We will take you through the top 10 European teams in our first soccer power rankings.
10) Paris Saint-Germain
The French Club made some big splashes this summer, signing former AC Milan players Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago da Silva this summer — gearing up to rejoin the ranks of Europe’s best. While Ibrahimovic has been fantastic, scoring 10 league goals in 10 games, the team has not quite lived up to the hype.
Though they stand first in the French Premier League, their record is only six wins and four draws, a far cry from the domination expected against weaker competition. They look alright, but in order to firmly entrench themselves among Champions League contenders they will need to bolster their secondary scoring.
9) Real Madrid
Over the last few years, Real has generally been considered one of the top two or three teams in Europe; however, early struggles this year leave them only in fourth place in La Liga, holding a paltry 5-2-2 record. They have scoring, as evidenced by Cristiano Ronaldo’s 11 goals with Gonzalo Higuain adding six. In addition, a good defense and goalkeeping are evidenced by conceding the second-least amount goals in the league.
What they lack is chemistry, forcing Coach Jose Mourinho to call out his team after a disappointing start to their campaign. This team is stacked on paper, but they will need to pull it together to climb back into the race for the Liga title.
8) Atletico Madrid
This is the “other” team from Madrid and so far they have been able to surpass their famous rivals, as they are currently locked into a tie for first place in La Liga. This team is carried by their striker, Radamel Falcao, who has been electric— supplying 10 goals and an assist thus far. However, transfer speculation surrounds Falcao who has been linked with a move to teams such as Manchester City, Chelsea and PSG.
Whether their best player will stay or leave casts a shadow over the rest of the team, and if he does end up leaving in the January transfer window, Atletico will face a steep challenge. For now, they will continue to ride their hot streak and if Falcao stays there may be a surprise challenger for La Liga supremacy this year.
7) Inter Milan
This famed Italian club has had a strong start to the season, playing consistent football to land them in second place thus far. Interestingly, their best games have come during away games in which they have scored 11 and conceded only once. However, at home they have both scored and conceded eight goals.
They have very balanced scoring, with Antonio Cassano and Diego Milito having both notched five goals and they appear to have a Champions League spot well in hand. Their troubles playing at home should sort themselves out and, like every year, a push for the top spot in Serie A will surely come.
6) Manchester City
How to sort out the English Premier League? The top three teams all stand within a point of each other and an extraordinarily balanced attack has City primed for another run to the top of the table. Six wins and three draws for City so far and the attacking trio of Edin Dzeko, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero has combined for 11 goals.
Their manager, Roberto Mancini, has an embarrassment of attacking riches, so much so that enigmatic striker Mario Ballotelli’s struggles haven’t kept City from success. As long as they can avoid any slip ups and hold their focus against weaker opponents, they can compete against top EPL competition. Expect this title race to come down to the last week.
5) Man U
The Red Devils have had an interesting season, as their games have often run the course of giving up an early goal, and then roaring back to capture the victory. It doesn’t help that injuries have ravaged their defense, ruling out star center back Nemanja Vidic until Christmas and forcing them to place embattled midfielder Michael Carrick in defense (an experiment that seldom produces quality results).
Their savior thus far? United’s signature summer acquisition, striker Robin Van Persie, who has accounted for 10 total goals, scoring seven and assisting on three. Wayne Rooney is finally playing up to form, and the chemistry between Rooney and RVP will be key to allow United to challenge for the title and possibly the Champions League.
The key to their success? Young goaltender David de Gea. If he can figure out his struggles with crosses and help make up for the mistakes of his defense, United will hang around for a shot at the title.
So many top teams rely on a single striker or player to lynchpin their attack and produce goals. Juventus is the complete opposite, this incredible balance has resulted in a fantastic 9-1-0 record to start their season. Euro League hero, Andrea Pirlo, has been sublime on both sides of the ball and his leadership has been key for his team’s hot start. Not only does Juventus grip the top spot in the Italian Serie A, they have far and away the top goal differential and have been clearly superior to their opponents so far.
It has been a few years since an Italian club team has been a force in the Champions League, but Juventus will provide a challenge to the English and Spanish teams which have controlled these tournaments of late. The only reason they are not higher on the list is because of the lack of quality in Serie A as compared to La Liga and the EPL, but they possess the top level talent to compete and surprise quite a few teams come March and April.
Last Year’s EPL champs started strong this year going 7-1-0 before meeting up with rivals Manchester United last weekend. The Blues received little help from the officiating crew with a couple dubious calls helping to swing the game in United’s favor, leaving Chelsea with a 3-2 loss. However, they have looked fantastic against the rest of the Premier League, holding the highest goal differential of any team, relying on total team efforts for their offense.
Fernando Torres looks to be regaining at least some of his old form as he leads the team with four goals. Also, offseason addition Eden Hazard has looked incredible, leading the EPL with five assists. After struggling somewhat last year, it appears as if Chelsea is again the team to beat, but they will need to hold off the strong Manchester teams to bring home the silverware.
2) Bayern Munich
It was a surprisingly tough call on which team to slot at number one, as Bayern has probably been the most dominant European team in its respective league. The German club has demolished their competition thus far. Nine games, eight wins, one loss and the highest goal differential BY FAR in the Bundesliga. Bayern’s goal differential is +23. The next closest team? Shalke 04, who is +10.
Keep in mind that Bayern is achieving this massive success without last year’s leading Bundesliga scorer Mario Gomez, who has been sidelined with an ankle injury. However, he will need to fight for his spot on the team once he returns as the surprising Mario Mandzukic has effectively replaced him, netting eight goals in nine league games. They appear to have fixed their main issue last year which was defense only allowing four goals in nine games, an astounding figure.
While the competition throughout the Bundesliga is not quite up to par with La Liga and the EPL, Bayern’s roster is stacked and looks primed for another deep run into the Champions League in an attempt to avenge last year’s cup final’s loss. They have the talent, not just to compete, but to overwhelm other top teams in Europe. Do not be surprised to see them taking place in the Champion’s League Final come May.
Yes, what other team could be first? Though they are only tied for first in La Liga, do not expect that to last very long, as Europe’s best attacking team has set a blistering pace thus far, supplying 29 goals in only nine games. This team seems set out to avenge last year’s disappointing failures in La Liga and the Champions League and have yet to lose a game in any competition, with their only tie coming at the hands of Real Madrid.
They are led by none other than the best player in the world, Leo Messi who has accounted for 17 goals so far, scoring 13, making him La Liga’s leading scorer, and assisting on four. (Congratulations to Messi, as his longtime girlfriend gave birth to his first son yesterday. They have decided to name the child Thiago.)
Their only issue is their defense because their best defender, Gerard Pique, has missed some time with a foot injury. Luckily, with the pace at which their offense is scoring, it doesn’t really seem to be a problem. The talent on their team is overpowerin, and now that they are playing back up to form they seem poised to put last season behind them and retake the Champion’s League.