EUROPE

Cream of the Crop: Europe's six remaining unbeaten clubs

Cream of the Crop: Europe's six remaining unbeaten clubs

ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT

AFP

AS takes a look at the only six clubs left in Europe's top five leagues that have yet to lose a game. LaLiga is now the only league of the top five not to have an undefeated club.

In Europe’s top five leagues, there remain six unbeaten clubs: one each in France, Germany and Italy, and an incredible three in the Premier League. England’s top division has always prided itself on its competiveness and the fact that anyone can beat anyone. But this year having three unbeaten teams after 12 games played is unprecedented.

LaLiga, meanwhile, often criticized by Premier League fans for its lack of competition, is the only one of the top five leagues where every team has lost at least once, and it has been one of the most unpredictable and entertaining season in years. As such, Barcelona (two defeats), Real Madrid (four defeats) and Atlético Madrid (one defeat) do not feature on the list of Europe’s six unbeaten clubs in domestic league competition.

Juventus (Serie A, Italy)

Juventus are chasing their eighth consecutive Serie A title and with a record 11 wins and one draw from 12 games, they are well on their way to achieving it. Their closest contenders, Napoli, are already six points behind them with two losses in 12 games. The Turin club’s dominance in Serie A was reinforced with the summer signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has already netted nine goals in 15 games to make him the Italian league’s top scorer.

While the Old Lady are still to lose a game in domestic competition, they have slipped up in the Champions League. After going 1-0 up against Manchester United at home last Wednesday, having beaten them at Old Trafford two weeks prior, Juventus were stunned when Mourinho’s side came back to score two in the second half to give them an unexpected three points.

Ronaldo has helped Juve to their best ever start to a Serie A season

PSG (Ligue 1, France)

With likes of Cavani, Neymar and Mbappé firing on all cylinders, PSG are Ligue 1’s only unbeaten outfit. The Parisian club has had a number of troubles off the pitch, from Football Leaks allegations to UEFA’s ongoing investigation into a breach of Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, but it has not hampered the team’s on-field performance.

PSG have an incredible 13 wins from 13 games, giving them a maximum 39 points (the only team on the list to still hold a 100-percent record). Lille, in second place, are already 13 points behind the reigning French Champions. So regardless of what happens following Uefa’s ruling after the FFP investigation (which at worst could force the club to sell Mbappé or Neymar), PSG already have one hand on the Ligue 1 title, which would be their sixth in seven years.

However, things haven’t been so rosy for the French side in the Champions League. Like Juventus, they have one loss to their name, at the hands of Liverpool (another team on the unbeaten list), and with only one win from four, currently sit in third place in Group C.

Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga, Germany)

Bayern Munich have won the last six consecutive Bundesliga titles. But the title holders have already lost three games this season and lie fifth, while Borussia sit top of the table, unbeaten in 11 games, with eight wins and three draws. Their top scorer Marco Reus has netted eight goals in the league and 11 in total; while 18-year-old Jordan Sancho has been a sensation this season.

The young English winger has provided the joint-third highest number of assists in Europe’s top leagues with six, and has scored four Bundesliga goals (plus one in the Champions League). Like Juve and PSG, Dortmund have slipped up once in Europe, having lost 2-0 to Atlético Madrid, but still sit top of Group A of the Champions League.

Jadon Sancho has been one of the young sensations this season in Europe

Manchester City (Premier League, England)

The reigning champions sit top of the Premier League, with 10 wins and 2 draws from 12 games and are chasing an unprecedented third title in four seasons. Guardiola’s men have netted an incredible average of three goals per game and conceded just five. Sergio Aguero is their top scorer with eight goals in all competitions, with Raheem Sterling in second place with six.

Like the others on the list, their only defeat this season has come in the Champions League – the surprise 2-1 defeat at home to Lyon back in September. But despite their impressive unbeaten run, City have been unable to put distance between themselves and Liverpool and Chelsea, who are also yet to lose a league game.

Liverpool (Premier League, England)

Liverpool are enjoying their best start ever to a Premier League season, and with nine wins and three draws from 12 games, sit just two points behind league leaders Manchester City. Forwards Salah and Mané have netted six goals each in all competitions, while Alisson (who became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper when he moved from Roma this summer for 62.5 million euros) has conceded just five goals in 12 premier league games, so far justifying his enormous price tag.

The Brazilian keeper has, however, conceded the same number of goals in just four Champions League games. Liverpool are the only club amongst Europe’s six unbeaten clubs to have lost two games in European competition (2-0 against Red Star Belgrade and 1-0 against Napoli), but still sit in second place with six points behind Napoli – who are also on six points – in the most open group in the Champions League.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah in action with Fulham's Alfie Mawson

Chelsea (Premier League, England)

Sitting just behind Man City and Liverpool with 28 points is Chelsea, who are also undefeated in 12 games (8 wins, 4 draws). Eden Hazard has led The Blues’ charge and is currently the Premier League’s top scorer with seven goals. The Belgian star has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, but Borussia Monchengladbach striker, Thorgan Hazard, has said his brother is not thinking about a move to the Spanish capital just yet and is only focused on helping Chelsea regain the title from Manchester City.

Out of all the teams on the list, only Chelsea remain unbeaten in both the domestic league and Europe, although it must be taken into account that the London club is competing in the lower-tier Europa League after failing to qualify for the Champions League last season. But having enjoyed a phenomenal 12-game unbeaten run, the Blue’s return to the Champions League next year is almost a certainty.

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