La Liga Week 1 Predictions

Week 1 of La Liga kicking off

La Liga kicks off this Friday 17th August for the 88th Season since the league inception in 1929. One major difference this year is that the league will be played without a key contributor for the last 9 years, Cristiano Ronaldo. Real Madrid remain a top team and Barca have now won La Liga for 7 out of the last 10 times. Likely contender will also be Atlético Madrid after winning a great game against Real Madrid last Wednesday in Estonia to claim the UEFA Super Cup. Let’s get this season off to a great start with our La Liga week 1 predictions!

 

Barcelona vs Deportivo Alavés

Kick-off: Saturday, 18 August

The reigning champions kick off their campaign at the Camp Nou in a late fixture against Alaves in what will definitely turn out to be a training session for Barcelona. No major injury worries for Barca whereas Alaves miss two key players in Rodrigo Ely and Ibai (injured in a pre-season friendly). Barcelona come off a great transfer campaign that saw them acquiring the likes of Arturo Vidal, Arthur, Rafinha (back from Inter Milan loan), Lenglet and Malcom from Bordeaux. They also come into this game after a comeback win against Sevilla to claim the Spanish Super cup last Sunday. We must say it, Barcelona look extremely strong this season for their domestic competition.

We should expect to see Valverde’s classic 4-3-3 formation that he has been displaying all summer with Ter Stegen in goal, Alba Umtiti Pique and Semedo in defence, Vidal Busquets and Rakitic in midfield and Dembele Suarez and Messi upfront. Possible additions to this squad are Coutinho and Rafinha depending on physical condition.

These two teams last 5 meetings at the Camp Nou have resulted in 4 wins for Barcelona and 1 win for Alaves. All 5 games had both teams to score, all games were over 2.5 goals and Barcelona averaged 2.4 goals per game – that is, all exciting matches. This should be as we expect.

  • Barcelona to win using Asian handicap -2.5    

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Real Madrid vs Getafe

Kick-off: Sunday, 19 August

Fresh off a loss mid-week UEFA Super Cup to city rivals Atletico, Real Madrid kick off their La Liga season against lowly Getafe. This is the lesser version of a derby but still a derby and Real like to make a statement in this game. Having suffered a 4-2 drubbing to their bitter rivals only means the worst for Getafe as the Galacticos will come out with a display to show their prowess next Sunday. The major difference for Real Madrid is obviously the departure of their most prolific scorer ever, Cristiano Ronaldo. It is not everyday that you find yourself replacing a 45 goal a season scorer and Real naturally must go through the process.

The last 5 head to head encounters between these two teams at the Bernabéu resulted in overwhelming Real Madrid wins. The Galacticos getting a staggering 4.4 goals per game in each of those wins and a winning margin of 3 goals per game. That is domination at its best. It must be said though that they did this with Cristiano Ronaldo in the team and Getafe were his favourite prey.

Lopetegui will most likely field a similar squad that he fielded in the Super cup final against Atletico, his 4-3-3 with some slight twists. Navas had a shocker and the Lopetegui must be thinking it’s the perfect time to change in goal. Courtois in goal. Marcelo, Ramos, Varane, and Carvajal in defence. Isco, Modric, and Kroos in midfield (with Modric replacing Casemiro as a starter). Asensio, Benzema, and Bale upfront. The option that Lopetegui used on Wednesday was to replace Asensio with Modric as a number 10 and changing to a 4-2-3-1 formation mid-way through the game. This is also a plausible lineup for the Spanish manager this week.

  • Real Madrid to win using Asian handicap -2.0
  • Over 8 total match corners

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Valencia vs Atlético Madrid

Kick-off: Monday, 20 August

The Estadio Mestalla in Valencia hosts the first big league game of the season between Valencia and Atlético Madrid. Fresh off a super cup win, Atlético are buzzing. They’ve finally managed to beat Real Madrid in an elimination game in a European cup finally breaking that curse. Their comeback win was impressive to say the least. The Colcohneros showed grit and determination and did not surrender to the Real Madrid giants. Diego Costa and Thomas Lemar had a major showing and this bodes well for a long season ahead.

Their opponents on Monday would be willing to cash in on Atlético’s complacency, however we think that Valencia consider themselves as one of the favourites to contend this season in Spain. Valencia at home are quite strong and with the permanent signing of Kondogbia and the loan from Chelsea of Michy Batshuayi they will be confident on the pitch.

The last 5 encounters between these two at the Mestalla were mixed results but Atlético have won 3 of the last 5, Valencia won one and the other ending in a stalemate. During these games Atlético have managed an average of 1.4 goals per game whilst Valencia had trouble leaving a mark with only 0.8 goals per game. The corners game was also mixed with some extreme games and some others with actions barely making it to the touch line. The average amount of corners between these two at Valencia are 9.6 per game in the last 5 games.

Expect Simeone to field the exact same squad as he did Wednesday against Real, and expect the same type of result .

  • Atlético Madrid to win outright
  • Over 8 total match corners
  • Atlético Madrid over 1.5 team goals

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