Recap of the big leagues, who grabbed Champions League spots?
The big leagues are finished (Champions League spots are clear) for this season and time for a small recap. As we know, the French and Dutch leagues were postponed and never finished. The other major leagues finished without any vast surprise in terms of league winners. There were some big surprises in terms of Champions League and Europa League spots in all the leagues for me. A lot of teams didn't deliver in terms of staying in the higher league and managed to disappoint dropping to the lower league.
English Premier League, some big teams missing from Champions League!
Liverpool winning the Premier League wasn't something unexpected after the break. Seventeen points ahead of Manchester City and a deserved Champions with 99 points. Manchester United and Chelsea are going to play in Champions League next season, while Leicester and Spurs got the Europa League places. Wolves lost out the spot being on the same amount of points as Spurs. Arsenal finished on 8th place, and Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich dropped to Championship.
Arsenal failing for Champions League spot was a massive disappointment for the club and fans of course. They managed to clinch a Europa League spot through the FA Cup, winning against Chelsea.
The biggest positive for me was Sheffield United. They finished in 9th place but missed out from Europa League spot just by 5 points. They lost their last three league games, and these 9 points, of course, cost them a lot. One of their best performers were goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who went back to Manu. Oliver McBurnie and Lys Mousset were the top goal scorers with six goals. Losing their goalkeeper has a considerable impact as the team's main strength were their defence. Thirty-nine goals scored against them while Chelsea conceded 54 and Spurs 47 goals for example.
Fulham, Leeds and West Brom will play in the Premier League next season. Leeds has started with a bang on the transfer market and seems that they will take the return to the Premier League very seriously. In the worldwide rankings of transfer expenditures, they are on 7th spot. Chelsea has made superb signings already, and Manchester City is flirting with Leo Messi. The city will close the gap with Liverpool next season for sure, but the top 4 for me stays the same as it stands at the moment regarding the transfers.
Juventus managed to win the Serie A with 1 point ahead of Inter. Atalanta and Lazio will represent the Serie A in Champions League with juventus and inter of course, and Roma and AC Milan are going to fight for Europa League title. Napoli had a disappointing season, finished on 7th place and need a huge boost for the next season. Lecce, Brescia and Spal were relegated. Benevento, Crotone and Spezia promoted from Serie B.
The fight for the first place was exciting and open almost until the last two rounds. Top three finished inside of 5 points. Napoli, despite 7th place finish in the league, will still play in Europa League thanks to winning the Cup against Juventus on penalties.
The biggest disappointment in terms of expectations was for sure Napoli. 2nd place finish last season with 74 goals scored and only behind high scoring Atalanta in terms of scored goals. This time only 61 goals and 62 points. Gattuso out?
One positive note from the season was that Juventus is not like a guaranteed winner anymore. Inter will be stronger next season for sure already, and Atalanta showed again that they can score, but need someone more reliable at the back. Juventus also have a new manager for the next season, the club legend! Hope he doesn't flop like Gattuso.
Spain La Liga
Zidane made a huge comeback as Madrid coach and won the La Liga. Barcelona stumbled in last rounds more than they could afford and clinched the 2nd place ahead of Athletico Madrid and Sevilla.
Villarreal and Real Sociedad are going to play in Europa League with GRANADA. A major setback for Valencia who was left empty-handed by a team lead by 35 years old Roberto Soldado!
Leganes, Mallorca and Espanyol were relegated. I didn't expect this at all at the start of the season. I mean Espanyol, they finished 7th the season before this. They lost their talisman Borja Iglesias (37 games and 17 goals) to Real Betis, yes, but that's a huge fall, and they were not even close to saving themselves. Huesca, Cadiz and Elche will join the teams in top division from Segunda Division.
A lot is going in the league during the summer, but it's mainly related to Barcelona and Leo Messi. Barcelona changed the coach once again, Messi is unhappy, Rakitic was forced out of the club, same is happening with Suarez. Messi wants out or big changes in the management. The league and Barcelona are fighting back for this decision, and things are getting rather ugly. It would be a huge blow for the Barcelona and of course, for the league. Ronaldo and Messi not in the league mean that they will lose a lot of money for sure, a lot of fans and tension.
Real v Barca
For the Real Madrid, the current most significant transfer move is the loanee player Martin Odegaard returning to the club. If he stays is unclear. Takefusa Kubo returned from Mallorca and loaned to Villarreal. Hakimi sold to Inter, and James Rodriguez, Sergio Reguilon and Dani Ceballos leaving. The Gareth Bale saga continues and no light at the end of the tunnel.
Oh, I almost forgot, Athletico Madrid paid for Alvaro Morata to Chelsea, around 20mil too much. David Silva joined Real Sociedad, isn't this exciting???
Sad news for Valencia FC fans as the club seems to sell every good player they have. The issues were known for some months now and the result is here. Rodrigo sold to Leeds, Ferran Torres sold to Manchester City, Coquelin sold to Villarreal, Parejo sold to Villarreal.
2 Argentina legends already finished with the league - Garay and Banega!
For the sake of the league, I hope that Messi and Bale sagas will find a solution soon and Valencia will not become a club pending between 2 leagues. Real Madrid seems to build on the current roster and some promising youth they have. Zidane did the same previously with a big success, and Koeman needs some time for a rebuild.
It will be an end of an era, Ronaldo v Messi El Classicos will be remembered for years and years to come. Even in the Champions League.
Bayern Munich deserves the title as the best club in the current season. What a turn around from them after sending former player Niko Kovac on the bus to France (now coaching Monaco) and replacing him with Hansi!
Treble as a reward, won the Bundesliga with 13 points and have turned a 19 years old Canadian Alphonso Davies as one of the best on his position!
Same goes for 25 years old Goretzka and 25 years old Kimmich! Gnabry and Muller were double-double machines if using basketball terms. Lewandowski deserved the Ballon d'Or, HE DID!
They will loose some good old quality, already lost some. Perisic and Coutinho returned to their home clubs, and Thiago I'm sure will leave also. Leroy Sane will relieve some of the losses, and either Renato, Tolisso or Cuisance will be formed to strong option on the midfield by the genius Hansi.
Borussia Dortmund finished on 2nd place, ahead of RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach. Remember I were talking positively about this club and the project at the start of the season? Well, they delivered and we can see them in the Champions League!
Leverkusen and Hoffenheim finished on Europa League spots, and Wolfsburg will start from the qualification phase. Paderborn and Fortuna Dusseldorf relegated directly, and Werder saved themselves in the Playoffs against Heidenheim. A little bit embarrassing result for a club like Werder but ok, let's move on. Arminia Bielefeld and Stuttgart will join the top flight.
For the next season, it seems that the battle between Bayern and Borussia continues. RB Leipzig will drop I'm sure, too many pieces of the puzzle to replace.
Leverkusen is on the verge of losing Havertz, but if they would be looking to fight for the title this season, they should have made some smart moves already, as Borussia have done already. Schurrle and Gotze are out, also Hakimi, who was a vital player for the team.
The winger or right-back is replaced with Thomas Meunier from PSG. Not a penny paid for Belgium international! Emre Can bought from Juventus, and there's also this new English guy, Jude Bellingham. Highly touted as the next Jadon Sancho. Brazilian Reinier loaned from Real Madrid, and we know what Borussia Dortmund can do with these young talents!