With last season’s La Liga title race going to the final weekend and Real Madrid missing out by just one point, this year’s dogfight shows great promise.
It looks set to be another classic fight between Los Blancos and Barcelona for the title with Atletico Madrid proving the customary dark horses.
However, the fixtures have given the Catalans a distinct advantage with their El Clasico rivals being dealt some tricky runs of games. Before a ball has been kicked, it appears the upper hand lies with the Nou Camp-based side.
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Generous for Barcelona
The reigning champions kick-off with a favorable home time with Real Betis, a fixture that saw a 4-0 win for Barca last season.
Two promoted teams in the first four matches is certainly merciful also with Alaves and Leganes given baptisms of fire on their La Liga returns.
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Furthermore, with the first El Clasico not until early December, Luis Enrique’s side will have had time to pick up momentum before the big match.
An April trip to the Bernabeu and an all-Catalan clash away from home in the 35th round, suggests Barcelona haven’t got it all their way. Nonetheless, compared to Real there can be few complaints from Lionel Messi and co.
Cruel for Real Madrid
The most notable theme of Los Blancos’ draw proves their brutal April.
Zinedine Zidane’s men face Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla and Valencia in just one month. The only salvation proves the fact all of the aforementioned clashes are at home.
That being said, April is always a vital time in any title race and there are banana skins aplenty. Considering Real could be negating Champions League quarter and semi-finals at this point also, it doesn’t bode well.
Their opening fixture also proves difficult with an away trip to Real Sociedad. Although Los Blancos won this tie last season, they’ll likely have to cope without Ronaldo this year in light of his knee ligament injury in the Euro 2016 final.
So, while both sides will have to play all 19 rivals home and away, there can be little doubting Barcelona have been given a leg-up to success. Nonetheless, a hotly contested title race looks poised regardless.
Who do you think will win La Liga next season? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!