It was a week of near upsets in the Champions League, as Real Madrid, Atalanta and Atlético Madrid all faced second-half deficits and were able to come away with at least a point. Los Blancos also triumphed in El Clásico, leading to a change in leadership at Barcelona. For the first time this season, no one dropped out of the rankings.
Here is this week’s European soccer top 25.
Other teams in consideration: Ajax (NED), Aston Villa (ENG), Bayer Leverkusen (GER), Roma (ITA), Sassuolo (ITA)
Dropped from rankings: None
25) Lille (FRA)
Last week: 22 (D 1-1 vs. Nice, D 2-2 vs. Celtic)
Lille stay in the top 25 by virtue of being the only team besides AC Milan in a major European league and involved in a European competition without a loss. The pair of draws put them level on points with PSG and second in their Europa League group behind — ironically enough — AC Milan. Mohammed Elyounoussi struck twice for Celtic to give them a 2-0 halftime lead and Lille were able to fight back in spite of Jonathan David’s missed penalty. Stiff competition awaits them in the form of Lyon (last season’s Champions League semifinalists) and the aforementioned AC Milan.
24) Arsenal (ENG)
Last week: 21 (L 1-0 vs. Leicester City, W 3-0 vs. Dundalk)
It is Arsenal’s attack — rather than their defense — that is the cause for concern at the moment. The Gunnars outplayed Leicester and created the better chances but couldn’t convert and ultimately paid for it. They have tallied two goals in their last four Premier League games, though two of those contests were against Liverpool and Manchester City. Mikel Arteta opted to rest his key players midweek and got three goals in five minutes of game time (the third came at the start of the second half) to dispatch Dundalk.
23) Lazio (ITA)
Last week: 25 (W 2-1 vs. Bologna, D 1-1 vs. Club Brugge)
Lazio fended off 21 Bologna shots and held them scoreless until stoppage time, capturing their first Serie A win since Sept. 26. They initially brought only 16 players to Belgium due to a coronavirus outbreak and were without striker Ciro Immobile and midfielder Luis Alberto, their two goal scorers from the Bologna game. Joaquín Correa’s goal was enough to salvage a draw and keep them on track to advance to the knockout stage of the Champions League.
22) Real Sociedad (ESP)
Last week: 23 (W 4-1 vs. Huesca, L 1-0 vs. Napoli)
Sociedad picked up a third straight La Liga victory to stay atop the table due in large part to the contributions of Mikel Oyarzabal (two goals) and David Silva (two assists). Their 66-34 edge in possession and 14-6 advantage in shots against Napoli were ultimately irrelevant as the visitors walked away with the win. A challenging run of games awaits Imanol Alguacil’s team following their trip to Celta Vigo on Nov. 1.
21) Sevilla (ESP)
Last week: 19 (L 1-0 vs. Eibar, W 1-0 vs. Stade Rennes)
Only three of Sevilla’s 21 shots were on target in the loss to Eibar, whose single shot on goal turned out to be decisive. The defeat was Sevilla’s second in a row domestically, leaving them 13th in the La Liga table. Luuk de Jong kept up his fine form in European competition in the win over Rennes, turning their 23-3 advantage in shots into a deserved three points. They will be favored in every game they play between now and their Dec. 2 rematch with Chelsea.
20) Borussia Mönchengladbach (GER)
Last week: 24 (W 3-2 vs Mainz, D 2-2 vs. Real Madrid)
Jonas Hofmann saved the day against Mainz by producing a goal and an assist as a substitute in what was a well-deserved victory. Marcus Thuram ripped Real Madrid open twice on the counter and had Gladbach in position to take control of their extremely competitive Champions League group as late as the 86th minute. They conceded two goals at the death, forcing them to accept a point in a game that was played on their terms. Their reward for an impressive week is a meeting with Bundesliga leaders Leipzig on Oct. 31.
19) Everton (ENG)
Last Week: 12 (L 2-0 vs. Southampton)
Richarlison’s suspension and Seamus Coleman’s injury led to the first test of Everton’s depth, which they failed rather miserably. They generated 0.4 expected goals on six shots and had left back Lucas Digne sent off for an unintentional but nasty tackle in what was the Toffees’ first defeat of the season. Digne’s suspension was reduced to one game on appeal, meaning he will be back for the Manchester United game on Nov. 7.
18) Leicester City (ENG)
Last week: 20 (W 1-0 vs. Arsenal, W 2-1 vs. AEK Athens)
The Foxes were lifeless for most of the game before Jamie Vardy came on to give them their first victory at Arsenal since 1973 on a cross from fellow substitute Cengiz Ünder. Last season’s Premier League Golden Boot winner made his first start since Oct. 4 in the Europa League contest, converting a penalty to open the scoring. Hamza Choudhury netted just the second goal of his professional career to secure a third straight win.
17) Tottenham (ENG)
Last week: 14 (W 1-0 vs. Burnley, L 1-0 vs. Royal Antwerp)
Son Heung-Min’s league-leading eighth goal of the Premier League season was enough to get Spurs out of Turf Moor with all three points, which is never an easy thing to do no matter how poor Burnley might be playing. José Mourinho threw all of his attacking weapons into the fray against Royal Antwerp but couldn’t find an equalizer. The loss puts them second in their Europa League group, but one road defeat in the group stage is just not a big deal and Mourinho’s lineup reflected that sentiment.
16) RB Leipzig (GER)
Last week: 10 (W 2-1 vs. Hertha Berlin, L 5-0 vs. Manchester United)
Jhon Córdoba’s opener gave Hertha a lead that lasted less than 300 seconds as Dayot Upamecano drew Leipzig level in the 11th minute. Marcel Sabitzer came off the bench and converted the penalty kick that turned out to be the game-winner. Prior to the beatdown they got from Manchester United, Leipzig had given up just three goals in seven games across all competitions. The Red Devils scored four times after the 70th minute to make it look less competitive than it actually was.
15) Atlético Madrid (ESP)
Last week: 17 (W 2-0 vs. Real Betis, W 3-2 vs. Red Bull Salzburg)
Diego Simeone’s team posted their third consecutive clean sheet in La Liga to continue their unbeaten run to start league play. Marcos Llorente got Atléti on the board right after halftime and opened the scoring again in the Champions League victory over Salzburg. João Félix took over from there, overturning a 2-1 deficit with goals in the 52nd and 85th minutes. Though they currently sit fifth in the table, they actually lead La Liga in points per game at 2.2.
14) Manchester United (ENG)
Last week: 18 (D 0-0 vs. Chelsea, W 5-0 vs. RB Leipzig)
Since the 6-1 defeat to Tottenham, United have outscored opponents 11-2, winning three times in addition to the draw with Chelsea. Remarkably, eight of those goals have come after the 70th minute, including the entirety of Marcus Rashford’s hat trick against Leipzig. Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba were reinserted into the starting lineup for the Champions League clash and rewarded Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by linking up for the Red Devils’ first goal. Their tough stretch of games continues with Arsenal (Nov. 1) and Everton (Nov. 7) up next in the Premier League.
13) Juventus (ITA)
Last week: 6 (D 1-1 vs. Hellas Verona, L 2-0 vs. Barcelona)
It was the week of unfortunate events for Juventus, starting with a draw that saw them dominate proceedings with 22 shots and hit the woodwork twice without captain Giorgio Chiellini and Cristiano Ronaldo in an underwhelming performance. They were without Chiellini and Ronaldo again against Barcelona, who came into Turin and thoroughly outplayed Andrea Pirlo’s team. Álvaro Morata’s four disallowed goals (one against Verona and three against Barcelona) pretty much sum up how things went.
12) Chelsea (ENG)
Last week: 16 (D 0-0 vs. Manchester United, W 4-0 vs. Krasnodar)
The scoreless draw with United was a dull affair aside from Harry Maguire getting away with a bear hug in the box, which is not the worst thing in the world for the Blues with all of their defensive struggles. The win over Krasnodar was their fourth straight shutout with Edouard Mendy in net. Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic both opened their accounts for the season, yet another indication things are coming together nicely following a rough start.
11) Barcelona (ESP)
Last week: 11 (L 3-1 vs. Real Madrid, W 2-0 vs. Juventus)
All of the frustration and infighting finally came to a head in a tumultuous week for the Blaugrana. President Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board offered their resignations after the El Clásico loss to avoid being voted out of office. The day after that happened, Barcelona went to Juventus and picked up a statement win behind goals from the much-maligned Ousmane Dembélé and Lionel Messi, who unsurprisingly looked like a much happier man with Bartomeu out of the picture.
10) AC Milan (ITA)
Last week: 15 (D 3-3 vs. Roma, W 3-0 vs. Sparta Prague)
There are no perfect teams in Europe’s major leagues after AC Milan’s draw with Roma on Oct. 26. They led on three different occasions but allowed two soft goals off of corner kicks to let the visitors back into the game. Zlatan Ibrahimović scored twice, giving him six goals on the season, the most in Serie A. His missed penalty in the Europa League tie didn’t matter at all thanks to Brahím Diaz, Rafael Leão and Diogo Dalot finding the back of the net.
9) Real Madrid (ESP)
Last week: 13 (W 3-1 vs. Barcelona, D 2-2 vs. Borussia Mӧnchengladbach)
El Clásico got off to a roaring start as Federico Valverde’s fifth-minute opener was canceled out three minutes later by Ansu Fati. A hotly contested penalty was slotted home by Sergio Ramos to put Los Blancos ahead and Luka Modrić secured all three points with his strike in the 90th minute. Real Madrid then averted disaster in Germany with late heroics from Karim Benzema (87th minute) and Casemiro (93rd minute). The draw leaves Zinedine Zidane’s team bottom of their Champions League group but in a much better position than it appeared they would be in.
8) Atalanta (ITA)
Last week: 7 (L 3-1 vs. Sampdoria, D 2-2 vs. Ajax)
Atalanta were staring at three defeats in four games until Duván Zapata rescued a crucial point against Ajax with two second-half goals in the span of seven minutes. They have failed to tally multiple goals in their last two Serie A games, which spells trouble for a team that has conceded 12 times in five league contests. Things aren’t going to get any easier with Liverpool and Inter Milan coming to Bergamo before the November international break.
7) Borussia Dortmund (GER)
Last week: 8 (W 3-0 vs. Schalke, W 2-0 vs. Zenit St. Petersburg)
Lucien Favre’s men hammered archrival Schalke with three goals after halftime and 75% of the possession in the game. Center backs Mats Hummels and Manuel Akanji both got on the scoresheet for the first time this season. They left it late against Zenit St. Petersburg in a game they needed all three points but got a Jadon Sancho penalty kick followed by an Erling Håland goal to avoid a problematic situation in the Champions League.
6) Napoli (ITA)
Last week: 9 (W 2-1 vs. Benevento Calcio, W 1-0 vs. Real Sociedad)
Second-half goals from Lorenzo Insigne and substitute Andrea Petagna were enough to keep their perfect Serie A record in games they’ve actually participated in intact. Matteo Politano’s 55th-minute strike was the difference against Sociedad, giving Napoli their first points in the Europa League. Insigne left the Sociedad game after 22 minutes with an injury, which is a significant cause for concern.
5) Inter Milan (ITA)
Last week: 5 (W 2-0 vs. Genoa, D 0-0 vs. Shakhtar Donetsk)
Inter outshot Genoa 14-1 and held them without a single effort on goal but it took until the 64th minute for Romelu Lukaku to break the deadlock. Danilo D’Ambrosio added a second to move them within three points of league leaders AC Milan. It was a similar story in the Champions League, though Antonio Conte’s team couldn’t find the back of the net and had to settle for a draw in Ukraine. They host Parma on Oct. 31 before facing Real Madrid and Atalanta on the road in back-to-back games.
4) Manchester City (ENG)
Last week: 2 (D 1-1 vs. West Ham, W 3-0 vs. Marseille)
Just as it looked like City might be rounding into form, Sergio Agüero suffered another injury against West Ham, leaving Pep Guardiola without a striker once again. The draw left the Cityzens 13th in the Premier League table and many wondering if Guardiola can get more out of this team. Raheem Sterling led the way with a goal and an assist against Marseille as they are in prime position to advance to the Champions League knockout stage for an eighth consecutive season.
3) Liverpool (ENG)
Last week: 3 (W 2-1 vs. Sheffield United, W 2-0 vs. Midtjylland)
The Reds keep finding a way despite being decimated by injuries. A controversial Sheffield United penalty kick put them down 1-0 less than 15 minutes into the game but Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota struck back to put Liverpool ahead for good by the 65th minute. Jürgen Klopp rested his front three for the first half against the Danish champions and still lost another key player to injury in Fabinho. Here is how banged up Liverpool are: Xherdan Shaqiri — who played all of 185 minutes in the Premier League last season — has already logged 121 in the Champions League.
2) Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)
Last week: 4 (W 4-0 vs. Dijon, W 2-0 vs. İstanbul Baᶊakᶊehir)
PSG had no trouble dispatching the Ligue 1 bottom-dwellers and led from the third minute on after the first of Moise Kean’s two goals and now sit atop the Ligue 1 standings for the first time this season. The clash with Baᶊakᶊehir in Turkey was a much tighter affair that was scoreless until Kean found the back of the net in the 64th minute. He finished with his second brace in as many games and PSG got the job done, though they lost Neymar to an injury in the process.
1) Bayern Munich (GER)
Last week: 1 (W 5-0 vs. Eintracht Frankfurt, W 2-1 vs. Lokomotiv Moscow)
Robert Lewandowski’s third consecutive multi-goal performance in the Bundesliga propelled Bayern to their fifth straight win across all competitions. The 32-year-old has nine goals in his last three league games and is up to 10 on the season. Bayern made it six victories in a row thanks to Joshua Kimmich’s 79th-minute winner against Lokomotiv Moscow. The one downside to another successful week was the injury to left back Alphonso Davies, who is expected to miss six to eight weeks with an ankle injury he suffered in the win over Eintracht Frankfurt.
Photo by Balkan Photos / Flickr