#2 - The Two Sides To Mercenary-ing
Then there's the case of Marseille and striker Andre Pierre Gignac, another player brought into solidify title credentials during the summer of 2010. Costing about €16 million, he arrived having won the Ligue 1 Golden Boot with Toulouse.
However, things have not gone quite so well for Siem de Jong and Ajax,Charles Woodson Jersey. The champions are five points back of first place AZ, in part because their #10 shirt has just two goals and one assist in league play out of the winter break.
#5 - The Hunter & the Panther
Last season, De Jong was among the title heroes, raising his production with nine goals and a handful of assists after the resumption as Ajax beat a striker shortage to rally for the crown. With Kolbein Sigthorsson potentially lost for the season, they need him to do it again.
Where would PSV Eindhoven be right now without summer pick-up Dries Mertens? Not a point off the summit, that's for sure.
On the other hand, fourth place Inter Milan will be hoping for a lot more Wesley Sneijder magic if they are to regain the crown from house rivals Milan. Partially limited by injuries, the little engine that can hasn't thus far,Ben Roethlisberger Jersey.
Meanwhile, another team level at the top, defending champs Borussia Dortmund, will certainly need more from striker Lucas Barrios if they are to repeat.
And while Zlatan also has notched an incredible four shot assists per game this season, it cannot be avoided that half his 14 league strikes have come from the spot.
The Oranje striker has already hit for 26 goals, including 15 in Bundesliga play,Aaron Hernandez Youth Jersey. No one-dimensional forward, Huntelaar has also dished out eight assists. He also has scored his team's opener in six league victories and has only gone without a goal for three Schalke matches once on this campaign.
The Brazilian has but two goals this season and none since September. Recent gossip has Nilmar linked with clubs back home; if he won't score as a Yellow Submarine, perhaps funding a move for someone who will is just as good. He'll need to get to doing one or the other very soon if Villarreal hope to get away from the trap door.
#2 - The Two Sides To Mercenary-ing
It has basically all gone to plan at Paris St. Germain, who worked the summer transfer market like cash splashers. The league leaders have enjoyed hearty contributions from new employees like Kevin Gameiro, Blaise Matuidi,Emmitt Smith Youth Jersey, Jeremy Menez and bonus baby Javier Pastore.
#3 - Arguing With Hand Gestures
The diminutive trickster has 13 goals and nine helpers on the Eredivisie season to date, good for second in the league ranking for each stat. It was Mertens who kept the team afloat during early struggles to light the engines; he scored during the opening period of their first five games and also has six winners.
This time, we rank them by how likely the former looks to celebrating title glory as we make the turn.
However, none of them has had quite the impact of Nene, who arrived a year before the others and has rung up nine goals (including five winners) with plenty of fine set-up work behind the strikers.
Some folks would probably insist AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the obvious MVP frontrunner at this time. The Rossoneri also struggled out of the blocks this term,D.J. Williams Jersey, but the mercurial Swede has pulled them back up the table with 13 tallies in his last 12 Serie A games - all but three of those coming after halftime.
I'll go with the boring choice, Barcelona's Lionel Messi. This league season, he has one fewer goal, one more assist and worlds less hair gel than C-Ron.
#1 - It's so obvious! Just pick your favorite.
As with the La Liga title, the MVP race in Spain will again go down to the wire. Once again, we will stargaze the onion bag race spectacle put on by Arouna Kone and Marco Ruben... just kidding, had to make sure you were paying attention in this microwave information culture.
So, who do you prefer? Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo has 23 goals to lead the league, which his team also happens to do heading into the 20th game of the schedule. Then again, he has nine penalties among them, plus six we can easily consider late pile-on goals.
As such, we tab Udinese front man Antonio Di Natale, who has kept on rocking with 14 goals of his own, 11 from the run of play. A master of consistency, the veteran has failed to score in consecutive league games just once this season.
Sneijder has one goal in 14 games across all competitions and has not so much as notched an assist since the start of November. In his first two campaigns at Inter, the first having ended in a treble triumph two years back, he bagged 14 goals and 19 assists in 72 games.
#4 - Farmer's MarketRelated articles Must See TV Euro 2012 Final Rewind Euro 2012 Rewind: The Quarters
He eventually rallied for form after a slow start in his first year with Marseille, but fell short of helping L'OM retain the crown. This time around, Gignac has one start, no goals and is trying to fight his way out of the reserves.
Our second mid-season jog through the top flights in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain will look at one player leading the MVP chase and one potential difference-maker who much more is needed from during the season's back half.
Often the subject of transfer gossip, the Paraguay ace was consistent in bagging 16 goals. This term, early injuries curbed his time,J.J. Watt Youth Jersey, but he's had just three starts and no goals in the 15 games across all competitions since.
With all due apologies to Marco Reus, Schalke largely owe their place even on points with leaders Bayern Munich and a place in the Europa League knockouts to Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
While the aforementioned Ruben has done some decent work filling in for injured star Giuseppe Rossi, the regular starter's usual running mate - Nilmar - has all but gone missing without the American-born Italy forward.
Often playing out of position against guys much larger, the mop-top Argentinean has hit for half his 22 goals this term either in the opening quarter hour, the 15 minutes wrapped around halftime or to better Barcelona's result at the death. On top of all that, he's got six strikes and three helpers in five Champions League outings.
At the other end of the table, let's be direct: Somebody needs to step up and score the goals to save Villarreal from relegation.