Following a year in which:
– Manchester City won absolutely everything.
– Arsenal won absolutely nothing.
– Antonio Conte fell out with absolutely everybody.
– Jude Bellingham became absolutely undeniable.
We at 90min have decided to rank the 10 best teams in Europe throughout the calendar year:
For the first time since 1965, West Ham United won a European trophy in 2023.
The Hammers lifted the UEFA Europa Conference League back in June, besting Fiorentina in a dramatic final thanks to a Jarrod Bowen goal.
And despite selling their star man Declan Rice in the summer, David Moyes went out and signed Mohammed Kudus, turned Bowen into one of the most deadly number nines in the Premier League, topped his Europa League group, and muscled into the top six during the first half of the 2023/24 campaign. That’s a pretty good year by anybody’s standards.
Barcelona haven’t been particularly good recently – in fact they’ve been quite bad – but that doesn’t take away the La Liga title they won in the first half of 2023.
On their route to their first league title in four years, Barca were actually bloody brilliant, sweeping aside all opposition with relative ease thanks to Robert Lewandowski’s deadly finishing and a record breakingly frugal backline.
The ‘Arsenal bottled the league’ brigade will tell you that 2023 was a disastrous year in which the Gunners failed to capitalise on an eight point lead atop of the table to win a first Premier League title in a decade.
The more level-headed readers out there will look at 2023 as a year of huge progress for Mikel Arteta’s side, and one which will undoubtedly be the catalyst for trophies in future years.
2023 will go down as the year in which Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool 3.0 was formulated.
After a period of transition, Klopp signed some new players (Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai etc.), reinvigorated his best players (Trent Alexnader-Arnold and Mohamed Salah), and made the Reds one of the best teams in the Premier League once again.
In October 2022, Xabi Alonso took over Bayer Leverkusen they were second bottom in the Bundesliga table.
Fast forward to December 2023, and Alonso is in charge of a Bayer Leverkusen team who sit top of the Bundesliga table having remained unbeaten throughout the first half of the season, scoring 46 goals and conceding just 12 in 16 games.
Alonso is a remarkable manager.
Like Barcelona, Napoli haven’t been particularly great so far during the 2023/24 campaign.
But, having won their first Scudetto since the days of Diego Maradona, they’re still fully deserving of being recognised as one of 2023’s best operators.
Under Luciano Spalletti and with Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia firing on all cylinders, Napoli were an utter joy to watch at the tail-end of the 2022/23 campaign.
Another year, another Bundesliga title for Bayern Munich.
They had to sweat slightly more than usual on route to it however, so they went out and signed Harry Kane in the summer to strengthen.
Since then, as expected, they’ve looked like world beaters and are now genuine contenders for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in quite a few years.
Aston Villa, the third best team in Europe in 2023.
Unai Emery has made Villa a truly brilliant football team, with only Manchester City racking up more than the 82 points they’ve bagged in the Premier League throughout the calendar year. The Villans also won a club-record 15 home games in a row in that time – a feat any team would be proud of.
With each passing week in 2023, Inter got better and better and better.
Inter ended the year with a Coppa Italia title and a UEFA Champions League runners-up medal under their belt, and have looked genuinely unbeatable in Serie A during this first half of the current season too.
Don’t be surprised if you see Lautaro Martinez firing Inter to a Champions League triumph in 2024. They’re really that good.
An obvious number one for pretty damn obvious reasons.
Simply put, Manchester City are top of the pile because they won basically every trophy there is to win in 2023.
Premier League: check.
FA Cup: check.
Champions League: check.
Super Cup: check.
Club World Cup: check.
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