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.