Is La Liga gearing up for its own barmy Leicester-esque season?
The last truly left-field winner of Spain’s top flight was Deportivo La Coruna, the northern port town that claimed the final La Liga title of the millennia to send shockwaves through the establishment. Could 2016/17 finally usher in the next shock winner?
Since Deportivo’s heroics, only more prestigious clubs Valencia and Atletico Madrid have briefly broken the overriding duopoly.
That double-dose of dominance belongs to current champions Barcelona and Europe’s most successful club Real Madrid, naturally.
The pair have hoovered up 56 of 85 titles up for grabs, including 10 of the past 11 editions, with the pendulum swinging Blaugrana’s way in recent times and Diego Simeone’s side breaking the mould in 2013/14.
Seven games into a new campaign our market certainly reflects the status quo, with holders Barca at 5/6, Real at 13/8 and Atletico deemed 9/2 chances, yet the table does hint at possible glitch in the matrix.
For starters, neither powerhouse sits top. Atletico are there by virtue of goal difference. While La Coruna were actually top of the pile after seven games back in 2003/04, when Rafa Benitez masterminded the second of his La Liga triumphs, the big two, in second and fourth currently, have wobbled.
Barca have lost twice already and lie fourth, while rumours of rifts at their arch rivals created by the petulance of one Cristiano Ronaldo, seemed to have contributed to six dropped points for the Bernabeu inhabitants, in second presently.
With three consecutive Europa League titles under their belts, Sevilla look handily placed a point off the pace, while Villarreal, semi-finalists of the same competition last season, also remain unbeaten in fifth.
Sevilla only have one prior La Liga crown to point to while Villarreal’s cupboard is bare in that respect.
Odds of 150/1 and 200/1 would have to be defied respectively, but it’s always worth remembering that Leicester beat odds of 5000/1 to send the apples sprawling from the cart last season.
At the very least, defensive masters Atletico are decent value early on.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing