European Leagues: Gap Between Top Two

One of the effects of money in football has been the gap between the rich and the poor. As in society there is some evidence that the gap keeps increasing. Several factors including how TV rights money is distributed contributes to this gap.

Somewhat unrelated to the aforementioned gap is the gap between first and second placed teams. This gap contributes to the excitement in the latter weeks of the season. Below are some numbers for the past three seasons.

In England the 2018-2019 season was historic in that the top two were very close and accumulated plenty of points. In the end Manchester City won the league by one point over Liverpool. The two teams collected 98 and 97 points respectively. The 2017-2018 season finished with Manchester City 19 points ahead of Manchester United (100 and 81). The season before it Chelsea won the league with 93 points and Tottenham 7 points behind finished second.

In Italy Juventus is ahead of Napoli by 11 points with one week to go. Last season the same top two finished with a four point difference (95 and 91). In 2016-2017 Juventus finished with 91 and Roma 87.

In Spain the 2018-2019 La Liga ended with Barcelona ahead of Atletico Madrid with a 11 point gap. 2017-2018 had the same two teams but with a 14 point gap. La Liga’s 2016-2017 season featured Real Madrid besting Barcelona’s 90 points with their 93.

In France PSG are ahead of surprising Lille by 16 points with a week to go. Last season PSG won the league with 13 points more than second placed Monaco and the year before Monaco had 95 points at the end of the season compared to PSG’s 87.

In Germany‘s Bundesliga Bayern Munich came back from behind to beat the perennial ‘capitulators’ (aka Dortmund) by two points (78 to 76). The season before Bayern finished ahead of Schalke with a massive 21 point gap. Schalke finished this current season in 14th place! The 2016-2017 season had Bayern first with 82 and RB Leipzig second with 67 points.

In Portugal‘s Primeira Liga high scoring Benfica won the 2018-2019 season having two more points than Porto’s 85. Last season Porto had 88 and Benfica in second place had 81. The 2016-2017 season finished with Benfica on top with 82 and Porto second with 76.

In Holland‘s Eredivisie Ajax stormed back and won the title over PSV’s 83 points. Three points separated the two. In 2017-2018 PSV had held on and won the league with 83 compared to Ajax’s 79 points. Feyenoord’s 82 was one better than Ajax’s point tally for the 2016-2017 season.

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