As time goes on, the title pictures in the European soccer leagues have become clearer as breakout stars emerge and the world of futbol heats up.
In England, title favorites Manchester City secured a late victory over newly promoted Huddersfield Town, 2-1. The Terriers grabbed the lead right before halftime due to Nicolas Otamendi’s own goal. However, the Citizens were not down for long as the club’s ace, Sergio Aguero, netted a penalty to level the scores at one apiece.
The story of the game did not come until the near end of full time, when upstart winger Raheem Sterling scored to give undefeated Manchester City the victory. The goal marked Sterling’s 12th across all competitions this season, a personal best for him. The 22-year-old started at Liverpool before moving to Anfield in the summer of 2015 for £44 million. Since the move, Sterling has been less than stellar but seems to have found his footing under manager Pep Guardiola, as have several other players.
As the season continues, Manchester City has become daunting. The side is eight points clear of second-place Manchester United and leads the goal differential race as well, outscoring opponents by a staggering 34 goals. Guardiola’s Citizens, by far the British Premier League favorites as the midway point approaches, have established themselves as a European power.
As the wintertime approaches, the January transfer rumor mill is spinning. The biggest development this week came out of Borussia Dortmund. Gabonese star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s contract is scheduled to expire this summer and the club is unwilling to re-sign him. The 26-year old has scored 96 goals in 140 games for the club since joining in 2013. The striker won the Bundesliga Golden Boot after scoring 31 goals in the league last season, ending the season with a total of 40.
Potential suitors for the forward include defending BPL champion Chelsea, Liverpool and reigning UEFA Champions League winner Real Madrid. The athletic goalscorer could be a potential game-changer for all of those teams, who have started the season slower than expected and could use a burst of energy. Bids seem to be in the £60 million region, although the introduction of Chelsea to the bidding could raise that price exponentially.
As the BPL season rages, there are still too many variables to call the league despite Man City’s massive lead. One cannot count out the newly reformed Manchester United, Chelsea or Liverpool. Manchester City does not have the league wrapped up before Christmas, but these other teams need to start getting a move on.