football

How are Europe’s Big Boys Faring?

September 23, 2016

- Grant Whittington

While the domestic press remains preoccupied with Manchester City’s irresistible start to the season and the failings of their local rivals United, there is a whole world of football continuing around us. With league campaigns having started around Europe and the battle for European honours also underway, there is plenty for continental football fans to consider in the coming months.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of Europe’s leading competitions and determine which teams have made the notable start to the new season…

La Liga

Zinedine Zidane has performed wonders since taking over as Real Madrid manager, steadying a sinking ship and winning Europe’s ultimate prize in May. His meld of steel, pace and flair has also seen Madrid rack up 16 consecutive La Liga wins, equalling Barcelona’s record from 2010/2011 and propelling them to the top of the league table with a 100% record so far.

Barcelona have also started well, spare for a surprise 2-1 home defeat against Alaves, while Atletico Madrid are unbeaten in their first four outings. With Sevilla also in the early mix, Los Blancos will need to maintain their current form if they are to win their first La Liga crown since 2012.

Bundesliga

There look to be few initial surprises in the Bundesliga, with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich respectively already holding the top two places. Dortmund have won three of their first four games (with one defeat) to top the league, while Bayern sit just behind them on goal difference and with a game in hand.

Hertha Berlin are the only other side to boast a 100% record at this stage, while FC Schalke 04 have continued their fall from grace with three straight defeats and no goals from the start of the campaign. It would take a brave man to bet against Munich winning a fifth straight title this term, however, particularly with the astute Carlo Ancelotti in charge.

Serie A and Ligue 1

In Serie A, Napoli have made an impressive start to the new season by remaining unbeaten and winning three of their first four league outings, plundering 12 goals in the process. Defending champions Juventus were matching them until last weekend, when a Mauro Icardi-inspired Inter defeated the Old Lady and reported saved Frank De Boer’s job in the process.

In France, Paris St. Germain unsurprisingly top Ligue One with four wins and a single defeat from six games, but there are signs that this year’s title race will be far closer. Monaco have kept pace with PSG and are level with last season’s champions, while their consummate display when defeating Spurs in the Champions League bodes well for the French principality.

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