Here are the top leagues in Europe and some context for the season – who will finish atop their respective league?
We’re about two months and half a dozen matchdays into domestic European league seasons, depending on the specific contest. At this point, we’re starting to have an idea of who the contenders are- it may not feel like it, but we’re almost 1/5 of the way through the season, so the sample size is starting to get significant. Let’s take a look at the current state of the title races in each of Europe’s top 5 leagues and make some way-too-early calls on who’s going to finish on top.
The League: English Premier League
In what should come as a surprise to exactly nobody, the World’s most expensive and talented league has the best early title race. Manchester City still have a perfect record with six wins from six matches. The thing is they haven’t played any other contenders, except for Newcastle depending on how you feel about them.
Liverpool are right behind with points dropped in just one match, an opening day draw with Chelsea. The attack looks to be back to its high-flying form, while the revamped midfield looks solid. Brighton have had a great start and are close to Liverpool with 15 points, while North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham, who fought to a draw recently, have 14 apiece. Rounding out the top of the table is Aston Villa, whose resurgence has continued with a 12-point start.
The Pick: Liverpool
We’re right back to the “Citypool” dichotomy that has defined so much of the past decade of Premier League football, with Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola set to duke it out for the title once more. This time, however, there’s a major difference; Liverpool are not in the Champions League, and should have a much easier time rotating the squad down the stretch. Their best XI matching up to City’s has never been an issue- that’s why the head to head results have been so level, compared to City’s league-winning dominance. This year, the Reds shouldn’t be stretched quite so thin; there will be no midseason dip in form, no slip, they will go wire-to-wire with City and finish the job.
The League: Italian Serie A
Each of the past four seasons in my personal favorite league have seen a new team earn the Scudetto, and it’s not particularly hard to imagine that streak running up to five years. Well, it might not be a team outside of the list of the four previous winners, but after losing manager Luciano Spaletti to the Italian National Team, defending champs Napoli have drawn twice and lost twice in the first five games of their title defense, leaving them in seventh place thus far.
Inter are the only remaining perfect club in the league, after a thrashing of rivals AC Milan, who have only lost that one game as a rejuvenated attack has fueled some good results. Juventus are sandwiched between those two clubs in second place, while Lecce and Fiorentina are early-season overachievers in fourth and fifth. Notably, José Mourinho’s Roma have scored the second-most goals in the league, and have the third-best differential, but have won just once; look for some positive regression there in the near future
The Pick: Juventus
Simply put, there is no way Inter can keep this up. They’ve started the year in great form with 14 goals scored and just one allowed, but nothing about their roster depth or management suggests that they’ll be able to keep anything close to that standard this year. In the second iteration of the Allegri era, Juve will get back to the winning ways they enjoyed during his first Bianconeri tenure, driven by an uncharacteristically strong attack centered around the finally-healthy duo of Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic.
The League: Spanish La Liga
It’s a tight race at the top between annual contender Barcelona and…Girona? After earning promotion in 2022 and finishing 10th in La Liga last season, they’re up at the top of the table joining Barça in a Catalonia-heavy title race. They’re just a point back, and have played a game fewer; the argument could be made that Girona are “really” ahead, with one draw compared to Barcelona’s two
Real Madrid sit in third, having recently suffered their first loss of the season after falling behind to rivals Atletico and not being bailed out by Jude Bellingham for once. Los Blancos are as deep as anyone in the midfield, but the squad construction elsewhere leaves much to be desired.
The Pick: Barcelona
Gone are the days of La Liga being considered the class of the World; there’s no longer even an argument to be made that they’re the World’s second best league after last year’s European performances by Serie A clubs. There’s no great answer here, as every club is fatally flawed in its own way, but let’s go with Barça. Girona are an awesome story and it would be great to see them make the UCL, but they don’t have the depth to make a serious title push, while Madrid’s roster is incoherent, and the club is likely to put a ton of focus into European performance, as they always do.
The League: German Bundesliga
After a razor-thin finish to last season, perennial champions Bayern just barely extended their decade-long Bundesliga-winning streak as Borussia Dortmund came up just short on the last day. That being said, with Jude Bellingham gone, Dortmund haven’t been able to keep the same standard, and are sitting in sixth right now.
That being said, the top of the table is pretty tight early on; Dortmund have 11 points, just two behind Bayern in first, who are tied with Bayer Leverkusen. Between those two squads and Dortmund is a trio of teams with 12 points apiece; VfB Stuttgart, RB Leipzig, and TSG Hoffenheim. Stuttgart just barely avoided relegation last year, and Hoffenheim were decidedly average at best, but it’s nice to see them starting strong this time around.
The Pick: Bayern
Unfortunately, Dortmund missed the most golden chance any German team has had in awhile to take down Bayern, and another one like that isn’t coming anytime soon. With Harry Kane in the fold, Bayern’s one-year hiatus from having a definitive top goalscorer after the departure of Robert Lewandowski is over. With that major hole plugged, the Bavarians should pull away before long and coast to another German title.
The League: French Ligue Un
This one isn’t too different from the Bundesliga; usually, it’s not much of a contest, with the exception of a very strange 2020-21 season when Lille stole the title, but PSG were pushed to the brink last season by Lens last year as they only won Ligue Un by a point. This year, the Northern club is in the relegation playoff zone, but Paris themselves are only in third right now, with two draws and a loss.
They’re actually tied with Monaco, leading on goal differential. Ahead of both clubs are undefeated Nice (three wins three draws) and early surprises Brest, who are 4-1-1 so far. Nice have even beaten Paris at Parc des Princes in the league head to head, while Brest haven’t quite been tested yet, but the two will meet on Sunday.
The Pick: PSG
Again, like the Bundesliga, this one is going to end the way it always does: with Paris on top. PSG are really the only squad with the depth to get it done this season, and while there have been growing pains with the departures of Lionel Messi and Neymar, the club’s new look with Kylian Mbappé as the definitive sole focal point is a good one. They looked sharp in their UCL season opener, and that form will surely carry back to their domestic pursuits before long