhat exposed as the season goes on.
huricano – There are plenty of reasons to think Rubin would beat Aston Villa.
Anyway, glad to see Rubin made it! I’m sure everyone in Kazan will be happy! Too bad they did suffer a terribly frustrating loss at the weekend, after consecutive huge wins previously. They were the better team on Sunday, but it still showed a clear let down after the previous 2 weeks’ wins over Spartak and Dinamo.
If nothing else, at this point it would be a big surprise if they failed to make the 09-10 Champions League.
nice post…love the armchair editor! maybe the 1st guy was kidding though? Was upset Juve was so low, then I remembered why, lol! Serie A is still the best historically then La Liga then EPL…Course I am Italian, so dont slam me!
Yea!!! Napoli in top 25.
Its been quite a few years in the wilderness after Maradona and then some money problems.
I hope the buble lasts a while but I fear the bench is a bit thin and may not be able to withstand a full season at or near the top of Serie A. On the other hand AC Milan looked awesome against Inter, especially in the first half. I will be surprised if they are not in the thick of the fight at the end of the season.
They belong in the spot they are ranked.
FK Rubin Kazan and Standard Liege are better than Aston Villa? I would venture that in heads up play they might not fair so well. I feel like it would be more informative and innovative to do a CONCACAF top 25.
Lets give them some respect:
Unbeaten in their last 9
There is some merit to their inclusion..
Hey Sasha, Hull just beat Arsenal so I guess that means they should be in the Top 10.
Samsarmy, I don’t think anybody has a problem with pointing out mistakes on a website. it’s the smug attitude some clowns have that I could see pissing people off. I know if I wrote a ton of stuff and had some clowns nitpicking about errors in an annoying way I would curse them out. That’s just me though.
What about dynamo kiev? they tied arsenal 1-1 and are 7-1-1 on top of their league? I think they are much better then teams like benifica, porto steua, and a few others you posted
Getting a bit of stick from the peanuts? Got to love it…
I’d like to see some end of season predictions as well. Here’s my go at it:
EPL: Chelski, back to back for Man U will be too tough as Chelsea are just simply deeper
La Liga: Real..Schuster has created a machine, Robinho is overrated and Robben offers them more. Barca is still in turmoil, perhaps we’ll see Henry move in January?
Bundesliga: Bremen…its about time
Serie A: Inter…The Special One will get it done against the geezers at AC and the Tinkerman at Juve
Champions League: Liverpool v Munich…with Landon coming on in the 70th minute to provider with the winner for Toni!! You heard it hear first!
I cannot believe people read this blog, which is great by the way, and have the nerve to correct for spelling/grammar mistakes.
I agree.. people who have no life, correct other people’s grammatical errors.
EDB, you do realize that AC Milan beat Lazio 4-1 just two weeks ago, or did you miss that one?
And Kpugs, I think some people are just a tad clueless about the tone of some of their editing comments. Perhaps if they realized the volume of work I do, and asked themselves whether they would make a few mistakes if they had to write that much, then maybe some people would spend less time on sarcastic comments about mistakes and more time talking soccer.
Good rankings, but it’s kind of hard to judge right now without one additional criteria – notable wins or notable results (wins & ties).
Unless I look at each teams results, I wouldn’t know that Liverpool is ranked so high because they beat ManU 2 weeks ago.
Also, I think it’s important to note whether the result was home or away, which makes a big, big difference! I consider a win at home against a top team almost on par with a tie on the road against a top team (thus Villareal’s tie on the road against ManU was a good result for them and a poor/decent showing for ManU).
Another armchair editor? Really?
…but I’m not really planning on budging their.
A their/there error? Really?
Rankings look good by the way. I’ve had the opinion for the last couple of months that while the EPL might have the best top end teams, La Liga is a better league from top to bottom.
I understand the last 2 wins look nice for AC Milan but they still have not shown themselves to be that good or that they deserve to be higher then napoli or lazio.
Porto also plays Arsenal this week in the Champions League.
AC Milan is WAAAAAY too high in my opinion.