Every year I want to flip a coin to decide who I’m going to pick to win the Spanish La Liga regular season. Real Madrid or Barcelona? I never really have a good gauge on who will come out on top. Changes are +90% that it will be either of these two sides. Excluding Atletico Madrid in 2013-2014, the La Liga crown has been atop Barcelona or Real Madrid every year since 2004. The last team to win the title outside of them were Valencia in 2003-2004. So again the odds point one of two ways.
The titles from most current to oldest from 2015 to 2005: Barca, Atletico, Barca, Real, Barca, Barca, Barca, Real, Real, Barca, Barca. Honestly who knows? Both clubs are ridiculously stacked and either one could come out on top. It’s hard not to pick Barca given they’re the reigning Champions League winners but how do you count out Ronaldo/Bale/Rodriguez nucleus? I guess the same way you can’t count out Messi/Suarez/Neymar trio either. Neither answer is right or wrong they’re both perfectly acceptable and justifiable but I’m judging mine based on defense and coaching.
Both of these teams can hang a six spot in any given game but who is going to defend? Which side has the better organized back line? Who do you trust most in between the woodwork? The answer is close but I’m giving the edge to Barcelona. Not only does Barcelona have a good defensive four their midfielders track back and help as well. Something that could be argued is lacking from the Real Madrid side. The whole offseason drama about trying to acquire David De Gea and swapping Keylor Navas has me a bit worried. Real Madrid was too eager and too desperate to get De Gea and now that they’ve come up empty and I wonder what impact that will have. Remember Real Madrid also relieved Carlo Ancelloti of his managerial duties and they brought in Rafael Benitez who I’m none to fond of. So for the record I’m going with Barcelona but in a very close race.
Atletico Madrid is the only other team worth watching in La Liga but there are several players to keep on eye on. For Atleti you have Antoine Greizmann, Jackson Martinez and they even have Fernando Torres! Valencia brought back Alvaro Negredo from the grave and “the beak” Roberto Soldado is playing for Villarreal. One other note before I wrap up, starting in January Barcelona will have two of their summer signings available once their transfer ban is lifted. Both Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal are unable to play for the club and they’re just chillin’ and training but will join the team in January 2016.
2. Real Madrid
3. Atletico Madrid
2. Sporting Gijon
3. Las Palmas
Top Scorers 2014/2015
48 – Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid
43 – Lionel Messi, Barcelona
22 – Antoine Griezmann, Atletico Madrid
22 – Neymar, Barcelona
Top Assists 2014/2015
18 – Lionel Messi, Barcelona
16 – Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid
14 – Luis Suarez, Barcelona
13 – James Rodriguez, Real Madrid
Pre Season Best XI
- GK – Claudio Bravo, Barcelona
- D – Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid
- D – Diego Godin, Atletico Madrid
- D – Marcelo, Real Madrid
- D – Dani Alves, Barcelona
- M – Gareth Bale, Real Madrid
- M – Iniesta, Barcelona
- M – James Rodriguez, Real Madrid
- F – Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid
- F – Lionel Messi, Barcelona
- F – Luis Suarez, Barcelona