Following a week in which:
– Cristiano Ronaldo netted his 750th career goal.
– Olivier Giroud defied the laws of age.
– The handsome leader of the European Player Power Rankings was again put in charge.
We at 90min turn to the films of 2001 for a little help with ranking the top 15 teams in Europe.
“What is a ghost? A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and again? An instant of pain, perhaps. Something dead which still seems to be alive. An emotion suspended in time. Like a blurred photograph. Like an insect trapped in amber.” (The Devil’s Backbone)
Juventus look like a ghost of their former selves.
Andrea Pirlo’s side bagged their fourth 1-1 draw in their last six Serie A games this week, handing a point to strugglers Benevento and falling further behind in the title race.
“Nobody asks to be a hero, it just sometimes turns out that way.” (Black Hawk Down)
The unbeaten run is alive, and it’s all down to Max Kruse’s late equaliser in the 3-3 draw with Frankfurt.
Union Berlin have lost just once this season, and that came back on opening weekend.
“My dear Frodo, Hobbits really are amazing creatures. You can learn all that there is to know about their ways in a month and yet, after a hundred years, they can still surprise you.” (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)
Just when Roma were starting to look like potential title contenders, they fell to a 3-0 loss to Napoli.
The 11-game unbeaten streak is well and truly over.
“I don’t like this ending.” (Moulin Rouge!)
The next unbeaten run to come to an end this week is that of Sassuolo, whose 3-0 loss to Inter spoiled the fun of eight games without defeat.
“Roz, my tender, oozing blossom you’re looking fabulous today. Is that a new haircut?” (Monsters, Inc.)
Speaking of Inter, they were definitely looking fabulous this week.
After putting three past Sassuolo, they repeated the feat against Gladbach (albeit conceding twice) to keep their Champions League qualification hopes alive.
“A brilliant man will find a way not to fight a war.” (Pearl Harbor)
Bayer Leverkusen ensured they didn’t have to fight a final-day war for qualification to the Europa League knockout stages by picking up a 3-2 win over Nice.
That, incidentally, may have been the final nail in Patrick Vieira’s coffin as he’s now been sacked as manager of the Ligue 1 club.
For Bayer, it was a positive end to a week which also saw them fall to a frustrating goalless draw with Hertha Berlin.
“This is the part where you run away.” (Shrek)
Rangers, under the stewardship of a certain Steven Gerrard, are running away with the Scottish Premiership title, make no mistake.
They didn’t even play in that competition this week, instead storming to wins against Falkirk and Standard Liege to keep their hopes of a trophy-laden season alive.
“On a similar note I must confess to you, I’m giving very serious thought… to eating your wife.” (Hannibal)
Dortmund weren’t eating wives this week, just a losses.
The shock 2-1 loss to Koln was followed by a 1-1 draw with Lazio, but the biggest loss of all could be learning that Erling Haaland is out for around a month with an injury.
“You want to know what’s real? This. This. This. This is real. Maybe the part… that knows the waking from the dream, maybe it isn’t here.” (A Beautiful Mind)
Real Sociedad’s dream of winning the La Liga title is still alive… but only just.
A 1-1 draw with Villarreal was impressive but still leaves them vulnerable at the top of the table, and the 2-2 draw with HNK Rijeka in the Europa League won’t exactly raise spirits.
“The greatest single human gift – the ability to chase down our dreams.” (A.I. Artificial Intelligence)
The team really chasing the title dream is Atletico, whose 1-0 win over Valencia leaves them just one point behind Sociedad with two games in hand.
If you’re not buying into it, Diego Simeone’s men even came within four minutes of beating reigning European champions Bayern Munich. They mean business.
“I promise, that one day, everything’s going to be better for you.” (Donnie Darko)
One day, the injury crisis will be over.
Unfortunately for Liverpool, today is not that day.
James Milner limped off in the 1-1 draw with Brighton and he was forced to miss the 1-0 win over Ajax, leaving Jurgen Klopp with a real midfield headache.
“A trench is a trench. They’re all the same.” (No Man’s Land)
Qualification is qualification. It’s all the same… even if you have to limp there.
Tottenham followed their underwhelming 0-0 draw with Chelsea with a rollercoaster 3-3 draw with LASK, so while it was a pretty rough week, at least they made it to the next round of the Europa League.
“What did you put in that sandwich?” (The Fast and the Furious)
Whatever Chelsea put in Olivier Giroud’s sandwiches this week, they need to keep doing it.
The Frenchman put four past Sevilla to ensure Chelsea will finish top of their Champions League group, extending the Blues’ unbeaten run to 12 games in the process.
“What are you doing? We don’t stop here.” (Mulholland Drive)
Bayern Munich haven’t lost a Champions League game since March 2019, and they decided that that run wasn’t coming to an end this week.
Thomas Muller stepped up to net an 86th minute penalty to stop Bayern from falling to defeat against Atletico, keeping them comfortably top of Group A.
Ruthless German efficiency at its absolute best, that.
“There is no good and evil. There is only power… and those too weak to seek it.” (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)
Few sides in Europe know power quite like AC Milan right now.
A 2-0 win over Fiorentina was followed by a 4-2 win over Celtic, and Stefano Pioli’s men are in with a shout of topping their Europa League group as well. A good week.
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