As we look towards the spring, which is traditionally the time when sport seasons in Europe’s major leagues gear up for their conclusions, there is something a little different about 2023. Compared to previous seasons, this is the first time that soccer teams have broken off playing league games in the middle of a campaign to accommodate a World Cup. We don’t know how that will fully affect the performance of teams over the course of a season, but there is certainly a sense of change afoot in some of the continent’s biggest competitions.
Over recent years, it has become a lot easier to predict who will win the league in some of the leading soccer-playing countries. England will usually see Manchester City pick up the trophy at the end of the Europe’s major leagues, France will almost inevitably be won by Paris St Germain. Germany has seen Bayern Munich win the title every season since 2013. Juventus used to have a permanent lease on the Italian title, but there, at least, there have been different champions in the last two seasons. Will bettors, fresh from finding new sites at wishcasinos.com, be well-advised to back someone other than the usual in the major leagues?
No. There will be no surprise there. Not that Napoli were the team every sports bettor was backing before the season kicked off, but they have led from the front and in late February they hold a 15-point lead over their closest challengers. They will win the league, and their biggest challenge will be to hold on to exceptional striker Victor Osimhen after the season ends.
There is an outside chance of Paris St Germain dropping the title this season; their lead of five points is narrow by comparison this stage of previous seasons, and closest adversaries Marseille seem to have a stronger mentality than usual. The capital club even lost the last game between the two sides, albeit that it was in the cup, a less important competition.
Now this one is interesting. After 21 games, three sides were locked on 43 points atop the Bundesliga table. Bayern are there, of course, matched by Borussia Dortmund, who were always expected to be the next best team. However, nobody would have credited that Union Berlin would be so close to the top at this stage. Three points behind sit another surprise package, Freiburg, and RB Leipzig are on 39. Any of these teams could win the title.
Manchester City are two points behind Arsenal, who were not expected to finish in the top four, and Arsenal have an extra game to play which could expand the gap to five. Former dominant force Manchester United are another three behind their local rivals, so there are three teams who could win the league. There is a persistent sense that Manchester City will still pull it out, but that has been tested this season, and time will tell whether it is tested to destruction.
In Spain, meanwhile, no side has really been dominant in recent years, but current leaders Barcelona are comfortably ahead of the crowd, leading biggest rivals Real Madrid by eight points. They’ll probably take the title from here.