La Liga Season Preview 2020/21

La Liga 2020/21 Season Preview: Who will take home the La Liga crown? Who will fall from the top flight of Spanish football? Potential Unsung Hero in the title race?

11th September marks the return of La Liga football. We preview the potential outcome of the season including the schedule, teams, players, and early La Liga 2020/21 season predictions.

When is the La Liga 2020/21 season kicking off?

The 11th September signals the return of top-flight Spanish football; the first match of the new season will be Granada taking on Athletic Bilbao at home. Following the first match of the season, September 12th marks a double-header with Eibar vs Celta Vigo and newly promoted Cadiz play Osasuna.

The action rolls on with a triple threat matchday seeing Real Valladolid vs Real Sociedad, Villareal vs Huesca, and Valencia vs Levante.

What is the La Liga 2020/21 schedule for the upcoming season?

Similar to the format following the restart of the 2019/20 La Liga season, the schedule for the upcoming season in Spanish football will see teams play games every couple of days, with some teams having to play up to three games in one week.

To our knowledge, only the first five matchdays for each team have been released by the Spanish football authorities but it is to be expected that the remainder of the season will follow the same format as the first five matchdays.

What time do the La Liga games kick-off?

The most common kick-off time in Spanish football is 21:00 GBT, Every matchday that has been released has featured a 21:00 kick-off including the first game of the season which is Granda vs Athletic Bilbao. On the weekends the earliest kick-off would be 16:00 GBT, other games commonly kick-off at 18:30 respectively on the weekends.

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Who got promoted to La Liga following the 2019/20 season?

The Segunda Division saw three teams be pushed into the Spanish footballing limelight for the upcoming season. 2nd division winners, Huesca earned 70 points last year, closely behind in 2nd place was Cadiz on 69 points.

The last team to earn promotion was Real Zaragoza, a side who narrowly made it into La Liga for the upcoming season.

Who got relegated following the 2019/20 season?

Espanyol finished rock bottom of La Liga following the curtain dripping on the 19/20 season with 25 points. eight points behind Mallorca in 19th place. Both sides have been below par this past season, both losing 23 games in a 38 game season. Each of these teams were the subject of a mauling by the big dogs at the top of the La Liga table.

In contrast to  Espanyol and Real Mallorca, Leganes unfortunately were the last team to meet the drop being only a single point from safety.

Who won the La Liga title last time out?

As ever, the ongoing rivalry between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid dominated Spanish football. The latter came away with the title this season as Real Madrid finished five points clear of the Blaugrana to earn their 34th league title. This upcoming season will see these two footballing giants be at the epicenter of the title race, but this time Barcelona will look for vengeance.

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What were the talking points from the La Liga 2019/20 season?

Despite another other-worldly season by Lionel Messi, the Catalans came up short in the title race as Zinedine Zidane once again took La Liga silverware back to the capital. Every season young academy players often get the chance to impress in the first team, but this year, another world-beater may have been brought to light in Barcelona.

Ansu Fati brought hope that he may be the heir to Lionel Messi’s throne as the Argentine reaches the twilight of his career.

Who were the top players last season in La Liga?

To nobody’s surprise, Lionel Messi once again ranked as the best goalscorer in the league with 25 goals this season, registering a further 21 assists. However, following the events from the past few weeks, his time in La Liga may end, so it is important to enjoy his talent while he is still in Spain.

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Team Previews 

Below highlights our La Liga 2020/21 predictions for each team and where they will end up at the end of the season.

Alaves (19/20 – 16th in La Liga)

Following a season whereby Alaves barely survived the drop, this season will hopefully be one of resurgence for them. While they made no notable transfers to raise fans’ hope of a successful season, the team boasts solid goal-scoring options with former Arsenal striker Lucas Perez lining up with ex-Manchester City talisman John Guidetti.

However, only three teams scored fewer goals than Alaves last season, and they will need to find the net more often if they want to avoid the drop. I can see Alaves around 15th.

Athletic Bilbao (19/20 – 11th in La Liga)

A disappointing season for Athletic Bilbao, who slipped to 11th in the league last season. A big positive for the side will be if their golden boy, Inaki Williams, stays at the club. Raul Garcia continues to provide a threat in front of goal with 15 goals last this season.

I can see the 2020/21 season being a bounce-back season for them. If they can have another defensively sound season, I can see them finishing as high as 8th.

Atletico Madrid (19/20 – 3rd in La Liga)

One of the league’s most notable teams behind Barcelona and Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid will want to mount a title challenge this upcoming season. Diego Simeone struggled to get the team firing at the start of the season, and they dropped a lot of points by drawing 16 games, the joint-most in the league.

Given the squad they have, the managerial mastermind of Diego Simeone and the fact Barca could struggle in their early rebuild days, I predict a 2nd place finish for Atleti this season.

Barcelona (19/20 – 2nd in La Liga)

Following the humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich last season in the Champions League, Barcelona are going through major changes throughout the club. Their key man Lionel Messi pushed for a shock exit, and the club are looking to move on some big players including Luis Suarez.

While Messi set to stay this season, the squad is going undergoing a rebuild under new boss Ronald Koeman. I can’t see them overhauling Real Madrid, and I think they could finish as low as 3rd.

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Celta Vigo (19/20 – 17th in La Liga)

Where did it all go wrong for Celta Vigo last season? Finishing 17th in the league shows a big fall from grace since their Europa League semi-final appearance in 2017. Despite boasting talent such as Iago Aspas and Denis Suarez, the future of the club looks in doubt.

The departure of Pione Sisto is a blow for the side too. Despite this, I can’t see the North West Spanish club in another relegation scrap this season.

Cadiz (19/20 – 2nd in Segunda Division)

Newly promoted from the Segunda Division to La Liga for next season, Cadiz will hope to cause a shock next year. The club has made a few transfers, bringing in several La Liga squad players to help the team avoid the drop.

That being said, the team does not have the talent to compete with several top grade sides in Spanish football. Therefore,  I fear they will go straight back down next season finishing 19th.

Eibar (19/20 – 14th in La Liga)

A sturdy mid-table finish last year where Eibar finished 14th was about where many people thought they would be. That being said, this year doesn’t look as promising, where the squad is aging and Damian Kadzior being the highlight of the transfer window.

There have been more outs than ins at the minnow club who continue to battle above their weight. This year could be one to forget for Eibar, and I can see them finishing in the relegation zone in 18th.

Elche (19/20 – 6th in Segunda Division)

The third side to win promotion to La Liga, just about making it the playoffs of the Segunda Division, it could set Elche for a rude awakening in the league this season. With five departures met with a single loan signing, the team on paper looks worse off than last season.

With the smallest squad market value in La Liga with a total value less than £7m, I can only see Elche finishing rock bottom of La Liga next year. Survival would be one of the biggest shocks of the season.

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Getafe (19/20 – 8th in La Liga)

Last season, Getafe shocked the footballing world when they knocked Ajax out of the Europa League and just finishing outside the Europa League places this year. The side has made several signings to help bolster their European aspirations, including Marc Cucurella from Barcelona.

It could be another exciting season for Getafe, who made an excellent start to their last campaign. I can see them finishing around the same position as they push to secure European football once again.

Granada (19/20 – 7th in La Liga)

Another team to cause a shock last season, Granda finished last season in 7th place. A remarkable campaign for the side, one which they will hope to replicate this upcoming season. One area they needed improvement was defensive midfield, and by adding veteran Maxime Gonalons from Roma, they did just that.

While they were impressive last year, they have Europa League to contend with which, should they progress deep into the competition, could disrupt their domestic campaign. I can see Granada finishing around 9th place next season.

SD Huesca (19/20 – 1st in Segunda Division)

Segunda Division title winners SD Huesca will look to cause a stir among the big boys of Spanish football this season. To counter the attacking firepower of the teams in La Liga, they signed Schalke center-back Pablo Insua.

They have a squad capable of staying in the league. It will be no simple task, but survival is definitely on the cards for SD Huesca. I can see them staying up and finishing around 16th.

Levante (19/20 – 12th in La Liga)

Finishing 12th last season, Levante has a strong squad that could look to mount a top-half finish next year. That being said, however, they recently sold speedster Moses Simon to FC Nantes, a blow to their attacking threat.

This may hinder their chances of a top-half finish, and despite bringing in seven new players, this year could be worse than the last for Levante. They will probably finish around the same place, I can see them finishing 13th this season.

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Osasuna (19/20 – 10th in La Liga)

Bang in the middle of the table last year finishing 10th, Osasuna had a campaign to remember in 2019/20. To continue to compete, they have brought in a handful of players to plug the gaps they needed to fill in their squad.

The team looks to be on the right track and we will hope to build on last seasons’ top half finish. I reckon they could be in for another solid La Liga campaign and finish around mid-table again.

Real Betis (19/20 – 15th in La Liga)

A team who performed well below expectations last year, Real Betis had to settle for 15th place last season. Real Betis need reinforcements, and they are strengthening. The signings of former Barcelona stopper Claudio Bravo and his former teammate Martin Montoya should help secure the defense a little better than last season.

With Nabil Fekir still performing to high quality, this could be a year of resurgence for Betis. I can see them finishing in mid-table around 11th place.

Real Madrid (19/20 – 1st in La Liga)

The 2019/20 La Liga winners look to be a favorite for the title next season. No major signings have been made by the 34-time title winners, but their squad depth is among the best in Europe.

With Brazilian trickster Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo either side of Karim Benzema, it spells a recipe for a lot of success again this season. The Barca rebuild should present an opportunity to retain the title, and I can see Los Blancos topping the table once again.

Real Sociedad (19/20 – 6th in La Liga)

Finishing 6th last year, Sociedad looks to have a firm grip on European football places in La Liga. Add Manchester City legend David Silva into the mix and this season could be special for the San Sebastian club.

That being said, a 34-year-old veteran cannot carry a team alone, and without a stellar support cast, Real Sociedad may fall victim to not living up to the hype. Another top six finish could be on the cards for Real Sociedad this season.

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Real Valladolid (19/20 – 13th in La Liga)

Bringing in 14 additional players to the team will surely help secure La Liga football again after next season, right? Perhaps not. The team sold their main defensive asset Mohammed Salisu to Southampton so the side will need to pray that they will fill the void in defense.

I predict this season may not be as good as expected by Real Valladolid fans. I think they will finish around 17th place.

Sevilla (19/20 – 4th in La Liga)

The Europa League winners are back in champions league football once again. Sevilla has got a fantastic set up under former Spain and Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui with brilliant players such as Suso and Luuk de Jong.

Add in the addition of Ivan Rakitic and Real Madrid playmaker Oscar Rodriguez, the top four is once again a reality. I can see Sevilla earning a top four spot again.

Valencia (19/20 – 9th in La Liga)

After finishing 9th last season, the outcome of last season ought to disappoint Valencia. Despite last season’s outcome, this year could go even more downhill. With the sales of key players such as Ferran Torres, Rodrigo, Daniel Parejo, Ezequiel Garay, and many more, it does not look very promising.

Add to this no notable additions to fill this void in the squad and the financial troubles a the club, I think Valencia will finish below the top half.

Villarreal (19/20 – 5th in La Liga)

A 5th place finish last year would have pleased Villarreal fans, but with Unai Emery now at the helm and several brilliant first-team additions made this summer window top four should be a formality. They have snatched both Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin

However, they have sold a few first-team players to make way for these transfers. As a result, I predict the team to once again finish around 5th this season.

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Who are the favourites to win La Liga 2020/21?

  • Real Madrid – 6/10*
  • Barcelona – 13/8*
  • Atletico Madrid – 15/2*
  • Sevilla – 25/1*
  • Getafe – 150/1*
  • Athletic Bilbao – 150/1*
  • Villarreal – 150/1*
*Odds as of time of writing (Tuesday 8th September 2020) and subject to change
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