AC Milan 4th, PSG 2nd… Top 5 teams fighting after the World Cup

The 2022 FIFA World Cup has been an anomaly in the world of football. Not only was it the first winter FIFA World Cup since the tournament’s inception in 1930, it was also held in the middle of an ongoing season.

It was a nice change of pace for the audience. It was a nightmare for some top football clubs who had to fight for every trophy.

Many of their players returned tired, lacking the vitality that made them unplayable in the first half of the 2022-23 campaign. Some are perhaps downbeat about their national team’s disappointing fate at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Finally, there are a few world champions who are a little rusty from their month-long mid-season break and still haven’t returned to their pre-World Cup form.

Today, we’ll go through all of the aforementioned conditions and take a look at the top five teams that have suffered the most since the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Without further ado, let’s get down to business.

#5 Liverpool

Premier League giants Liverpool have failed to live up to their reputation after the 2022 FIFA World Cup with three defeats and one draw in six games. They made the worst possible return to post-World Cup football, losing in the EFL Cup after losing 3-2 to Manchester City.

They bounced back with back-to-back wins over Aston Villa and Leicester City in the Premier League, but that good run didn’t last. First, they lost 3-1 to Premier League rivals Brentford on January 1.

They then drew 2-2 with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the fourth round of the FA Cup on 7 January. They finally suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on 14 January.

None of their star players, including Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Trent Alexander-Arnold, failed to lead by example. Jurgen Klopp must find a way to sign them to get out of the FIFA post-World Cup slump.

4th AC Milan

USA Lecce - AC Milan - Serie A

AC Milan won the Serie A crown in the 2021-22 season by playing excellent football from start to finish. Napoli have established themselves as the leaders of Serie A this season and second-placed Milan have so far failed to put enough pressure on them.

After the resumption of football after the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Milan have not lost their minds. Since then, they have played four games, lost once, drawn two and won just once. On January 8, “Napoli” created a foundation for the leadership by drawing 2:2 with Serie A rival “Roma”.

Four days later, Torino beat them 1-0 in the round of 16 of the Coppa Italia. They were expected to respond with a convincing performance against Leece on 14 January, but were once again disappointed as they were held to a 2–2 draw.

After 18 matches, “Milan” is 9 points behind the leader “Napoli”. Keeping pace with the Partenopei is looking increasingly difficult for the defending champions.

3rd Manchester City

One of the most consistent teams in the world, Manchester City looked rusty after football resumed after the World Cup. Since returning to action on December 23, Pep Guardiola’s men have suffered two defeats and one draw.

On December 31, City drew 1-1 with Everton at the Etihad Stadium and missed a chance to put pressure on league leaders Arsenal. On 11 January, City lost 2–0 to Southampton in the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup and were eliminated from the competition.

Their last defeat was against “Manchester United” on January 14. They took the lead through Jack Grealish in the 60th minute, but Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes converted to give United a 2-1 win.

Erling Haaland, who burned all the wood in 2022, was quite restrained this year. It remains three games without a goal for the Cityzens in all competitions.

#2 Paris Saint Germain

SL Benfica v Paris Saint-Germain: Group H - UEFA Champions League

Before the 2022 FIFA World Cup break, Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) were in full swing. The Parisians were unbeaten in all competitions and topped the Ligue 1 table. As football resumed after the World Cup, Christophe Gaultier’s side suffered two Ligue 1 defeats.

Their first defeat was on January 1 against the second-placed “Lens”. Without Neymar and Lionel Messi, they failed to create scoring chances despite the efforts of World Cup Golden Boot winner Kylian Mbappe. The match ended 3-1 in favor of Lens.

On January 15, they again lost to “Rennes”. In the second half, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Mbappe were on the field, but they could not prevent a 1:0 defeat to their opponents.

Especially Neymar was quite disappointed after the World Cup. After the 2022 World Cup, the Brazilian superstar was sent off once in three matches.

#1 Real Madrid

Real Valladolid CF - Real Madrid CF - La Liga

Real Madrid, champions of Europe, La Liga and the Spanish Super Cup last season, are struggling to find success after the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Carlo Ancelotti’s side are unconvincing in possession and lack efficiency, losing crucial games against quality opposition.

On Saturday, January 7, the black and whites suffered their second defeat of the 2022-23 La Liga season, losing 2-1 to Villarreal. The defeat left them three points behind leaders Barcelona in the race for La Liga.

On January 15, they faced the arch-enemy “Barcelona” in the final of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia. Despite facing their toughest opponent, Los Blancos did not want to upset Barca and ended up losing 3-1. The scoreline could have been tighter had it not been for goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois’ heroics (three saves).

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