What will be the stories of the 2022/23 season?
With the World Cup now firmly in the rear-view mirror and Argentina installed as the new champions, the return of club football has brought relief to those fans whose national teams weren’t ever going to be competitive in Qatar. As exciting as international football can be, it’s the club game that really excites the passions of fans on a daily basis, drawing them to online sources for transfer gossip and to betting sites such as here at in2bet.com.cy to bet on competitions as grand as the Champions League and as niche as the Slovenian Prva Liga. The end of the World Cup also means that we can restart the speculation and intrigue in Europe’s top leagues, which paused for a month but never went away for devoted fans.
There has been some theorising that a season with a World Cup in the middle of it might lead to some unexpected outcomes in the top leagues around Europe, as some of the biggest-name players have had their attention divided by the international action. And whether it is down to that distraction, or just a sign of the way things can change in football, there are certainly some stories to follow as the season moves towards the business end of the major European leagues. While normal service seems to be in action in France and Germany with PSG and Bayern set to easily retain their titles, other leagues have some fascinating business going on…
Spain: Can Barcelona bounce back in style?
The Catalan giants still aren’t quite free of the financial constraints that saw them lose the world’s best footballer without recouping a penny in return, and they have seen their Champions League bid end at the group stage. But against the odds, they have found their way to the top of La Liga, albeit narrowly ahead of Real Madrid. The arrival of Robert Lewandowski has ensured that they still have the firepower in attack to be competitive against any opponent, while only six goals have been conceded in the first sixteen games of the season. The finances may not be in good shape right now, but a title win would certainly help the club show it’s back in business.
England: Can Arsenal hold on?
Everyone including the bookies expects Manchester City to regain top spot in the Premier League, and then to continue their remorseless dominance over English football. However, as things stand, Arsenal are comfortably ahead and nobody can say they aren’t there by right. An injury to Gabriel Jesus will stretch the North London side to the limits of their capabilities, but boss Mikel Arteta shows no signs of undue stress as his side continues to deliver. The Gunners face defending champions City twice between now and the end of the season, with the first meeting coming at the Emirates Stadium in mid-February. If they can win that, the London side will be deserving favourites to go on and win the title.
Italy: Can Napoli do Maradona proud?
It wouldn’t be accurate to say that Napoli are perennial also-rans in Italian football, and recent years have seen them be at least competitive in a way that few clubs not named Juventus have been. However, they have only ever won Serie A twice, and never without the late, great Diego Maradona in the side. The current team is not without stars, but few of its players are household names even within Italy. Regardless of all that, they sit seven points ahead of closest challengers Milan and Juventus. With their stadium now posthumously bearing the name of Maradona, could Napoli bring the title back to the city he placed on the footballing map?