And the season continues. Yet again, there’s a lot of action going on in the world but not so much movement in the rankings. Much of the action going on right now is domestic cup action that doesn’t factor into the rankings. It can make for some interesting matches, particularly in the later rounds, but it just doesn’t affect the WCR Top 25. There’s also a lot of domestic league action as most western European leagues are back in action and several South American domestic leagues are beginning to get underway. All of this makes for a lot of matches to cover in the rankings.
Over the past few weeks, there have been no matches between WCR Top 25 clubs but that changes a little bit this week with two midweek matches featuring such combinations. On Tuesday, AC Milan will host Lazio in an important mid-season Serie A match. The next day, the top clubs in Portugal face off as Porto hosts Benfica in a Taça de Portugal semifinal match. There are no battles between WCR Top 25 clubs over the weekend, though Inter Milan’s Sunday match with Roma is worth mentioning since Roma just fell out of the rankings to make room for the defending Serie A champions from Milan.
All of the information regarding the past and upcoming weeks can be found below. When does the Champions League start again? At least the qualifiers for the Copa Libertadores have started, so we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice.
World Club Rankings – Top 25 Clubs in the World – January 31, 2011
1. Manchester United (Eng) (1) – Manchester United remains on top in a week that saw it score a 3-2 make-up victory over Blackpool in Premier League action and a 2-1 away victory over Southampton in the FA Cup. Coming Up: There are two match days in the Premier League this week. United will host Aston Villa on Tuesday and face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.
2. Barcelona (Esp) (2) – Barça’s roll through the dregs of the Spanish Primera division continued this week with a 5-0 Copa del Rey victory over Almeria and a 3-0 victory over Hércules in the Primera Division. Coming Up: On Wednesday, Barcelona will take on Almeria in the second-leg of their Copa del Rey matchup. In Liga action, Barcelona will host Atlético Madrid on Saturday.
3. AC Milan (Ita) (3) – AC Milan also continued its dominance in Italy this week, defeating Sampdoria 2-1 in a Coppa Italia match and Catania 2-0 to hold on to its lead in Serie A. Coming Up: Like England, Italy’s domestic league has two match days this week and AC Milan will host Lazio on Tuesday as well as taking on Genoa on Sunday.
4. Borussia Dortmund (Ger) (4) – Dortmund maintained its ginormous lead in the German Bundesliga with a 3-0 victory over Wolfsburg. Coming Up: Borussia Dortmund returns to action on Friday when it will host Schalke 04.
5. Arsenal (Eng) (5) – With a 3-0 victory over Ipswich Town, Arsenal has earned a spot in the Carling Cup championship match against Birmingham City. In the FA Cup, Arsenal scored another victory, eliminating Huddersfield Town 2-1. Coming Up: In its two Premier League matches this week, the Gunners will host Everton on Tuesday and head north to take on Newcastle United on Saturday.
6. Porto (Por) (6) – Porto started the week firming up its Liga Sagres lead with a 3-0 victory over Nacional. This weekend, Porto settled for a 2-2 League Cup draw against Gil Vicente. Coming Up: In a matchup of the two best clubs in Portugal, Porto will host Benfica in a Wednesday Taça de Portugal match. In League action, Porto will host Rio Ave on Sunday.
7. Real Madrid (Esp) (7) – Real Madrid scored a big away victory in the Copa del Rey with a 1-0 win over Sevilla, but its Primera Division title hopes were hurt severely by its 0-1 loss at Osasuna this weekend. Coming Up: Real Madrid will host Sevilla in its home leg of the Copa del Rey matchup. In Liga action, Real Madrid will host Real Sociedad on Sunday.
8. Napoli (Ita) (8) – At midweek, Napoli was eliminated from the Coppa Italia by defending champions Inter Milan on penalty kicks following a 0-0 match. In league play, however, Napoli kept pace with Serie A leaders Milan with a 4-0 thumping of Sampdoria. Coming Up: Napoli will take on Chievo Verona on Wednesday and Cesena on Sunday in a pair of Serie A matches.
9. Lille (Fra) (9) – Lille maintained its lead in France’s Ligue Un with a 1-0 victory over Lens. Coming Up: On Wednesday, Lille will host Nantes in a Coupe de France match. In league play, Lill will take on Auxerre on Sunday.
10. Manchester City (Eng) (10) – Mansee’s only match of the past week was a disappointing 1-1 draw against Notts County in the FA Cup. Coming Up: City’s pair of Premier League matches this week will be against Birmingham City on Wednesday and West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
11. Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukr) (11) – No current matches.
12. København (Den) (12) – No current matches.
13. Villarreal (Esp) (13) – Villarreal gained ground on second-place Real Madrid this week with a 1-0 victory over the other club from Barcelona, Espanyol. Coming Up: Villarreal will return to action at home on Saturday against Levante.
14. Bayer Leverkusen (Ger) (17) – In a huge midseason Bundesliga match, Leverkusen defeated Hannover 96 2-0 on Friday. Coming Up: The next Bundesliga opponent for Leverkusen will be Nürnberg on Saturday.
15. Chelsea (Eng) (14) – Chelsea failed to take care of business this weekend, settling for a 1-1 draw in its FA Cup match with Everton. Coming Up: Chelsea will take on Sunderland on Tuesday and will host Liverpool in the next matchup of Big Four clubs.
16. Benfica (Por) (15) – Benfica scored a pair of cup wins this week, defeating Rio Ave 2-0 in a Taça de Portugal match as well as Deportivo Aves 4-0 in a League Cup matchup. Coming Up: Benfica will take on Porto in the next round of the Taça de Portugal on Wednesday. In the Liga Sagres, Benfica will take on Vitória Setúbal on Sunday.
17. Olympiakos (Gre) (16) – Olympiakos Piraeus defeated Olympiakos Volos 1-0 to maintain its lead in the Greek Super League. (For the record, the one from Piraeus is the good one.) Coming Up: Olympiakos plays a rematch with PAOK in the Greek Cup on Wednesday before hosting Xanthi in Super League play on Sunday.
18. Bayern Munich (Ger) (19) – The defending Bundesliga champions continued to look good this week, defeating Alemannia Aachen 4-0 in a DFB Pokal match before defeating rivals Werder Bremen 3-1 this weekend. Coming Up: Next up for Bayern Munich will be Köln on Saturday.
19. Lazio (Ita) (BU) – Lazio returns to the rankings in a week that saw it defeat Fiorentina 2-0. Coming Up: Lazio faces a tough battle at the San Siro on Tuesday when it takes on Serie A leaders AC Milan. The road should be a little easier on Sunday when it hosts Chievo.
20. Inter Milan (Ita) (BU) – The defending everything in Italy/Europe returns to the rankings after defeating Napoli on penalties to advance to the semifinals in the Coppa Italia and defeating Palermo 3-2 in Serie A action. Coming Up: Internazionale’s two league matches this week will be against Bari on Thursday and at home against formidable Roma on Sunday.
21. Fluminense (Bra) (21) – Fluminense continued to flourish in the Carioca League this week scoring a 3-1 victory over Macaé and a 4-2 win over Cabofriense. Coming Up: Two more Carioca League matches this week for Fluminense. This time, it will be against Duque da Caxias on Thursday and Botafogo on Sunday.
22. Paris St.-Germain (Fra) (23) – PSG kept pace with Lille in Ligue Un, scoring a 2-1 victory over Arles. Coming Up: On Wednesday, Paris St.-Germain will take on Martigues in a Coupe de France match. In Ligue Un action, PSG will take on Stade Rennes in an important midseason match.
23. Valencia (Esp) (25) – No matches is past week. Coming Up: Later today, Valencia will take on Racing Santander in the final La Liga match of the week. Next Sunday, Valencia will host Hércules in its next Primera Division match.
24. Estudiantes (Arg) (20) – No current matches.
25. Dynamo Kyiv (Ukr) (24) – No current matches.
Bubbling Under: Metalist (Ukr), PSV Eindhoven (Ned), Tottenham Hotspur (Eng), Trabzonspor (Tur), Zenit St. Petersburg (Rus).
Next Five: Celtic (Sco), Mainz 05 (Ger), Roma (Ita), Sporting CP (Por), Vélez Sarsfield (Arg).Matches This Week Between WCR Top 25 Clubs: