We are approaching the final phase of the European club football season. Among the continent’s top-five leagues, it appears that the Premier League may have a potential title winner already with Manchester City cruising at the top of the table with a 14-point lead. However, the rest of the elite divisions are pretty much open and there could yet be changes for the first spot.
Here are our winner and runner-up predictions for Europe’s top-five leagues.
Manchester City have won a stunning 15 successive games in the English top-flight and overall, they have won 21 matches on the bounce in all competitions. Adding to this, they are also unbeaten in 28 matches and they seem on course for a third English crown in four seasons. Arch-rivals Manchester United have been their closest competitors, but they are 14 points adrift.
The Premier League is the most popular football league around the world, especially in Asia as measured by telecomasia.net, and winning the title makes a great difference in growing the team’s global popularity. With City’s parent company owning clubs around the world, winning this year’s league title will not only mean domestic success but increased global recognition and fan following.
The Red Devils have been inconsistent with just two wins from the previous seven games (four draws and one defeat) but they are still placed second in the standings. Despite the regular criticism from fans and pundits, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side definitely appear as the best of the chasing pack and should hang onto their position.
Winner: Manchester City
Runner-up: Manchester United
Bayern were literally in control of the title race few weeks ago, but a run of four points from three matches has seen RB Leipzig close the gap to them to only two points. Despite this, they should be the favourites to lift a ninth straight Bundesliga crown, given they have been in similar positions and responded with a long-winning run.
Leipzig are the closest competitors with third-placed Wolfsburg a further five points behind them. The Saxony-based outfit have top-four rivals in Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg to face before the end of the season and those are games they generally tend to struggle. A second place finish could be on the cards for them.
Winner: Bayern Munich
Runner-up: RB Leipzig
The Ligue 1 title race is perfectly placed with Lille, Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon separated by only three points. Les Parisiens have had it easy for the past three seasons, but they now have a challenge on their hands to retain their title. They have Lyon and Lille to face on either side of the international break and those matches could determine their title prospects.
Les Parisiens have been much more consistent since Mauricio Pochettino replaced Tuchel at the helm during the winter break and the title race could down to the wire. We fancy Les Parisiens to eventually come on top with Lille, who have the joint-best defensive record in the league, finishing as the runners-up ahead of Les Gones.
Winner: Paris Saint-Germain
AC Milan have lost momentum since the turn of the year and they have suffered four defeats from 11 matches. That has been capitalised by arch-rivals Inter Milan, who are currently on a five-match winning streak. Antonio Conte’s side are now three points ahead of the Rossoneri and seven in front of Juventus with 14 games to play.
Given the Rossoneri’s recent inconsistency, there is every chance that the Bianconeri may edge them to the runner-up spot. However, we don’t fancy them to pull ahead of Inter to win a 10th straight Serie A title. The Nerazzurri have the advantage with no European football to bother about and that will keep their players afresh and focused exclusively on the league duties unlike their rivals.
Winner: Inter Milan
Atletico Madrid were 10 points clear at the top of the table in January but the gap has been reduced to five with just two wins coming from the previous five league games (one loss and two defeats). Still, they are in a relatively solid position, given they have a game in hand over both Barcelona and Real Madrid, who are second and third respectively.
Diego Simeone’s side have been top for 13 straight gameweeks and their prospects of winning the title may depend on avoiding defeats in the match-ups against Los Blancos and Blaugrana. Should they do so, they should claim their first league title since 2013/2014. With the injuries that have hampered Los Blancos, the Blaugrana are favourites to finish ahead of them, as things stand.
Winner: Atletico Madrid
Stats from Transfermarkt.com