Sports / September 23, 2009

European seasons shape up

With a handful of league games already under their belt, soccer fans are starting to get a feel for how this season is going for some of the biggest teams in Europe. Since Spain seems to be the league everyone’s watching this year, let’s start there.

With only three to four games down, Barcelona and Real Madrid are already in the first and second positions, respectively. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo are not disappointing their new clubs, both having had scored four goals so far. Leo Messi, despite being blamed for much of Argentina’s bad luck in recent games, joins them and Spaniard David Villa, also with four goals.

This Spanish season is starting out very goal-heavy, with Barcelona and Madrid both carrying an average of almost four goals per game. Athletico Madrid however, is not enjoying quite as much success as their cross-town rivals this year. They remain winless so far in the season, both in La Liga and the Champions League. For the less fútbol savvy, the Champions League is an annual international competition for the best European clubs.

The English Premier League has seen a few more games than Spain: six, to be exact, so it’s becoming a little easier to analyze. The big favorites right now are Chelsea, which is currently 6-0. But it’s not all peachy in West London. Thanks to a controversy over the signing of French youngster Gaël Kakuta, FIFA (professional soccer’s governing body) has banned Chelsea from signing anyone until winter 2011.

For a team owned by the second richest man in England, that’s quite a bummer. Reigning champions Manchester United aren’t far behind Chelsea, either. Fresh out of a victory against big-spending rivals Manchester City, they are 5-1 and building steam. It should be said that both of the aforementioned teams have a game more than Manchester City and Aston Villa, who are both sitting only three points behind Man. U.

Over in Italy, the season still hasn’t seemed to shape up for some of the biggest clubs. After three wins in four games, and a 4-0 annihilation of AC Milan, Inter Milan is still unable to claim the first place that they’ve grown so accustomed to in recent years. Instead, they’re sitting pretty behind Juventus and Sampdoria, who have both won four games in a row. But this could all change Saturday when Inter and Sampdoria face off. AC Milan has had a lamentable season opening: with only two wins, the 2007 Champions League winners are currently sitting in eighth place.

Will the seasons follow this path for the rest of the year? Or will we see a huge change in leadership? Who will emerge heroic, and who will be setting their eyes on next year? Only time will tell.

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Gordon Barratt

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