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Chelsea gets top spot in AP soccer poll

Published September 2, 2014 1:19 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

London • With an emphatic 6-3 win at Everton over the weekend, Chelsea took over at the top of The Associated Press global football poll on Tuesday.

Chelsea has three wins from three matches and leads the Premier League. Real Sociedad is second in the poll after coming from two goals down to beat Real Madrid 4-2. Paris Saint-Germain is third after routing Saint-Etienne 5-0.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is at the top of the player poll after scoring his first hat trick of the season against Saint-Etienne.

There were surprise results across the major European leagues. Stoke won 1-0 at the home of Premier League champion Manchester City and enters the team vote in sixth, while German champion Bayern Munich was held 1-1 away to Schalke.

Panelist Tom Timmemann, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the United States, believes Chelsea's fast start makes it a worthy winner this week.

"Are the early setbacks for clubs like Real Madrid, Manchester City and Bayern Munich anomalies or signs of something bigger? There's one team that's playing like a champion though: Chelsea," Timmermann said. "Eleven goals in three matches is something I can get behind."

There was adulation for Ibrahimovic, who currently leads the player poll.

"Zlatan Ibrahimovic is always a high class striker," Manos Staramopoulos of Dimokratia in Greece said. "This shows in almost every game, and it did against Saint-Etienne, where he scored three goals."

Diego Costa, who scored twice for Chelsea on Saturday to take his season total to four, is second, and voter Aurelio Capaldi of Italian broadcaster RAI Sport believes Costa, an offseason signing from Atletico Madrid, adds an extra dimension to Chelsea's attack, which it did not have last season.

"Chelsea made it three wins out of three and in Diego Costa they found the striker they needed to get what they want," Capaldi said, and Sam Tighe of Bleacher Report was in agreement.

"The Spaniard is well on the way to dispelling any murmurs that he could be the Premier League's next big flop. Power, pace, guile and calmness in front of goal," Tighe said.

David Zurutuza, who scored twice in Sociedad's comeback victory, is third, ahead of Raheem Sterling, who inspired Liverpool to a 3-0 away victory over Tottenham. Liverpool is fourth thanks to the result.

Karim Bellarabi, tenth in the vote last week, has risen to fifth after scoring in Bayer Leverkusen's 4-2 win over Hertha Berlin. The victory means Leverkusen also polls fifth in the team standings.

Last week's leading player Lionel Messi has dropped to seventh after a goalless weekend, although he was involved in Sandro Ramirez's goal against Villarreal, and the 1-0 win sees Barcelona poll seventh this week.

Elsewhere, Roma is eighth after opening its Serie A season with a 2-0 win against Fiorentina. AC Milan is a place behind after beating Lazio 3-1.

Defender Cosmin Moti of Bulgarian club Ludogrets has polled ninth this week. Moti had to play in goal for his side in its Champions League qualifier against Steaua Bucharest after its goalkeeper was sent off in extra time.

The game went to penalties and Moti saved two and scored one as his side reached the group stages of European football's most illustrious competition, where it has been drawn against Real Madrid and Liverpool.

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AP Global Football 10 rankings

Players:

1.Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 156 points.

2.Diego Costa, 132.

3.David Zurutuza, 98.

4.Raheem Sterling 63.

5.Karim Bellarabi, 49.

6.Jackson Martinez, 48.

7.Lionel Messi, 43.

8.Marco Reus, 36.

9.Cosmin Moti, 34.

10.Antonio Di Natale, 32.

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Teams:

1.Chelsea, 137.

2.Real Sociedad, 117.

3.Paris Saint-Germain, 107.

4.Liverpool, 105.

5.Bayer Leverkusen, 77.

6.Stoke, 56.

7.Barcelona 54.

8.Roma, 39.

9.AC Milan, 38.

10.Athletic Bilbao, 33.