Saturday, Dec 17
Sporting v Espanyol 18.00 CET, 12pm EST, 9am PST GOLTV USA
Mallorca v Getafe 18.00 CET, 12pm EST, 9am PST DIRECTV SPORTS
Athletic Club v Zaragoza 20.00 CET, 2pm EST, 11am PST ESPN DEPORTES, espn3.com
Sevilla v Real Madrid 22.00 CET, 4pm EST, 1pm PST GOLTV USA
Sunday, Dec 18
Atletico Madrid v Betis 12pm CET, 6am EST, 3am PST
Granada v Levante 16.00 CET, 10am EST, 7am PST DIRECTV SPORTS
Osasuna v Villarreal 18.00 CET, 12pm EST, 9am PST DIRECTV SPORTS
Racing v Real Sociedad 19.45 CET, 1:45pm EST, 10:45am PST ESPN DEPORTES, espn3.com
Valencia v Malaga 21.30 CET, 3:30pm EST, 12:30pm PST GOLTV USA
The match calendar is already here and there are some really interesting matches to start the season
In the first matchday we have the following encounters:
Osasuna vs. Valencia: The Navarre side is always a hard contender at el Reyno de Navarra but I think Valencia will prove to be much stronger than them, specially if Mata and Soldado stay at the club, Osasuna had a huge blow at losing Monreal to Málaga.
Levante vs. Zaragoza: Levante had an amazing end of the season, saved themselves from going to la Liga Adelante thanks to a good collective work (though they lost Kiko Femenía to Barça) and Caicedo’s goals, in paper they are stronger than the maños
(who lost their two best players: Ander Herrera to Athletic and Gabi to Atlético de Madrid), so I think the Valencian side might win but this will be a close match.
Real Madrid vs. Athletic Club: Hands down the best match of the first day. Mou is getting into his second season and the team is becoming stronger, more tactically organized and disciplined, Cristiano, Higuain, DiMaria, Xabi and Ozil will give a hard time to the Basque defense; Athletic has a young team with lots of upcoming stars like Javi Martínez, Ander Herrera and Iker Muniain, a very good CB (Ekiza), an excellent RB (Iraola) and the always dangerous Fernando Llorente, they aren’t a pushover team and if RM doesn’t go out guns blazing, this can be a very tough game for them, since it is in Madrid, I fully expect RM to win but it will be close, specially if Athletic plays at their best.
Rayo Vallecano – Mallorca: the newly ascended Madrid team vs the islanders, Rayo is known to fight every match to the end and I don’t think they will lose in their Liga debut, Mallorca usually need some matchplay to get their game down but will do their best not to lose either.
Espanyol vs. Granada: The Barcelona side got a huge blow by being unable to qualify to the UEFA Europa League in the last match but their performance in the first part of La Liga last year was excellent, so I think they will start strongly this time as well, the Andaluz team is still feeling the euphoria of getting to the First Division, their inexperience will cost them the match at Cornellá-El Prat.
Betis vs. Sevilla: The Andaluz Clásico of All Times, that day no one will be out in the Sevilla streets, been a while since we saw this. Sevilla has a very strong team with the likes of Javi Varas, Cáceres, Negredo, Navas and the newly bought Manu del Moral, I believe they will prove to be too much for Betis.
Málaga vs. Barcelona: The Spanish version of Manchester City vs the Best Team in the World, I remember Hércules upsetting BCN last year at the early stages of La Liga but I don’t think Málaga would be up for that task since they aren’t a cohesive team, everyone seems to be a new player and they need time to adjust, Barcelona won’t give them that luxury, so La Rosaleda will start with a catalan victory or a draw if Pep’s team is too rusty.
Villarreal vs. Sporting Gijón: The Asturian side got one of the worst possible opponents in here, even if Cazorla, Valero and Rossi leave during this transfer season, Gijón is a combative team but I don’t think they will have an answer to such a compact team as Villarreal, who can give any team a hard time if they are on their best day.
Real Sociedad vs. Atlético de Madrid: The Lower Madrid-Euskadi Clásico, Atlético has gotten great players like Gabi and Adrián but has lost some of the guys who got the Europa League title (De Gea, Ujfalusi, Tiago, Forlán and Kun in the fence…); Real Sociedad is keeping pretty much the same tactics they had last year, like Athletic, they don’t have a policy of buying too much people if they have a decent squad, Anoeta is a powerful field and might give the Basque an advantage but I believe that Atlético is a better team overall and will get the victory if Real doesn’t give their best effort.
Racing vs. Getafe: This is one of those matches where you wouldn’t bet because it is really hard to predict the odds and unless the sheik owners of the Madrid side buy everyone on sight, this is probably going to be one of those hard fought matches where both teams are at each other’s throats during 90 minutes.
What matches are you guys looking forward to?