Can anybody stop Barcelona?
Yes, I know, Basel held them to a 1-1 tie in Champions League action last week, but that came after Barca hung up a five-spot on them the previous meeting. What we do know is that Barcelona is laying waste to the Spanish First Division, scoring four or more goals in four of their past five matches.
The most recent thrashing was a 6-0 mauling of Valladolid, with red-hot Samuel Eto-o nabbing four goals. Eto’o is looking like the European Golden Boot favorite and has helped us forget that Barcelona spent the summer trying to unload him.
English powers Chelsea and Liverpool continue to dominate in their domestic games as well, though both delivered disappointing performances in Champions League play. Villarreal is still in the mix for the top spot as the only team in Europe unbeaten in league and European competition, but an unimpressive draw against Danish club AaB in Champions League play cost them a bit this week.
Here is how the rest of the Top 25 shook out this week:
SBI European Club Top 25
1. BARCELONA (8-1-1 league record). Last week– tied Basel, 1-1, on Tuesday (UCL), beat Valladolid, 6-0, on Saturday. This week– at Recreativo Huelva on Saturday.
2. LIVERPOOL (9-1-2). Last week– Tied Atletico Madrid, 1-1, on Tuesday, beat West Brom on Saturday. This week– at Bolton on Saturday.
3. CHELSEA (9-1-2 ). Last week– Lost to Roma, 3-1, on Tuesday (UCL), beat Blackburn, 2-0, on Sunday. This week– at West Brom on Saturday.
4. VILLARREAL (6-0-3). Last week– tied AaB, 2-2, on Wednesday (UCL), beat Almeria, 2-1, on Sunday. This week– at Malaga on Sunday.
5. AC MILAN (7-2-1). Last week– Beat Braga, 1-0, on Thursday (UEFA), tied Lecce, 1-1, on sunday. This week– vs. Chievo Verona on Saturday.
6. INTER MILAN (7-1-3). Last week– Tied Anorthosis Famagusta, 3-3, on Tuesday, beat Udinese, 1-0, on Saturday. This week– at Palermo on Saturday.
7. JUVENTUS (6-2-3). Last week– beat Real Madrid, 2-0, beat Chievo Verona, 2-0, on Sunday. This week– vs. Genoa on Thursday.
8. MANCHESTER UNITED (6-2-3). Last week– tied Celtic, 1-1, on Wednesday, lost to Arsenal, 2-1, on Saturday. This week– vs. Stoke on Saturday.
9. REAL MADRID (6-1-2). Last week– lost to Juventus, 2-0, on Wednesday, beat Malaga, 4-3, on Saturday. This week– at Valladolid on Saturday.
10. NAPOLI (7-2-2). Last week– beat Sampdoria, 2-0, on Sunday. This week– at Atalanta on Sunday.
- 11. Lyon (9-1-3)
- 12. Arsenal (7-3-2)
- 13. Bayern Munich (7-2-3)
- 14. Udinese (6-2-3)
- 15. Sevilla (6-2-2)
- 16. Bordeaux (7-3-3)
- 17. Valencia (7-1-2)
- 18. Marseille (7-1-5)
- 19. TSG Hoffenheim (8-3-1)
- 20. Rubin Kazan (18-4-6)
- 21. Dinamo Kiev (12-1-1)
- 22. Standard Liege (7-2-2)
- 23. Sporting Lisbon (4-2-1)
- 24. CSKA Moscow (15-5-8)
- 25. Celtic (11-1-1)
OTHERS RECEIVING CONSIDERATION: Atletico Madrid (4-4-2), Bayer Leverkusen (8-3), Lazio (7-3-1), Ajax (7-1-2), Fiorentina (6-3-2), Aston Villa (6-4-2), Hamburg (7-3-2), Benfica (4-0-3), Dinamo Bucharest (10-2-2), Olympiakos (6-1-2), FC Porto (3-2-2), Anorthosis Famagusta (6-1-1).
Some notes on this week’s rankings:
Liverpool stays ahead of Chelsea and AC Milan stays ahead of Inter Milan based on their head-to-head results. It can certainly be argued that Chelsea and Inter are on better form than their red-clad counterparts, but those head-to-head wins still factor in for now.
Juventus rockets into the Top 10 by virtue of its second straight Champions League win against Real Madrid. Alessandro Del Piero is playing out of his mind and Juve’s early-season struggles are a distant memory.
Lyon is knocking on the doorstep and can crack the Top 10 with a win against Bordeaux in this weekend’s best match-up. Similarly, Bordeaux can certainly climb the charts with an upset win.
Bayern Munich is also knocking on the Top 10 door and looks poised to move closer to its pre-season ranking after a rough first month of the Bundesliga season.
Oguchi Onyewu’s Standard Liege is back in the Top 25 by virtue of its impressive UEFA Cup win against Sevilla.
If you are wondering what happened to Rubin Kazan and CSKA Moscow, the Russian season is over so I have removed them both. I stand corrected. The Russian season has two weeks left. Rubin Kazan and CSKA Moscow are back in the poll.
If you are wondering why TSG Hoffenheim isn’t higher, it’s by virtue of their lack of European competition. They’re one of my favorite teams to watch play, but only having to worry about domestic play is a big advantage so they can’t afford slip-ups like the weekend loss to Hertha Berlin.
is was Atletico Madrid the only team in the Top 25 without a winning record in domestic play (that is before I put the Russian teams back in)? Have you seen their schedule? Sevilla, Real Madrid and Barcelona account for three of those four defeats and Villarreal was one of the draws. I know tying Osasuna last weekend wasn’t that impressive, but outplaying Liverpool at Anfield in a second draw in two meetings against the Reds is very impressive.
That’s all for now. Feel free to share your thoughts on the Top 25 in the comments section below.