As Premier League continues its fixtures and other four leagues on a holiday break, here’s how things stand as we head into 2022.
In the Premier League, there are world-class teams such as Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester City. This City side is a class above any other top team in the league. 2021 was a year to remember for City supporters, they lost their first-ever Champions League final, but no other team in Europe had a better 2021 than them. City had the best attack and defence than any other side in 2021. They broke the records of most wins in a calendar year and their goal-scoring record with 113 in 44 games.
At the start of the season, we expected Chelsea and Liverpool to be the front runners in the title race as City had a shaky start to their season. But since then, a lot has changed, Chelsea and Liverpool have lost their grip in recent weeks, and Manchester City is running riot. City has won 11 games in a row, taking them 11 points clear of Chelsea to the top of the table. Man City is the clear favourites, but things will become more apparent as Chelsea faces Liverpool and Manchester City in their next league fixtures.
Arsenal sits at fourth position and might consider themselves unlucky after the controversial decisions against City. West Ham will be aiming for a second consecutive season of European football with a top 6 finish. At the same time, Manchester United and Spurs sit at 6th and 7th place with two games to play each. Meanwhile, Watford, Burnley and Norwich City will be hoping for a fruitful 2022 as they face a relegation battle.
Real Madrid sits at the top of the table in the Spanish top-flight with a comfortable 8-point cushion over Sevilla. Lionel Messi left Barcelona in the summer, and the Blaugrana have suffered a lot as they sit outside the Top 6. Rayo Vallecano has produced the biggest surprise of the season so far as they hold the last Champions League spot above Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona. Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Betis are in fine form as they look poised for a Top 4 finish if they build on this momentum.
Carlo Ancelotti will be eyeing the LaLiga title to become the first manager ever to win all five big leagues. Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr. have come up with the goods for Real Madrid and are on course to become one of the deadliest duos in LaLiga history. As for Alaves, Cadiz and Levante, they face the relegation battle.
Last season, Inter Milan broke Juventus’s nine-year reign as Italian champions. Antonio Conte was the leading man behind Inter’s major revamp, with Romelu Lukaku being the best player in the league. Antonio Conte left the club in the summer, as well as Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi bagged a big-money move to Chelsea and PSG. Everyone expected Inter Milan to struggle after losing their manager and best player, but Inzaghi’s Inter is better than they have ever been in the past couple of years. The reigning champions have scored 49 goals this season and are on an 11-game unbeaten run.
Currently, the title race is between the two Milan sides. Napoli started the season in fine form but have lost 3 out in the last 4 games. Inter look solid and comfortable at the top of the table, and on the other hand, AC Milan, who are chasing for a first league title since 2011, look inconsistent. Juventus sits at fifth place with 34 points (4 behind Atalanta) despite a terrible season. Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence is visible as Juventus is the only team in the top 6 who haven’t crossed the 30-goal mark in the first half of the season.
The race for European spots was expected to be a thrilling experience as Jose Mourinho, Maurizio Sarri, Luciano Spalletti, and Massimiliano Allegri returned to Seria A. Roma and Fiorentina went toe-to-toe for the last European spot. While Genoa, Cagliari and Salernitana are in the relegation zone.
As expected, Bayern Munich is dominating the Bundesliga right now, nine points clear of Borussia Dortmund, who has struggled to keep up their momentum as the title race is slipping away from them. Bayern is on course to win their 10th consecutive Bundesliga title, having broken multiple records in 2021, and they will try to set new records only to break them next season. That’s how strong and dominating Bayern have been this season. The German giants have netted 56 goals in 17 leagues.
Games, most in Europe’s top 5 leagues.
Freiburg is one of the season’s surprises as they sit at third place, 5 points behind Dortmund. Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim share the same points (28), but Leverkusen sits in fourth-place with a better scoring record. Frankfurt and Union Berlin occupy the remaining European spots with 27 points each. VfB Stuttgart sits at 16th place in the relegation play-offs spot, while Arminia Bielefeld and Fürth are in relegation.
PSG are on their way to clinch their 10th league title and 8th title in the last ten years. PSG has struggled recently with 3 draws in the previous 4 games, but despite dropping points, they have an advantage of 13 points over second-placed Nice and Marseille, who have a game in hand. In Neymar’s absence, Mbappe and Messi are clicking, which is a positive sign for the French giants as the Champions League knockout stages will begin in a month. Rennes and Montpellier occupy the remaining European qualification spots, while Lorient and Saint-Étienne face the relegation battle.