Andrew Gillooley, Vancouver. April 1st 2013:
With the season coming to a close we’re looking at one of the dullest season finales ever. All over Europe the excitement has been drained as the league leaders walk towards the title. In each of England, Germany, Spain Italy and France it would appear that the leagues have been wrapped up bar the singing. Far from the exciting final day turnaround that saw Manchester City snatch the title in the dieing seconds or the mid April battle between Dortmund and Bayern that last year went a long way to deciding the Bundersliga, we’ll have little to get excited about at the top of the tables this year. Not that any of this will stop the mainstream press from promoting the final few matches as era defining. We’ll no doubt hear about how Manchester City can ‘put pressure’ on United with a win in the Manchester derby despite knowing that there is no chance that Manchester United will throw away 1 15 point lead with only eight games remaining.
Premier League – 15 Points
Mancini has already ceded the title. With only eight matches left, even if one of them is against United there is no chance of City overturning United’s 15 point lead now. Especially when it is they, rather than United that look like dropping points between now and the end of the season. Further down the table the battle for Champions League qualification is of more interest, with Arsenal and indeed Everton within striking distance of a Chelsea side that cannot be relied upon to offer the solid end to the season that has defined their recent teams.
Bundersliga – 20 Points
Bayern Munich have responded to losing last year’s title to Dortmund in remarkable fashion. Holding a 20 point lead thanks to them winning an impressive 85% of their matches this year they have bounced back and shown Dortmund that they will need to improve their league form if they are to mix Champions League football with a genuine title challenge, something that Bayern have been working towards for some time now.
La Liga – 13 Points
Barcelona seem to have had the league wrapped up all season, and they edge closer to title week by week. Even when they have dropped points like this weekend, the two Madrid clubs haven’t been able to make up enough ground to put any real pressure on.
Serie A – 9 Points
Juventus look set to retain their title, nine points clear of Napoli. This despite the fact that they haven’t looked as solid as last term. Their progress in the Champions League this year though will fuel the belief that this season has seen a new level reached.
Ligue 1 – 7 Points
PSG who were seen as certainties at the start of the season thanks to their free spending way’s haven’t had it all their own way this year. Despite stuttering at times throughout the season, they have now opened up a seven point lead over Marseille, and with just eight games remaining look set to bring the title to Paris.
So with all the key leagues seemingly tied up, it is just a good job that there is plenty of intrigue around the teams at the bottom still. Next week we’ll look in more depth at the key relegation battles in the major European leagues.