To put it perfectly honest, FC Barcelona has dominated La Liga for quite some time now — for a decade to be exact.
Last season, for example, the Catalans would blow away from the rest of the opposition and win the league by 11 points over second-place Atletico Madrid. That dominating fashion would lead to Barcelona winning their eighth league championship in the past 11 seasons.
It’s quite amazing what Barcelona has been able to pull off, especially against competition such as Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. For Los Blancos (The Whites), they would win four Champions League titles (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018) in that stretch with Cristiano Ronaldo at the helm. With Los Colchoneros (The Mattress Makers), they’ve been lingering among Europe’s top football clubs since the 2014 season, with appearances in the UCL Final in both 2014 and 2016. Hell, even Valencia is a force in this league, snagging a championship here and there. Needless to say, it’s been pretty impressive what FC Barcelona has accomplished.
Not out of the ordinary, Barcelona and the clubs in the Spanish capital (Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid) have been very active this summer. Even if you take the situation regarding the possible reunion between Neymar and Barca out of the picture, as well as the ongoing drama between Gareth Bale and Los Merengues (The Meringues), there’s still plenty left on the plate to see that the three power clubs of Spain have had plenty of business.
Let’s go over some of the moves that each FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid made, specifically their power plays: There’s a load of other changes that the three clubs would make as well.
FC Barcelona is a pure powerhouse. As previously mentioned, they’ve won eight La Liga titles in the past 11 years. Now that Blaugrana (team) has added de Jong and Griezmann into their operation, not only are they a clear favorite (-200) to win a ninth La Liga championship in 12 seasons, but they’re also the second-largest favorite to win the 2019-20 Champions League as well at +600. Only Manchester City places above Barcelona at +450.
As far as anyone dethroning FCB, you may want to look in the direction of Atletico Madrid. The matches may have not mattered and it may have been a small sample of games, but Los Rojiblancos (The Red and Whites) have been thoroughly impressive this summer.
Again, I understand that these are just friendly matches, but numbers don’t lie. With Felix in particular, he’s already earned his hefty price tag and is matching up to the hype. In just a little over 100 minutes of play, Felix managed to put up two goals and three assists — just impressive numbers in a short amount of time. And it’s a perfect storm with his new club as well, as it looks like he’s stepping into one of the most potent offenses in Atletico Madrid history. That’s not all either: Despite the team having a lot of new players, the chemistry seems to be there already and it’s strong as well. All of the tools are there for a very successful campaign for Los Indios (The Indians).
Atletico Madrid has already finished second in the La Liga table in each the past two seasons, and have done it with average offenses in both campaigns. In the 2017-18 season, they would tally 58 goals in 38 matches, and would even decline to 55 goals in 2018-19. Now with a very potent offense at their disposal to match a defense that’s been elite for a very long time now (this is if roster turnover doesn’t affect the quality), ATM is an extremely profitable bet at +1100 odds.
In other words, don’t be fooled by the numbers. Real Madrid may be the better team according to the books with their figure sitting at +275, but their crosstown rival is the much higher club. Now granted, Real Madrid Club de Futbo did bring in some major firepower over the summer, but this is the same team that finished closer in the standings to Valencia than they did to Barcelona with 68 points last season — Los Ches had 61, while Atletico Madrid had 76. On top of that, we still have no idea what’s going on with Real Madrid’s situation with Gareth Bale.
Also, the current on-the-field product (and off-the-field at that) from Zinedine Zidane is just absolutely horrific at the moment. The proof is fully in the pudding of all this with a 7-3 blowout from Atletico Madrid over Real Madrid last month on July 26.
With that being said, I have to ask the question: How is it that a club can beat another one by a 7-3 score, yet still be so far behind the odds behind the team they beat? It just doesn’t make sense, other than Real Madrid’s prestige carrying their weight for them. After all, who has finished second behind FC Barcelona for the championship the past two seasons? Atletico Madrid, not La Casa Blanca (The White House).
Let’s go over the favorites to win the 2019-20 La Liga campaign, review their odds and also their chances to take home the league title or earn a spot in the Champions League. Afterwards, I’ll be giving you my official betting prediction to take the league, as well as my long shot to ride with for a major payday and my top four betting prediction (Champions League spots). If interested, you can also check out my season preview for the upcoming Italia Serie A, as well as my preview on the recently-kicked off English Premier League and French Ligue 1. Also, take a gander at my EPL Matchday 1 predictions where I compiled a record of 6-2-2, and look forward to future Premier League and bonus soccer picks throughout the entire season.
Per usual, FC Barcelona had an extraordinarily busy summer, with their two biggest splashes coming in the form of Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann. Despite those power signings, however, Barca has yet to achieve a signing to back-up left-back Jordi Alba. With that being said, they are pursuing Junior Firpo from Real Betis to fill the position. Neymar from Paris-Saint Germain is also an option, but PSG is only demanding cash. With the Catalans’ mixing in Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic as part of their deal, the option for Neymar can most likely be thrown out of the window.
With their preseason, it’s hard to tell what kind of Barcelona team that we’re looking at. They would play two matches, with their record being an even 1-1. They would take a 2-1 loss to Chelsea, and then recover by defeating Vissel Kobe by a 2-0 score. With their summer involving just two matches, the sample size is way too small. But it shouldn’t matter much, I’m sure we’ll get the same Barcelona team that we’re accustomed to seeing for the past decade now.
The consistent drama continues into this season with Real Madrid, and despite how close the book-makers have them in the odds, Los Vikingos’ (The Vikings) credibility of winning the La Liga championship are a bit shot with trouble both on and off the grounds.
In the pre-season, Real Madrid would grab just one victory and that would come against Fenerbahce, and they would have a slew of losses including getting creamed 7-3 by same-city rival Atletico Madrid. On top of that, they’re also suffering major injuries to Marco Asensio, Luka Jovic, Thibaut Courtois, Brahim, and Ferland Mendy, and it’s causing a serious lack of rhythm for the club. The alarms are going off all over Spain, and all over the world at that.
Real Madrid Club de Futbol isn’t just sitting around though, Zinedine Zidane is dreaming of a Paul Pogba signing from Manchester United, but that’s highly unlikely. On the more realistic side, however, they might be able to pull Donny van de Beek. Even if they pull in a new power signing though, Los Blancos will still have to deal with the drama surrounding Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez. With a lot of upcoming changes and even more chemistry issues on the horizon, it could be a long campaign for Real Madrid — they should still lock up a spot in the Champions League though. But man, do they miss Cristiano Ronaldo.
Atletico Madrid has a power team coming into the 2019-20 campaign, but all they need is one more true signing to solidify a powerhouse. There were heavy expectations on the club’s summer after they would suffer losses such as Lucas Hernandez, Rodri, Antoine Griezmann, and Diego Godin. However, everything seems to be fine with Los Rojiblancos with acquisitions like Joao Felix, and the blowout 7-3 pre-season win over rival Real Madrid here in the United States (East Rutherford, New Jersey) has helped with the confidence as well.
Speaking of that one more true signing, you can expect that name to come to Madrid soon. Footballers such as Christian Eriksen and James Rodriguez have been the highest rumored and most pursued by Los Colchoneros. You can also expect a couple of more losses from the club such as Nikola Kalinic and Angel Correa.
Things were on the up for Valencia, and then all of a sudden, the club shifted into a state of dismay. This has mainly been due to the growing tension between general manager Mateu Alemany and owner Peter Lim, with Alemany threatening to exit from Los Ches. With their disagreement boiling at this point, it may look like the only option, and if it does happen, head coach Marcelino could be on his way out as well.
With the club being in turmoil at the moment, they have completely halted any transfer moves until further notice. That being the case, Valencia is unable to improve their central defense, something that has been vital in Els Taronges’ (The Oranges) plans. And not just that, but they’re also unable to bring in Rafinha for their midfield, and they won’t be able to bring in another striker either. If Valencia hopes to have a successful 2019-20 campaign, the meeting between Alemany, Lim, and president Anil Murthy will have to go over well. If not, it could be the beginning of another decline for the club.
Sevilla have made great strides for La Liga progression, giving their manager Julen Lopetegui the appropriate talent to work with through funding. With a nice budget to work with, sporting director Monchi would go out and collect ten signings to essentially create a whole new look for Sevilla. In other words, the opposition can prepare for an entirely different team against Los Hispalenses (The Ones from Hispalis).
But their work isn’t done yet, they’re still trying to bring in winger Bergwijn from PSV, and he’s their primary target at the moment, and the only one. After Bergwijn, that should complete the new version of Sevilla for the 2019-20 campaign.
They are trying to sale Wissam Ben Yedder on the other hand as well, which is currently in the works with value at 40 million euros. As far as other acquisitions for Sevilla, it’s pretty much Bergwijn and that’s it at this point.
For Athletic Bilbao, their transfer window has been completely shut with no acquisitions nor sales. The only activity going on for Sevillistas right now is just them waiting for the La Liga season to begin. Yeah, that’s about it for Athletic Bilbao.
Getafe is in a situation where they’re lacking two central midfielders, and this is even so despite the incoming Faycal Fajr. Manager Jose Bordalas has handed in his list of potential midfielders to bring in to Angel Torres, but before that can happen, some of their current roster has to exit — this includes Ignasi Miguel.
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