Leagues are at or are nearing the half way point and we are starting to get a sense for how things will end up. I've caught a good number of Premiership, La Liga and Bundesliga games. Here are my thoughts on the Usual Suspects for winning those leagues.
Man U is in first place after displacing a Chelsea side that have recently shown that they can be beat. That is a bit a surprise to me as I thought the Chelsea bench was deep, and the motivation to win was still strong. Drogba's illness (malaria) and Lampard's absence due to injury has cost them dearly. Perhaps they can recover after the New Year?
United's bench is starting to look stronger than I initially thought at the start of the year, with Chicharito helpfully scoring valuable goals, Park putting in some good shifts and even Anderson doing his bit for the team.
Some people at this stage are saying Arsenal could challenge for the top but I am not completely convinced (especially after the tame defeat agains United on Dec 13). Arsenal tend to take on injuries at inopportune times in the season. If they can make it through January and February healthy, I may but more stock in their chances.
See the next blog for the Clasico eval, surely 3 key points to determine the winner of the league.
As for the also rans, I too have been impressed with Villareal, and deceived by both Sevilla and Valencia. Neither of the latter can put any kind of good run together, and Sevilla, despite having a good squad on paper, are in a downward spiral.
Judging by what I have seen of of them so far this season (admittedly only a few games), Munich don't deserve to win anything. Sure they have been hit by injuries to some key players, but this is Munich. More is expected.
Dortmund -- these guys are playing out of their skin, a mix of confidence and style. Hope they can keep it up after the long break, depite losing their Japanese star to the Asia Cup in January.
Hannover ? I just can't believe their good form will continue after break. Let's hope they can keep it up enough to make the UEFA EuroLiga Cup or whatever it is called.