We’re now heading to the business end of the season and several of Europe’s top footballing leagues are starting to take shape. The teams that are battling for the title and the teams squirming to avoid relegation are all appearing rapidly, as are the battles that will take place for such honours or shames. Taking a quick look back at January, we can see how it has unfolded.
Manchester United powered to the top of the Premier League in England before Christmas, but were sitting pretty with seven points clear by the New Year. Although Manchester City have eased to victories to keep up the pace, they have failed thus far, to seriously challenge their across town neighbours, Chelsea meanwhile have fallen far off the pace due to some lacklustre results. Liverpool remain outside the top five, although they have hauled themselves to seventh in the table, but for how is the question? At the foot of the table, Queens Park Rangers remain firmed rooted to the bottom, whilst Wigan have slipped up. Reading are beginning to climb out of the drop zone, although a battle that could also include Aston Villa, Newcastle, Southampton and possibly Norwich City, West Ham, Sunderland and Fulham could be on the cards as the season progresses.
Elsewhere, in the German Bundesliga, Bayern München have practically got one hand on the title after their strong performance this month. They sit nine points clear of Bayer Leverkusen, although champions Dortmund are struggling in third, some twelve points behind Bayern. Both Augsburg and Greuther Fürth have done little to help their plight at the bottom of the table this January.
Italy’s Serie A is hotting up as Lazio have managed to keep up the pace with Juventus in January. Napoli are also in the hunt for the title, although AC Milan’s results have seen them stutter down into seventh, well behind their fourth placed across town rivals Inter. The relegation battle in Serie A could be tough with Siena, Palermo and Genoa all proving they have what it takes to survive in January, a long battle will ensue.
Spain’s Primera Liga has seen Barcelona suffer only one defeat this campaign, coming last week. However their eleven point lead over Atletico Madrid should be enough to see them win the title. Real have slipped to third, some 18 poins behind Barca and a good seven points behind their derby rivals! At the bottom Mallorca, Deportivo and Osasuna have continued to battle it out this January.
Over in France, Paris Saint-Germain remain hopefully for the title, despite a wobbly start to January. They lie in third, behind Marseille and Lyon, whilst Nancy and Troyes are almost certainly going to be relegated.
Elsewhere in Europe, Anderlecht have an eight point lead at the top of the Belgian Jupiler League, Twente lead PSV by a point in the Dutch league, and Celtic appear to have the Scottish title wrapped up already, with a nine point lead over second placed Inverness Caledonian Thistle. What will February bring? More action to be sure!