Five greatest football clubs of the past decade starting 2010

As football understandably lays low for a while let’s take a look at the most successful club sides in Europe’s top leagues over the past decade.

There are different ways of doing so, points gained for example in a league, trophies won, games won, etc. This list will look at the trophies won for the most successful teams starting from 2009/10 season until the 2018/19 season, to determine which team has been the most successful.

You may have a few contenders but may also be surprised by some teams on the list, so is the club you think is the best the number 1 on this list?

Points system: Champions League = 12pts, League title = 10pts, Europa League = 8pts, Cups= 5pts, all other cups =2pts

5th: Juventus 112 pts

After being forcefully relegated in 2006, Juventus have made up for that during the past decade in Serie A winning 8 league titles in what could be described as a total domination. They have added some domestic cups too but they have failed to win the big prize in the shape of the Champions League since 1996. They will be hedging their bets that Ronaldo can finally deliver that missing piece of silverware. Still they are far and away the most successful team in Italy. Even though Inter Milan were the only Italian team to win the Champions League in the 2010s, Inter only finished our ranking with 30 points!

4th: Real Madrid 116 pts

Real Madrid were amazing in the 2010s which included winning an incredible 4 Champions League and winning 3 of those in a row. That had not been achieved since Bayern Munich in the 70s! So it was odd that Madrid sit only in 4th place and only four points above Juventus. The reason is that for all of their European glory they haven’t actuallly won many domestic trophies in the 2010s. True they still scooped up two league titles, but for their standards you take out what they achieved in Europe and you almost get the feeling of could have done better.

3rd: PSG 121 pts

Despite PSG having no wins in Europe they have dominated Ligue 1 in France winning every title since 2012 except one where Monaco surprised them. They have won countless domestic cups after they were bought in the earlier part of the decade and have dominated the league ever since. They also have an abundance of very good players who are genuinely eyeing winning this years Champions League.

2nd: Bayern Munich 140 pts

Bayern did reach 2 Champions League finals and after losing on penalties, at home to Chelsea they made up for it the year after. They have dominated the league title in Germany winning every year except one and scooped up a few domestic cups also. For a club their size they would like to add more European trophies of course but Bayern still come out as the 2nd most successful club in European football of the past decade despite this.

1st: Barcelona 150 pts

Barcelona may have played second fiddle to their rivals Real Madrid in Europe in the 2010s. But they still won 2 Champions Leagues. They also have won 7 La Liga titles which is impressive given how they have had to fend off not just Real but also Atletico Madrid who enjoyed one of their most successful decades in the history of the club. Barca fronted by Lionel Messi one of the greats of the game have been the best team in Europe trophy wise finishing with over double the points of the most successful English team which goes to Manchester City.

Notable mentions: Manchester City 71 pts, Chelsea 68, Manchester United 51, Atletico Madrid 42, Inter Milan 30.

 

 

 

Federico Chiesa The Star Performer In Napoli Defeat

Hopes were high for Fiorentina to come away with a result versus a previously struggling Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo on Saturday evening, yet the young side succumbed to their first defeat of the campaign. Continue reading

Results in big games could define Milan’s season

Milan are not winning the Scudetto this season. That’s categorical but not out of place. Juventus continue to be favourites for the league title with an array of stars and the depth of their squad. And Napoli, despite a 3-0 defeat at Sampdoria before the international break, are a more talented and experienced side with a knowledgeable manager in Carlo Ancelotti.

However, it’s not beyond the realm of possibilities for the Rossoneri to end the season ahead of Roma, Inter and Lazio. A 2-1 win over the Giallorossi at the San Siro, proved that Milan are capable of putting the rest of the chasing pack to the sword.

In their win over Roma, the Rossoneri displayed characteristics of a group that never gives up until the final whistle. It paid off when Patrick Cutrone finished a brilliant pass from Gonzalo Higuain by the edge of the 18 yard box. Milan had been in control of large spells of the game, creating numerous goal scoring opportunities, even after taking the lead through Franck Kessie. Previous games show Gennaro Gattuso’s men have a habit of getting comfortable anytime they score. And it was evident in their first game against Napoli at the San Paolo. The players must have learnt from their collapse in the second half of that game.

Winning breeds confidence and there is a psychological value from putting one of your competitors to bed in a fierce contest. It gives you an edge in the subsequent game against the opponent that has just been conquered, and a feel good factor going into the following fixtures. The victory over AS Roma is a morale booster for the Diavolo as they warm themselves into the season.

Big teams are judged based on their performances in marquee games, hence Milan’s output in matches involving key contenders for a champions league spot could define their campaign this season. Lazio, one of the main candidates for a top four position have lost two of the most important games so far. One against Napoli at home in their first fixture and Juventus away in the second. Whiles Inter have managed four points from a possible nine.

Milan have a relatively kind schedule in their following five games before their next big meeting against International Milan at the San Siro on the 21st of October. The team will play Cagliari, Atalanta, Empoli, Sassuolo and Chievo Verona prior to that, and it will do a lot for their confidence if the Rossoneri win all five matches.

But these days matches involving Atalanta cannot be described as a low profile game, as Gian Piero Gasperini men continue to be a hard nut to crack. Despite losing some key players such as Franck Kessie and Roberto Gagliardini, the Bergamo side managed to bloody the noses of few big teams including Roma, Lazio and AC Milan last season. Atalanta took four points off Milan in the last campaign and will not be bullied by the departure of defensive stalwart Mattia Caldara and Midfielder Bryan Cristante, when they play Milan away at the Giuseppe Meazza on the 23rd of September.

The game against Inter in October promises a lot of goals as both teams have scored 16 times in their last five Serie A meetings. Among the two, Milan have proven to be the most prolific, finding the net on nine occasions whiles the Nerazzurri have managed seven. Their last encounter ended in a goalless draw. On paper, Inter appears a much stronger side with Radja Nainggolan in midfield, but Franck Kessie will relish another physical battle against the Belgian. It’s expected that Luciano Spalletti men will attack with a lot of crosses from the wings as has been their strength. Milan on the other hand, will try to work the ball through the defense of their opponent. It will also be an encounter that will answer who has the best attack with Gonzalo Higuain leading the line for Gattuso’s men.

Milan will play Lazio a week after hosting Juventus on November 11th. The last time the Diavolo recorded a victory over Juventus was two seasons ago when young Manuel Locatelli sent in a screamer into the left far corner. The Bianconeri’s superiority has always counted against the Rossoneri and its important Gattuso’ men keep a clean sheet when they meet at the San Siro.

AC Milan are far from the ideal team as there still exist some deficiencies in defence. The team struggles to deal with set pieces, weak in aerial duels and poor in defending against long shots. Milan were exposed when AS Roma rallied back to level the score through Federico Fazio in their last outing.

Despite losing the first game against Napoli, there seems to be an air of optimism surrounding the Rossoneri, but they need to improve on their big game results to have a successful season.

Do you know you Italian Football? Play the new Serie A Fantasy game here: www.seriea-fantasy.com & remember to invite your friends too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serie A’s Blue & Red Chip Players

Koulibaly

 

While great coaching, intangibles and luck play a part in winning, at the end of the day the teams with the most talent tend to find themselves at the top of the standings. While Juventus are once again a step above the rest in Serie A, this season it feels like there isn’t much of a gap between the other top 5 teams- so when it comes time to rank them the easiest way is to just look at the players on the squad.

Certainly, rating players is a subjective exercise, but to try to make it as objective as possible I have stolen a ranking system from Mike Lombardi, a former General Manager who now covers the NFL on the Ringer. Lombardi breaks down players in blue and red chippers- with the blue being players who are at the top of their respective positions in their respective leagues and the red chippers being players good enough to start for the top teams in the league.

 

To add my own flavor to this, I have also added a wild card category for new players to the league and those who have the potential to make a very big impact even though they aren’t starters. So now that you know the rules, let’s get into the rankings…

 

 

Juventus

 

 

Blue Chip: Ronaldo, Dybala, Douglas Costa, Pjanic, Chiellini, Bonucci

 

Red Chip: Szczesny, Cancelo, Alex Sandro, Khedira, Matuidi, Bernardeschi, Cuadrado, Benatia, Mandzukic

 

Wild Card: Can, Perin

 

It should come as no surprise that the team with the highest payroll, by a substantial margin no less, would have the most amount of blue and red chippers combined. Allegri’s squad features the best Juventus attack of my life time when you consider that Ronaldo is arguably the most accomplished player to wear the club’s jersey, they have starting striker for the runner up at the recent World Cup as well as Dybala, Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa who would be described as “fuori categoria” in Italy because his speed and dribbling ability is at a level rarely seen in Italy in the past 5 years.

 

It also wasn’t long ago that Alex Sandro would have been considered a blue chipper with no questions asked, and the club is so loaded at the center back position that their best defender from last season, Mehdi Benatia, is now a backup. While there isn’t a Juve fan that I know that rates him highly, Sami Khedira is certainly a blue chipper in Max Allegri’s heart, and his doppelganger Emre Can could bring qualities Juve has lacked in the midfield since Arturo Vidal left for Bayern Munich. 

Inter

Blue Chip: Handanovic, Skriniar, de Vrij, Miranda, Perisic, Icardi, Nainggolan

 

Red Chip: Brozovic, Asamoah, Vrsaljko, Keita Balde

 

Wild Card: Martinez, Gagliardini

 

The may have fallen short in their pursuit of Luka Modric, but Inter still added two blue chip players from rival Serie A teams and nabbed arguably Juve’s best wingback from last season in addition to Keita Balde who was devastating at Lazio just two years ago.

 

To become the closest thing to being Juventus’ antagonist, the nerazzurri will need Brozovic to consistently perform like he did in the World Cup even without Modric and Rakitic, for Nainggolan to return to his form from 2/3 years ago and for Vrsaljko to match Cancelo’s offensive production while also being at least adequately defensively. 

Napoli

 

Blue Chip: Koulibaly, Allan, Zielinski, Callejon, Insigne, Mertens, Ghoulam

 

Red Chip: Hysaj, Milik, Diawara, Verdi, Hamsik, Albiol

 

Wild Card: Fabian Ruiz, Ounas

 

Despite having a payroll less than half of the size of Juventus’, the partenopei not only retained all of the key performers that got them to 91 points except for Jorginho but also added Verdi and Fabian Ruiz- two players that should give Ancelotti the opportunity to rotate way more than his predecessor.

 

On paper Napoli’s midfield is loaded even with Hamsik looking like a player that De Laurentiis would have been fine to let go of for a big offer from China, it’s likely that we’ll see Diawara take the same leap that we saw from Zielinski last season. While a lot was made about Sarri’s attacking players, he turned Koulibaly into arguably the best center back in Serie A and rejuvenated Albiol who recently returned to the Spanish national- having a fully healthy Ghoulam would also give Ancelotti a key weapon at left back.

 

Roma

 

Blue Chip: Dzeko, Manolas, NZonzi

 

Red Chip: Florenzi, Fazio, Kolarov, Under, Cristante, Schick, Pastore

 

Wild Card: Kluivert, Zaniolo, Karsdorp, Olsen, Coric

 

Feels like Monchi and Pallotta’s plan is to take a step back to take two forward by the time they can get a new stadium and/or when Juventus’ cycle finally comes to an end. The giallorossi sold two key veterans in the midfield with Nainggolan and Strootman and replaced them in short term with N’Zonzi and Pastore, the long term plan is hopefully for Coric and Zaniolo to emerge.

 

In addition to all of the new faces from this summer, Di Francesco would love to receive a boost from two acquisitions from a year ago in Kardsorp and Schick, the most expensive purchase in Roma’s history. While Nainggolan and Strootman had seen better days in Italy’s capital and there’s reason to hope the replacements will at least match their contributions from last year, the downgrade from Alisson to Olsen could be so substantial that qualifying for the Champions League is far from a given for the giallorossi.  

 

Lazio

Blue Chip: Milinkovic Savic, Immobile, Luis Alberto, Lucas Leiva

 

Red Chip: Strakosha, Parolo, Acerbi, Caceres, Badelj, Marusic, Lulic, Correa

 

Wild Card: Berisha, Durmissi

 

Lazio would love for Badelj to make the same type of impact as Lucas Leiva last season and for Acerbi to build on his promising start to the season as de Vrij’s replacement. While Miliknkovic Savic and Luis Alberto struggled substantially in the first two matches of the season, they were amongst the very best at their respective positions last season and there’s no reason not to expect them to do the same as the season progresses.

 

It will be interesting to see if sporting director Igli Tare’ can continue his streak of finding talents abroad for cheap prices- Berisha and Durmissi could turn out to be Milinkovic Savic and Lulic’s long term replacement while Correa will be asked to replace Felipe Anderson’s production immediately.

 

 

Milan

 

Blue Chip: Romagnoli, Higuain, Suso, Calhanoglu

 

Red Chip: Caldara, Bonaventura, Kessie, Laxalt, Biglia, Cutrone, Donnarumma

 

Wild Card: Bakayoko, Castillejo, Reina, Conti

 

Last season Romagnoli took the next step in his development and is well on his way to being the next great Italian defender, but unfortunately for the rossoneri Donnarumma took a pretty big step back after a stellar first season. While Suso struggled once Gattuso took over for Montella, Calhanoglu showed enough after the coaching change to be considered a legitimate building block long term.

 

Milan does have some intriguing wild cards in Bakayoko, who at the end of the 2016/17 season was in the Champions League squad of the season, Conti and new addition Castillejo who has some of the attributes that Deulofeu brought to the table not that long ago. Roberto Mancini better hope that some of Milan’s red chippers turn into blue chippers since the rossoneri feature more Italians than any other high profile Serie A team.

Champions League ambition to derail Juve’s quest for another Scudetto?

It was difficult to tell what Juventus’ main priority was from the beginning of last season. The Champions League or the Scudetto. After falling to Barcelona in the 2015 Champions league final, the Bianconeri won over a lot of neutrals in their fantastic run to the 2017 Champions League final only for another Spanish giant, Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo to make nonsense of their formidable defense in the second half.

The departure of Dani Alves to PSG and Leonardo Bonucci leaving to join arch rival AC Milan added substance to rumors of a half time rumbling that led to their collapse in the second period of that final game. Despite the subsequent denial, it’s important to note that both Bonucci and Alves mounted the FIFPro XI podium during the FIFA Best Men’s Player Award that same year. So that begs the question as to why a club of Juventus’s stature will allow two of their best defender in that period to move on.

Symptoms of that effect was quite clear from the beginning of last season as Juventus struggled defensively against teams such as Sampdoria and Udinese. The Bianconeri were leaking goals at the wrong place at the wrong time, while the attack lacked the surging runs, tailor made crosses and quality passes that Dani Alves provided the season before. During such turbulent moments, Mauricio Sarri was creating something that Pep Guardiola will later describe as the best team he has ever faced in the game. Match after match, Napoli put together what looked like the final pieces of what Sarri was building in his three years’ stint at Naples. Suddenly, the narrative of a championship team had turned towards the men in the light blue stripes- Napoli.

But it was never meant to be for Napoli. Juventus clawed back to snatch victories from the jaws of defeat with two season defining away games against Lazio at the Olimpico and Inter at the San Siro in the latter weeks of the season. The manner of those victories was not only a testimony to the Old Lady’s strength and character but a failure on the part of the rest to put a stop to the Bianconeri’s stranglehold on the Italian league.

That was the Juventus story last season. This season, they’ve gone up a notch.

No team in Serie A can rival the Bianconeri’s depth, talent and experience. Evidence of that has been displayed in the six years that they’ve won the Scudetto in succession. Till now, the most significant news in Turin and Italy is the arrival of Ronaldo. The former Real Madrid forward and current FIFA Best Player has been secured to boost the Old Lady’s chances of landing their third elusive Champions League trophy.

After winning seven Scudetti in a row it has become mundane to talk about another Serie A title. Juventus are looking to stretch their dominance onto the European stage, but it’s not a given, and they risk losing their domestic form. Title rivals Napoli have signed former AC Milan and Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti after Mauricio Sarri agreed to a move to manage Chelsea. Despite losing Sarri and playmaker Jorginho to a foreign club, it will be foolhardy to ignore what Ancelotti can eke out of this Napoli squad. They still retain their core with Kalidou Koulibaly, Allan, Marek Hamsik, Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens in their ranks.

Ancelotti’s fatherly figure helps in creating a family environment that allows his players to bond and thrive once they assimilate his concepts. Though he’s been out of Italy for past nine years, the former Bayern Munich coach still retains a degree of knowledge about the nature of the league and its nuances.

The team that many should be looking to threaten Juventus for the Scudetto this season is Luciano Spalletti’s Inter. The Nerazzurri have made some significant acquisitions this transfer window and will be aiming for the league title. The signing of Radja Nainggolan from Roma and Kwadwo Asamoah from Juventus means Inter Milan have added more steel and experience to their spine. The possession of a relatively young and lethal Mauro Icardi is still something to smile about. Inter will also have a crack at the Champions league, but it is a much tougher asking and it will be a prudent use of their resources to channel their energy into securing the Scudetto.

Ronaldo’s evolution from a winger into a clinical striker in the box means goals will be in ample supply for the Old Ladies, however given the fact that the number seven man is at the wrong side of age, a decline in skill set is to be expected. Coupled with Bonucci’s return, Juventus will probably the strongest team in Europe, but that may derail their chances of another Serie A title.

Do you know you Italian Football? Play the new Serie A Fantasy game here: www.seriea-fantasy.com & remember to invite your friends too!