Who Will Come Out On Top In La Liga?
The dazzling glitz and glamour of La Liga is back on the footballing agenda and as always, the overriding majority of the column inches have been written about the competitions two main protagonists.
Protagonists that come in the way of Real Madrid and Barcelona and although they have been making headlines off the pitch – namely their respective pursuits of Neymar, it is actually early season results that have arguably made the most noise.
None more so, than when Barcelona lost on the opening night to Athletic Bilbao at the San Mames and although Real Madrid fans would have laughing into their Cerzeva’s long into the night, they would suffer their own modicum of anguish just a week later.
A home draw with Real Valladolid was not the start to the campaign that Zinedine Zidane would have been hoping for and certainly when you consider that Los Blancos have been incredibly busy in terms of summer transfer activity.
The headline signing for the Santiago Bernabeu outfit was undoubtedly Eden Hazard who finally revealed football worst kept secret and swapped West London for the Spanish capital, as he called time on his stint at Chelsea.
That’s not to say that their arch-rivals Barcelona have been outfoxed in the transfer activity stakes, far from it and the eventual capture of French international Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid will give fresh impetus to their attacking setup.
While although Barcelona lost their opening outing, Griezmann was on hand to open his account at the Camp Nou just a week later, as a two goal haul at home to Real Betis finally got the Catalan giants off the mark for the season.
Have these shock results begun something of a trend in Spain’s top-flight and are we seeing the mega powers finally weakened? The answer to that is probably not and it is arguably down to new look teams being caught cold in the first couple of weeks.
While a look at the latest La Liga betting suggest there is not going to be a new world order when it comes to the race for the title, as once again these two footballing juggernauts are priced far shorter than all their domestic contemporaries.
The outright market shows holders Barcelona priced as 4/6 to favourites to win a third straight Spanish title, with Real Madrid next in the list at 13/8 and with their crosstown rivals Atletico only 13/2 by comparison, you can see that not many people are looking outside the perennial arch-rivals.
Atletico will once again look to compete under Diego Simeone, while much will be expected of wonderkid Joao Felix who moved from Benfica for a record transfer for a teenager – one that stands at £113m.
There’s no doubting that Joao Felix’s time will come but with Atletico losing Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin at the other, they will most likely be a step away from being considered genuine La Liga contenders. That said, the Red and White half of Madrid have gone into the international break with a perfect start to the season.
Therefore, it seems that once again the battle lines will be drawn between Barcelona and Real Madrid and although there have been some early shocks, expect these two outfits to race long into distance in no time at all. As to who wins, we will just have to wait until next May for the answer.