Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Soccer: How are things shaping up in 2011-2012?

Soccer: How are things shaping up in 2011-2012?. 45475.jpegZenit and CSKA Moskva seem to be the teams in form in the Russian Premier League, while PSG, Bayern and Juventus sit atop the French, German and Italian leagues, the two Manchester clubs fight it out in the English Premier and in Spain...no it isn't Real Madrid or Barcelona, but Real Betis Balompié leading La Liga.

Russia

With just five games to go before the winter recess, Zenit beat Tom Tomsk 4-0 to retain top spot while CSKA Moskva drubbed Volga 3-1 to stay second two points behind after 25 games. Third-placed Dinamo lost at Krylya Sovetov 1-0 and FC Spartak Moskva moved up to within two points in fourth place after a 4-2 win away at Krasnodar.

Russian Premier League after 25 games

1. FC Zenit St. Petersburg 52

2. PFC CSKA Moskva 50

3. FC Dinamo Moskva 47

4. FC Spartak Moskva 45

5. FC Kuban Krasnodar 43

England

Manchester City FC took advantage of an away draw at Stoke City (1-1) by their arch rivals United, beating Everton 2-0 to go joint top on 16 points apiece after six games (5 wins and a draw each). Chelsea FC is hot on the heels of the Mancunian teams, on 13 points after a 4-1 thrashing of new boys Swansea FC. Newcastle beat Blackburn 3-1 and is in fourth place, while Liverpool is fifth after beating Wolves 2-1.

English Premier League after 6 games

1. Manchester United 16

2. Manchester City 16

3. Chelsea FC 13

4. Newcastle United 12

5. Liverpool FC 10

Spain

Sitting on top of the Spanish Liga is Real Betis Balompié (meaning "football" - Balom = ball; pié = foot) with a maximum 12 points from 4 games. This weekend Betis beat Zaragoza 4-3, while second-placed FC Barcelona thumped Atlético 5-0 and Real Madrid thrashed Rayo 6-2. Levante and Sevilla secured third and fourth places respectively by beating Espanyol (3-1) and Valencia (1-0). Hat-tricks for Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo!

Spanish Primera Liga after 5 games

1. Real betis Balompié 12 (one game less)

2. FC Barcelona 11

3. Levante UD 11

4. Sevilla FC 11

5. Real Madrid 10

Italy

Serie A after 4 games is led by Juventus, which drew away this weekend at Catania (1-1). Second-placed Udinese got a point away at Cagliari (0-0), Genoa CFC retain third place despite going down 2-1 at Chievo while fourth and fifth-placed teams SSC Napoli and ACF Fiorentina drew 0-0. Both Milan teams won but are way down in the classification.

Italian Serie A after 4 games

1. Juventus 8

2. Udinese Calcio 8

3. Genoa CFC 7

4. SSC Napoli 7

5. ACF Fiorentina 7

Germany

FC Bayern Munchen are predictably top of the table again after a comfortable home victory 3-0 against Bayer Leverkusen; Werder Bremen beat Hertha 2-1 to retain second spot, while VfL Borussia Moenchengladbach keep third place after a 1-0 victory over Nurnberg. TSG Hoffenheim, fourth, lost away at Koln 2-0 and fifth-placed FC Schalke 04 had a useful 4-2 home win over Freiburg.

German Bundesliga after 7 games

1. FC Bayern Munchen 18

2. SV Werder Bremen 16

3. VfL Borussia Moenchengladbach 16

4. TSG 1988 Hoffenheim 12

5. FC Schalke 04 12

France

After 8 games, Paris Saint-Germain sits atop the French Ligue 1 together with Olympique Lyonnais and Toulouse FC, all with 17 points. PSG went to fourth-placed Montpellier Hérault SC to win 3-0. Lyon beat Bordeaux 3-1, Toulouse defeated Nancy 1-0 and fifth-placed Rennes got a home draw 1-1 against Saint-Etienne.

French Ligue 1 after 8 games

1. Paris Saint-Germain FC 17

2. Olympique Lyonnais 17

3. Toulouse FC 17

4. Montpellier Hérault 16

5. Stade Rennais FC 15

Konstantin Karpov

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