Mid-season recap: how is each title race shaping up in Europe’s top 5 leagues?

Following the World Cup disruption, it has taken till the end of January for the top leagues in Europe to reach their halfway point. Despite this, each title race has certainly taken shape in its own, unique way. Let’s see who is leading the way in Germany, Italy, Spain, and France.

Firstly, though, we will briefly discuss the Premier League. Arsenal have been the team to beat during the first half of 2022/23. Currently, the Gunners hold a five-point advantage over second-placed Manchester City, whilst also having a game in hand.

But the top two are yet to face off in the league this season. So, a significant points swing in either direction could either re-ignite this title battle or hand Arsenal firm control of the league.

Either way, there is a lot of optimism among the Gunners faithful that they can secure their first Premier League crown since 2004.

By comparison, leaders in other divisions across Europe are trying to break decades-long trophy droughts.

Title race recap: Napoli dominating Serie A, Barcelona pulling clear in La Liga

In Italy, one side has emerged as the dominant force so far this campaign. After 20 games, Napoli hold a massive 13-point lead over the team in second, Inter Milan, as they try to break a 33-year Scudetto duck.

Thanks to the dynamic young tandem of Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Napoli lead all of Serie A with 48 goals scored. They also possess the best defensive record – conceding just 15 goals.

No other side in Italy – and arguably in Europe – can hold a candle to I Partenopei. As previously mentioned, Inter Milan are in second, miles adrift of the runaway leaders. Lazio, Atalanta, and AC Milan are just one point behind Inter, though; this could set up a very interesting battle for the top four.

Additionally, Jose Mourinho’s Roma are just a point further back in sixth.

Meanwhile, in La Liga, Xavi’s revolution at Barcelona is showing promise after just one year. The Blaugrana hold top spot in La Liga by five points over Real Madrid. This weekend, Barca extended their advantage thanks to a narrow 1-0 win over Catalan rivals, Girona.

Los Blancos, meanwhile, dropped points in a 0-0 draw with Real Sociedad.

Although they have an array of attacking talent, Xavi’s Barcelona have an impressive defensive record. They have conceded just six times in 2022/23 – the best defensive record in Europe’s top five leagues.

Madrid thus have their work cut out if they are going to overtake Barca in what will be a two-horse title race in Spain.

Contrastingly, the Bundesliga looks a lot more open than in previous seasons.

Challengers threaten Bayern, PSG dominance in Germany and France

On the face of it, Bayern Munich leading the Bundesliga sounds like the status quo. However, the Bavarians had to fight their way back to the top spot this season.

Bayern were down in fifth following a four-match winless streak in September. From there, a series of high-scoring victories allowed them to move back up the table. Munich’s form has faltered since the winter re-start of the Bundesliga, though; they have had a trio of draws to begin 2023.

This has allowed the surprise package of Union Berlin to sneak within a point of the German giants. RB Leipzig, who have challenged for the title before, join the race a further point back from Union.

With Dortmund (fourth) and Freiburg (fifth) just an extra point behind, first to fifth in the Bundesliga are separated by just three points. We should be set for a fantastic second half of the season in Germany as a result.

PSG have also struggled for form in France since the turn of the year. They have taken just one win from four matches in 2023 – a 2-0 victory over bottom-side, Angers.  This has seen Les Parisiens advantage at the top of Ligue 1 cut to just three points.

Lens are PSG’s closest challengers in the title race thanks to yet another improved season. Their 3-1 win over the league leaders on New Year’s Day really helped diminish Paris’ dominance of the 2022/23 season.

Unfortunately, though, it appears that Lens will be the only side able to take on the might of PSG. Despite Marseille (third) being on an unbeaten run, the five-point margin to first place might be too far for them to catch.

Featured image credit: Getty