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The Greyhound

The Greyhound

European Soccer Recap


Photo courtesy of Ana M. via

Another exciting season of soccer in countries across Europe has begun. Already, it has been marked by numerous exhilarating matches, sensational goals, and everything in between. The continent’s top domestic leagues are in full swing, and without question have lived up to all the pre-season hype. The group stages of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League, Europe’s most prestigious soccer tournament, are also underway.


In England, Manchester City and Arsenal are level on 19 points atop the Premier League. The much anticipated arrival of new manager Pep Guardiola in Manchester started off flawlessly, as City won each their first six games. Guardiola turned heads in the summer transfer window, forcing long-serving goalkeeper Joe Hart out on loan and splashing cash for big money signings midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, goalie Claudio Bravo, defender John Stones and Leroy Sane. However, Guardiola’s men have slipped up as of late, only taking one point from their last two games.

Arsenal has recently capitalized on City’s recent failings, winning their last six matches after a slow start. In manager Arsene,Wenger’s 20th season at the helm, Arsenal hope this is the season they are finally able to find Premier League glory and claim the title. Led by the talents of superstar Midfielder Mesut Ozil and Winger Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal may be primed to do just that. Coupled with solid new signings in defender Skhodran Mustafi and midfielder Granit Xhaka, as long as they can stay healthy this could be Arsenal’s year.


Tottenham and Liverpool round out the top four, with both teams looking like potential title contenders. Both sides boast equally young and exciting attacking midfielders. Perhaps the team that made the most noise in the transfer window, Manchester United, has struggled to hit stride thus far, sitting in seventh place. United set a world transfer record when they signed midfielder Paul Pogba from Juventus this past summer for 89 million euros, after they let him sign with the Italian side in 2012. United didn’t stop spending there, though. Newly appointed boss Jose Mourinho also brought in striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, defender Eric Bailly and midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan as United looks to improve on their dismal fifth place finish last season.


In Spain, the usual culprits Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid look to be ready to be locked in another dogfight for the La Liga trophy. Barcelona has endured a bit of tough start by their standards, winning only five of their first eight and falling to fourth place. Barca’s near unstoppable attacking trio of Leo Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez will be keen to right the ship going forward. Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid are knotted at the top with Winger Antoine Griezmann and Atletico, with both teams on 18 points.


Ligue 1 in France is surprisingly tight so far this campaign, after Paris Saint Germain (PSG) won the title in a landslide by 31 points last season. At the moment, Nice are unbeaten at the top of the league on 23 points. The gamble they took on Mario Balotelli in the transfer window has paid off so far, as he leads the team in goals. PSG and Monaco are level on 19 points for second, and Toulouse follows them in fourth. It will be interesting to see if Nice can keep up their animated form and fend off PSG for the entirety of the season.


Bayern Munich is unbeaten so far in Germany’s Bundesliga. Bayern have their sights set on defending their league title, in what would be their 5th in a row. Bayern studs in forward Robert Lewandowski, midfielders Arjen Robben and Arturo Vidal will definitely have an enormous impact on their success. Borrusia Dortmund are expected to be their closest title challengers, led by Midfielder Marco Reus, Forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and 18-year-old American starlet Midfielder Christian Pulisic, who grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Pulsic already made his debut for the U.S. national team, and is poised with Jordan Morris to be the faces of U.S. soccer in the very near future.


The favorites to win Serie A in Italy are undoubtably Juventus, and they have started off playing like they deserve to be. With a 7-0-1 record, Juventus are five points clear at the top. Impressive new signings in Forward Gonzalo Higuain and Attacking Midfielder Miraem Pjanic have “Juve” clicking on all cylinders on the pitch. AS Roma and AC Milan are both on 16 points tied for second, waiting to pounce on any slip up from the leaders.


The Champions League has seen a few clashes between big European giants already thus far. In Matchday 1, Arsenal visited the Parc des Princes and drew PSG 1-1 after an Alexis Sanchez equalizer late in the match. In Matchday 2, Borussia Dortmund made a statement by playing Real Madrid to a 2-2 tie. Additionally, Atletico Madrid pulled a shock upset over Bayern Munich, defeating them 1-0 with a goal from winger Yannick Carrasco. The favorites to be crowned Champions of Europe as expected are probably the customary suspects: Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, or Barcelona.


The new season in European soccer is not even a third of the way through and many more exciting matches and breathtaking goals will be on display throughout the continent. Be sure to tune in!

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European Soccer Recap