It was a week when the European elite engaged in cross-country battle once more, with the Champions League and Europa League Group Stages taking one step closer to their conclusion.
We found out:
– Manchester United ARE GOOD.
– Tottenham AREN’T BOTTLERS.
– Juventus ARE FALLIBLE.
– Liverpool ARE FINISHED.
– Real Madrid ARE BACK.
And much, much more. Here are 90min’s DEFINITIVE European Power Rankings, as seen through the lens of Aaron Sorkin’s various film & TV creations.
15. Real Madrid (Re-Entry)
“You know what makes you feel okay about losing? Winning.” (Molly’s Game)
It turns out, all Real Madrid needed to do was win to get a bit of confidence back. Weird, eh? Just a couple of victories is all it takes for the mojo to return.
Of course, there are still plenty of fundamental issues that plague the very core of the club, but who cares about those after a 5-0 victory? Not me. Not them.
14. Bayern Munich (Down 2)
“You have part of my attention – you have the minimum amount.” (The Social Network)
1-1 against Freiburg.
2-0 against AEK Athens.
There’s just something interminably dull about Bayern right now. When they win, it’s largely through pedestrian football, and even their ‘crisis’ behind the scenes has been run of the mill. We need more from them right now.
13. Atletico Madrid (Re-Entry)
“I hate losing more than I love winning.” (Moneyball)
Save for the Champions League final heartbreaks, I can think of few results that would’ve given Diego Simeone more pain than that 4-0 drubbing at Borussia Dortmund.
So nothing would’ve been as important as righting that wrong with a result in the reverse fixture. And that’s what they did, by hook or by crook – the classic Atleti way. So what if they drew 1-1 with Leganes over the weekend? They’re back in the Power Rankings reckoning.
12. Tottenham (Up 3)
“Does anyone know where the closest psychiatrist is?” (Steve Jobs)
It was hearts in mouths time for most of the night, but Tottenham finally proved to themselves that they couldn’t bottle everything they set their mind to.
Sure, it was only PSV Eindhoven at home, and they were losing for 78 minutes, but it’s a big step. Now they just need to win a trophy. But that’s for the next session.
11. Liverpool (Down 3)
(Col. Jessep): “You want answers?” (Kaffee): “I WANT THE TRUTH!” (Col. Jessup): “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!” (A Few Good Men)
That infamous Jack Nicholson cry is certainly applicable to some ardent Liverpool fans right now.
What truth, you ask?
That your team is good…it just isn’t as good as you think it is. I’m sorry.
10. Paris Saint-Germain (Down 3)
“Commander, I’d like you to leave the room so we can talk about you behind your back.” (The American President)
11 points ahead in Ligue 1 with 36 points. 12 wins from 12. An impeccable record.
And yet PSG are third in their Champions League group with one win from four. I mean, seriously, what’s the point?
9. Napoli (Up 1)
“Sorry! My Prada’s at the cleaners! Along with my hoodie and my ‘f**k you’ flip-flops, you pretentious douchebag!” (The Social Network)
In two games against the cash-strapped Parisians and title-destined Merseysiders, Napoli are unbeaten. How about that.
The plucky Partenopei may have a derelict stadium and far less resources than their rivals, but they’ve got spirit, and integrity – sort of. A bit like Eduardo Saverin – sort of.
8. Arsenal (-)
“Just be wrong. Just stand there in your wrongness and be wrong get used to it.” (The West Wing)
Arsenal are good, okay?!?
This is because they beat 11 average teams in a row and drew with Liver-‘BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD’-pool. Even if they did draw 0-0 with Sporting CP in dreary fashion, you were still wrong at the start of the season. Okay?
Don’t forget it.
7. Manchester United (Re-Entry)
“I don’t want friends.” (The Social Network)
Wow. Who saw that coming?
It’s a dramatic re-entry for the Red Devils, as a quintessential smash and grab job on the one-time imperious Power Rankings Kings and hitherto unbeaten Juventus team saw them make waves on the world stage once more.
Now, shockingly, there was no love lost between Jose Mourinho and the Juve faithful, and for some reason people weren’t too happy with his celebrations. But why should he care, he’s up to seventh in the rankings.
6. Borussia Dortmund (Down 2)
“There is a perception in the press, never clearer than in this article, that I’m not cool. Now, where do you think this perception comes from?” (Sports Night)
It’s not that Lucien Favre isn’t cool…well actually it is. And yet, somehow, he is able to relate to all his many young stars in that Borussia Dortmund dressing room. So, fair play, Lucien.
Now, it didn’t pay off this midweek, but Jadon Sancho FC (as they shall hereto be known as on these shores) are still top of both the Bundesliga and Group A. On another note, I challenge you to find a non-hilarious photo of Favre. They don’t exist, I assure you.
5. Inter (Up 2)
“Coach lands on the runway the same time as First Class.” (Steve Jobs)
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you dominate a match or not, you get the same amount of points from a draw either way.
Sure, Inter weren’t exceptional on Tuesday, but they got where they needed to go in the end. Of course, it helps that they have the most proficient striker in world football (…that’s Mauro Icardi) on their books.
4. Chelsea (Up 1)
“If your enemies are making mistakes, don’t interrupt them.” (Moneyball)
Chelsea are now the last remaining unbeaten side in Europe’s top five leagues. And they’ve done it without yet realising their full potential.
In terms of attacking verve, there are few outfits around that look as slick as the Blues at full tilt, and this is a massive testament to the work of Maurizio Sarri in such a short time. And, while the defence remains questionable at times, it hasn’t mattered yet.
3. Juventus (Down 1)
“I think the important thing is not to make it look like we’re panicking.” (The American President)
There’s no need to panic, Old Lady. True, your invincibility has deserted you, but you were obviously the better team for the majority of this clash, Cristiano Ronaldo’s finish was spectacular and you’re still two points clear at the top of Group H, and six clear in Serie A.
No, not working?
Well, most importantly, you’re still top three in the definitive European Power Rankings. There we go, knew that would help. All is not lost.
2. Barcelona (Up 1)
“Well, the darkness is the absence of light, and the stupidity in that instance was the absence of me.” (The Social Network)
This is actually the word-for-word transcript from Malcom’s post-game speech in the dressing room. Eloquent, isn’t it?
Within two minutes of coming on as a substitute, the Brazilian winger showed his teammates and manager why he deserves to be in the Barcelona setup, with a composed finish. Sure, it was cancelled out four minutes later, but the point still stands.
1. Manchester City (-)
“Woops. Broke your 350 year old doorknob.” (The Social Network)
This week has shown Manchester City’s (alleged) disdain for footballing tradition. It has shown them to brash and bullish with their untethered ambition.
But, while the off-pitch shenanigans swirl, their on pitch ability continues to shine, propelled by similarly effective characteristics. They have now scored 52 goals across competitions so far this season, and continue to defy their rivals on both sides of the channel with unashamed ruthlessness.
Source : 90MIN