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European Soccer Power Rankings – #2

Posted By Robert Bode On Sep 20 2010 @ 11:03 pm In Soccer | No Comments

[1]

Chelsea celebrating another goal.

So there was an international break a couple weeks ago, and so hence the delay in the power rankings. However, the break was a blessing in disguise, giving me time to see Champions League and Europa league games and having a better idea how to rank the teams from different leagues. There are a lot of traditional powers who have struggled early, while some early surprises find themselves at the bottom of the list. What do you think? Leave a comment below.

1. Chelsea – My good friend and devoted Arsenal fan even admits Chelsea is the world’s best club right now. Five wins in five EPL matches, 21 goals scored, one goal allowed, and an easy 4-1 win on the road in Champions League (CL) play.
2. Barcelona – A loss to Hercules in La Liga knocks Barca from the top spot in the power rankings, but more devastating news is an injury to Lionel Messi. Leo won’t miss much time, but he will likely be out for two league matches and Barca’s next CL tilt against Rubin Kazan, who beat the Barca in CL play last season.
3. Real Madrid – Barca’s main rivals, Real have looked rusty thus far in La Liga, but in their CL match against Ajax they were utterly dominant. Los Blancos had 35 shots, but managed only two goals.
4. Arsenal – The Gunners are once again walking wounded, as now Cesc Fabregas is also out for a couple weeks. However, a 6-0 win in the CL shows they are still capable of great things this season, especially once the injury bug leaves them alone.
5. Inter Milan – The defending CL winners look far less dominant this season, and opened Europe’s top club competition with a disappointing 2-2 draw. They also find themselves in second place of Italy’s Serie A. It will take time for Inter to adapt to new manager Rafa Benitez’s scheme.
6. Manchester United – Is Dimitar Berbatov finally living up to his huge price tag? Insanely talented, Berbatov finally seems settled in Manchester, scoring a hat-trick against Liverpool, including a spectacular second strike [2].
7. Valencia – How can a team that sells two of its best players in club history (David Silva and David Villa) and sees its best player go down with injury (Ever Banega) still top Real Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga? I don’t know, but Valencia has had a dream start to the season. They also opened the CL with a 4-0 thumping of Turkish champions Bursaspor on the road.
8. Bayern Munich – No Arjen Robben and an again dinged up Franck Ribery has stunted Bayern’s offense, but they are still a very dangerous team. Although they are currently struggling in the Bundesliga, a 2-0 win over AS Roma shows they still belong with the big boys.
9. Manchester City – A summer spending spree even Real Madrid was envious of, Man City has opened the series quite well. They aren’t in the CL, but they are in the Europa League (EL) and started well with a 2-0 win over SV Salzburg. They are still learning to play together, but it appears they spent their money well and should contend in both the EPL and EL.
10. AC Milan – A 2-0 win in the CL covers up the fact that their production in Serie A has not been Milan worthy. Ronaldinho, Pato, Ibrahimovic and Robinho have yet to really feature together, but eventually they should form a stellar attacking quartet.
11. FC Porto – The current top team in Portugal, Porto is in an uncharacteristic position of not featuring in the CL, but they have hopes of winning the EL after a 3-0 crushing of Rapid Vienna.
12. Zenit St. Petersburg – Russia’s top club, Zenit is unbeaten and have allowed only seven goals in 19 league matches. They were unable to qualify for the CL after getting shocked by French side AJ Auxerre, but they are one of the favorites for the EL.
13. Atletico Madrid – This is more of a projection of how I think Atletico will perform than what their current form represents. Although they played well against Barcelona, Madrid’s other top team was unable to get at least a draw and lost their first La Liga match. However they are still currently ahead of Barca in the league standings.
14. Benfica – Another CL team that is struggling domestically, Benfica cruised to victory against Hapoel Tel-Aviv in their first CL match. The Portuguese powers need to rebound in league play to push Porto.
15. Ajax Amsterdam – They were utterly outclassed by Real Madrid in the CL, but Ajax were without captain striker Luis Suarez and are first in Holland’s top flight.
16. Rangers FC – They are undefeated in the Sc0ttish Premier League, tied Manchester United in CL play, and look to be a nuisance again in 2010-11.
17. Rubin Kazan – Unlike Russian rivals Zenit, Kazan find themselves in the CL, but they lost late to FC Copenhagen 1-0. Kazan isn’t the most talented, but they play great together and will host Barcelona next week in the CL.
18. Olympique Lyon – Les Gones are supremely talented, and one of the most skilled squads in Europe, but thus far they have been frustratingly erratic. They are currently 17th of 20 teams in Ligue 1, but they defeated German side Schalke 1-0 in their first CL match of the season.
19. Shaktar Donetsk – The current top team in Ukraine’s premier league, Shaktar also got three points in their first CL match against Partizan Belgrade.
20. FC Twente – They won the Dutch Eredivisie last season, and while they are striggling to repeat as champs this year, they found a way to tie Inter Milan 2-2 in their first CL match.
21. Mainz – A huge surprise at the top of the German Bundesliga, Mainz is the final team with an unblemished record in Germany. Whether they can maintain their current form is debatable, for right now they are worthy of a top 25 ranking.
22. Sevilla – Spain’s third place team is like Lyon in France; very talented but wildly erratic. Luis Fabiano is a world-class striker but has not gotten regular minutes, and he couldn’t help the Sevilla notch a win in the EL against PSG.
23. Celtic FC – The Hoops are undefeated in the SPL this year, but the fact that they failed to even qualify for the EL proves they aren’t the same quality as previous Celtic squads.
24. Cesena – If Mainz is a shock to lead Germany, how do you describe newly promoted Cesena’s perfect record and first place standing in Italy’s Serie A? Mind-blowing comes to mind, as does unbelievable, but no matter how you say it, Cesena are Serie A leaders.
25. Bursaspor – It is hard for me to get 4-0 out of my mind, (which was the score against Valencia at home in their first even CL match), but there is no arguing that Bursaspor is currently the best team in Turkey. Bursaspor has won all four of their games, and have a 7-to-1 goal ratio. Now they just need to perform better in Europe.

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[1] Image: http://prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2010/09/chelsea-2010.jpg

[2] spectacular second strike: http://rutube.ru/tracks/3597643.html?v=38aec390af2e862f9261357f6ff806b2

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