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The title race in Europe’s top five leagues

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The title race in Europe’s top five leagues

The top five leagues according to the UEFA coefficient rankings include the English ‘Premier League’, French ‘Ligue 1’, Spanish ‘La Liga’, German ‘Bundesliga’ and lastly the Italian ‘Serie A’. 

This time of year is always an exciting one for fans, with league campaigns drawing to a close and the end-of-season cup finals beginning to take place, it is in this time that spectators begin to dream and believe that it could be their club who will domestic glory – but who will really be crowned champions within the top five European leagues?

 

England

The English Premier League may be one of few top leagues where all seems sealed. Manchester City currently sit eight points clear of their city rivals, United, where the Red Devils were able to bridge the gap down after their 3-1 win over Burnley at the weekend.

The Premier League started in a topsy-turvy fashion, with as many as NINE clubs having taken the top spot in the league before Manchester City went on their unbeaten run that stemmed from November to March, the Citizens have been top of the table since January and since that point, Guardiola’s side have not looked back. 

The rise of Manchester City coincided with the demise of reigning champions, Liverpool. The Merseyside club have struggled for form since the turn of the year, despite being at the top of the tree come Christmas Day, Jurgen Klopp’s men have fallen to sixth and are in a dog fight to finish in the Champions League places come the end of the season.

Whilst Liverpool have most noticeably dipped in form, Chelsea since followed suit, resulting in the sacking of club manager Frank Lampard earlier this season.

As City began to run away with the title, dropped points for Manchester United against the likes of West Brom, Crystal Palace, Everton and Arsenal, help to explain why they have fallen adrift behind the league leaders as of late.

Whilst the title race is still partially alive, time is running out for Manchester United if they have any intentions of competing with their city rivals for England’s most prestigious prize this season.

 

France 

In no doubt the league with the most potential for an exciting end to the season. The French Ligue 1 has four clubs all within touching distance of the title with five games still to go. 

As of writing, it is ‘Les Dogues’ (Lille) who lead the charge for the title by a single point. Despite their lead, PSG, Monaco and Lyon all are hot on their heels in pursuit of glory this season. 

The league has been hugely dominated by the Parisians who have won seven of the last eight titles in France, the only exception being in 2017 where the title went to Monaco with a golden generation of players, who had the likes of Mbappe, Bernardo Silva and Fabinho. 

The key match with only five games to go is with Lyon vs Lille, a game that could end Lyon’s title hopes or ultimately put them in the thick of the title action. Lyon currently sit three points off the league leaders with a game in hand. Despite currently being in fourth place, a Lyon win against Lille, would certainly put the cats among the pigeons.

With all eyes currently placed on Lille and PSG. Lille have been top of the league for the majority of the season, their performances however have started to crumble with recently dropped points against Montpellier, Nimes and Strasbourg inviting the likes of Monaco and Lyon back into the title race. Whilst Lille have stumbled in recent weeks, PSG have shown an added focus towards European success this season meaning that their standards have dropped in Ligue 1. With this, it presents a great opportunity for outsiders Monaco, who have lost just one game in their last 17 Ligue 1 outings.  

 

Spain 

The Spanish La Liga has certainly raised the eyebrows for the neutrals. A league that many would have thought was over a long time ago. Atletico Madrid have led the charge since the word ‘go’. After a disappointing start to the campaign from both Barcelona and Real Madrid, the race looked over before it had even begun.

However, the tables have with no doubt turned in recent months. The red half of Madrid have dropped points in seven of their last 11 games. The collapse of Diego Simeone’s side has invited a way back into the race for the two Spanish heavyweights who now sit one and two points behind Atleti. 

Whilst the demise of Atletico Madrid is important to note, credit is due to both Real Madrid and Barcelona, the two clubs have forced for what will be an exciting end to the campaign, with Real having won seven of their last 11, a reverse turn of luck compared to their city rivals. 

La Liga is certainly hotting up for the perfect photo-finish, whilst many will see it as a three-way race for the title, Sevilla only sit six points behind the league leaders Atletico Madrid and with eight games still to go, Julien Lopetegui will fancy his sides chances of being involved in the end of season fight for domestic glory

 

Italy 

Serie A – a league that on paper has some incredible teams. Whilst many great teams grace the Italian top flight, it is only Inter Milan that have shown any real level of consistency in regards to a title race this season. 

The prospect of an intra-city battle for the Serie A trophy was a drooling idea for neutrals across the world, being a nostalgic reminder of the Milan dominance of Italian and European football in the 2000’s until the recent fight back from Juventus. 

The form from the Rossoneri since their disappointing 3-0 defeat in the Milan derby has only spurred Antonio Conte’s side on towards the title whilst their city neighbours have gone on a downwards spiral, having dropped points to Udinese, Napoli and Sampdoria, resulting in a nine point gap between to two Milan sides. 

Whilst expectation for a tight title race lives on for next season, the tension remains as to which sides make it into the top four for Champions League qualification in Italy this season. Where only four points split AC Milan in second, and Napoli in fifth. 

 

Germany 

The German Bundesliga may be coming to an inevitable end where the title returns back to Bavaria with Bayern Munich. 

At one point during the campaign, it seemed as if we were all set for an exciting battle with the likes of Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund all in contention to compete with a Bayern side who were fighting for their ninth consecutive league title. 

If there was a season to bring an end to the reign of Bayern Munich, then it was this season. Hansi Flick’s side have conceded 38 goals this season. That is 15 more than second placed Leipzig, nine more than Wolfsburg and six more than fifth placed Bayer Leverkusen. 

Despite their weak defensive record, Bayern have scored a stunning 83 goals in just 29 games. Much of credit here deserves to go to the Polish striker Robert Lewandowski who has contributed to 35 goals for the Bavarian club himself.

Whilst Lewandowski is often impossible to stop, Bayern’s defense have been ready to exploit. However, with five games left to play in the Bundesliga this season, Flick’s side sit seven points clear at the top of the table. Leipzig may hold faith in the fact that Bayern see their injury list continue to grow but as their 3-2 win this week, over Wolfsburg showcased, the players available to Flick are still more than up for the fight to retain the Bundesliga title.

 

We hope you enjoyed this article ‘The title race in Europe’s top five leagues.’  Let us know who you think will win the title in each of these countries!

 

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Sam has recently graduated from the University of East Anglia with a 2:1, having studied international relations. The degree has allowed him to improve his writing skills that he believes will be transferable when writing for Sporting Ferret. He hopes to gain valuable work experience to expand his knowledge and skills as a sports journalist. You can contact Sam at: samplummer89@gmail.com

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