The Highs and Lows of Europe’s Top 5 Leagues


Casey Held

As most of Europe’s biggest soccer leagues come to a close, you really get to see two sides of the sport. Teams towards the top of the table and those close to the bottom all have something to play for, even though that “something” is different for the both of them. Those near the top are battling to win their respective league, while those at the bottom are fighting with everything they have not to be relegated from it. Who will be on both sides of these battles is not for certain, but that’s what predictions are for, and that’s what I’m here to do.

We’ll start with the English Premier League, in which the title race and relegation fight are still very much on. Arsenal and Manchester City are the two favorites to win the league, and I can’t see anyone else winning it other than them, although still mathematically possible. Currently, Arsenal are two points ahead but that’s partially due to the fact that they’ve played two more games than Man City. I believe that Manchester City will finish the season flawlessly and claim the title. I think that Newcastle will finish just behind those two, earning their first trip to the Champions League since 2002. On the other side of the standings, there are plenty of teams who could go down. I believe that Southampton, Leeds United, and Leicester City will be relegated, although there are so many possible combinations of teams you could go for.

Let’s move on to the Spanish LaLiga, where the champions have almost been decided already. FC Barcelona only need one more win in their remaining games to mathematically put them out of reach of bitter rivals Real Madrid. With that being said, I think that Barcelona will finish first, Real Madrid will finish second, and Atletico Madrid will finish third. For the bottom of the table, we have one side that is already relegated: Elche. It’s been a very disappointing season for them, and even with five games remaining, it’s impossible for them to crawl out of the hole they find themselves in. I think they’ll go down along with Getafe and Real Valladolid.

Next on our list is the Italian Serie A, which has the easiest prediction up to this point. Napoli currently sit first in the table with a sixteen point difference between them and the second place team. Unsurprisingly, I believe that Napoli will comfortably finish first, with Juventus finishing second and Lazio just about edging Atalanta for a third place finish. As for the other side of the table, I see Sampdoria, Cremonese, and Hellas Verona being relegated. Both Sampdoria and Cremonese have both only registered three wins the entire season up to this point. You can’t win three out of your thirty eight games and expect to survive, not at this level at least.

Moving north a little bit, we’ll look at the German Bundesliga. The Bundesliga has been won by Bayern Munich every year since 2011, and they very well may win it again this year. However, this year, this late on into the season, there is still a chance for another team: Borussia Dortmund. Dortmund currently sit one point behind their Bavarian rivals, meaning that this season is going to come down to the wire. Out of the two teams, Bayern have an easier remaining schedule. I think they’ll finish first with Dortmund right behind. Third place will go to Union Berlin, who have had an excellent season. As for those being relegated, a minimum of two teams will automatically go down to the 2nd division, and I think those will be Hertha Berlin and Schalke, who have a very difficult run of games until the end of the season. I think that VfL Bochum will finish in the 16th spot, meaning they’ll play against the team who finishes third in the second division. I think Bochum will win this tie though and keep their place in Germany’s top flight.

The last league we’ll look at is the French Ligue 1, another league that has had one team domination for years. I think this year will be the same in the sense that PSG will win once more. They definitely have to be at the top of their game, as it’s very easy to mentally have your hands on the title and slip into a careless play style, allowing other teams to catch up. I don’t think this will be the case however. I think the Parisians will claim their eleventh league title this year, with RC Lens finishing second and Marseille finishing third. Ligue 1 is the only league in Europe’s top five leagues where four teams get relegated. Angers SCO have already been relegated, as even if they win all of their remaining games, they cannot escape the relegation zone. This leaves three places, which I believe will go to AC Ajaccio, ESTAC Troyes, and AJ Auxerre.