25 April 2005

Euro Leagues Summary

Heading into the final month of the season, I thought I'd do a quick recap of the major European leagues and see where things stand and which title races are still up for grabs. Here goes...

There's little drama at the top of the Premier League table as Chelsea are champions-elect with a lead of 14 points with only 4 games remaining. The only question is when they will clinch the title. There are, however, places in Europe still up for grabs. Everton have yet to clinch the fourth and final Champions League place, though they have the inside track. Liverpool and Bolton look to be headed into the UEFA cup, though a few teams like Middlesbrough and Tottenham are still in the mix.

It's a two horse race in La Liga with Barcelona maintaining a six point lead over arch rivals Real Madrid with five games remaining. Real Madrid beat Barca a few weekends back to keep their title hopes alive, but Barcelona would still need to slip up badly in home stretch to give the meringues any hope. As their 0-4 away win this weekend at Malaga indicates, Barcelona have no intention of slipping up. Behind the two front runners, five teams are within four points of one another fighting it out for the other four places in next season's UEFA competitions: Sevilla, Español, Villareal, Valencia, and Real Bètis.


Olympique Lyonnais are virtually assured of a fourth consecutive Championnat with an 11 point lead with only four games remaining. Lille have been a bit of a surprise in second.

After a slow start to their Bundesliga campaign, Bayern Munich have been able to grind their way to a nine point lead with four games remaining. Despite Bayern's comfortable lead, there's been a fair amount of parity in the Bundesliga in recent years and that's proven the case this year as well with seven teams still in contention for European places next year.

PSV Eindhoven have already claimed the Dutch Eredivisie title. Their 14 point lead is unassailable with only four games remaining. One surprise is the fact that AZ Alkmaar have been able to upset the balance of the traditional "big three" in Holland. They currently stand in third and are set to square off against Sporting Lisbon is the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup.

It's an exciting battle of the titans for this year's scudetto with AC Milan and Juventus tied at the top of the calcio on 73 points with five games remaining. It's a two horse race with the third place team 14 points back. Juventus don't have the distraction of Champions League matches anymore, but I'm not sure that makes a difference. Both teams are tremendously talented and deserving, but, personally, I favor AC Milan.

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