Five European Teams You Need to Watch in 2018

Five European Teams You Need to Watch in 2018

Here’s a rundown of some of those teams to look out for between now and May.

5. Lille OSC

While Nantes continue to enjoy their place at the high end of the table, Lille, for the second time in as many seasons find themselves fighting for their survival at the wrong end of the table.

The enigmatic – and often controversial – Marcelo Bielsa was brought in in an attempt to avoid a repeat scare; it was a move that backfired spectacularly. The Chilean was suspended by the club in November for a breach of contract, and sacked a month later. The club now sit third from bottom at the halfway stage of the Ligue 1 season.

Having left St Etienne after eight seasons in the summer, Christophe Galtier is now the man tasked with keeping a side who lifted the title in 2011, in the league.

4. Nantes

When manager Sergio Conceicao departed Nantes for Porto in the summer, many fans of the French club would have been concerned at the loss of a manager who had taken them from relegation battlers to seventh in the league in little over half a season.

In stepped Claudio Ranieri, and the Italian has quickly put to bed any implication that his unceremonious departure from Leicester had left him with any scars. Les Canaris are fifth in the league at the halfway stage, having developed an ability to grind out narrow wins, and will be hopeful of stealing a European place if they can maintain such an impressive run.

It wouldn’t be Ranieri’s greatest managerial achievement, but it wouldn’t be far off.

3. Benevento

One side who have had far from a dream start to their debut season in their country’s top flight is Italian side Benevento, who marked their arrival by suffering 14 consecutive defeats from the start of the season; a record in Europe’s top five leagues.

They did however end that run in spectacular style, as a 95th minute header from goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli earned a dramatic 2-2 draw with AC Milan. The unfancied minnows then ended their winless run with a 1-0 win over Chievo Verona in their final game of 2017.

Benevento may remain eleven points adrift at the bottom of the table, but the confidence of those two results coupled with the fact they will feel they have nothing left to lose could see the southern Italian side produce some more incredible results.

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