If Malaga and Sevilla failed to light La Liga’s blue touch paper in a 0-0 season curtain raiser to forget, then a twist of fate certainly ought to do the trick when the champions begin their defence on Sunday.
Football fans globally have been waiting with bated breath for Spain’s Premier division to return and among a cluster of mouth-watering opening weekend fixtures, Barcelona’s third match up with Athletic Bilbao already in 2015/16, steals the show.
Losses under treble-winning coach Luis Enrique became so rare during another landmark season in Barca’s history, that no one could have envisaged the carnage that ensued in the Spanish Super Cup against Sunday’s opponents Bilbao.
The Catalans were humbled 4-0 at a throbbing San Mames, before being held to a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou to hand the underdogs the trophy, as tensions sadly spilled over.
The match was also marred by centre-half Gerard Pique getting sent off and subsequently banned for four games after abusing a linesman.
There was criticism levelled at Enrique for taking Los Leones a little lightly perhaps with his team selection in the first leg, but as he brings some bruised egos back to the Basque country, they’ll be no such risks taken again.
Even bereft of Pique at the back, Lionel Messi and co are still deemed the strong 8/15 favourites to avenge defeat, with Ernesto Valverde’s Super Cup winners cast as tantalising 11/2 underdogs on their own patch.
It’s not all about Barca’s revenge mission though. Having finished just over halfway down the La Liga table in his debut season managing in Spain, David Moyes’ Real Sociedad side begin their campaign at Deportivo La Coruna.
The Scot will be looking for a fast start and having drawn twice against Deportivo last season, Sociedad look a decent 19/10 bet to go one better.
Meanwhile, the two biggest teams in Madrid have been handed fortuitous-sounding fixtures against newly promoted sides.
Atletico’s stellar summer signing Jackson Martinez is a 14/5 shot to mark his debut against Las Palmas with the first goal of the game.
Then, following Classico rivals Barca on Sunday evening at 7.30 it’s Real Madrid’s trip to Sporting Gijon, who welcome Rafael Benitez in charge of Los Blancos for the first time.
After a summer of speculation, Gareth Bale stayed put and the world’s most expensive footballer is priced at evens to score as part of a Madrid victory.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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