There’s plenty of movement in the latest Top 10 but no change at the top of Shaka Hislop’s countdown.
1. Bayern Munich (no change)
Not really much to say here as Bayern continue to enjoy their winter break. Nobody below them has done anything to dislodge the German champions. Mind you, even when they do start playing again, Thomas Muller reckons it will be easier than training!
2. Real Madrid (+2)
A week that began with “controversy” — Gareth Bale not passing to Cristiano Ronaldo amounts to that — ended with Madrid yet again failing to get the better of Atletico. Copa del Rey elimination may help their league and Champions League pushes, but any treble dreams they had have been thwarted.
3. Chelsea (+2)
Against my old club Newcastle, Chelsea were not great, but Petr Cech was superb — it’s always about the goalkeeper! — in place of the injured Thibaut Courtois, and class told in the end. Man City’s slip means Jose Mourinho’s men lead the Premier League by two points.
4. Juventus (+2)
After five draws in six games, Juve reasserted themselves with a pair of emphatic victories. First, they won at Napoli for the first time since 2000 before cruising to a 6-1 Coppa Italia win vs. Verona. Both games featured goals from Paul Pogba, who is pretty good, in case you didn’t know!
5. Atletico Madrid (-2)
Diego Simeone’s side ran into a determined Barcelona side and, despite threatening a comeback, slipped up in La Liga. However, in true style, they turned in a display full of character to advance in the Copa del Rey. The hero was Fernando Torres, which means my FC TV mate Craig Burley has some issues to deal with!
6. Manchester City (-4)
What’s that old saying about never being more vulnerable than just after you’ve scored? City certainly did not heed the warning at Everton last week and dropped two vital points. Next up for the Yaya Toure-less champions is a showdown with Arsenal and the battle of Sergio Aguero vs. Alexis Sanchez.
7. Barcelona (new)
Luis Enrique’s men have won their last three games 5-0, 3-1 and 4-0, yet there still seems to be a feeling of unease emanating from the Camp Nou. Perhaps it’s the ongoing questions Lionel Messi is having to answer regarding his future? Either way, only consistent form — and winning — will solve any perceived problems.
8. Roma (-1)
Was it the best football “selfie” ever taken? Maybe, maybe not but one thing is for sure: Francesco Totti remains a superb player. The Roma icon scored twice in last weekend’s derby vs. Lazio to save a vital point. Upcoming away games at Palermo and Fiorentina will be a further test of Roma resolve in the Serie A title race.
9. Lyon (new)
With Paris Saint-Germain struggling in fourth place, there’s an increasing feeling that Ligue 1 may NOT be won by the runway favourites this season. Marseille’s candidacy remains, but Lyon’s form has seen them rise to the summit of the standings. Their star man is, unquestionably, Alexandre Lacazette, who has 19 goals in 20 games.
10. Southampton (new)
Despite a recent schedule that saw them play all of the Premier League’s top sides, twice in some cases, Ronald Koeman’s Saints are third and face a run of games that could see them strengthen their Champions League credentials. Sunday’s win at Manchester United was as professional a display as you will see this season.
Dropping out: Valencia, Marseille, Manchester United
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