The Spanish La Liga returns to action this Friday with the defending champions Barcelona set to draw first blood. La Liga’s top sides didn’t have the greatest seasons. Atletico Madrid threw away a 2-0 first leg lead against Juventus and Barca blew a 3-0 lead against Liverpool, both in the UEFA Champions League. Real Madrid, on the other hand, had a disastrous season and ended up being coached by three different managers. However, all three teams have made some major signings which include bringing in players like Eden Hazard and Antoine Griezmann.
Friday 16 August
Athletic Bilbao 38/10
The beginning of the new La Liga season will kick off on Friday evening when Barcelona visit Athletic Bilbao in what is traditionally an open and exciting game. These sides shared the spoils in both their league encounters last season. Athletic Bilbao had a less than impressive campaign in the previous season and subsequently had to make do with a mid-table finish. Barcelona won the race to the 2018/19 title with a 11-point advantage over the eventual runners-up Atletico Madrid. Ernesto Valverde has been a mastermind in La Liga for the past two seasons and his squad are certainly sizing up as contenders to clinch the crown for a third consecutive time. Back Barcelona to record a comfortable win by the end of the ninety minutes.
Celta Vigo 34/10
Real Madrid 7/10
Real Madrid didn’t have a positive pre-season tour and will be looking capitalize on it in their opening clash with Celta Vigo this weekend. Zinedine Zidane was able to steer Los Blancos to a decent finish after the Julen Lopetegui fiasco saw them heading to an embarrassing position in the table midway through the season. The squad certainly showed promise under Zidane in the initial weeks and even went a few games unbeaten in the process. Signing players like Eden Hazard is a sign that Real Madrid are looking to replace Cristiano Ronaldo. Back Zidane to start on a winning note at a valuable 7/10.
Real Sociedad 4/1
Valencia really have been a revelation to the big boys in La Liga. For a team which was recently fighting relegation, they gave a run for their money for many of the established superpowers in Europe. At the end of a thrilling campaign, the squad grabbed a ticket to the Champions League whilst winning the Copa del Rey and lost in the semi-finals of the Europa league. Real Sociedad was a major contender for the Europa spot so 7/10 for Valencia is a bit short. This won’t be an easy game so back Both Teams to Score at 21/20.
Mallorca has just climbed to the top branch after an exhausting, nail-biting, playoff as well as their regular campaign. They had finished fifth in the Segunda Division last season and despite the presence of some truly great competitors, they managed to come out on top and grabbed an entry into Spain’s top flight. After all their heroics it’s fair to say they can start the new campaign on a high, especially playing at home against a team like Eibar. Back the newcomers to come out on top.
Leganes had an astonishing start to their La Liga season the last time around but failed to sustain it for a long period. Their defence was a major problem that troubled them throughout and it saw them conceding a total of 43 goals. The visitors Osasuna come off an emphatic campaign in the Segunda Division where they topped the log with an eight-point gap. This, however, will be a real test considering Leganes’ fantastic record at home in the last two seasons. Back the hosts to claim maximum points.
Villarreal were inches away from getting relegated last time out and are certainly sizing up as one of the odds-on favourites this year to be safe from the axe. The Yellow Submarine had an impressive pre-season, winning six from seven matches, scoring 23 goals in the process. The visitors also had a fantastic preparation and they were one better than their opponents, winning of seven of their friendly encounters, including six matches against local teams. Villarreal are not a team we can easily trust with 6/10 odds; they are far from that. Back Both Teams to Score at 17/20.
Sunday 18 August
Deportivo Alaves 23/20
Alaves were without a win in their last nine games in the league and finished just outside the top 10 with 50 points in the bag. Levante had an even more miserable run in the league last time out, and have no one but their lucky stars to thank for making it into the new season alive. The visitors amassed not more than 44 points to their name and were just four points shy of being relegated. I’m not convinced with either teams’ pre-season results and this should be one of those long dull affairs. I foresee a low-scoring game, get on Under 2.5 Goals at 13/20.
Espanyol have already started their season after participating in the Europa League qualification where they thrashed Iceland minnows Stjarnan FC 7-0 on aggregate. The hosts were absolutely incredible at home last season and I’m expecting them to continue where they left off and the fact that they have been playing competitive matches gives them some slight advantage. Sevilla will miss out on Champions League football this season and that resulted to the club sacking the coach and bringing in the controversial former Spain and Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui, which was a surprise move from the Red and Whites. Get on Espanyol to upset Lopetegui.
Real Betis 13/20
Real Valladolid 47/10
Real Betis ended last season with back-to-back wins, but the Lilly Whites have not been faring well in their warm-up clashes building up to the opening game, and look far from convincing. The betting is a little bit deceiving here and Real Betis lost some of their star players so be cautious with them. The visitors are certainly not a team that can be trusted against anyone in the league and they will be fighting relegation again this season. These sides beat each other last season and surprisingly they both won away. I can’t trust any of the two teams so I’m backing a draw here.
Atletico Madrid 9/20
Atletico Madrid begin life without Antoine Griezmann, Diego Godin, Rodri, Lucas Hernandez and Juanfran, who all played a major role in Diego Simeone’s team. Atleti have brought in some exciting new names to the team but it will be interesting to see how long they take to get used to La Liga as most of these players have no La Liga experience. If there’s ever a time for Getafe to be positive going to the Wanda Metropolitano, it’s now. Getafe were decent last season and they threw away top four when all they needed was to beat Villarreal at home in the last game of the season which they drew. It’s hard to back Atletico after losing so many starters, so I suggest taking both teams to score at 13/10.
TREBLE @ 56/10
Barcelona Win 7/10
Real Madrid Win 7/10
Atletico Madrid vs Getafe BTTS 13/10
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