|A group hug after a fantastic goal by Andre Dias|
Lazio had a very disappointing 2009/10 season, they arrived 12th in the Serie A after a bad run in the Europa League as well. But this season the president Claudio Lotito reinforced, picking up important and talented players like the Brazilian central midfielder Hernanes, along with a fantastic coach, Eduardo Reja.
With only one loss so far this season, Lazio have picked up 22 points out of a possible 27, and this great record puts them top of the table. Lazio are first with a four point lead ahead of last year's Serie A champions Inter Milan, and it doesn't seem like the team will be stopping anytime soon.
Their latest result was a hard-fought 1-0 win over Palermo, and although they didn't play that well, they managed to find a goal with Andre Dias volleying a great ball into the top corner. But it's not like Lazio have been sneaking 1-0 wins to the top of the table, Edy Reja's side has been playing some fantastic football in order to arrive where they have.
So the question arises, can Lazio continue this run of good form, and win the scudetto? Well, I'm going to say no. Mainly because the squad is slightly lacking in depth, and an injury to Hernanes, Ledesma, or Zarate could cripple the side. But Lazio can certainly aim for fourth spot, and maybe even third. Sadly I think that as the season drags on, it'll become more and more difficult for the side to keep up with the "bigger sides", but maybe I'll be proved wrong.
|The American/Italian Giuseppe Rossi|
Villarreal is another side which didn't do very well in their domestic league last season. They arrived 7th, and while this might not seem that bad at first, the club was used to having the income of Champions League football, something that they'd have to do without this season. But they're looking better than ever now, and they find themselves 3rd in La Liga, behind the two giants of Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
And it's not like the "yellow submarine" is light-years behind Real and Barca, Villarreal is actually just two points away from second placed Barcelona, and three from first placed Real Madrid. While Villarreal are a pretty experienced side, with well-known players, they have some unique jewels in their forward line which have been scoring plenty of goals for the club this season.
Their main two talented forwards are the Brazilian Nilmar, and the American/Italian Giuseppe Rossi. And as backup to those two, there's the American international Jozy Altidore, who's just 20 years old. So far this season, Villarreal has scored 17 goals, of which five were scored by Giuseppe Rossi, and six by Nilmar, so it's evident that the strike partnership is one of the best in La Liga.
The yellow submarine's latest result was a tight 1-1 draw away against Sporting Gijon, first the away side scored with a penalty in the second half, but Villarreal pushed and got a penalty in the final minutes of the match. Giuseppe Rossi scored the penalty to make sure that his side which had been reduced to ten men because Gonzalo was sent off, got an important point.
So what can Villarreal achieve this season? Well, I think that third place for this side would be fantastic. They haven't got too much competition right now for the third place they're currently in, so it seems very possible that they'll be back in the Champions League next season. But can this side dream of splitting up Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top of the table? Not this season, but maybe with years to come, when they're talented youngsters have developed into world class players, we might even see Villarreal become the champions of Spain.
Newcastle spent last season in the Championship, fighting to get back into the Premier League for this season. And now that they're back in England's top league, they're really making themselves known to be dangerous opponents. They're currently 7th in the league right now, and they'll need all their strength to remain there considering that there are some tough sides which will fight for their spot in the top half of the table.
Their latest result must be mentioned, they played at home against their rivals Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby. The final result was a resounding 5-1 win for Newcastle, thoroughly humiliating their rivals with a hat trick by Kevin Nolan. But the question must be asked, with a match away at Arsenal coming up next week, could the tables turn on Chris Hughton's side, and could they be on the end of a humiliating spanking?
While I will leave that question unanswered until next weekend, I will reveal how I think Newcastle will do this season in the Premier League. I expect the side to arrive at least to 10th place, if not further up the table. They have a squad full of quality players, and their big forward Andy Carroll has been banging in goals and creating chances for his teammates. The true question is, after this season, how will Newcastle manage to push up into England's best clubs?
I'll leave that for you to think about, so please, comment below regarding any of these three clubs, or the weekend's action from anywhere around the world.