Analysing the four big leagues halfway into the season

The new year 2024 has arrived which means we are halfway into the season of 2023/2024 in the European football. Here we look at the four big leagues in Europe and go through what the title race looks like in each league, and of course also the top scorers in each of these leagues so far. In addition, we try to predict who will win the league title in the end, as well as who will be the final top scorer in each league.

Premier League - Liverpool in the lead

Just over halfway into the Premier League this season we find Liverpool in the lead with 45 points, three points ahead of runner-up Aston Villa. Manchester City follows on third place with 40 points but has a game less played and can thus overtake Villa, followed by Arsenal (also 40 points) and Tottenham with 39 points.

In other words, it's almost as even as it can get in the top of the league. It is no surprise that Liverpool are number one right now, given that they are one of the natural candidates to win it. However, it is somewhat surprising that Aston Villa are as high as they are. Everyone knows that they have a good team that can beat any other team, but that they manage to win matches on such a regular basis that they would be in second place at this point, few believed before the season started.

In the end the race for the title will most likely be between Liverpool and Manchester City, perhaps with Arsenal as outsiders. City have been in a slump for a while, they have had a period of many matches, but are likely to snap out of it when things tighten up, and we still hold them as favourites to win the title once again.

Mohamed Salah, Liverpool
Can Mohamed Salah win his fourth EPL top scorer title?

The Premier League top scorers halfway - shared lead

Last season, Erling Braut Haaland's goal tally at this stage was absolutely crushing, and he led the scoring table with 21 goals scored, 8 more goals than runner-up Harry Kane. This season Haaland is in the lead once again but this time "only" with 14 goals, and in addition the lead is shared with Mohamed Salah, this after Salah scored two goals in yesterday's 4-2 win against Newcastle.

After the leading duo, with 12 scored goals, we find Tottenham's Son Heung-Min and, somewhat surprisingly, also Bournemouth's Englishman Dominic Solanke. Solanke was a solid goalscorer for Bournemouth in the EFL Championship (for example he scored 29 goals in the 2021/2022 season) but last season in the EPL he only managed to score 6 goals in 33 games. This season he has already doubled that goal record in just 19 games, including a hat-trick against Nottingham in mid-December.

In fifth place we find West Ham's Jarrod Bowen with 11 goals, followed by Wolverhampton's South Korean Hwang Hee-chan with 10 goals. On 9 goals we find Newcastle's Alexander Isak, and Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins.

Most likely, either Erling Braut Haaland will repeat his golden boot title win from last season, or Mohamed Salah will win his fourth title. Unless another striker completely explodes in the second half of the season, Son Heung-Min is the only realistic threat to these two. Tottenham are playing an attacking, positive and goal producing football under the new coach Ange Postecoglou, and if they can keep this up with success throughout the season, we could certainly continue to see a lot of goals from the South Korean.

La liga - Real tops the league

The Spanish La Liga are exactly halfway into the season and in the lead we not unexpectedly find Real Madrid with 45 points. More surprising is that they are in the top of the league only on goal difference, and that the runner-up is Girona. The Catalan little brother of Barcelona started the season very well, but what is surprising is that they have managed to maintain their fine play through 18 games. They have beaten both Real Madrid (their only loss) and Barcelona (away), and both wins were by a 4-2 score.

In third and fourth place, we unsurprisingly find the big clubs Atlético Madrid and Barcelona. Both have 38 points, in other words 7 points behind the leading duo, so it will be difficult for Barcelona to defend their title from last season.

Of course, Real Madrid are big favourites to win the title this season as things stand right now. They have a wide range of great players in the team, topped with the success Jude Bellingham (more about him soon) and the coach Ancelotti has unexpectedly extended his contract, so in other words there is total harmony in the club (for now anyway).

So, can Girona do a Leicester and go all the way? Well, nothing is impossible of course and if the Ukrainian success signing Artem Dovbyk continues to deliver on top alongside veteran Cristhian Stuani anything can happen. But the lack of potent bench players, that smaller clubs always have, in combination with the fact that their success leads to bigger clubs opening their eyes to their best players and the transfer window now being open, can lead to the loss of one or two high-performing players. In other words, it will likely be very difficult for Girona to keep up with Real in the long run.

Jude Bellingham

La Liga top scorers halfway - Bellingham on top

The top scorer table is led by the Englishman Jude Bellingham with 13 goals scored. That Bellingham would be an instant success in his first season at Real is perhaps no big surprise, but that he would score so many goals that he would be the league's top scorer is more unexpected. After all, he is more of an attacking midfielder than a striker.

Closest following on 12 goals is Getafe's Borja Mayoral. Real Madrid's previous talent seems to have finally gotten his act together, and has scored 9 goals in the last 10 La Liga games, a whopping 50% of the team's goals.

On 11 goals we find Atlético Madrid's Antoine Griezmann and the already mentioned Artem Dovbyk, followed by Álvaro Morata on 9 goals.

It's hard to say who will win La Liga's top-scoring league this season. Since Bellingham has consistently delivered goals (he has also scored 4 goals in the Champions League), he must still be considered the favourite. That Mayoral will continue to deliver enough throughout the season to be top scorer title contender feels less likely, and although no one doubts Griezmann's footballing talent, he rarely scores an excessive amount of goals in a season these days. Perhaps Dovbyk can clinch the title, if Girona continues to deliver that is, or maybe Robert Lewandowski comes back to life (he has scored 8 goals so far) and repeats the win from last season?

Serie A - Inter in the top

The Italian Serie A have reached exactly the halfway point as well, and not unexpectedly the league is topped by Inter Milan on 45 points, closely followed by Juventus on 43 points. The top duo has created quite a large gap to third place AC Milan, who has managed to win 36 points so far, and a further three points behind we find, somewhat surprisingly, Fiorentina.

Defending champions Napoli have not managed to recreate the success from last season at all. Coach Rudi Garcia, who took over after Luciano Spalletti left, was sacked on 14 November after poor results and was immediately replaced by Walter Mazzarri. Unfortunately, for Napoli, the change of coach has not had much effect and the team's weak results have continued, and at the moment they are in eighth place with only 28 points.

Both Inter and Juventus have been playing solid this season and both have only one loss each. However, the feeling is that Inter are stronger, as their goal difference of 42-8 against Juventus of 27-11 shows. Juve have had as many as nine one-goal wins, and if that indicates routine and stability or if they just have had the margins on their side, the second half of the season will tell. Inter must be counted as favourites, but it must be remembered that Inter also have Champions League games to concentrate on, something that Juventus do not need to spend any energy on.

Lautaro Martinez, Inter Milan
Lautaro Martinez - bird watching during a match

Serie A top scorers halfway through - Martinez supreme leader

When we predicted who would be the top scorer in Serie A this season, we had Napoli's Nigerian Victor Osimhen at the top. He won the top scorer title last season and was truly "on fire". He also started this season well with three goals in the first two games but after that he suffered from injuries and missed several games, and both he and Napoli have shown poor form since then, and in total he have only scored 7 goals so far.

Instead, it is our tipped runner-up, Inter's Lautaro Martinez, really has delivered this season. Martinez is already up to 15 goals and leads by a full six goals ahead of the runner-up, Sassuolo's Domenico Berardi. Behind Berardi with 8 goals each we find two veterans, Milan's Olivier Giroud and Roma's Romelu Lukaku.

Martinez has scored 21 goals two seasons in a row before this one, something he could beat big time this season. With such a big lead as he has right now, plus the fact that he plays in the league's most goal scoring team, obviously makes him a big favourite to be the league's top scorer this season. Honestly, it is difficult to find any realistic challenger and only a long-term injury could prevent Martinez from winning his careers first top scorer title.

Bundesliga - Bayer Leverkusen at the top of the table

In the German Bundesliga, it is unusually not Bayern Munich we see in the top, this season it is Bayer Leverkusen who tops the table before the customary winter break (Bundesliga restarts on January 12) with 42 points. They do it with a 4-point lead over Bayern Munich, even though they have played one game less. Leverkusen have not lost a single match this season, they have 13 wins and three draws, but above all it should be mentioned that they have played very convincing and nice football, and surely deserves to be in the top.

In third place we find the surprise team Stuttgart with 34 points followed by RB Leipzig with 33 points. Stuttgart surprisingly led the league for some time but a short slump, with losses to Hoffenheim and Heidenheim, made them lose ground to the two top teams.

Given how convincingly Bayer Leverkusen have played so far, they have to be considered a strong contender to last all the way this season. However, it is a bit in their nature to lose it all at the end of the seasons, and considering that Bayern are chasing closely behind, Bayern must still be considered favourites to win the title this season as well.

Harry Kane, Bayern Munich

Top scorers in Bundesliga halfway - expected leader

When Harry Kane signed for Bayern Munich, he was seen as the perfect replacement for Lewandowski, something that Sadio Mané failed to live up to last season. Kane has also delivered in a completely different way than Mané did, and he tops the scoring table as expected with 21 goals scored in 15 games, a goal tally that is completely on par with what Lewandowski used to achieve.

On second place we find Stuttgart's Serhou Guirassy with 17 goals. Guirassy started the season in great fashion, scoring an impressive 14 goals in the first 8 games of the season, including two hat-tricks. He was then injured and missed two games and has since "only" managed to score 3 goals in 6 games, but 17 goals after 16 rounds is of course impressive, especially considering that Stuttgart were considered a bottom half team before the season.

Behind the two superior leaders we find RB Leipzig's newly signed Belgian Loïs Openda with 11 goals, and then Bayer Leverkusen's (also newly signed) Nigerian Victor Boniface with 10 goals.

To think that anyone other than Harry Kane will win the Bundesliga golden boot title would of course be naive, and in all fairness, it was even before the season started. Given that Kane has 10 more goals scored than third placed Openda, only Serhou Guirassy has a realistic chance of beating Kane. But considering that Bayern Munich for sure will continue to rack up wins and it will be difficult for the surprise team Stuttgart to continue to deliver in the long run, the most likely case is that Kane will continue to score goals at the same rate (and end up with 30+ goals), while Guirassy will probably have to settle for just over 20 goals scored and an honourable second place.
Kano Kluckfors speaks Thai but now lives in Stockholm, Sweden. Kano knows most things about the sport of football and likes to write about it. The number one team is Arsenal, a passion founded during the years he lived in London.