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The Premier League title race is very much nearing its conclusion, with still four months to go and the battle for the top 4 is looking as if the team to make it will back their way in through others’ mistakes. In that regard, it may be worth looking elsewhere to some teams who can provide entertainment for the latter part of the season. Not all these teams are guaranteed title winners, but they are guaranteed to get you on the edge of your seat whenever they play.
If you happened to see the first half of the recent Old Firm game against Rangers, you will have seen what Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic are all about. The tempo is ferocious, the passing is purposeful, and the opposition are under immense pressure whenever they have the ball. Celtic have signed an incredible 19 players since the summer and while not every single one has been effective, there have been some real standouts. In attack Jota and Kyogo Furuhashi have brought some much-needed guile and skill while also adding 15 goals between them already. January additions, Matt O’Riley and Reo Hatata, have fitted in seamlessly in midfield, seen by the latter’s brace against Rangers in front of a boisterous Celtic Park. While the Scottish Premiership may not be everyone’s first choice for viewing, when Celtic are playing, exhilaration is almost guaranteed.
Another team who has recently defeated their biggest rivals, Milan have propelled themselves back into the Serie A title race with a 2-1 victory against Inter, leaving them just a point off the Nerazzurri. A once great club, who have spent the last decade in the wilderness, look to be on their way back to the top table. Technical Director Paolo Maldini and manager Stefano Pioli have certainly made this Milan side an intriguing watch. Sandro Tonali, who many see as Italy’s next great player, is paired alongside Ivorian Franck Kessie for a combative and somewhat domineering midfield. The ageing Zlatan and Olivier Giroud are complimented well by an in-form youngster in Rafael Leão, and the sight of Theo Hernandez bombing up and down the left wing is a joy to behold. While they may not have sufficient depth, particularly at the back, to keep this title challenge up, their progress this season is something to keep an eye on.
The Dutch side have, quite simply, been one of the best teams in Europe this season. Earlier in the season, we looked at their chances in the Champions League, and that is still a definite possibility. They recently defeated title rivals PSV 2-1 in Eindhoven to create a gap of five points at the top and their goal difference in the league remains staggering to look at. Through 21 games, they’ve scored 64 goals and conceded just five. Even for a side as dominant in their own league that is nearly unheard of. They are well capable of causing problems for Europe’s elite, and they have two absolute starts in the making in Ryan Gravenberch and Antony. Erik ten Hag and others may be poached by bigger clubs come summer, so catch them while you can.
Much like the Premier League, the Bundesliga, like most years, doesn’t appear to have much of a title race. Leverkusen sit in third, 14 points behind leaders Bayern and therefore not near winning the league. They have, however, been great value to watch, as seen in their recent 5-2 victory at second place Borussia Dortmund. 3-1 up inside a half an hour, this was a microcosm of their season; sometimes calamitous defending, paired with devastating attack. In Florian Wirtz, they have one of the most sought-after attackers in Europe, but the teenager is not alone, with Patrick Schick and Moussa Diaby some of the more eye-catching players. Gerardo Seoane’s men are extremely exciting to watch, and their quest for next season’s Champions League is heating up in both the Bundesliga and the Europa League.