1. Real Madrid – In their last four matches, Real has won 6-1, 4-1, 2-0 against AC Milan in the Champions League, and 6-1 again. Cristiano Ronaldo has been in blistering form, and the scariest thing is Los Blancos seem to be getting better each week (although their 0-0 tie against Murcia in Copa del Rey action shows their depth is a minor concern).
2. Chelsea – If not for Real Madrid, Chelsea would own the top spot. 25 goals scored, just two (2) allowed, and Michael Essien is back in the conversation for the world’s best player.
3. Barcelona – For some reason this Barca team isn’t quite as dominating as last year’s edition. David Villa should be an improvement over Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but his effect has yet to be truly felt. The loss of Yaya Toure has been felt in midfield, but Barca still has Messi, and Gerard Pique is making a claim for world’s best centre back.
4. Arsenal – If this team could ever stay healthy (or sign a top-flight goal keeper) they would be a truly elite squad. Even without Robin van Persie, a less than 100% Cesc Fabregas and other knocks, the Gunners are playing great attacking football as usual, and their defense has looked more solid than in previous seasons.
5. Inter Milan – This is where the rankings begin to get interesting. Inter is playing well in the CL and their defense is once again impressive in Serie A, but they have struggled offensively. However, the fact that they are in the CL gives them the edge over . . .
6. Lazio – The top team in Italy currently have rebounded from a slow start to reel off five straight wins. The Roman club should be able to stay near the top of the table since they are not playing in Europe this season, but they must stay focused, as their upcoming matches are against Palermo, Napoli and Roma in the Rome Derby.
7. Manchester United – Man U’s struggles recently were put on the back burner after it appeared Wayne Rooney might leave the club. However, Rooney pulled a 180 and resigned with the Red Devils. Now, a struggling defense and a lackluster offense must start to click if they hope to keep pace in the EPL.
8. Villarreal – The Yellow Submarines struggled last season with injuries and the toll of a CL schedule, but this campaign they are healthy and their attacking power is unquestioned. Currently second place in La Liga and leading their Europa League group merits this ranking.
9. Mainz – I thought they were pretenders, and they may still be, but any team leading the German Bundesliga this late into the season has talent. Eight wins and just one loss with 19 goals scored is very impressive, and they face second place Borussia Dortmund this weekend in a pivotal match.
10. Manchester City – The Citizens stunk it up against Arsenal, due largely to an early red card, but Man City is still one of the most talented clubs on the planet. The chemistry seems to be improving each week, and as their defense gets healthy, look out EPL.
11. Borussia Dortmund – The second place team in Germany has scored the most, and allowed the fewest, goals in the Bundesliga thus far. Striker Lucas Ramon Barrios, better known as Panther, has already scored ten goals for BVB.
12. Zenit St. Petersburg – It may seem too high to rank a Russian club, but Zenit has been special this campaign. No losses in the Russian Premier League or the Europa Leauge, and a 3-to-1 goal difference in each competition shows just how special this team has been. The fact Zenit was eliminated by AJ Auxerre in CL qualification is unbelievable.
13. Valencia – Still hard to believe a team that sold their top two stars are playing so well, but Valencia has been a nice surprise this season. Fourth in La Liga and with a good chance to advance in the CL, the Bats will likely be in these rankings for the foreseeable future.
14. AC Milan – The second place team in Italy, Milan is finally starting to find their footing. The attack is solid, but the midfield and defense are questionable. In Serie A their weaknesses are not as apparent, but in the CL they have been exposed.
15. Tottenham – Boy is it apparent when Rafael van der Vaart isn’t on the pitch for Spurs. They are still fifth in the EPL, but they are starting to fade, but Gareth Bale is a stud at left back. VDV and Bale will keep them competitive all season.
16. PSV Eindhoven – The table toppers in the Dutch Eredivisie, PSV beat rivals Feyenoord 10-0 over the weekend and now have a 35 to 8 goal differential. They need to improve on the road, but Eindhoven seems to be back to their old tricks.
17. Stade Rennais – France’s top team isn’t a household name, but they are leading one of Europe’s better leagues. Rennais’ hold on the top spot may not last long, since they face second place Marseille this weekend.
18. Rangers – The leaders of Scotland tied Manchester United in CL play, and smashed Old Firm rivals Celtic 3-1 over the weekend. American Maurice Edu has cemented a starting space in the Rangers midfield, but had a roller coaster CL match against Valencia, scoring a goal for each team in a 1-1 tie.
19. Ajax Amsterdam – The Dutch powerhouses are in good shape in the Eredivisie and CL, but they will need to improve on defense if they want to realize their goals this season.
20. FC Porto – If you are looking for a striker that could be making a big money move next summer, it could be Porto’s Hulk. The powerful Brazilian plays up to his namesake, but also has the finesse of a true Brazilian striker. His hat trick for 10-man Porto in EL play is worth YouTubing.
21. Olympique Marseille – Their CL display has been disappointing, but they have surged to second in Ligue 1, and could take over the top spot if they beat Rennais on Saturday.
22. Bursaspor – I always forget to rank Bursaspor because of their pathetic CL performances, but they are undefeated through nine games in the Turkey, with a very impressive 18 to 4 goal differential. It would be nice if they could score a goal in the CL though.
23. Olympiakos – They had an unusually poor season in 2009-10, missing out on European action and prompting a large spending spree this summer. Their money seems to have been spent wisely, as they find themselves on top of the Greek Super League, allowing just three goals in seven matches.
24. FC Twente – The 2009-10 Dutch champions are second in the Eredivisie this season, and they are holding their own in the CL in a very tough group.
25. Bayern Munich – Once Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery return healthy, the Bavarians should be back to their expected level of greatness. Right now, they are shuffling through the Bundesliga, but are 3-0-0 in CL play, topping their group.
About the Author
Written by Robert Bode
A sports die-hard through and through. I grew up playing almost every sport possible, and to this day I try to stay as active as possible. However, since I'm not a professional athlete, talking and writing about sports is the next best thing. A University of Florida graduate but living in my hometown of Washington D.C. (well Northern Virginia), my favorite teams are the Florida Gators, Miami Dolphins, Chicago White Sox, Washington Nationals, Real Madrid, good up-tempo NBA teams (so not the Knicks), and Washington Capitals.