With Manchester United, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich comfortably out in front of their respective leagues, it my seem like the rest of the season is just a formality. However, teams still have much to fight for; Champion’s League qualification and relegation avoidance will likely be the primary goal for a host of teams these coming weeks. And, with the Serie A, Ligue 1, and Dutch Eredivisie really heating up as well, soccer fans will still have lots to talk about. Here are the Top 5 Standing’s Battles to Watch:
5. The Dutch Eredivisie: While the Dutch league may sit far from our collective attention (ranked as the 8th best Europen league using UEFA Co-Effiency points), this season has provided nothing but excitement. With nine games remaining in the season, the top five teams are separated by only nine points. With perennial powerhouses Ajax Amsterdam sitting in second, you can be sure that they’ll be looking to shake up the standings on their quest for another league title.
4. French Ligue 1: The real race here is between PSG and Olimpique Lyonnais, with PSG in top spot by an uncomfortable two-point margin. PSG may have more on the line then just the title with the amount of cash they have parted with to build this current squad. With a head-to-head battle still to come, Lyon may look to exploit that added pressure on PSG and sneak by them on their way to top spot.
3. Italian Serie A: While Napoli and Juventus battle for first spot, the race to watch here is for third place (the last Champion’s League qualification spot). With seven teams within eight points of that spot, this last leg of the Serie A season will no doubt provide for some exciting and decisive matches. Perhaps the most amazing thing about this race is that an underdog Catania squad is just six points back of third and could be poised to play spoilers by disappointing the fans of Italian giants like AC Milan and FC Internazionale, also vying for that coveted third spot.
2. Barclays Premier League: With only the top four spots qualifying for Champions League, and Manchester United all but ensured one of them, spots two through six are separated by only 11 points. Manchester City, Tottenham, and Chelsea now occupy the coveted two, three, and four spots but they each have one final game with an Everton squad poised to make up ground sitting in the sixth spot. A floundering Arsenal may have a shot at a Champions League qualification as well, but their recent form has seen them move the other way in the table. They will need to find their form if they don’t want to be left out of this race.
1. Barclays Premier League: The most exciting race to watch this season may be the one just above the relegation zone. With only 13 points between spots 10 to 20, it’s anyone’s guess which clubs might find themselves in the dreaded relegation spots (spots 18,19, and 20). With the EPL set to make record amounts of money through their TV deal next year, teams that find themselves in those relegation spots will miss out on a massive pay day, and that will likely add fuel to this fire.