16 Dec Surprising League Positions
The football season is nearly half way through and it’s fair to say a few teams are sitting in surprising league positions. Today we are going to focus on Dortmund and Marseille, but some other notable mentions are; West Ham, currently 4th in the Premier League, Bournemouth, at the top of the Championship, and Inter Milan, who will be very disappointed with their current position in Serie A.
We could comfortably say that you would have laughed at us if we told you that Dortmund would have been in relegation trouble after 15 games this season. It may have been possible to see a slight drop in form after losing Robert Lewandowski to Bayern Munich, but no one would have predicted them to be in the relegation play-off spot, only 1 point off the bottom of the table.
What has been the problem this season?
One problem Dortmund have is the lack of a goal scorer. Lewandowski’s departure left a massive gap in their striking options. Dortmund have tried to replace him by signing Adrian Ramos and Ciro Immobile, from Hertha Berlin and Torino respectively. While both had great seasons last year they have not really found that form this season. According to our stats Dortmund are in the top 3 for chances created but the fact that both Ramos and Immobile have each taken 2 of the chances shows how badly Dortmund miss Lewandowski.
In addition, Dortmund have been sloppy defensively at key moments. In games against Koln, Frankfurt, Paderborn and Stuttgart they have been punished by silly defensive errors.
The final problem is the injury to Marco Reus. When Reus plays, Dortmund look like a different team. Everything goes through him. Reus was injured in Germany’s World Cup warm up match against Armenia in June and missed the beginning of the season. When back to full fitness he showed how important he is to the team by scoring 5 goals in his last 7 matches. However, in late November, Reus got injured again and is expected to be out until January.
If Jurgen Klopp can address the problems stated above over the Christmas break, we think Dortmund should climb the table and be in a respectable position come May.
Let’s be honest, we all expected PSG to run away with the Ligue 1 title, and while that could still happen, we have to give some credit to Marseille for making it interesting.
Marseille are currently top of the table, 1 point clear of PSG, and are playing some really nice football. Marcelo Bielsa has worked wonders since taking over in July. He took over a team who finished in 6th place last season, an incredible 29 points behind PSG, and has turned them into an extremely attacking outfit.
Andre-Pierre Gignac has been a revelation this season scoring 12 goals in 18 matches. This is the same player who has received a lot of criticism about his weight over the last few years. Gignac’s contract expires at the end of the season, so it will be interesting to see what happens to him in January. There are sure to be clubs sniffing around looking for a cheap striker that can score goals. We get the feeling that Bielsa will want to tie him down with a new contract as soon as possible.
While Gignac has been a revelation, he has not been the star. Dimitri Payet has had an amazing start to the season. His clever passing has helped him create goals for fun, which is proved by the fact he has twice as many assists as anyone else in the league. Payet has also been chipping in with a few goals this season. His 5 goals means he has been involved in (either assisted or scored) a total of 13 of his team’s 36 goals this season.
Bielsa will be hoping both Gignac and Payet can stay injury free and his team can continue to challenge PSG for the title.