2014/2015 Spanish Primera Division Preview

The 2014/2015 Spanish Primera Division is upon us with the new season set to kick off on the 23rd August 19:00 CET with an early game between hosts Malaga CF and Athletic Club Bilbao. A drama-riddled season in 2013/2014 saw league giants Real Madrid and Barcelona finally dethroned for the first time in nine years, and La Liga promises to entertain once again with massive new signings entering the league and bitter rivalries scheduled and set. The critics have lined up to heap praise and tear down, to predict not just winners and top 4 sides, but also those set to battle against the ever-disheartening threat of relegation. Club loyalists have already begun their prayers and performed their rituals, trying anything to have the football gods smile favorably down upon their team. While casual spectators see La Liga as a sport, diehard fans recognize it as a religion. A merciless run of 38 games for each club from August to May will dictate joys and sorrows for millions of supporters all over the world, and in the end, only one club will lift the trophy and sit at the pinnacle of Spanish football. Let the drama begin...

Here are the notable title contenders entering the new Primera Division season (check out the Premier Divison odds):

Real Madrid have been tipped as the odds-on favorites to claim the La Liga crown. After finishing in 3rd place last season behind rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, Los Blancos will be eager to retake the title and stamp their superiority in Spain. With the highest number of league titles in Spanish history (32), Real have the confidence to, particularly coming off their first Champions League triumph since 2002. It was their European-best 10th title in the UEFA competition, and the league-favorites quickly utilized some of the massive funds earned to dip into the transfer market. Most notably is the massive signing of World Cup star James Rodriguez, who netted his side’s lone goal in his first competitive match with the club (Spanish Super Cup). German star and World Cup winner Toni Kroos has also joined the ranks, and his ability to thunder in goals from midfield will be a big boost for Real. A wager on the league-favorites to reclaim the crown appears a wise choice with such a strong lineup featuring the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. This selection can be found at top odds of 1.85 at Bwin.

Barcelona come in as the second-highest favorites to claim the Primera Division. The Catalonia-based club have won the league title in 4 of the last 6 years, but they’ve since needed to make a big transition with their top players getting older. Defensive rock Carlos Puyol has since retired, and midfield pass masters Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta are really getting up there in the age department, with the former likely relinquishing his everyday starting job with the purchase of Croatian talent Ivan Rakitic. But while Barcelona may struggle at times in defence with the likes of Pique and Dani Alves having an underwhelming 2013/2014 season as well as poor displays at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the offense is perhaps the most dynamic strike force in all of world football. With a year of understanding and chemistry for South American duo Lionel Messi and Neymar under their belts, expect both to flourish throughout the season together. Furthermore, the signing of world class striker Luis Suarez adds an extra element to the attack, and while he still faces a 4-month competitive match suspension, he is allowed to train with the squad. For a side that scored 100 goals in the league last term, expect that number to rise even higher come May. Best odds for Barcelona to win the league can currently be found at solid 2.38 odds at Betfair.

Atletico Madrid are the reigning champions of the league, becoming the first team other than Barcelona and Real Madrid to claim the pinnacle of Spanish football in the last decade. Being the third-highest favorites to claim the title, one wouldn’t know they had won it last season. But critical departures and massive signings for Real and Barca are the reasons for this, as star striker Diego Costa, David Villa, Felipe Luis, and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois have all departed the club over the summer. They have brought in solid replacements though in the form of goalkeeper Jan Oblak (Benfica), Guilherme Siqueira (Granada), French starlet Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad), and Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic (Bayern Munich). The latter has real quality in front of goal, and Griezmann is only going to get better as a dangerous attacking winger. Furthermore, manager Diego Simeone proved his credentials last season as a great coach, and he pulled off a real coup maintaining the team’s main core of players in Gabi, Koke, Tiago, Godin, Miranda, and Arda Turan. While the strength of Real and Barca may prove too much over a 38-game season, Atletico are still very much a legitimate title contender. Picking them to win the La Liga title will yield top odds of 15.00 at Betway.

Five main sides will compete for the 4th and final Champions League place and the Europa League spots. Last season’s 4th place finisher Athletic Bilbao appear the favorites to claim 4th once again, but they’ll have to deal without influential midfielder Ander Herrera. Valencia CF will also contend, and the signing of Benfica forward Rodrigo was a real transfer coup. Expect them to make a strong push to return to European competition after missing out in 8th place last term. Villarreal also appear poised to contend for the top 7 places, and after a 6th place finish last season, they’ll be confident of doing so. Giovani dos Santos had an excellent World Cup showing and will bring bags of confidence back to his club. Real Sociedad finished in 7th place and will look to build on their successful 2013/2014 campaign. While the top 4 may be a bit out of this side’s reach, Carlos Vela has been permanently signed and can be a real goal threat when in the mood. That brings us to Sevilla, who after winning the UEFA Europa League and finishing in 5th place will be bursting with belief at their top 4 chances. They need to tighten up a bit at the back after conceding 52 league goals last season, but the loan addition of Barcelona starlet Gerard Deulofeu to a strike force already containing the likes of Carlos Bacca and Kevin Gameiro, Sevilla very well could have a surprise season in the Primera Division.

The relegation battle will have many clubs getting their pace makers and oxygen masks once again for the long fight ahead. The newly-promoted sides, Deportivo La Coruna, Cordoba, and 2013/2014 Segunda Division champions Eibar all are immediately thrust into the debate by default. Elsewhere, the league’s lowest-scoring team in Elche, last season’s 17th place finisher Almeria, and the two sides who were tied for the second-most defeats in league action with 21, Rayo Vallecano and Granada all enter the 2014/2015 season possessing legitimate fears of being relegated. Eibar are the favorites to fall out of the top-flight, but they appear to have real staying power after claiming the Segunda Division crown. A personal recommendation would be to take a chance on Cordoba to get relegated. Best odds for this selection can currently be found at Unibet at 1.60 odds.

The Spanish Primera Division is widely considered one of the top leagues in all of world football, and missing out on the action would be a major injustice to yourself. There’s plenty of entertainment and money to be had with weekly matches, and you can find expert sports betting tips and previews for all the games here at Livetipsportal.com!

Here is a small taste of what is to come. The best highlights from the 2013/2014 Spanish Primera Division: