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While it's clear that Manchester United has not played like the best club in the world recently, it's equally clear that none of the other top clubs in the world seem to want to take the top spot over. As a case in point, let's look at last week's top six. While United fell to Zenit St. Petersburg in the UEFA Super Cup, four of the five clubs directly behind it in the rankings (Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Roma) all managed no more than a draw or, in Real's case, a loss. The only club in the top six to score a victory this weekend was Bayern Munich, whose victory, while impressive, was its first in three Bundesliga matches this season.

Many of the other top clubs fared no better as Liverpool could only draw with Aston Villa and Barcelona and AC Milan both fell to recently-relegated clubs. In fact, of last week's Top 25 Clubs, only five managed to go through the week without some sort of blemish on their records – Bayern, Arsenal, Lyon, PSV and Palmeiras – and all of those clubs have experienced some trouble recently.

We are edging closer to the time when last season's results drop out of the formulas. (As a reminder, that happens after the clubs in each domestic league average five matches played. Usually, this is after the fifth matchday, but could be the sixth because of postponed matches.) As a result of all of the top club failures this weekend, the rankings do not show substantial change, though there is some.

I'm giving out the first WCR Top 25 Club of the Week award to Atletico de Madrid, who returns to the WCR Top 25 for the first time this season after a pair of impressive victories over Schalke 04 in the Champions League qualifiers and over Malaga in its Primera Division debut. I anticipate Atletico will shoot up the rankings as the season progresses. For now, I have it a twenty-fifth.

Because of World Cup qualifiers and other international play, none of the Top 25 Clubs will be in action over the next week-and-a-half except for the Brazilian clubs – Gremio and Palmeiras. For this reason, there will be no WCR Top 25 next week. Don't panic, though – It'll be back on or about September 15, following the huge Premiership battle of Manchester United and Liverpool. I will throw in a few more Annual Rankings during the hiatus in order to provide you with lists with which to disagree. Enjoy the World Cup qualifiers and I hope you national team advances!!!

World Club Rankings – Top 25 – September 1, 2008

1. Manchester United (Eng) (1) – Manchester United hung on to the top spot by the skin of its teeth again this week, but it appears that its exit from the pole position is imminent. In my humble opinion, United was outplayed by Zenit St. Petersburg in its 1-2 UEFA Super Cup loss and was fortunate not to lose by even more. Manchester United's shot at redemption comes as soon as club play picks up in a couple of weeks when it travels to Anfield to take on Liverpool in a key early-season Premiership matchup.

2. Inter Milan (Ita) (2) – I'm sure Jose Mourinho was hoping for a better Serie A debut than a 1-1 draw with Sampdoria, but so it goes. I thought Inter was the better club and as long as that is the case, the results eventually will follow. Inter will try to score its first Serie A victory of the season against Catania after the break.

3. Real Madrid (Esp) (3) – After winning the Super Cup, Real truly disappointed in its Primera Division debut, falling to Deportivo La Coruna 1-2. After the break, Real Madrid will host Numancia, who are coming off the biggest upset victory of the season and will be looking to make it two in a row.

4. Chelsea (Eng) (4) – Once again, I expected Chelsea to take over the top spot. Last week, it was out of its control. This week, it was in Chelsea's control, but Chelsea failed to capitalize, drawing 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur. After the break, Chelsea will travel to Manchester to take on City, who have started off very strong. Will they be able to stop Shaun Wright-Phillips? Chelsea managed to do it when he was on its roster; let's see if they can do it from the other side.

5. Bayern Munich (Ger) (5) – Finally, I get to write about a top club who was victorious this weekend. Bayern looked very good in its 4-1 victory over Hertha Berlin. In two weeks, Bayern travels to Cologne as that club tries to return to former prominence in the Bundesliga.

6. Roma (Ita) (6) – Like many of the ranked clubs this week, Roma surprising was held this weekend to a 1-1 draw against Napoli. In a few weeks, Roma travels to the little island at the toe of the boot to take on Palermo.

7. Arsenal (Eng) (7) – Arsenal is another of the few top clubs that looked good this weekend. Arsenal managed to bounce back from its defeat at the hands of Fulham to trounce Newcastle United 3-0. (I don't like the result, but Arsenal did play very well.) This was after trouncing FC Twente 4-0 in Champions League qualifying action. When it returns to Premiership action, Arsenal will face Blackburn Rovers.

8. Gremio (Bra) (8) – Gremio's week started off difficult as its comeback bid fell short and it fell to Internacional on away goals in the Copa Sudamericana. Gremio came back over the weekend, however, to defeat Vasco da Gama 2-1 to maintain its 5-point lead in the Brasileiro Serie A. This weekend Gremio faces Copa Libertadores runner-up Fluminense and then , the following weekend, Gremio will host Goias.

9. PSV Eindhoven (Ned) (12) – The first change in the Top 25 this week takes place in the nine spot, which is where PSV moves following its 5-1 trouncing of Utrecht in its Eredivisie season debut. When the season resumes, PSV will host Sparta Rotterdam in domestic action.

10. Lyon (Fra) (11) – Lyon returns to the Top Ten after defeating St. Etienne 1-0. Lyon now sits atop Ligue Un with Marseille, who may be making an appearance in the Top 25 soon. After the internationals, Lyon will host Nice.
 

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11. Porto (Por) (9) – Porto could manage only a draw against arch-rival Benfica in bwin Liga action this weekend. Still the cream of the Portuguese clubs, Porto will not play between now and the next rankings in two weeks.

12. Juventus (Ita) (10) – Juventus looked poised for a victory against fellow-Champions Leaguers Fiorentina before giving up a late goal and drawing 1-1. In addition, Juve scored the exact same result against Artmedia Bratislava in advancing to the Champions League group stage. Juventus will follow up this disappointment against Udinese after the international break.

13. Villarreal (Esp) (14) – This is the first of four consecutive spots held by clubs that moved up despite disappointing results due to the fall of Werder Bremen. Villarreal's disappointment came at the hands of Osasuna, who drew 1-1 with the Yellow Submarine. In two weeks, Villarreal will be looking for a better result than that achieved by Real Madrid when it hosts Deportivo La Coruna.

14. Liverpool (Eng) (15) – Liverpool wanted more, and probably deserved more, but scored only a goalless draw against Aston Villa this past weekend. The biggest match in the world upon the return of club play in a few weeks will take place in Liverpool where the Reds will host Manchester United.

15. Barcelona (Esp) (16) – How in the hell did that happen? Seriously? How in the hell did that happen? Losing 0-1 in the Primera Division opener against Numancia is incomprehensible. Barcelona also lost to Wisla Krakow, but at least that match was pretty much meaningless, as Barcelona still advanced to the Champions League group stage. Barcelona will look to recover against Racing Santander in a few weeks.

16. Schalke 04 (Ger) (19) – Schalke was defeated handily by Top 25 newcomer Atletico de Madrid to be eliminated from the Champions League – although, unlike Rangers, they will have a chance to play in the UEFA Cup. Schalke still moves up this week, however, on the basis of its 1-0 victory over VfL Bochum, which put it in sole possession of the top of the Bundesliga. When German action returns, Schalke will take on Borussia Dortmund.

17. Ajax (Ned) (17) – This is getting monotonous, but Ajax also was disappointing in its domestic debut, losing 1-2 to Willem II. When Eredivisie action returns, Ajax will host Roda JC.

18. Celtic (Sco) (18) – Celtic's 2-4 loss to Rangers in the Glasgow derby means that Celtic likely is not long for the Top 25, at least in the short-term. For the moment, however, Celtic has a home and it will look to keep it after the break against Motherwell.

19. Werder Bremen (Ger) (13) – Bremen provided the biggest drop of the week, six notches, after its 2-3 fall to Borussia Monchengladbach. Werder Bremen will look to get back on track in a few weeks when it hosts Energie Cottbus.

20. Boca Juniors (Arg) (20) – This week was big for Boca as it took home the Recopa Sudamericana after a 2-2 draw with Arsenal de Sarandi and then moved to the top of the Argentine Apertura, despite having a game in hand, with a 3-0 victory over Huracan. After the World Cup qualifiers, Boca will host Independiente in domestic action.

21. Palmeiras (Bra) (22) – Palmeiras defeated Atletico Paranaense 2-1 to stay within five points of Gremio in the Brasileiro Serie A. Palmeiras will host Sport Recife this weekend before playing a huge match against third-place Cruzeiro the following weekend.

22. Bordeaux (Fra) (21) – Bordeaux fell 1-2 in its visit to Lille this weekend in Ligue Un action. Bordeaux will be playing for its Top 25 lives after the international break when it hosts Marseille.

23. Fiorentina (Ita) (23) – It looked bleak for Fiorentina this weekend until a late goal delivered a 1-1 draw against Juventus. After the break, Fiorentina will attempt to improve upon Roma's performance when it takes on Napoli.

24. AC Milan (Ita) (24) – Although it was fun to watch Ronaldhino and Shevchenko playing together, Milan fared no better than Barcelona in its domestic debut against a recently promoted club, falling 1-2 at the hands of Bologna. After the break, Milan will follow up more than a year of disappointment and win a match against a weaker opponent when it takes on Genoa.

25. Atletico de Madrid (Esp) (NR) – This is the first trip to the Top 25 this season for Atletico, but I doubt it will be the last and I doubt that it will stay this low. Two overwhelming victories for Atletico, first over Schalke 04 to advance to the Champions League group stage, and then over Malaga 4-0 to move to the top of the Primera Division. After the break, Atletico de Madrid will take on Valladolid in domestic action.

Bubbling Under (Alphabeticallly): Everton (Eng), Hamburger (Ger), Heerenveen (Ned), Rangers (Sco), Sevilla (Esp).

CONCACAF Top Five: (33) UNAM Pumas (Mex), (39) Tigres (Mex), (44) San Luis (Mex), (59) Cruz Azul (Mex), (92) Santos Laguna (Mex).

Matches Between Top 25 Clubs in Next Two Weeks:
13 September – (1) Manchester United at (14) Liverpool
 
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When I see Inter Milan in second place it really gives a lack of credibility to the article and so I didn't bother reading the rest of it.
 

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Blade said:
When I see Inter Milan in second place it really gives a lack of credibility to the article and so I didn't bother reading the rest of it.
Have to agree with Blade here, and add Roma in 6th. I'd gladly face either in Europe. Barcelona, who I wouldn't like to come up against again are rated 4 places lower than Porto??

Madness.
 

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Things like this are stupid and a waste of time.

I hate looking at any forms of lists or rankings. They don't even mean anything. :rolleyes:
 
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