Real Madrid’s five year wait to reclaim the La Liga title for a record 33rd time in the competitions 88-year history, but the question this season is can they retain the trophy they had to wait half a decade for?
If the transfer window is anything to go by, then Barcelona’s sale of Neymar Jr to Paris St Germain for an astronomical £190m has only enhanced Los Blancos title credentials (at least until Barcelona splash the cash on his replacement) but Zinedine Zidane will be wary of former Athletic Bilbao and Valencia head coach Ernesto Valverde who leaps into the Camp Nou hotseat.
The 53-year-old arrives back in Barcelona having won the 1990 Copa Del Rey with the Blaugrana and a solid reputation as a manager after having guided Espanyol to the 2007 UEFA Cup final (where they lost an all-Spanish tie to Sevilla) and three Greek super league titles with Olympiacos.
It is expected that Valverde will bring a level of discipline to the Camp Nou which started to wane rapidly during Luis Enrique’s final season at Barce.
There is not much to call between the Real Madrid and Barcelona on the betting front with Real just edging ahead of Barcelona. You can check the odds of winning for each football club and also get the opportunity to bet at home by thebookiesoffers.co.uk
It is expected to play a part in record numbers of punters placing bets on La Liga this season. All the best betting offers can be checked here.
Atletico’s New Start
Spain’s top flight is not just all about two teams as Atletico Madrid bid farewell to the intimidating Vicente Calderón Stadium and prepare for life in the Wanda Metropolitano
Diego Simeone will hope for an improved performance from his Atletico Madrid side after trailing home city rivals Real by 15 points last season.
The likely acquisition of Chelsea’s Diego Costa could prove a vital cog in Simeone’s forward line after Frenchman Griezmann was Atletico’s top league scorer with 16 last season and Fernando Torres seemingly struggling with just 8.
The betting may be a little slow for Atletico to claim the title but a top four spot is a necessity and should not prove a problem for Simeone’s disciplined side.
Each season there is a surprise package with Alaves’s rise to ninth place a nice side story from the title race.
This time around, Levante and Getafe return to the top flight but there is a newcomer to Spain’s premier division this season as Catalonian side Girona FC make their first La Liga appearance after finishing runners-up in the Segunda division last season.
The minnows will be huge underdogs and will see plenty of bets at places such as thebookiesoffers.co.uk for Girona’s immediate return to the second division.
One trip to the official La Liga website and it is clear that the lack of official player photos on the Girona page suggests head coach Pablo Machín may have his work cut out to keep his side in the league for a second season.
As the season progresses we have a clearer picture of who is exceeding expectation, who is achieving expectation and who is finding themselves unexpectedly nervously looking over their shoulders.
It’s game time.