State of play around Europe: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich face issues
Juventus, PSG and PSV hold perfect records while Monaco have only won once
Last Updated: 09/10/18 3:56pm
With two points separating the top five sides, the Premier League is shaping up for one of its most competitive seasons in recent years, but what's going on around Europe?
There are surprise leaders in Spain and Germany, perfect records in France, Italy and the Netherlands, and several big clubs suffering problems and slow starts to the season.
We take a closer look at the state of play in La Liga, the Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie….
Real, Barca stumble
La Liga table
|3. Atletico Madrid||8||4||3||1||+5||15|
|4. Real Madrid||8||4||2||2||+5||14|
Cristiano who? Oh yes, him…
Ronaldo might not have been scoring every week at Juventus, but without him, Real Madrid have not been scoring at all in recent weeks.
A shock 1-0 defeat at Alaves before the international break was Real's third loss in their last four matches. They have also failed to score in four consecutive games in all competitions for the first time since April 1985.
Gareth Bale scored in the first three games of the La Liga season but has not netted in the league since and was taken off against Alaves as a "precautionary measure". Karim Benzema netted four goals in his first three games but has not found the net again, and an injury to Isco has not helped Julen Lopetegui, who could soon be feeling the heat having been appointed shortly after he was sacked by Spain on the eve of the World Cup.
Lopetegui must be glad that it's not just Real who are struggling to hit top form.
Barcelona's start to the season included an 8-2 thrashing of Huesca, but their only win in their last five games has been the 4-2 victory over Tottenham. They have lost to bottom-of-the-table Leganes and drawn against Girona, Athletic Bilbao and Valencia. Lionel Messi has been in sparkling form but Ernesto Valverde's decision not to start him against Bilbao backfired, and Messi afterwards said Barca are "angry" with their form and need to be "much stronger defensively".
Atletico Madrid have recovered from a stuttering start to win five of their last six in all competitions and draw at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid.
But it's Sevilla who lead the way, having won more games than any other side (five) and scored more goals (18) than any other side apart from Barcelona (19). Pablo Machin's side are on a four-match winning run, which includes a 3-0 victory over Real Madrid, and could further enhance their credentials when to go to Barcelona after the international break.
Espanyol and Alaves are level on points with Real Madrid while Valencia, Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao have made slow starts. Villarreal have struggled for goals, scoring just six in eight games while juggling the Europa League, and Valencia have only lost once but have drawn six times.
Dortmund flying high
|1. Borussia Dortmund||7||5||2||0||+15||17|
|2. RB Leipzig||7||4||2||1||+7||14|
|4. Werder Bremen||7||4||2||1||+5||14|
|5. Hertha Berlin||7||4||2||1||+5||14|
It looked like business as usual in Germany when Bayern Munich won their first seven games of the season, but they have not been able to maintain that form. In fact, they are winless in their last four matches in all competitions, including a 3-0 home defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach before the international break.
While new Bayern head coach Niko Kovac is reportedly "fighting for his job" already, Borussia Dortmund are taking advantage under Lucien Favre. Dortmund have scored 23 goals in seven games, with summer signing Paco Alcacer leading the Bundesliga scoring charts with six goals (from just three substitute appearances) and Jadon Sancho already with six assists to his name, three more than any other player in the division.
"This team is so good," said goalkeeper Roman Burki after the dramatic win over Augsburg at the weekend which saw four goals scored in the last 10 minutes and Mario Gotze making a telling impact after coming off the bench.
RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach have also made positive starts but Schalke, Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen, who finished second, third and fifth last season, are closer to the bottom of the table.
Stuttgart, meanwhile, sacked head coach Tayfun Korkut after a run of just one win in seven matches.
Can anyone stop Juventus?
Serie A table
|3. Inter Milan||8||5||1||2||+6||16|
With Ronaldo joining in the summer it was unlikely that the challengers to Juventus' dominance were going to find life any easier, and so it has proven so far.
After twice coming from behind on the opening day to secure a last-gasp victory over Chievo, Juventus have streaked clear with eight wins from eight matches. The perfect run includes a 3-1 win over Napoli, who are their closest rivals but already six points behind.
Carlo Ancelotti has otherwise made a decent start at Napoli, who have won their last four home games without conceding a goal, including victory over Liverpool in the Champions League.
After a busy summer in the transfer market, Inter Milan's season started with a surprise 1-0 defeat to Sassuolo, but victory over Tottenham in the Champions League seems to have kickstarted their campaign. They head into the international break on a six-match winning run and return with a game against rivals AC Milan, for whom Gonzalo Higuain has scored six goals in his last five matches.
Like Inter, there were changes aplenty at Roma over the summer, but they have won their last three league games to sit among the teams closely nestled behind Juventus.
Can any of them possibly prevent Juve from winning an eighth league title in a row?
Perfect PSG set the pace
Ligue 1 table
|5. St Etienne||9||4||3||2||-1||15|
To nobody's great surprise, already it looks like there is only winner in Ligue 1.
Paris Saint-Germain broke an 82-year-old record of eight consecutive victories when they thrashed Lyon 5-0 to win their ninth game on the spin. Kylian Mbappe scored four goals in 13 minutes in the rout as PSG stayed eight points clear of second-placed Lille.
Lille have not faced PSG or Lyon yet, but they have an exciting strikeforce that has scored 17 goals in nine games. Winger Nicolas Pepe has built on an impressive 2017/18 campaign by already notching six goals and four assists.
Marseille have netted 21 goals, with Newcastle flop Florin Thauvin their top scorer with seven and former West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet providing five assists, the most in Ligue 1.
However, last season's runners-up Monaco have had a terrible start to the season, winless since the opening weekend and only above the automatic relegation spots on goal difference.
Their issues appear to mainly be down to their transfer policy. Monaco have made plenty of money in the last year from selling first-team players, but, unsurprisingly, the financial gains have led to losses on the pitch. The players brought in to replace the likes of Thomas Lemar, Fabinho and Joao Moutinho have mainly been promising youngsters, and head coach Leonardo Jardim has struggled to discover his best XI, using 28 different players in nine league matches this season.
PSV go goal crazy
There's another perfect record in the Eredivisie as champions PSV have won all eight of their matches to start the season. They have done it in style too, scoring 30 goals and conceding just three. Their results including a 7-0 thrashing of ADO den Haag and a 3-0 win over nearest rivals Ajax, with Mexico international Hirving Lozano netting seven times this season and Luuk De Jong grabbing six goals.
Ajax are five points behind PSV while former Liverpool youngster Kristoffer Peterson is the top scorer in the division with eight in eight games for Heracles.