Leicester — those lads are good! The gave Liverpool all they could handle–at Anfield. While they sit fourth in the Premier League table, nobody believes that Arsenal is the better team right now. For all of 2019, Leicester have been the third best squad in the Premier League.
If they keep this level of performance up, they deserve a spot in the top 4 and Champions League qualification.
10. Borussia Monchengladbach (Last Month: NR)
The Bundesliga is depending on your preference, either the third or fourth best domestic league in the world. Regardless if they’re perched atop the table next month, Borussia Monchengladbach are atop the table this month. That means something.
Mochengladbach are managed by Marco Rose, who was at RB Salzburg — it all comes back to them! — for the past few seasons, and he seems like one of the brightest coaching prospects out there. But his team has also been assembled really nicely. Among the 10 guys with the most outfield minutes, only one is older than 26, and only four are older than 24. Bring in an effective coach, see a couple guys take a leap at once, and boom: Borussia Monchengladbach are in a title race.
Frenchman Alassane Pléa (26) is powering this team with 4 goals and 4 assists. Another Frenchman, Marcus Thuram (22) has chipped in 3 and 2. Do you remember American Fabian Johnson? He’s getting sporadic minutes on this team too.
Atleti sit third in the table but are second in xPTS behind first place Real Madridsecond place Barcelona ninth place Villareal(!!!). Any way you slice it, this is a disappointing start for Diego Simeone’s squad. The door was ajar for them to put a number on the table and let RM and Barca catch up. They didn’t.
Their preseason and first 180 or so minutes in Spain were excellent, but they’ve recently had a 0-2 loss to Real Sociedad (9/14) and 0-0 draws vs. Celta Vigo (9/21), Real Madrid (9/28) and Valladolid (10/6). A few more results like that and they’ll be dropping off this list.
8. Inter Milan (Last Month: 7)
While we’re on ajar doors…
Inter started the Serie A season a perfect 6 for 6. Then they played Juventus. And they’re no longer in first.
Not to mention they missed a golden opportunity to take points at Camp Nou in the UCL against Barcelona.
At a minimum, with Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez performing well, they’re showing how completely inept Manchester United are.
7. Real Madrid (Last Month: NR)
As Tyler Everett says, they have a way to throw us off their scent.
Just when you think things are stabilizing, they draw Club Brugge with one of their best performers of the season, Gareth Bale, left off the squad. Now Gareth Bales wants to leave Real Madrid. This will not make Real Madrid better.
Despite all of this, Los Blancos are still atop the La Liga table so 🤷♀️
6. Ajax (Last Month: NR)
Last month, Tyler Everett’s non-inclusion of Ajax on his ballot left them out of the XI (for Tottenham no less!). That hasn’t aged well.
This month, we’ll let Tyler atone. He says:
I’ve mentioned a time or two on this how much I love watching this team play, and at this point, the question is who doesn’t come away impressed and entertained after watching these guys. I think they could beat just about everyone in front of them, but until they take down a European power (and because I’m impatient, I’ll count next week’s UCL opponent, Chelsea, as one) without De Ligt and De Jong, I’m keeping them toward the middle of this ranking.
5. Barcelona (Last Month: 5)
The Camp Nou crew have climbed back to second in La Liga. They’re second in Champions League Group F. Yet…all is not well. What to make of Antoine Griezmann’s bumpy integration? And how bad is their backline?
Regardless, they continue to show that as long as they have Messi, they’ll be fine.
4. Juventus (Last Month: 6)
So unlikable. Yet, they’re playing well.
The win against Inter moves them atop Serie A. They’re atop their UCL group as well. Everything will be a fight for them though this campaign. Inter will challenge domestically until the end. And don’t expect an easy run of it in the Champions League.
3. Manchester City (Last Month: 2)
If Barcelona and Real Madrid were currently in better form, City would be even lower. This team has a definite weakness at center-back, and failing to score at home vs. Wolves this weekend was completely unacceptable for a roster this loaded, especially up top.
They’re already 8 behind Liverpool after 8 matches. While they’ll cruise through their UCL group, they weren’t sharp against Dinamo Zagreb. Injuries are a factor, yes. But the squad is the deepest in Europe and should be able to sustain a few key losses. Liverpool still is cruising against top tier competition without Alisson and Joel Matip.
2. Bayern Munich (Last Month: 4)
7-2. That’ll leave a mark.
Bayern are ruthless when they’re “on.” Philippe Coutinho is looking like his old self. They’re going to do some damage.
Here’s Everett’s take on them:
I’m letting Bayern off the hook for losing to Hoffenheim on Saturday. The fact they’re two points out of first place in Germany is a little discouraging, but it’s hard to downplay how good they looked against Tottenham last week. With no clear No. 2, I’m going with the Germans.