Previous
Wigan Athletic
Bristol City
1
0
FT
Game Details
Next

U.S. vs. Mexico: Has the rivalry lost some bite?

U.S. vs. Mexico
Read

Arsenal's transfer policy gets a reboot

Arsenal
Read
ESPN FC  By ESPN

Sevilla, Leipzig, Aubameyang, Belotti & Locatelli winners across Europe so far

ESPN FC's European bloggers pick the team, player, flop, goal and moment of the season so far as well as predictions for the rest of 2016-17.

La Liga

REAL MADRID

Team: Sevilla. Have quickly assimilated Jorge Sampaoli's style and now compete for the title in every competition.
Player: Iago Aspas. Nine goals in 14 matches with Celta Vigo, plus another one against England at Wembley with Spain, tell the story of a footballer who has recovered his top form at the club he loves.
Flop: Aleix Vidal. Supposed to replace Daniel Alves in Barcelona's right-back position, but has failed to do so.
Goal: This piece of beauty by Kevin-Prince Boateng for Las Palmas against Villarreal.
Moment: Sergio Ramos' last-gasp equaliser at the Camp Nou kept Barcelona at bay behind Real Madrid and reinforced his status as a clutch player.
Prediction: Valencia will struggle to stay in La Liga before escaping relegation in their final match of the season. -- Eduardo Alvarez

BARCELONA

Team: Sevilla. Sampaoli has managed to replace Unai Emery and improve a side which has won the Europa League three times running. They're fun to watch, too.
Player: Lionel Messi. It's been a tough start to the season for Barcelona at times, but thanks to the Argentine, they're just about still in touch with Real Madrid going into New Year's. His goals against Sevilla and Real Sociedad were vital, and he's the top scorer in La Liga.
Flop: Paco Alcacer. Still without a competitive goal for Barca after joining the club from Valencia for €30 million in the summer.
Goal: Boateng's stunning finish was the perfect end to an incredible team move by Las Palmas.
Moment: Messi's stoppage-time penalty at Valencia. Not only did it seal three late points for Barca, but it also led to weeks of arguments between the Catalan club and, among others, La Liga president Javier Tebas.
Prediction: Real Madrid to end their domestic dry spell by winning the league title for the first time in five years. -- Sam Marsden

ATLETICO MADRID

Team: Sevilla. Have defied expectations under new coach Sampaoli, reaching third in La Liga and the knockout phase of the Champions League while playing some scintillating stuff. All this having lost another raft of players in the summer.
Player: Samir Nasri (because it is too easy to say Messi). Much-maligned at Manchester City, the Frenchman has enjoyed a new lease of life in southern Spain and has been instrumental in Sevilla's charge up the table in the first half of the season.
Flop: Nicolas Gaitan. Cost Atletico €25m and has barely looked worth €2.5. On the plus side, the only way is up.
Goal: Another vote for Boateng. It was not enough to stop Las Palmas succumbing 2-1 to Villarreal, but the Ghanaian's effort will not be topped this season. A one-two on the edge of the box between Jonathan Viera and Vicente Gomez led to Tana producing a gravity-defying backheeled volley across the box that Boateng acrobatically scissor-kicked into the bottom corner.
Moment: Diego Simeone's surprise decision to shorten his Atletico Madrid contract by two years to 2018. The driving force behind Atleti's recent success sees his time in the Spanish capital coming to an end.
Prediction: No Spanish side wins a European trophy for the first time since 2013. -- Joe Walker

Sevilla celeb vs Betis 160920
While the usual suspects impress, Sevilla's form in La Liga has been a breath of fresh air.

Bundesliga

BAYERN MUNICH

Team: RB Leipzig. The Bundesliga needs more competition for Bayern, and RBL have arrived on the scene and are here to stay.
Player: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang -- outstanding in probably his final season at Borussia Dortmund.
Flop: Jerome Boateng -- injuries, poor form and publicly humiliated by CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Goal: Douglas Costa's stunning strike, off the bar and in from range, for Bayern against Darmstadt.
Moment: A team not named Borussia Dortmund or Bayern Munich topping the Bundesliga. Step forward Leipzig.
Prediction: Philipp Lahm to finally score in the Champions League after 111 games without a goal. -- Mark Lovell

BORUSSIA DORTMUND

Team: RB Leipzig -- the first team able to go toe-to-toe with Bayern in the league since Dortmund in 2011-12.
Player: Aubameyang. The Bundesliga's leading goal scorer with 16 goals.
Flop: VfL Wolfsburg. Disastrous on and off the pitch.
Goal: Xabi Alonso vs. Werder Bremen. It was the very first goal of the 2016-17 season, and what a monumental hit it was.
Moment: BVB's Mario Gotze nutmegging Bayern Munich's Mats Hummels to set up the game winner in Der Klassiker.
Prediction: Bayer Leverkusen will somehow sneak into the top four. -- Stefan Buczko

RB Leipzig players salute their fans after a 2-0 win against Hertha Berlin.
RB Leipzig have disrupted the established order in Germany.

Serie A

JUVENTUS

Team: Juventus. They not only topped their Champions League group but opened a gap at the top of the Serie A table.
Player: Torino's Andrea Belotti. Ruthlessly efficient, he is Italy's first choice up top and is in the race to become Serie A's leading scorer.
Flop: Gabriel Barbosa. Costing nearly €30m, the Inter forward has failed to convince two separate coaches.
Goal: Gregoire Defrel scored a spectacular volley from 14 yards to equalise for Sassuolo in their match against Napoli to make it 1-1 in Week 14.
Moment: Having been part of the Milan youth academy since the age of 12, there was nothing more beautiful to watch than Manuel Locatelli scoring a stunning debut goal for his club against Sassuolo, weeping with joy as the team rejoiced.
Prediction: Juventus look increasingly likely to pick up another title, but Belotti will probably be the man who outscores all the others to pick up the Serie A Golden Boot. -- Mina Rzouki

ROMA

Team: Atalanta. Despite their recent wobble, Gian Piero Gasperini's thrilling young side have been a joy to watch.
Player: Belotti. Toward the top of the Serie A scoring charts on 13 goals along with Edin Dzeko, just behind Mauro Icardi on 14, the 22-year-old Italian is the major cog in the most prolific Torino side since the 1940s and has nailed down a spot in Giam Piero Ventura's national team.
Flop: Thomas Vermaelen. Almost his first act upon signing for Roma on loan from Barcelona was to get sent off in the first leg of the Giallorossi's disastrous Champions League playoff with Porto, after which he spent months out with a groin injury, and once fit again, managed to crock Mohamed Salah in training ahead of the Rome derby.
Goal: Dries Merten's outrageous chip over Joe Hart, his fourth in Napoli's 5-3 win over Torino, is a goal-of-the-season contender in any year.
Moment: Inter Milan captain Icardi insulting his own team's Ultras in his autobiography.
Prediction: The battle for the Champions League places will be more interesting than the Serie A title race, which looks as good as won by Juventus. -- Terry Daley

AC MILAN

Team: AC Milan. After a few years of mediocrity, the Rossoneri have been refreshingly impressive for the most part so far this season.
Player: Belotti. It's been quite the season for the Torino striker so far as he jockeys for position in the Serie A goal-scoring charts.
Flop: Sassuolo. After such a great season last year which resulted in Europa League qualification, it's all gone a bit wrong this time round.
Goal: Locatelli vs. Juventus. A thunderous strike from the youngster as he toppled the champions.
Moment: Locatelli vs. Sassuolo. A dramatic comeback which included the teenager scoring a brilliant goal and unable to control his emotions.
Prediction: Juventus to win the title. Every year supporters wonder if this is the year they drop a level, but they continue to produce. -- Sumeet Paul

Andrea Belotti has taken Serie A by storm.

INTER MILAN

Team: Atalanta. Juventus are the best side, but Gasperini's men have been the most pleasant to watch.
Player: Belotti. Toward the top of the leading-scorers' chart with Icardi and Dzeko, but plays for the least talented team out of the three.
Flop: Manolo Gabbiadini. A lot has been made of Gabigol, but he's failed to deliver so far.
Goal: Locatelli's sensational strike against Juventus in Milan's 1-0 win back in October. Beyond its sheer beauty, it made it look like the Bianconeri could be stopped, after all.
Moment: Gonzalo Higuain's winners against Napoli and Roma. The fact that both he and Miralem Pjanic were acquired from Juve's rivals only makes the dominance more symbolic.
Prediction: AC Milan to finish outside the top four. -- Edoardo Dalmonte

Ligue 1

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

Team: Nice. Although it could easily have been insatiable Monaco, Lucien Favre was expected to continue the good work done by predecessor Claude Puel at Allianz Riviera, but nobody expected him to turn Nice into genuine title contenders.
Player: Edinson Cavani. Although he still misses some chances that come his way, the Uruguay international's rebirth under Unai Emery has been nothing short of astonishing. El Matador is back.
Flop: Nabil Fekir. Like his Lyon team, the France international has looked out of sorts for most of the season so far and is struggling to get back to his best after serious injury.
Goal: Thomas Lemar (Monaco) vs. Bastia. There were lots of strong contenders, but the France international's fantastic start to the campaign deserves to be acknowledged, and his exquisite cushioned finish from a Radamel Falcao cross in Monaco's 5-0 thrashing of Bastia was a highlight.
Moment: Even though it finished 2-2, Nice going 2-0 up away at PSG confirmed Ligue 1 does have a title fight on its hands this season.
Prediction: Monaco, not Nice, to break PSG's domestic stranglehold and win a first Ligue 1 title since 1999-2000. -- Jonathan Johnson

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.