TOP 100-Division 1: Mid-Season Review


TOP 100:Division 1
Mid-Season Review 

We are at the half way stage of Season 2 in TOP 100. Barcelona, Bayern, Real Madrid and Juventus are in the top 4 while Inter Milan, Valencia,  Lazio and Sevilla are in the relegation zone.

Season 2 of TOP 100 is now in its midway. Each of the 20 teams has played 19 games and all teams have another 19 to play. Defending champions Manchester United are in 6th place and potentially out of the title race with a 16 point gap from leaders Barcelona. In addition to Barcelona, there are four other teams that sit in the best position to challenge Barcelona for the title in Division 1.Whereas, teams like Sevilla and Lazio have a lot to do to remain in the top division of TOP 100. A look at the League table is given below followed by a brief review of all the teams.
League Table


Barcelona 

Barcelona are leading the table with 47 games and are unbeaten for a record 33 games in the league under Scott Mckenzie.However, they were knocked out of the cup by 4th Division side Dynamo Moscow on penalties in the second round. Barcelona have a lot to look forward in this week with a fourth round shield game against Real Madrid followed by league games against Fenerbahce and Bayern Munich. Barcelona have often been classified as a one man team and this week they have a chance to prove their critics wrong with Messi being injured for 9 days,he has provided 8 assists and 15 goals in as many games this season. It remains to be seen how Barcelona cope up with these issues with the likes of Bayern and Real Madrid breathing down their neck.They are one of the favourites to lift the division one trophy.

Bayern Munich

Gursimran brar has built a brilliant team this season. They are now sitting second, just four points from the top. The whole team has been performing very well to give a nice balance to the team. They have scored the highest amount of goals in the division with all players stepping up to the take responsibility. However, they have failed to turn up in the big games with recent losses to Juventus and Real Madrid fresh in the mind. The recent acquisition of Vincent Kompany from Chelsea is giving them stability at the back pairing alongside the ever reliable Jerome Boateng. Moreover, the recent signings of Felipe Anderson, Danny Welbeck, Max Meyer, Andre Gomes and Abdul Rahman Baba goes on to show the will of the management to build for the future but simultaneously keep the squad competitive to regularly challenge for trophies. They are very much in the title picture but i reckon the management would be happy with a cup or shield trophy to add to the SMFA Super Cup and a top 3 finish.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid are the bookie’s favourite to win the league. They are now four points behind the leaders Barcelona. They have a very strong team making expectations very high at the Santiago Bernabeu every time the players step out they are expected to win. They have brought in a few big names with the likes of Diego Godin, Juanfran Torres, Harry Kane and Cesc Fabregas being lured in by Roy Keane. Real Madrid were knocked out of the cup by their local rival Atlectio Madrid. Roy Keane would be looking to defend his shield trophy and now faces a daunting away game in the fourth round against an in-form Barcelona, Madrid are favourites to emerge victorious as a wounded Roy Keane would be after blood following the recent loss to Liverpool in the League and an injury to Messi definitely helps his cause.

JUVENTUS

DP is one of TOP 100’s fiercest negotiators and his tactics meant Juventus got the deal of the season with Leroy Sane and Ricardo Rodriguez coming in to consolidate the squad for the departing Pierre Emerik Aubameyang. He moved quickly enough to replace Auba with potential future ballon d’or winner Antoine Griezmann. DP is out to disprove the theory that titles cannot be won with kids. The Juventus boss has combined youth and experience to create a squad that sits eight points off the top of division one and plays Hamburg in the fourth round of the shield on Tuesday. Juventus suffered recent losses to Barcelona and Leverkusen which has upset their title charge but have bounced back this week with a solid 4-0 victory over Fiorentina. They have one of the best defensive records in the division with the centre back pairing of Bonucci and Chiellini often shutting the door on oppositions. Juventus look on course to get the 4th SMFA spot but would be pushed for it by Porto.

FC PORTO


Porto has been the surprise package of this season. Andre Guerra has done wonders for Porto working on what could be called a shoe string budget or an average squad in terms of the other Division 1 sides. He took over the reigns last season when then manager Dan Wallace quit the game altogether for reasons best known to him but it came as a blessing in disguise as Guerra stuck to the task and eventually ensured that Porto were promoted into Division 1 via the playoff’s where Europe’s elite belong. This season Yacini Brahimi has been excellent in a well drilled unit, which has one of the best defensive records this season. Andre Guerra has been hailed as a genius by both the management and the fans for keeping hold of key talents Ruben Neves and Alex Sandro, whereas utilising his vast network to procure key signings of Lukaku,Martins Indi and Julian Weigl since his arrival. He has been producing fair results from his limited options on the pitch. The management would be very happy with a fifth place finish this season and if they manage to leapfrog Juventus into fourth position it would be the icing on the cake.

Manchester United

Manchester United boss Joe Jordon is in deep trouble with a lot of fans calling for his head. Joe Jordon has accused the Manchester United fans of being Glory Hunters and blamed them for not sticking with the team in hard times. They are now sixth with 31 points. Star players like Rooney, Mata and Herrera are underperforming and the manager has brought in no new big signing to assure the fans. Manchester United have been almost non active in the transfer market which have added to Jordon’s woes.  The qualification for the SMFA competitions looks highly unlikely and speculation is rife that the board are looking for a replacement for Jordon only three months after he led them to the division 1 title.  This season they have failed to create something upfront on a regular basis and have scored even less goals than 14th placed Milan led by the controversial Beddows. Moreover, the early exists in the cup and shield have not gone down well with the supporters especially the 4-0 drubbing at the hands of PSG in the first round of the shield has seen fans turn on Jordon.

Arsenal

Michael Bowes had a tough job at hand when he took over the reigns at Arsenal, he has not done much to help his cause amongst the Arsenal faithful. The fans may still be recovering from the loss of their beloved stars Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to their biggest rivals Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. A challenge for the top 4 does not seem anywhere in sight and would be happy if they manage to win the cup or shield. Although, beating Chelsea in the recent derby gives them the bragging rights they might just have to contend with a top half finish. The lesson has become clearer over the years but the London based club never seem to learn it; if you are to compete for the highest honours, you cannot keep selling your best players to rival clubs. Hopefully, they finally learn their lesson and can keep hold of Ross Barkley and Anthony Martial for the years to come with the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus and Atletico always sniffing around for young talent.

Atletico Madrid

The Doctor it appears is non concerned about the league and is hell bent on creating a legacy of flourishing in the youth cup.He is very pragmatic and continues to make the best of his youthful squad. Moreover, there has been a lot to cheer for the fans with Atletico knocking Real Madrid out of the cup competition and having the bragging rights in the derby. The doctor would be looking forward to rallying the troops for the league encounter against Real Madrid on Thursday as they look to shedding their image of being the second best club in Madrid. However, the recent victory over Arsenal would give them confidence going into the game and with Real Madrid involved in a shield tie with Barcelona and injury to top goal scorer Robert Lewandowski this tie could not have come at a better time for Atletico. A manager in Top 100 on the promise of anonymity recently commented with regards to Jorge Koke sale that ‘The Doctor will squeeze you till your balls hurt‘. The acquisition of Bernardo Silva, John Stones, Keita Balde, Marco Asensio this season will ensure that the club remain on course to defend their youth title.

Fenerbahce SK

Fenerbahce had a very successful season last year under the leadership of Noisy now at Leverkusen, and there was speculation whether they would be able to improve and hold their own in division one but they have been phenomenal under Norman Little this season. Fenerbahce don’t have a very good goal difference, and their defence is not leak-proof either but they have managed to get results, which matter. Kiko Casilla has had a strong showing under the bars which has seen him win the MOM award quite a few times and has won points for Fenerbahce on his own. If they could keep up their performances, they should be able to make a very respectable mid-table finish considering they were the favourites to go down at the start of the season.

Chelsea

As Scott Mckenzie’s Barcelona are cruising in Division one lets spare a thought for James Mckenzie a manager who has been stuck under the shadow of his brother this season. Out of all the teams in Division one it can be clearly said that Chelsea have been the biggest under performers thus far. Midfield has been the weak spot for the team with the duo of Jordon Henderson and Charles Aranguiz pulling the strings, in such circumstances the sale of Cesc Fabregas clearly highlights a bad management decision who was by far one of their best performers last season and has slotted nicely into the Real Madrid team. The team still has enough experience and it would be unwise to predict that their poor run will continue for the rest of their season. I expect them to kick on their campaign from now on and look at a top eight finish. Moreover, they would be looking at the shield for some silverware this season having lost in the final of the SMFA Super cup to Bayern.

ACF Fiorentina

It is a rocky time for Fiorentina. Star players are ageing, and high profile signings Daniel Baier and Valter Bisla are proving as flops. Consistently inconsistent this should sum up the season for Fiorentina. The vulnerability may be somewhat explained by the defensive tactics adopted by the manager. They are a fine team playing against stronger teams so they sit back, wait for opportunities to come by and exploit them in the counter attack. But against teams struggling at the foot of the table like Sevilla, La viola have failed to drive home the advantage as they refuse to change their tactics and choose to sit back to defend rather than breaking such teams down. Fiorentina have one of the oldest starting eleven over the course of the first half of the season but time is running out fast on some of these players and the management should strongly consider looking into investing in some youth to avoid problems at a latter stage.

Leverkusen

They were cautioned for engaging in a relegation dog fight but they have been the giant killers of the division having the scalps of Juventus and Bayern to name a few. Their transition from Division 2 has been rather smooth and rarely have they looked out of place. However, the manager has at times shown his inexperience by fielding a youth side in some league fixtures and jumping at the first chance to managing a bigger side after winning the title with Fenerbahce. In hindsight if only he had waited a few weeks he could have potentially been a front runner for his dream job with Arsenal. However, the have been very impressive in the Youth cup being the table leaders of Group F ahead of  giants Real Madrid. They find themselves just outside of the top half of the table at this time and should finish around the same position if the maintain their composure for the rest of the season. They have a very impressive young squad and should be able to compete in the coming seasons should they be able to hold onto their younger stars and the manager spends more time with the team in training.

Liverpool

Liverpool don’t take to kindly who pushes him too hard on a deal. When the doctor had the arrogance to post on the news feed that Juventus had the better offer on Koke to kickstart a bidding war he publicly decided to pull out of the deal as he had offered what he deemed fair.  Gino’s positive approach to Liverpool squad has unified and reenergised the squad at his disposal. Liverpool have recently been turning up for big games recently handing a 2-0 defeat to the bookies favourite Real Madrid, hopefully they can carry their league form into the cup quarterfinals next week where they face Division 4 side Dynamo Moskva who had earlier on in the tournament eliminated Barcelona.  A lot of people have questioned his transfer dealings most notably the sale of club captain Jordon Henderson immediately after arriving at the helm and the sale of future midfielder star Emre Can but he has been able to prove his critics wrong with the team slowly responding to his methods.

AC MILAN

The managerial record of AC Milan manager Stephen Beddows does not represent a very rosy picture, he had less than glorious time at Zenit and our sources reveal that it was his intimate relationship with Vladimir Putin that he has landed the Milan job. Beddows is one of the cronies of league chairman Frank Hirst and is clearly being groomed to succeed him should he decide to step down one day. AC Milan have been very poor at home this season winning only one game at home against Liverpool and they lie just outside of the relegation places. They are just three points ahead of seventeenth placed Inter Milan. The club lie in sixth place in terms of goals scored this season, Mario Balotelli is the fourth highest scorer in the league and has done well leading the line alongside the legendary Andy Caroll. However, a little bit of consistency in defence would do a world of good for the manager and his team. Staying in the first division would be a priority for the manager but an extended run in the shield would be good for the morale of the team.

Olympique Lyonnais

With only three wins this season to their name this season, Lyon find themselves just above the drop zone. They have drawn 9 times out of the 19 times they have played this season and cant seem to find a goal scorer in their ranks. The manager has turned to Haris Vuckic for the goals and the 82 rated youngster has responded with 2 goals in as many starts, he is not the only youngster Giovani Cabrioli has replaced Anthony Lopes in goal with lesser known 23 year old Jakob Haugaard who has put in 3 Man of the match performances in six games. Lyon have certainly lacked goal with them being the joint lowest scorers in the league thats why the decision to sell star striker Davy Klaassen came as a shock to many. Moreover, star names such as Moreno Rodrigo, Francesco Totti, Sofiane Feghouli, Clement Grenier and Kolarov regularly find themselves on the bench his style of management has certainly left a lot of people confused. However, a lot of top managers believe unless he starts playing the top players the club could find themselves battling to stay out of the relegation places and with top clubs like Inter Milan andManchester City just two points behind them and Valencia finding form with the appointment of David Senior its not long before Lyon would constantly be looking over their shoulder.


Manchester City

Manchester City with only one win in their last 15 games, things must change quickly for them if they wish to remain in the first division. Will Trafford was paraded as the new manager of the club during the pre-season tour of the club, things have never really kicked on for the manager and now he finds the club just out of the relegation places on goal difference. Despite the abundant talent available at the managers disposal they have not been able to grind out the results, even though they have been linked with a lot of good players the only signing the manager has managed to bring in has been of ageing star Andrea Pirlo but even he with all his experience has not been able to lift the morale of the squad. The manager really needs to step up his game as relegation with Manchester City and he might struggle to get another job in the league. The fans were prepared to give the manager time but they might soon be coming to the stadium with ‘Trafford Out Signs’. Its such an irony that Will Trafford has landed the job at Manchester City with the united fans grinning from ear to ear.

Inter Milan

The Inter Milan fans are fuming ever since the new manager has taken over they have fallen into the relegation places. A fan went as far to say his only qualification for the job was that he was Roy Keane’s brother look how Darren Ferguson turned out how could we expect any better from Brian Clough. The Manager has also been banned from any transfer dealings for the next month for retracting on an offer for Mats Hummels. The Bayern Munich manager was furious and said, ‘ the Inter Milan manager talks a lot but when the time comes he goes back on his word. Brian Clough has become something of an embarrassment to Inter since taking charge and he could become the first casualty of Top 100 should he finish in the bottom two. However, it has been reported Roy Keane shall be personally coming and taking training sessions of the team on his off days, so Inter could surely hope to get some good form going and move up the table through a crowded bottom half of the table.

Valencia

Valencia manager David Senior has confirmed that there is a re-join clause in his contract with Valencia should he not manage to keep Valencia from being in the bottom two. However, the club has had a major turn around since Senior took charge having won the last two league outings and steadily climbing up the table. The Manager is convinced he would be able to pull of this second half rescue mission and hopefully the club would be saved from relegation. The signs certainly look very encouraging with a 5-1 rout of fellow relegation battlers Sevilla with both new boys Lallana and Morata getting a brace each and the prior 4-2 mauling of the Doctor’s young Atletico side.
They have been hammered a few times, particularly away from home but have managed to hold onto their one goal advantage, quite a few times. They have the second worse defensive record in the division but the new manager is confident that his training methods would have a total turn around in the clubs fortunes and next season they would be up there competing with the best. The manager has moved quickly to put his stamp on the team with plenty of new signings.

Lazio

Fred Dodger has decided to jump into the frying pan by taking over the vacant Lazio job. Lazio alongside Sevilla are joint favourites to go down. However, Dodger has revealed that prior to taking up the job the owners had discussed the possibility of him continuing even in the event of a relegation. He has taken over a club who in their last 10 home games have not managed to register a single win and is the only club to do so. The manager would look to turn to talismanic goal scorer Arjen Robben if they are to have any chance of staying up in Division one. Dodger has inherited an ageing squad but one which still has a lot of playing time left in them with the likes of Biglia, Candreva and Perotti big names that other managers have targeted in the past. The major problem of the team is the balance of the squad and the manager would have to move quickly to address the issue at hand in their bid for survival. Its still very early on in Dodger’s stint as manager but we would love for a cinderella story to come out of it with him being the man to guide them out of the relegation mess. If not we could traditionally see Lazio placed in the same division as its biggest rivals Roma next season.

Sevilla

There is not much to write about Sevilla. Traditionally, 40 points has been thought as an entry to safe zone. This time around, 35 points seem good enough. With their poor defence, lacklustre attack and no real leader on the pitch, even getting to that point would be a tough task. Jamie Aldridge has to dig deep to find some crucial points in the second half of the season. Moreover, the Sevilla fans are demanding the head of the current manager and even carrying banners to all the games, team rooted to the relegation places throughout the season. The sale of James McCarthy to an external club was probably worst transfer decision of the season and although sad you can understand the reason for the current plight of the football club. Any team would fancy their chances against this Sevilla side and its time to bid adieu to the first division of Top 100. If they are to have any chance of survival Machim Vitolo, Yevhen Konoplyanka and Kevin Gameiro need to stand up and be counted.

Mid Season Review Predictions

Champions- Real Madrid
Runners up- Barcelona
Top 100 Cup- Bayern
Top 100 Shield- Juventus or Bayern
Youth Cup- Atletico Madrid
SMFA Places Barcelona and Juventus
Relegated sides- Sevilla, Lazio, Lyon and Inter Milan (maybe)
Top Goal scorer- Messi
Transfer of the season- Alvaro Morata
Worst transfer of the season- James McCarthy

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