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Premier League: new "big four" emerge
Seeing Manchester City in fourth place in what would be supposed to be a race between two for the Premier League title is an indication, both of its start-up little star campaign, and the excellent level shown by Chelsea and Leicester City.
Chelsea was supposed to go through a transition season under the orders of Frank Lampard and Leicester was considered a potential candidate to finish in the top six Premier clubs in the first full Brendan Rodgers campaign as a coach; however, both teams have completely exceeded expectations.
Lampard's faith in youth has been rewarded dramatically, with the performances of players such as Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori, which have made Chelsea the unexpected favorite of neutral observers, while Leicester full of attitude and led by Rodgers is shown as an even better club than the one that put English football on its head when it won the title in 2016.
With Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham at eight, nine and 11 points outside the Champions Zone, respectively, one might think that the battle for the top four places is over (although the new Spurs coach Jose Mourinho will certainly seek to change that panorama). Liverpool, the current leader, seems untouchable and if they manage to succeed in a demanding December calendar in which they must fulfill commitments in the Champions League and Carabao Cup, apart from a trip to Doha to play the Club World Cup, it will be difficult to see them give way .
While Manchester City still seems to be the most likely threat to the eight-unit advantage the leader holds, Chelsea and Leicester do not seem to slow down in the coming weeks. – Tom williams
La Liga: Which of the "big three" seems to have a better chance of winning the title?
None of the giants of Spain has convinced a whole this season: the three have struggled to maintain consistency and, in fact, to show a clear game identity. The fight for league leadership is tight, but sometimes it seems to be a fight to see who is the least bad.
In recent weeks, the Real Madrid seems to have begun to find a better level and most importantly, they have achieved something that resembles a coherent team. The arrival of Fede Valverde brings them mobility in the midfield that he wanted Zinedine Zidane (It seems that now he will play as regular next to Casemiro and Toni Kroos or Luka modric), while Rodrygo It has been convincing for the right wing. Eden Hazard begins to show good performance on the opposite side and Karim Benzema He started the tournament exceptionally, with nine goals and three assists on 11 occasions as a starter.
For its part, Barcelona faces difficulties in getting the right combination for Lionel messi, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann (all prominently featured in the ESPN FC 100 2019) and have been extremely uncomfortable when rivals have put them under pressure. Also, the Blaugranas seem to be two totally different teams. At Camp Nou, they have a perfect 6 of 6 with a goal differential of +18; away from home, his level is quite low, with 7 points out of 18 possible and only eight goals scored.
When it comes to defense, Barca has been too vulnerable for a champion: the level shown by Gerard Pique has plummeted. However, they still have Messi. It's not that they need a lot in regards to a player incorporation; rather, they require a mechanism in which everyone can function properly when playing together. Is it a matter of identity?
This is the recurring debate: Has Barcelona lost the papers? Their problems are probably systemic, although when it comes to specific players, it would not surprise much to see Griezmann stay behind Ousmane Dembele or Ansu Fati in the important parties. In the case of Atleti, this team was supposed to be different and exciting (Joao Felix! Alvaro Morata! A new defense against the impenetrable Jan Oblak!); However, a family process seems to develop, in which the evolution towards a wider game has not yet been completed. It almost seems that they do not quite believe it.
At the same time, the mattresses have lost part of the certainty with which they had in previous seasons, with the games of Diego Godin, Juanfran and Lucas Hernandez. There is currently a disconnection, a perception that not everyone shares the same idea of how to play. They are neither one thing nor the other, which does not help to maintain the aspirations for the title.
It could be too much to ask to call any team at this time "favorites" and recent seasons have shown us that Barcelona seems to have something more than the rest; although at the moment that does not seem to be the case anymore. Maybe Madrid is the best option. – Sid Lowe
Series A: Can any team reach Juventus?
This season he has seen how a group of smaller teams has made a pleasant impression, while those considered candidates for the title have lost ground. The Cagliari is a revelation, undefeated in 10 league commitments, in addition to winning against Napoli as a visitor to place in the Champions area. Lazio has surprised on several occasions, adding 28 goals in 12 games and winning the matches in different ways, from hard-fought or sealed victories in the last stages of the matches in his visits to Milan and Fiorentina, to a strong dominance over teams like Torini, Genoa and Sampdoria.
The Verona and Parma also deserve to be mentioned, although the biggest challenge for the defending champions is represented by Inter, a team that immediately assumed the appearance of a team led by Antonio Conte (aggressive, energetic, who refuses to die) and they are contenders convincing for the first time since 2010. With 10 wins in 12 games (including seven wins for just one goal) and 15 goals by the new pair of attackers made up of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, have become the most credible rival. Although they still have a long way to go (as Conte likes to remember the media) to become the first team other than Juve to win the Scudetto since 2011: Juventus rarely found himself in trouble during the recent victory 2-1 in San Siro, which showed Conte who is the boss.
The advantage of Juve, as always, is the breadth of its campus. Your "second" team is made up of Gianluigi Buffon, Danilo, Daniele Rugani, Merih Demiral, Mattia De Sciglio, Sami Khedira, Emre Can, Adrien Rabiot, Aaron Ramsey, Douglas Costa and Gonzalo Higuain and that is respecting the decision not to make eligible Mario Mandzukic. The above list is worthy of a team capable of qualifying for the Europa League. Inter may have broken its transfer record twice, but this is why Conte thinks they still have to make other contracts to close the gap with the bianconeri.
However, there is little chance that this gap will close in January: although Juve needs another player like Miralem Pjanic, capable of causing imbalance, Conte feels that Inter needs an extra striker and more help in the midfield. Instead of having Arturo vidal, they need someone capable of lightening the burden of Marcelo Brozovic, particularly now that Stefano Sensi You experience problems to maintain your level.
With Napoli in free fall and Milan four units from falling in the relegation zone, the race is now between a horse and a half. – James Horncastle
Bundesliga: The biggest challenge so far for Bayern?
It is still early, but there are all indications that this could be the race for the strongest and most competitive title in years. The duel of the last tournament between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund has remained a distant memory; Dortmund looks off while Bayern, which still plays with great uncertainty in the technical direction, has a four-point difference over the surprising Borussia MOnchengladbach leaders.
Can MOnchengladbach keep up the pace to reach his first league title since 1977? It would be a surprise; nevertheless, they have an excellent technician such as Marco Rose, who arrived at the team during the summer from the Salzburg Red Bull, apart from an exciting group of gunners, which includes Marcus Thuram, son of Lilian, who won the World Cup in Russia with the French national team. They are serious, although there is a perception that the most likely suitor to the Bayern crown is RB Leipzig, who is in second place and has prepared for a good time to reap success at this point. Julian Nagelsmann is demonstrating that his performance against Hoffenheim was not a matter of luck and now, they have the strength and depth to keep fighting for the title until the end.
The Freiberg, which is currently matched in points with Leipzig and Bayern, would give us a story worthy of a fairy tale in the best Leicester style if they manage to maintain this rhythm and counting on Leipzig among their victims, they are the greatest success story so far . However, the perception remains that the next change in the Bayern bench (assuming that Hansi Flick will remain only until the beginning of 2020) could have strong repercussions for everyone. Will Mauricio Pochettino come … and perhaps an eighth consecutive crown in the Bundesliga? – Nick ames
Link 1: Again … all for PSG
The Paris Saint-Germain campaign in their local league is easy to sum up: dominant against the big clubs (4-0 victory against Marseille, 1-0 on their visit to Lyon) and lacks concentration against teams of lesser rank, with three defeats added against the Dijon, Reims and Rennes.
While Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have been absent thanks to injuries or suspensions, Angel Di Maria has been the star, although Mario Icardi has also caused great repercussion. The PSG is already eight points apart, comfortable at the top. End of story.
Of the teams that could have removed PSG from its domain this season, Marseille is the only one that is where it should be. They have lost the same amount of commitments as Parisians (3) although they did not do any favor with four disappointing draws this season against opponents who could be defeated. Despite this, Andre Villas-Boas does a good job, considering the financial constraints he has to deal with and the absence of his best player, Florian Thauvin, who was injured early in the season.
In the cases of Lyon and Monaco, it has been the usual roller coaster. The Lyon dismissed his coach Sylvinho last October, after a terrible start to the campaign. To replace it, the club hired Rudi Garcia, who was fired from Marseille three months earlier. Monaco built based on what was done in the previous season. After an overwhelming start, they have four victories in their last five games and are in eleventh place. The fundamental reason is the performance of Wissam Ben Yedder (with 9 goals) and the former Leicester striker Islam Slimani (five goals, eight assists) from the start.
The big surprise of this tournament, however, is the Angers. Stephane Moulin and company occupy the third place in the table after truly solid performances at the beginning of the campaign, although they only have one victory in their last seven commitments.
In January, Marseille will not have money to invest, which is a shame because with some more resources on its campus and talents, AVB could do much more. Undoubtedly, Monaco will take out the portfolio: they need better defenders and it should be a busy month within the Principality. The PSG will only sign if there is a good opportunity, especially with regard to the right back position, while Lyon will want to support Garcia if he needs it. That said, the PSG should move forward without discomfort towards another league title, although they rarely show their best level. – Julien Laurens