Haaland, Klopp, Ansu Fati, Valverde...key names from the season so far
The global coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to football in practically every corner of the planet - here are some of the major talking points of the 2019/20 season before Covid-19 brought things to a sudden halt.
We were able to enjoy seven months of football in the current 2019-2020 campaign before the rapid expansion of the Covid-19 virus saw a sudden halt to activity in many of the world's major leagues.
The season so far has the emergence of the likes of Ansu Fati and Haaland break through onto the European stage in a season that, with his side on top of the LaLiga table, FC Barcelona deemed that Ernesto Valverde's time on the Camp Nou bench had come to an end. The season has also delivered some surprise results in games involving LaLiga sides with the likes of PSG 3-0 Madrid (Champions League), Barcelona 2-3 Atlético (Spanish Super Cup), Madrid 3-4 Real Sociedad (Copa del Rey) and the recent Champions League Round of 16 second leg at Anfield as Atleti overcame Liverpool 2-3 on the night.
Young guns go for it
One of the significant developments in the 19/20 season is the mass emergence of promising young talented players. After making his debut at the age of 16 years and 298 days in the 5-2 defeat of Real Betis in August, Ansu Fati became Barça's youngest LaLiga goalscorer after coming on to score in the 2-2 draw at Osasuna a week later. The teenager has now played for Spain's U21 side as well as wearing the Barcelona first team shirt 27 times this season
Fede Valverde has been the standout new talent for Real Madrid this season. Through dazzlingperformances and omnipresence on the pitch,Valverde has killed any debate about the need for Paul Pogba at the Bernabéu. He has emerged as Madrid’s fourth midfielder and has even put Modric's indisputable status in jeopardy. Nowadays Zidane is no longer being asked about signing Pogba, but rather about comparisons between Valverde and the Frenchman.
Outside Spain, the undisputed young talent to have left his mark this season is Norwegian striker Erling Braut Haaland with the striker finding the net 39 times in his 29 games with Salzburg and then Dortmund following his January move to the Bundesliga giants.
From Atlético Madrid's 7-3 win over Real Madrid in the pre-season ICC tournament through to Simeone's men surprising Champions League holders Liverpool at Anfield last week, the season has thrown up its fair share of shocks and surprises. Indeed the top of the LaLiga table shows Barcelona leading Real Madrid by just two points but both clubs have amassed a combined total of eight defeats in the domestic campaign.
In the other major European leagues, it appears that PSG (Ligue 1), Bayern (Bundesliga) and Juventus in Serie A (despite pressure from Inter and Lazio) are solid bets to retain their titles. The Premier League is set to herald a new champion as we've witnessed an incredible run from Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool with the Anfield side runaway leaders on 82 points and poised to lift their first championship since the 1989/90 season.
Changes on the bench
The 2019/20 season has seen no let-up in the managerial merry-go-round with seven top flight coaches falling in the campaign to date. The season was barely a month old when Marcelino was dismissed by Valencia and the highest profile sacking came in January when Barcelona replaced Ernesto Valverde with Quique Setien desopite the Catalan club topping the LaLiga table. Pochettino leaving Spurs to be replaced by Mourinho was a major talking point and the likes of Machín, Cembranos, Fran Escribá, Pellegrino and Gallego have all been dismissed from their head coach roles during the season.
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