New Spanish season kicks off as La Liga rivals prepare for battle

New Spanish season kicks off as La Liga rivals prepare for battle

By Papi Briano ‘Spanish Football Matador’

La Liga is Back!

Friday 18th August is the day the new Spanish season begins, after treating the world to two head scratching el classicos in a span of four days.  Throw in the biggest transfer in world football when Paris Saint-Germain literally smashed the Barca doors open and grabbed Neymar and you can tell it wasn’t all quiet in Spain during the off season.  As far as this season’s preview goes I find it really straight forward; read along and see why.

Champions: Strangely this was the easiest call to make.  Real Madrid will be pushed close by Barcelona but not quite and so should wrap this up nice and early. It will be vital for all involved if the title is won before the drama guaranteed in the penultimate classico at Camp Nou on 6th May 2018.  This will be the third last round of matches in the La Liga! The reason for picking Madrid for this one is that they just have a far more superior squad depth than all the rest, period. Their young kids look the part too, Marcos Asensio seems like the real deal.  

Honourable mention to the football lesson that Madrid offered so savagely to Barca in the Spanish Super Cup that am also certain will have a dealt a psychological blow to the Catalans. A 5 to 1 aggregate loss speaks volumes.  In the future Classicos, Barca will be mightily afraid.  

There is also the part that Barcelona is without Neymar and that departure rocked the club to its foundations.  It will take at least two quality signings to fill that void and just to add to the underwhelming bench power in Catalonia.  Barring a major meltdown by Madrid, Barcelona should be self-destructing in second place!

Rest of the top four: What am certain about is that Sevilla will be the dark horse to chase down Madrid specifically because they have made quality additions.  Cases in point is their record signing Luis Muriel and the return of Ever Banega from Inter.  If Muriel catches fire like he did in Sampdoria last term then things could get interesting at the Sanchez Pizjuan.  

Now to the curious case of Atletico. They are still serving their FIFA imposed transfer ban until January 2018 meanwhile their immediate rivals stack up talent. They may have signed Vitolo but he is out on loan at Las Palmas until the ban ends. Also they have just moved in to their new digs, The Wanda Metropolitano and I feel it will not only take them some time to get used to it but also realise that they have left behind a little bit of who they once were.  I fear it will be a grind for Diego Simeone’s men.  

Relegation: Leganes and Girona are quick-fire winners for the drop, in Girona’s case immediately upon their return.  Leganes were awful last season and they missed out on the drop by four points largely by riding on the bad luck of the other three teams that were relegated.  I don’t see them being twice as lucky this term.  Girona, Manchester City’s feeder club, is new to the class for the very first time in their history.  Something about them reminds me of Granada from last season.  Girona are just happy to be here. The third candidate is a bit of a topsy-turvy affair which I feel will involve Malaga.  They have just lost too much quality in the off-season without able replacements to avoid a relegation dog fight.

As the games begin, am putting my money on Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico to win their matches and hedge on Sevilla for a win or draw. Adios!

 

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