The 2020/21 La Liga is about to start after a rather small break. Due to the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, football in pretty much every part of the planet was interrupted for over 90 days which was why leagues finished a little too late than most of us expected.
However, the new season is set to kick off this weekend with a lot of new plots and even more storylines to look into.
Fans aren’t expected to return to stadiums in Spain until 2021 so we will witness at least half of the games for this campaign behind closed doors.
There would also be a rather subdued feeling on Match Day one since the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Seville will not be in action due to their participation in Champions League Europa League.
Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Seville are in fact, also going to be missing in the second week.
However, La Liga itself is going through a rather turbulent time. The Spanish football federation threatened to block the opening game of the new season between Granada and Athletic Bilbao due to a temporary ban on Friday matches.
However, La Liga maintains that the game will go ahead.
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Moreover, this time around, a lot of teams in Spain are feeling the financial effects of the global pandemic. Real Madrid, who always seem to spend a lot on new players every summer, have been uncharacteristically quiet this time around so you can imagine how bad things are.
Zinedine Zidane’s men are favorites to retain their La Liga crown after taking advantage of the turmoil at Barcelona during the second half of the previous campaign.
In the backdrop of league resumption, all eyes will be on Barcelona and how the Catalonians will fare this time around.
Barcelona in turmoil
Lot of focus would also be towards star player Lionel Messi who submitted a transfer request only to change his mind once it became clear that he wouldn’t be allowed to leave as a free agent. The Argentine is expected to stay at the club at least one more season but you can bet that the club’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu would be looking to convince the legendary player into signing a new contract.
The arrival of Ronald Koeman as the club’s new manager has resulted in Luis Suarez being deemed surplus to requirements which Miralem Pjanic would be eager to have a memorable introduction to Spanish football.
However, would the Catalonians be able to turn away from their off the field distractions and really mount a successful title assault?
Well, it is just too difficult to call at the moment!
The Andalusian Dark Horses
Seville are bound to be the surprise package of the campaign with Julen Lopetigui’s side lifting yet another Europa League title. The Andalusians are bound to be the dark horses of this season’s title race.
Villarreal are also going to be a treat to watch after bringing in Unai Emery as coach and making some really smart movements in the transfer market. The Yellow Submarine has signed Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin from Valencia and Takefuso Kubo on loan from Real Madrid.
Problems at the Mestalla
Valencia on the other hand, are set for a really testing time. Los Che have started selling a lot of key players already this summer and are expected to be in for a serious struggle. The match against Levante would be a tough one given their recent struggles.
Another highlight of the opening day would be the return of David Silva. The Spaniard left Manchester City following the expiration of his contract and has signed for Real Sociedad. The Andalusians take on Real Valladolid this Sunday.
Cadiz are back in top flight Spanish football after a 14-year spell in the wilderness. They join Huesca and Elche and all three teams are expected to face a fight for survival.
Getafe are called The Spanish Burnley for a reason. The capital club has been flying high in recent years and even knocked out Ajax in the Europa League last season. Jose Bordelas has done an amazing job and he would definitely be eager to improve on the eighth place finish last season.
While they have a small budget as compared to the other European position chasing teams around them, Getafe are going to continue punching above their weight.
La Liga live football on TV this week
All UK time
Saturday 12th September
Eibar v Celta Vigo 3:00. pm
Granada CF v Athletic Club 5:30 pm
Cadiz CF v Osasuna 8:00 pm
Sunday 13th September
Deportivo Alavés v Real Betis 1:00 pm
Real Valladolid v Real Sociedad 3:00 pm
Villarreal CF v SD Huesca 5:30 pm
Valencia CF v Levante UD 8:00 pm