La Liga: Preview of Game Week 1 fixtures

La Liga

Atletico primed for quick start

La Liga returns to action this weekend with the Spanish action getting underway on Friday evening and continuing right through until Monday.

We suggest being patient in waiting for the best bet of the La Liga opening series, as Atletico Madrid make the trip to Valencia on Monday.

Diego Simeone’s side are 2.50 to take maximum points and are fancied to oblige at the Mestalla.

Atleti showed their usual brand of guts and determination to overhaul city rivals Real in the European Super Cup on Wednesday evening in Tallinn, coming out with a 4-2 victory after extra-time.

That they have until Monday to recover is a bonus going into what is a tough opener against Valencia.

Costa already in the mood

Diego Costa netted twice against Real and looks to be in the sort of mood that could see him inflicting pain on Valencia. Costa was born to play in this fiercely competitive Madrid team and he typifies the Atletico determination.

Atletico have won five of the last six meetings between these clubs, with last seasons’ stalemate in this fixture the only blemish.

Marcelino orchestrated a strong revival at Valencia last season and the likes of Michy Batshuayi and Kevin Gameiro – signed from Atletico – are decent additions.

Still, Atletico split Barcelona and Real Madrid last term and are deservedly in the ‘big three’ conversation. They could grind out a 2-0 win on Monday, which is priced at 11.00.

Barca the benchmark

Champions Barcelona start the season as 1.70 favourites to defend their crown and little wonder. They were simply too good last season and came home in splendid isolation.

Ernesto Valverde and his team cantered through a large phase of the season and begin the new term having won 28 of their last 31 home matches. Alaves visit the Camp Nou on Saturday and must try and arrest a run that has seen Barca net over 2.5 goals in eight of their last nine visits to the Catalan capital.

Coach Abelardo reversed Alaves’ fortunes in the latter half of last season and will have been delighted to stave off relegation. He’ll feel they can build on that this season, though arguably getting this trip to Barcelona out of the way first is the best they can hope for on Saturday.

Barcelona to lead at half-time and win is 1.44 and they should have few problems.

Life after Ronaldo can be tough

Real Madrid begin the post-Cristiano era in earnest on Sunday when Getafe visit the Bernabeu. New boss Julen Lopetegui is already coming under close scrutiny and losing the Super Cup to Atletico did little to help.

Given they were all but out of the title race before Christmas last season, Real Madrid must start the season well if the former Spain boss is to avoid losing two high-profile jobs in quick succession.

Getafe appear to be good opposition to start with, with Madrid having scored at least three goals in their last seven home matches against this opposition in all competitions.

They won’t be brushed aside as easily as that record might suggest however. Getafe finished just outside of the Europa League places last season and have made some clever summer investments to bolster their pack. They are capable of frustrating this new Madrid.

And the biggest question of course remains how Madrid are going to compensate for the Ronaldo-sized void in their canvass now. This could be a tough opening exam, though the home side should eventually find the answers, Real Madrid to win and under 3.5 goals is priced at 2.15 and looks a fair bet.