In the midst of the pandemic, a unique situation has developed in European football: in none of the top 5 leagues, it is still possible to name a future champion with absolute certainty. In England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France, the fight for the title will be fought until the finish line. When this was the last time – you will not remember!
“Money bags” no longer dominate the way they used to, and this only plays into the hands of the fans. Still, any competition ceases to be of interest if there is no intrigue in it. Let’s take a look at the leaders’ calendars of each of the top 5 leagues in Europe and try to predict how the Golden Race will end.
Premier League: Man City may lose gold due to calendar
Manchester City, 74 points
The calendar: Aston Villa (away, opponent ranked 11), Crystal Palace (a, 13), Chelsea (home, 5), Newcastle (a, 17), Brighton (a, 15) , Everton (d, 8).
Manchester United, 63 points (game in reserve)
The calendar: Burnley (d, 16), Leeds (a, 10), Liverpool (d, 6), Aston Villa (a, 11), Leicester (d, 3), Fulham ( d, 18), Wolverhampton (d, 12).
It would seem that “Manchester City” is far enough away from the nearest pursuer, but not everything is so simple. Firstly, Manchester United have one game left, after which the gap from the leader can be reduced to eight points. In addition, Josep Guardiola’s team has a very busy calendar. Ahead are the FA Cup semi-finals (and possibly the final), the League Cup final, two matches in the Champions League semi-finals with PSG. In addition, Manchester City have only two home games left in the Premier League and the rest away.
Manchester United have a simpler schedule, although Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer’s team still play with Liverpool and Leicester at home. Of course, catching up with the “townspeople” is difficult, but it will definitely not be a miracle. Manchester City lacks freshness, with the leader losing two of their last five Premier League games.
Example: Atlético is lighter at the finish than Real Madrid and Barça
Atlético, 67 points
The calendar: Eibar (d, 20), Huesca (d, 16), Athletic (a, 11), Elche (a, 18), Barcelona (a, 3), Real Sociedad ( d, 5), Osasuna (d, 14), Valladolid (d, 17).
Real Madrid, 66 points
The calendar: Getafe (d, 15), Cadiz (d, 12), Betis (d, 6), Osasuna (d, 14), Sevilla (d, 4), Granada (d , 8), Athletic (d, 11), Villarreal (d, 7).
Barcelona, 65 points
The calendar: Getafe (d, 15), Villarreal (a, 7), Granada (d, 8), Valencia (a, 13), Atlético (d, 1), Levante (a , 9), Celta (d, 10), Eibar (d, 20).
Spain has a crazy plot! Three teams are competing for gold at once with almost equal chances. Two Madrid clubs have original calendars. Atletico will play at home twice in a row, then away three times in a row, and then again twice at home. Real Madrid, on the other hand, will have two outings, followed by three games at home and again two outings.
Nevertheless, Atlético can be called the favorite not only because of the points advantage, but also due to the fact that Diego Simeone’s team has a less complicated calendar. The sum of the places of all future rivals of the leader of Examples is 104, while Barcelona has 83, and Real has 77 in general. At the same time, Real is still playing in the semi-finals of the Champions League. On the other hand, Atlético or Barça will definitely lose points as they face a face-to-face meeting at Camp Nou.
Serie A: Inter went ahead, but too early to crown
Inter, 74 points
The calendar: Napoli (d, 5), Spice (d, 14), Verona (d, 9), Crotone (d, 20), Sampdoria (d, 10), Roma (d , 7), Juventus (d, 3), Udinese (d, 12).
Milan, 63 points
The calendar: Genoa (d, 13), Sassuolo (d, 8), Lazio (d, 6), Benevento (d, 16), Juventus (d, 3), Torino (d , 17), “Cagliari” (d, 18), “Atalanta” (d, 4).
Juventus, 62 points
The calendar: Atalanta (a, 4), Parma (a, 19), Fiorentina (a, 15), Udinese (a, 12), Milan (d, 2), Sassuolo (a , 8), Inter (d, 1), Bologna (d, 11).
The weakest intrigue in Italy, but do not rush to crown Inter. At least for the reason that the Nerazzurri have not won the Scudetto for 11 years. This line-up of “Inter” does not have champion experience, the necessary margin of safety, and often in such cases, the teams, feeling the approach of gold, begin to make mistakes and lose points under pressure. There are eight rounds ahead, and there is no certainty that the Nerazzurri will win at least half of the remaining matches.
Again, if we sum up the places of all future rivals, Inter (80) has a slightly more difficult calendar than Milan (85). True, Juventus (72) has an even more complicated schedule. So far, the reigning champion will play only three home matches and five away matches. But the “old lady” will play at home with both Milan and Inter.
Bundesliga: RB Leipzig saddened by Bayern’s departure from the Champions League
Bayern, 65 points
The calendar: Wolfsburg (d, 3), Bayer (d, 6), Mainz (d, 14), Borussia M (d, 8), Freiburg (d, 10), Augsburg ( d, 11).
RB Leipzig, 60 points
The calendar: Hoffenheim (d, 12), Cologne (d, 17), Stuttgart (d, 9), Borussia D (d, 5), Wolfsburg (d, 3), Union ( d, 7).
Two clubs continue to fight for the victory in the Bundesliga. In RB Leipzig, most likely, they were upset about the departure of Bayern from the Champions League. This means that now the team of Hans-Dieter Flick does not need to distribute forces between two tournaments: the reigning champion will focus on defending the title.
The calendars of Bayern and RB Leipzig at the end of the season are about the same in terms of difficulty. For the Munich side, the next matches with Wolfsburg and Bayer should be the most difficult, while Julian Nagelsmann’s team, on the contrary, got the strongest opponents in the last rounds. Apparently, Bayern will not miss the first place, but RB Leipzig should not lose hope.
Ligue 1: Monaco Golovin will have four outings
Lille, 69 points
The calendar: Montpellier (d, 8), Lyon (d, 4), Nice (d, 9), Lens (d, 5), Saint-Etienne (d, 13), Angers (d, 11).
PSG, 66 points
The calendar: Saint-Etienne (d, 13), Metz (d, 10), Lens (d, 5), Rennes (d, 7), Reims (d, 12), Brest (d, 16).
AS Monaco, 65 points
The calendar: Bordeaux (a, 15), Angers (a, 11), Lyon (a, 4), Reims (a, 12), Rennes (a, 7), Lens (a , five).
Lyon, 64 points
The calendar: Nantes (d, 19), Lille (d, 1), Monaco (d, 3), Lorient (d, 17), Nimes (d, 18), Nice (d , nine).
In France, as well as in Spain, several teams at once claim to win. At the same time, the reigning champion PSG is not an obvious favorite of the race. Paris is three points behind the leader and should be torn between Ligue 1 and Champions League.
Lyon seems to have the best calendar (the sum of places of all rivals – 67), which will have three meetings with outsiders. On the other hand, the “weavers” still have to play with Lille and Monaco. If Rudy Garcia’s team defeats direct competitors, they may even dream of gold. Lille (50) has the most unpleasant graph statistically. The Dogs will face two teams from the top-5 on the road, and will host two teams from the top-10.
It would be nice to see Russian national team midfielder Alexander Golovin champion of France. But the Monegasques have a difficult ending to the championship. Monaco, unlike their competitors, will play away four times.