In most of the football leagues throughout Europe, clear frontrunners have already emerged following the first eight or nine weeks of competitive play. In the English Premier League, Manchester City are two points up; in the German Bundesliga, Bayern Munich have already established a seven-point lead; and in the French Ligue 1, Paris Saint Germain are leading the way by five. But eight weeks into the 2015/16 La Liga the standings are not so clear-cut.

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A Three-Way Tie

In the Spanish La Liga not only is there no clear frontrunner at this point, but the standings posit the division as a three-way dead heat. FC Barcelona were expected to rule the roost for the 2015 2016 campaign, following an incredible treble-winning season in 2014 2015. But with the great Lionel Messi on the bench for another month, Barca have had to adjust.

Barcelona could still very much contend for the La Liga title this season. At the moment, they are in third place on the table, trailing Real Madrid and Celta de Vigo. All three teams have the same point total in the standings, of 18. Goal difference is the only thing separating them from one another. They are, for most intents and purposes, in a three-way tie that could easily be broken by this coming weekend's outcomes.

Barcelona Home Shirt 2015 - 2016With that said, Barca are going to need to pick up the pace if they are going to defend their La Liga title in 2016. Last season, Barcelona were dominant not because they were the highest scoring football club in Spain. On the contrary, their total goal tally (an impressive 110) was eight goals fewer than what Real Madrid managed. Instead, Barca won the league largely on defense: they only allowed 21 goals in 38 games. Real Madrid conceded 38.

This season, Barcelona is struggling to maintain the same defensive mastery. The football club has still kept up an impressive offense, scoring 17 goals in nine fixtures. Eight of those came from Neymar, who is the current leading goalscorer in the La Liga this season. But those same nine games have seen Barca concede 11 goals-more than half of what they allowed last season, and in less than a quarter of the time.

Real Madrid: Lacking Spark, but Holding Steady

Real Madrid, on the other hand, have morphed from their usual format as an unstoppable offensive juggernaut into a more tactical, strategic soccer team. The Vikings are still the highest scoring team on the 2015 2016 La Liga table-they've scored 18 goals, one more than both Barcelona and Celta Vigo-but they are leading because of their "goals against" tally.

Indeed, Real Madrid have only conceded two goals in their first nine matches. They're undefeated, with a record of five wins and three draws. (Celta Vigo have the same record while Barca have tallied six wins, but also two losses.) But Real Madrid Home Shirt 2015 - 2016the Vikings are the leaders right now because their goal difference (+16) is so much better than Celta Vigo's (+9) and Barcelona's (+6).

Some soccer pundits have suggested that Real Madrid is "lacking spark" this year. Certainly, Cristiano Ronaldo hasn't been putting up the goal numbers we usually see from him. Both Ronaldo and Karim Benzema trail Neymar in the overall goal tallies, with six points apiece. New Vikings manager Rafael Benitez has taken heat for his coaching style, which is similar to Jose Mourinho's in that he likes to defend a lead rather than widen it. But while Rafa's coaching style may have made Real less exciting to watch than they have been over the past few years, you can't argue with the results when his team is only conceding 0.25 goals per game.

Celta Vigo: The Underdogs

Celta Vigo is arguably the biggest story of the 2015 2016 La Liga, though. After finishing eighth last Atletico Madrid Home Shirt 2015 - 2016season, with 13 wins, 12 draws, and 13 losses, Vigo have yet to drop a game this fall. They beat Barca 4-1 even before Messi's name was added to the disabled list. Equally surprising is that the football club's top attacker, Nolito, has a current tally of six goals in eight appearances. Last season, he took 36 apps to score 13 points.

As for the rest of the field, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal round out the top five with 16 points apiece, while last soccer season's fourth and fifth placers-Valencia and Sevilla-have tumbled to eighth and 13th, respectively. Deportivo La Coruna meanwhile, have made an impressive jump, from 16th place to sixth.

What are your predictions for the rest of the current La Liga season? Will the wearers of the Real Madrid jersey 2015 2016 make a return to the top of the podium for the first time since 2012? Will Barca rally? Will Celta Vigo continue to impress? Share your thoughts by linking up with Soccer Box on social media! You can find us on multiple platforms including Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr.