2019-01-21 by W.M.
European Club Rankings After January 18-20 Matches | Bleacher Report
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
With each and every major European league back in action for the first time in 2019, it felt as though football finally re-found its groove this past weekend.
There were some eyebrow-raising results—like Paris Saint-Germain’s 9-0 win, Arsenal’s sound beating of Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund’s away victory over RB Leipzig—which made it all the sweeter.
B/R Football @brfootball
The new #BRFootballRanks has dropped 🎧 Listen here: https://t.co/6e3v4GguK0
Who’s in your ultimate 5-a-side team, and is it better than our guest @JimmyConrad’s squad? ⚽ https://t.co/9X6u6S0GoE
The European Club Rankings is a list of the continent’s top teams in order of form and performance at this stage of the season.
You can read the previous set of rankings here.
20. Borussia Monchengladbach (Stay)
Gladbach began the ruckrunde (second half of the German season) with a 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen but were perhaps rather fortuitous to do so.
They scored a good goal, but it was against the run of play. They then watched Yann Sommer rack up 10 saves, Karim Bellarabi hit the post and the referee wave away a good penalty shout.
19. Lyon (Stay)
To come from a goal behind and win away to a rival is the definition of a dreamy night’s work, and that’s exactly what Lyon managed on Sunday night at the home of Saint-Etienne.
Nabil Fekir’s penalty drew Les Gones level in the second half before substitute Moussa Dembele’s 94th-minute header silenced the large majority of the stadium.
18. Real Madrid (Stay)
Real Madrid seem unable to get through a two-week period without plunging themselves back into crisis. The latest instalment came in midweek, when they lost 1-0 to Leganes in the Copa del Rey.
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
The result meant little as it was the second of two legs—the first of which they won 3-0—but it did bring up 10 losses for the season. Ten defeats! That’s more than they suffered in the entirety of the 2017-18 campaign.
Things got better at the weekend, as Los Blancos beat Sevilla 2-0 to leap above them in the table, but their season is still defined by their low points, rather than the high ones.
17. Inter Milan (-1)
Inter’s mini winning run halted this weekend as they drew 0-0 with Sassuolo. It represents quite the comedown from their six-goal effort against Benevento last week.
16. Sevilla (-5)
Sevilla have lost three games in a row, and if they don’t buck up fast, that will become four. Having just lost to Real Madrid in La Liga, they face Barcelona in the Copa del Rey next.
As impressive as Los Rojiblancos’ season has been on the whole, they’ve also now lost nine games. They drop accordingly.
15. Arsenal (+2)
Ahead of Arsenal’s match with Chelsea on Saturday, manager Unai Emery told the world that if the Gunners don’t win, they can kiss hopes of a top-four finish goodbye, per the Guardian.
Whether it was a ploy, tactical gamble, motivational method or just the truth, it worked. Arsenal swarmed all over the Blues and were superb value for their 2-0 win.
14. Chelsea (-2)
We saw boss Maurizio Sarri crack a little after Chelsea’s loss to Arsenal on Saturday.
“I am extremely angry,” he told Chelsea’s official website. “Very angry indeed, because this defeat was due to our mentality more than anything else.”
Their lethargic, lifeless showing gave Arsenal the impetus from the word go, and they never recovered.
13. FC Porto (+2)
Porto have responded to the draw that broke their 18-game winning run with two more victories, starting a new streak. One of those wins booked a place in the Taca de Portugal semi-finals, where they’ll face Braga.
With a successful weekend in the bank, their attention now turns to Tuesday, which brings the semi-final of the Taca da Liga against Benfica.
12. Ajax (+1)
Ajax’s 4-4 draw with Heerenveen was one of the most entertaining games of the weekend. It had it all: goals, drama, missed penalties, the lot.
The Dutch giants will be relieved PSV Eindhoven also dropped the ball, ensuring the gap between them stays at two, and they’re fortunate both Sevilla and Chelsea lost, as it allows them to move up in our rankings.
11. Manchester United (+3)
Seven games, seven wins.
Manchester United added Brighton and Hove Albion to their list of victims under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s stewardship this weekend, with Marcus Rashford netting in his fourth successive game.
Their steady rise continues—but they’re still not quite top-10 material!
10. Atletico Madrid (-2)
Last week saw Atleti seriously up their goalscoring ante, hitting three in both games played—one in the Copa del Rey against Girona and one in La Liga vs. Huesca.
Sadly for them, in midweek that goalscoring edge came at the expense of defensive solidity, and the 3-3 draw with Girona knocked them out of the cup on away goals. It’s difficult to look at it as anything other than a waste of a chance at silverware.
9. Napoli (+1)
Despite starting none of Lorenzo Insigne, Marek Hamsik, Allan and Kalidou Koulibaly on Sunday, Napoli earned a 2-1 victory over Lazio that strengthened their grip on second spot in Serie A.
It sets them up nicely for a squad rotation that favours cup competitions—both the Coppa Italia and the UEFA Europa League—over the coming months and could result in some silverware.
8. Tottenham Hotspur (+1)
A Harry Kane-less world is one Tottenham do not enjoy existing in—but they’ll have to get used to it, given he’s out until March.
They’ll need to do a better job of coping than they did on Sunday, where they left it till the 92nd minute to secure a 2-1 win over 19th-placed Fulham.
Fernando Llorente endured a terrible afternoon stepping into Kane’s shoes, and no one would forgive boss Mauricio Pochettino for looking at alternative solutions ahead of the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg with Chelsea this week.
7. Bayern Munich (Stay)
Bayern started the ruckrunde in the exact same way they began the hinrunde: with a 3-1 victory over Hoffenheim.
Manager Niko Kovac will be hoping it’s the beginning of a much smoother half of the season—it really wasn’t before—as Die Roten now begin chasing Borussia Dortmund down at the top of the Bundesliga.
6. Paris Saint-Germain (Stay)
Those checking the Ligue 1 scores this weekend will likely have let out a low whistle upon seeing PSG’s result: a 9-0 win over Guingamp.
It’s a remarkable result not only because of the number of goals scored, but also because it’s the same opponent that knocked Les Parisiens out of the Coupe de la Ligue 10 days before.
To say they took their revenge is an understatement.
5. Borussia Dortmund (Stay)
There will have undoubtedly been some concerns over whether the winter break would disrupt BVB’s momentum. Well, they put those concerns to bed.
Dortmund started the ruckrunde with a 1-0 win away at RB Leipzig—a result made even more impressive by the fact that Marco Reus didn’t feature and Julian Weigl had to step in and play centre-back!
Still top of the Bundesliga and six points clear.
4. Manchester City (Stay)
Man City sleepwalked through the first 45 minutes against Huddersfield Town on Sunday and still went into half-time 1-0 up. They then perked up considerably for the second 45 and scored two more.
B/R Football @brfootball
Manchester City are the first team in Europe’s top five leagues to reach 1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ goals in 2018/19 🔥 https://t.co/klCwp921lA
Leroy Sane was the X-factor, coming to life after what he hinted to Sky Sports’ live broadcast was a thought-provoking half-time team talk from Pep Guardiola, scoring one and creating another for Raheem Sterling.
3. Liverpool (Stay)
Liverpool continue to find games something of a slog, but, crucially, they’re still grinding out the results they need—and that’s keeping the four-point buffer between themselves and Manchester City in place.
This weekend’s 4-3 win over Crystal Palace was far more eventful than expected. Heading into the game they had conceded just three home league goals all season; by the final whistle the total tally had doubled.
They’re also facing something of a crisis at right-back: With Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez injured, James Milner suspended and Nathaniel Clyne on loan at Bournemouth, Jurgen Klopp will be forced into what could be considered Plan E.
2. Barcelona (Stay)
Ousmane Dembele continues to step up for Barcelona, but they still need a helping hand from Lionel Messi more often than not. Don’t think about passing that torch just yet.
Locked at 1-1 in the second half against Leganes, they brought Messi on, and he made the difference quickly: He skipped past his marker and forced Ivan Cuellar to parry the ball to a grateful Luis Suarez and then scored one himself 20 minutes later to seal the win.
This came after a solid 3-0 victory over Levante in midweek, turning a Copa del Rey deficit into progression to the next round.
1. Juventus (Stay)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Juventus resume Serie A action on Monday evening against Chievo, with the game delayed due to the Bianconeri’s Supercoppa Italia matchup in midweek.
Said exploits involved beating Milan 1-0 thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo header to secure their first piece of silverware of the season. It was by no means their best performance of 2018/19, but it was enough to get the job done and keeps them top of the rankings.
All statistics via WhoScored.com.