Barcelona to miss Lionel Messi?
Athletic Bilbao are unbeaten in their last 15 La Liga home games but it will be a tricky opening fixture to their 2019/20 campaign as they host Barcelona. The visitors have an excellent recent head to head record against Bilbao after winning nine of the last 13 meetings. That notwithstanding Ernesto Valverde’s men were held to draws in both league games against them last term, and the hosts will be fired up for this one, based on those results and their strong finish to the 2018/19 season. Lionel Messi is expected to sit this one out and Barcelona have always not looked the same without the Argentinian. The pressure will be on new signing Antoine Griezmann from the word go.
High scoring match for Real Madrid
Real Madrid look set to start the new campaign on a high when they make the trip to Celta Vigo. This fixture typically produces lots of goals. The last ten meetings between the pair have produced a massive 45 goals, including a 2-4 victory for Real here last term. Five of the last six meetings have produced over 3.5 Goals, and there is no reason why we cannot expect more of the same this Saturday – particularly as it is the opening day.
Even contest at the Mastella
Valencia will welcome Real Sociedad to Mestalla for their opening day fixture and we should be in for an entertaining encounter. Valencia have a long way to go to be considered genuine title challengers, but they are the team with the most promise going into the new La Liga campaign. Sociedad have a good record in general at Mestalla having won on five of their last eight visits here. Valencia have dominated the head to head during that period, winning three and drawing one of the last four meetings between the teams.
New beginning for Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid will want to have a winning start to the 2019/20 campaign when they host Getafe at the Wanda Metropolitano. This will mark the beginning of a new era as they have brought in the marquee signing Joao Felix, Mario Hermoso, Kieran Trippier, Felipe and Marco Llorente. They will be expected to fill in the boots left by Antoine Griezmann, Rodri, Gelson Martins, Diego Godin, Juanfran and Lucas Hernandez. Felix is expected to make his highly anticipated competitive debut for the club this Sunday after a £113m move from Benfica.
Espanyol to benefit from European participation
Espanyol will be out to start the 2019/20 campaign with a win over Julian Lopetegui’s new look Sevilla. It remains to be seen how well the Barcelona-based club can handle the Europa League and La Liga together once both competitions are fully up to speed. In the meantime, their early start could give them an advantage in terms of sharpness during the opening rounds of the domestic campaign. Sevilla are a team in transition and this could be their main undoing going into the first match of the season.