2011-2012 Struggles of Champions

Posted on 9 Nov, 2011, by in Soccer

A quick glance at the tables across the leagues in Europe show us that in all of the Top divisions of the major footballing powers, none of the 2010-2011 champions have a grasp at the top spot of the table. Coincidence?

Manchester United

It’s not that United are having a bad season. Winning 26 points out of 33 possible, and 8-2-1 record. The problem is Manchester City being close to perfect, with 10 wins in 11 matches, and one huge 6-1 over United, at Old Trafford, to signal a possible changing of the guards.

Money wins, almost every time. Not that Alex Ferguson doesn’t have funds to play with, but, there’s still a difference. FIFA Fair Play? Any talk of United’s or Ferguson’s demise have been quitened pretty quickly. A win at Everton and the 25 year anniversary for Ferguson’s arrival from Scotland put those talks behind us.

Barcelona

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The usual shift of power, that happens every two or three seasons, between Real Madrid and Barcelona, is due. Is this the year Real Madrid hold on to the top spot? It was actually surprising and tiny Levante making all the noise early on, but those things tend to run out of momentum eventually. Barcelona are still undefeated, but have drawn four times already and have won only twice in their 5 away matches.

Problems with injuries are aren’t an excuse, but they aren’t telling the whole story. Too many of the aces aren’t preforming. Not talking about Messi, who’s as great as ever. From the defense up to the attack, something isn’t clicking, while Real Madrid are running rampant over each opponent of late.

Borussia Dortmund

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It was a very rough start for Jurgen Klopp’s side, but they’re on a roll now, winning five of their last six Bundesliga matches, putting back in a good position to challenge Bayern, although still five points behind. Mario Götze is finding his form again, so is Robert Lewandowski. The Champions League makes it hard for a young and relatively inexperienced side to perform well on both fronts, but as long as theirs continuity and no panic with this brilliant side, good things await ahead.

AC Milan

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Another miserable starter, but ever since the 0-2 defeat against Juventus, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is on a tear, Antonio Cassano was doing wonderfully (hopefully will be on the pitch soon, not too sure though) and Milan have five straight Serie A matches since their Juventus Arena visit. Luckily, no one has been running away with it. Udinese and Lazio lead the league right now, but probably lack the depth to be in it for the long run. That only leaves Juventus, but their defensive woes could mean that Milan will be back on top very soon.

Lille OSC

They most enjoyable team to watch in France didn’t fall apart after their historic title run last year, despite losing quite a few players (Gervinho, Cabaye, Adil Rami) to better paying clubs around the continent. Eden Hazard, Benoit Pedretti, Joe Cole, all make for a very skillful and fun to watch side. Alas, the Paris Saint-Germain Middle Eastern money is a bit too much for anyone, as they have a 3 point lead over surprising Montpellier and six over Lille who have yet to win a match in the Champions League.

None of them, are doing as bad as Ajax. Taking part in the craziest game of the seasons so far this Sunday, a 6-4 defeat against Utrecht, the Dutch champions have taken two steps backwards this season, dropping to fifth, already 11 points behind AZ Alkmaar who lead the league.

FC Porto share the lead in Portugal with Benfica, both teams with 24 points, while Sporting are right behind with 23.