Early Season Talking Points From Across Europe
Conte Era Off to a Good Start at Inter
Inter Milan have had a sensational start to the new season under Conte. They have won their first 6 games in the league and are currently 2 points ahead of Juventus. They have also conceded only 2 goals which demonstrates the defensive organization and discipline you come to expect from a Conte team. Their star summer signings, Lukaku and Sanchez, have also both had promising starts. Lukaku in particular has hit the ground running as he has already scored 3 goals for his new team. Inter’s most impressive result thus far has been a convincing 2-0 win over rival AC Milan. A huge test is coming up for Inter as they play Juventus this weekend. It remains to be seen if Inter can maintain the form they have shown and challenge Juventus for the title.
Top 6 Race is Wide Open in the Premier League
Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and to a lesser extent Arsenal have all shown serious vulnerabilities in the early part of the season. This has opened the door for midtable teams to potentially reach the European positions if they put together a good season. Leicester City have had an exceptional start and currently occupy third place. Two other teams that are high up in the table are Crystal Palace and Burnley, but it remains to be seen if these two teams have the necessary quality to keep going for the entirety of the season. Everton and Wolverhampton have not had the best of starts but they have plenty of potential in their teams to put together good runs and climb the standings. Another team that looks strong on paper and is capable of doing well this season is West Ham.
Liverpool Take the Early Lead Against Manchester City in the Title Race
Liverpool have gotten off to a very impressive start in the Premier League. They have won all their matches, including wins against Arsenal and Chelsea. This strong start has allowed them to build a 5 point lead over Manchester City. Manchester City have also been playing well so far this season and have scored an astounding 27 goals in their first 7 games. However, a shock defeat to Norwich and their inability to put away Tottenham in a game that they completely dominated has left them behind Liverpool. Maybe this is finally Liverpool’s year.
Big Teams Struggling in the Champions League
A number of top teams have had difficult starts to their Champions League campaigns. Most notably is Real Madrid. They were crushed 3-0 by PSG in their first game, a game in which they failed to record a single shot on target and Neymar, Cavani and Mbappe were not even playing. Things did not go according to plan in Madrid’s second game either as they had to come from behind to earn a draw at home against Club Brugge. Both of last year’s finalists have also not gotten off to ideal starts. Tottenham drew their first game against Olympiacos and got destroyed 7-2 in their second game against Bayern Munich. Liverpool lost their first game to Napoli and were fortunate to win their second after throwing away a 3-0 lead vs RB Salzburg. Chelsea have also had a win and a defeat but with their inconsistency this season it wouldn’t surprise me if Ajax and Valencia finish ahead of them. Finally, despite their strong start in Serie A, Inter Milan have found it difficult to accumulate points thus far in the group stage. Their loss to Barcelona is understandable but a draw against Slavia Prague could be costly considering Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund are also in the group.
La Liga Title Race Could be Tight This Season
The big 3 teams in La Liga have all had slow starts to the season. Real Madrid currently lead the way, but they have looked vulnerable. They have drawn 3 of their first 7 games and at times are very fragile defensively. Barcelona have uncharacteristically dropped plenty of points to mid table teams and have had a poor away record. Much of their struggles can be attributed to Messi being injured for most of their games, but it once again exposes their overreliance on the Argentine. Atletico Madrid have bought and sold many players in the summer and it looks like they still need some time for everything to come together. None of these teams have demonstrated so far this season the necessary quality and consistency to pull away in the table. I would not be surprised if it will be a very close title race this season.
Odegaard Finally Announces Himself
Many may have forgotten about the young Norwegian prodigy that Real Madrid signed back in 2015. After a couple of underwhelming years in his development many people came to question the hype surrounding the young player. Last year he had an encouraging loan spell at Vitesse in the Netherlands, and this year he has finally exploded onto the scene. Odegaard has had a superb September which has seen him being named the La Liga player of the month. He has scored 2 goals and assisted another 2 so far this season and he has been a crucial part of Real Sociedad’s strong start which sees them in fifth place. Odegaard is currently still just 20 years of age and is in the first year of his 2 year loan spell at Real Sociedad.