La Liga Season Preview
This year’s La Liga season is going to find it hard to top the theatrics of last season. The defending champion Real Madrid will look to defend its title from the rest of the field. Real Madrid won 26 games, drew nine times and were defeated three times last year, ending the season with 87 points and also went on a 10-game win streak to end the season.
Since the end of the season, Real Madrid has been fairly active in the transfer window. It only sold one player in Achraf Hakimi but also bought a number of young players to develop. Zinedine Zidane recalled Norwegian wonderkid Martin Odegaard back from loan. He’ll definitely be Real Madrid’s player to watch this season, as it will be interesting to see how he comes back to his parent club after going back on loan.
With what is happening with Barcelona, it’s quite possible that the defending champions will go back-to-back for the first time in 13 years.
Since losing the title to Real Madrid and being embarrassed by Champions League victor Bayern Munich, Barcelona is a club in turmoil. Its golden goose Lionel Messi has come out and said how unhappy he is with the club, threatening to leave. The once titans of the game have now fallen off their mountain. Barcelona is still Barcelona, but with all its players leaving and players getting old, it does not look like the Catalonian giants are going to win La Liga this year.
Expect Messi to remain as the key player but don’t expect any other player to step up to his level. Barcelona may come in second place convincingly, and Messi could leave the club after this season concludes.
Atletico Madrid has always been the bridesmaid and never the bride. The team, led by club legend Diego Simeone, finished third last season and is looking for a push with a mix of young talent and established veterans.
Atletico Madrid has an uptempo and aggressive style of play, but that exact style of play is often inconsistent. Since Antoine Griezmann left the club, it has not looked the same, and might continue to go downhill.
The best thing about this team is that it is resilient. Atletico Madrid does not give up, but it does give up multiple goals each game. This team drew 13 times last season in games that it should have won.
This season, be sure to watch out for Portugese star Joao Felix to have a breakout year. Goalkeeper Jan Oblak also looks to establish himself as a top-three goalkeeper. It’s possible that Atletico Madrid finishes in third place by a slim margin.
In the relegation battle, four teams are looking to go down. Huesca, Cadiz and Elcheas are the favorites, but expect Alaves to struggle this season too.
This year’s La Liga season is going to be exciting as always. We are going to have to see how Zidane manages new players in his system, how Messi will react to staying with Barcelona, and if Atletico Madrid can make one final push before a much needed shakeup.
Cole Koffler is a freshman majoring in communications. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.