Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Serie A Clubs on the Rise

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterSeptember 24, 2013

Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Serie A Clubs on the Rise

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    Fresh from another round of weekend fixtures and the first set of UEFA Champions League group stage matchups, we have a new edition of the European club weekly rankings.

    We have a new No. 1 in the list, and they've hit the summit for the first time this season. Strong showings from multiple Serie A sides have also shaken up the standings somewhat.

    See where your favourite side grades out and enjoy the slideshow!

Honourable Mentions

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    Chelsea's bad form has actually dropped them out of our top 20 entirely, with recent losses to Everton and Basel major contributing factors.


    Shakhtar Donetsk

    Anoeta is a tough place to go, and a reeling Hirnyky side managed to nullify an electric, eager Real Sociedad one. An upturn in form?



    Elie Baup's side have hit a rough patch in form after a decent start, but they were very close this week.


    Athletic Club

    Ernesto Valverde's men lost on Monday night at the Cornella El-Prat and looked their worst so far this season—excusing the Bernabeu defeat.


    Metalist Kharkiv

    With the 1-1 draw with the Hirnyky and the mesmerising 3-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev still fresh in the memory, their next unfortunate opponents—Tavriya—were dispensed with ease this weekend.

20. Saint-Etienne

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    Movement: New Entry

    Saint-Etienne may have dropped points this weekend, but still look like they belong at the top in Ligue 1.

    They blew the chance to move to the summit after losing 2-1 to lowly Toulouse but remain in France's top three after Marseille's goalless draw at Bastia.

    L'OM host Saint-Etienne this week, with a likely spot in these rankings next week the ultimate prize on offer.

19. Porto

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    Movement: None

    Porto dropped their first Liga Sagres points of the season, drawing 2-2 with Estoril at the weekend.

    It was the Dragoes' second limp performance of the week after labouring to a 1-0 victory over Austria Vienna in the UEFA Champions League, but at least Jackson Martinez kept up his goals-per-game ratio.

    They're still top of the league, but their lead has been trimmed to just a single point.

18. Liverpool

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    Movement: Down Nine

    Liverpool's flying start has been curtailed by two botched results, but with Luis Suarez re-entering the fold, Brendan Rodgers can refocus his troops.

    The draw to Swansea City highlighted their biggest issue—a soft central underbelly—and Victor Wanyama exploited this in the loss to Southampton at Anfield.

    A rather tough Capital One Cup fixture awaits the Uruguayan.

17. Fiorentina

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    Movement: Up Three

    Fiorentina have begun shifting through the gears to keep pace at the top of Serie A superbly and put in a commanding midweek UEFA Europa League showing too.

    Giuseppe Rossi has stepped up in the wake of Mario Gomez's long-term injury layoff as Vincenzo Montella begins to tinker meticulously with his starting XI and formation to keep it fresh.

    Much of the attention will be elsewhere for the Italian title race, but the Viola are dark horses.

16. Manchester United

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    Movement: Down Two

    One minute you're flying high, Shinji Kagawa's on the pitch and you're winning UEFA Champions League bouts. The next, you've received a serious dose of reality.

    That's the story of Manchester United's past seven days, as wins over Crystal Palace and Bayer Leverkusen have been forgotten in the wake of the derby-day loss to Manchester City. 

    The Red Devils drop significantly in our rankings, and that's largely due to their abysmal performance at the Etihad.

15. Bayer Leverkusen

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    Movement: Down Four

    A disappointing loss to Manchester United brought Bayer Leverkusen's reliance on Lars Bender to the fore, and without them, they struggle to do little other than counterattack against the bigger sides.

    With the German international back in the side at the weekend, the Werkself recorded an impressive 4-1 victory away to Mainz to ensure they kept pace at the top of the Bundesliga.

    They'll face a true test in two weeks when they host Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich.

14. Manchester City

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    Movement: Up Four

    What a difference a week makes!

    Seven days ago, Manchester City were preparing for a European away game off the back of a poor 0-0 draw away to Stoke City.

    Fast forward, and Manuel Pellegrini's charges have beaten Viktoria Plzen 3-0 in the Czech Republic and smashed rivals Manchester United 4-1 at home.

    They now look ahead with anticipation to a trip to Villa Park and hope to use their astonishing victory over David Moyes' men as a springboard for the rest of the season.

13. Tottenham Hotspur

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    Movement: None

    A North London derby slip-up aside, Tottenham Hotspur are getting good at grinding out victories without many people batting an eyelid. That's a sign of a high-quality team. 

    They get the job done, and that's a consistent mantra that Andre Villas-Boas has been managing under so far this season, with workmanlike 1-0 wins taking precedent over the flashy and unpredictable.


12. Internazionale

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    Movement: Up Three

    Internazionale have just set the standard in Serie A, beating Sassulo away from home by a ridiculous 7-0 scoreline.

    Ricky Alvarez is turning into a brilliant little footballer—maybe the scout who found him hasn't ruined his career, after all—and Hugo Campagnaro has caused a seismic shift in this defence's fortunes.

    Drawing with Juventus announced Walter Mazzarri's troops as tricky customers, but the thrashing of Sassulo affirms them as top-tier contenders.

11. Paris Saint-Germain

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    Movement: Up One

    Laurent Blanc's side maintained their unbeaten start to the season despite failing to close the two-point gap on leaders Monaco after Sunday's 1-1 draw at the Parc des Princes.

    As far as Bleacher Report's Jonathan Johnson is concerned, Paris Saint-Germain were good value for all three (quotes obtained privately):

    The defending champions were unlucky not to take more from the game as they created by far the better chances and dominated possession, but were left frustrated once again as the Zlatan Ibrahimovic-Edinson Cavani relationship continues to struggle to reach its potential.

    Of greater concern for PSG will be the injury suffered by captain Thiago Silva who will now miss an indefinite period of time, expected to be between 3-6 weeks at least. The Brazilian's absence comes at a crucial time for PSG with difficult matches against Benfica, Marseille and Saint-Etienne to come.

10. Roma

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    Movement: Up Seven

    The Romanisti are currently pinching themselves every time they check the Serie A standings—is that really their beloved club at the top of the pile?

    After winning four from four and conceding just a single goal away to Parma, they've earned the right to best the lot and look settled under new manager Rudi Garcia.

    Kevin Strootman has hit form early and brought the best from Daniele De Rossi and Miralem Pjanic, while Adem Ljajic has gone a long way toward replacing Erik Lamela.

    Three more years of Francesco Totti can only be good news.

9. Monaco

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    Movement: Down Two

    A draw at the Parc des Princes? Not bad, I say!

    This Monaco side may not be the well-oiled machine we were all expecting as of right now, but they at least know how to grind out results and sit atop the Ligue 1 table.

    Paris Saint-Germain were the better side, but ASM grabbed a point and held firm to continue their unbeaten start to the season. They're still the top form team in France, but PSG are closing the gap.

8. Real Madrid

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    Movement: None

    Real Madrid got their form back on track by beating a poor Getafe side 4-1.

    Much of the focus was on Gareth Bale's prematch injury that prevented his first home start, but there were plenty of positives for Carlo Ancelotti to take.

    Cristiano Ronaldo is in full flow, Isco looks scintillating and Asier Illarramendi has returned from injury.

    Eighth place is a bit harsh on Madrid, but it only serves to speak volumes of those ranked above them right now.

7. Arsenal

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    Movement: Up Three

    Since losing to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, Arsenal have won every single game they've played.

    They've come out victorious in the North London derby, successfully crowned trips to France and Turkey with wins and boast one of the finest No. 10s in world football: Mesut Ozil.

    With Aaron Ramsey dominating in midfield and Olivier Giroud in a great vein of form, it's tough to see the Gunners dropping any points right now.

6. Napoli

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    Movement: None

    All of a sudden, Juventus' third straight Scudetto doesn't look quite so assured.

    Napoli have started the season in incredible form under Rafa Benitez, winning all four Serie A games they've played and besting Borussia Dortmund in the first round of UEFA Champions League matches.

    The quality, depth and belief is present at the Stadio San Paolo, and this promises to be an extremely interesting campaign in Italy's top tier.

5. Juventus

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    Movement: Down One

    Fernando Llorente has finally made his first start for Juventus in a 2-1 win over newly promoted Hellas Verona—and he scored!

    It's not quite the calm waters originally expected in Turin as yet, but relations are certainly starting to improve between the Spaniard and his coach, Antonio Conte.

    That'll boost the Old Lady, who have started the season superbly. If Llorente can become the regular partner for Carlos Tevez, we could be looking at a UEFA Champions League-winning side.

    Their desperately disappointing midweek draw to FC Copenhagen sees them fall a little here.

4. Borussia Dortmund

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    Movement: Down Three (Last week's No. 1)

    The unstoppable train has been halted, and Borussia Dortmund's form has taken a turn for the worst after two poor results.

    A few key players aside, Nurnberg are not formidable opponents, and this is not the first time Jurgen Klopp's men have struggled away from home in the Bundesliga. A midweek loss to Napoli, therefore opening the UEFA Champions League campaign with zero points, simply made a tough group tougher.

    The age-old depth problem has come back to bite them once again.


3. Barcelona

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    Movement: None

    Barcelona have taken some criticism for their performance against Rayo Vallecano—almost as if they didn't bag a 4-0 victory on the road.

    They're still unbeaten in La Liga, boast a goal differential of plus-14 and have notched a nation-wide best 18 goals thus far. Lionel Messi and Neymar are slowly gelling, while Cesc Fabregas is quickly becoming one of the finest midfielders in world football.


2. Bayern Munich

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    Movement: Up Three

    Bayern Munich appear to be finding their dominant feet after a slow start under Pep Guardiola.

    No longer are results being ground out by risky one-goal margins, as die Bayern finished the last two matches—CSKA Moscow at home and Schalke away—with a plus-seven goal differential.

    The 4-0 win at the Veltins Arena was particularly impressive, with Pep's charges recording 69 percent possession and four different scorers on the board.

1. Atletico Madrid

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    Movement: Up One

    The Atletico Madrid machine rolls on, this time securing a tough away win at a stubborn Real Valladolid.

    In their midweek UEFA Champions League bow, they saw off a seasoned challenge of Zenit St. Petersburg side headed by Luciano Spalletti. Taking away their Supercopa de Espana aggregate loss, Diego Simeone's side have won every single game this season.

    Diego Costa got himself on the scoresheet once again while facing the Pucela, and emerging midfield talent Koke turned in another splendid showing.