t has been a long wait as LaLiga returns on Friday night with 19 teams all vying for Real Madrid’s crown, initially at least.
With the transfer window still yet to close, we take a look at how every team in the Spanish top-flight in 2017/18 is shaping up for the big kick-off.
The summer was initially one of casualties as the Basque side lost coach Mauricio Pellegrino along with loan stars Marcos Llorente and Theo Hernandez, however since then they have recruited well. Burgui, Mubarak Wakaso, Ruben Sobrino and Rodrigo Ely have arrived to reinvigorate expectations of another good season at Estadio Mendizorroza.
A new coach in the form of Jose Ziganda but everything else is the same in Bilbao. Raul Garcia and Aritz Aduriz will be the targets in the box for Markel Susaeta and Iker Muniain to aim for as Los Leones target the Champions League.
Vitolo and perhaps Diego Costa will arrive in January so until then, Diego Simeone is set to stick with what he knows. That means Antoine Griezmann leading the line in a 4-4-2, ably backed up by Jan Oblak between the sticks.
A tough summer for the Catalans given that Neymar’s exit remains unedified. Despite the only arrivals being Nelson Semedo, Gerard Deulofeu and Paulinho, Ernesto Valverde is expected to challenge for the title in his first campaign.
Potentially one of the revelations of LaLiga in 2017/18, Quique Setien takes charge of Real Betis at their most optimistic. Possession and movement is the planned style of the Andalusians as their big squad looks up the table.
Eduardo Berizzo has gone but the Galicians have a similar feel about them under Juan Carlos Unzue, who has new signing Stanislav Lobotka in to bolster an already strong midfield in their quest for European football.
Deportivo La Coruna
Avoiding relegation under Pepe Mel last time out, Depor hope to build from the back and the defensive combination of Fabian Schar and Sidnei. Guilherme and Florin Andone are to provide the firepower unless they can seal the dream return of Lucas Perez from Arsenal.
Can Eibar repeat last season’s great success? Once again they take to the top flight with Sergi Enrich up front alongside Kike Garcia as Pedro Leon and new arrival Ivan Alejo attempt to feed their strikers in a direct manner.
The Catalans have kept hold of Pablo Piatti and Gerard Moreno to maintain their strong attack, but question marks remain in the defensive side of things as they struggle to bring in reinforcements for coach Quique Sanchez Flores.
Returning to LaLiga with the spine of the team that won them promotion, Getafe have made a number of signings and are very positive about their chances as Jose Bordalas finally gets a crack at the big time.
A newly promoted side with plenty of reinforcements, with most of those arriving from Manchester City, the Catalans have put together a squad more than capable of securing survival in Spain’s top flight. Furthermore, a strong pre-season, in which they beat City, has left a lot of positivity surrounding coach Pablo Machin. They could cause surprises this year.
Kevin Prince Boateng and Roque Mesa’s departures will be felt, but the Canary Islanders will continue to pose an attacking threat this season. Homegrown Vitolo will play there until January, while Jonathan Calleri, Alen Halilovic, Jonathan Viera and Tana will cause problems for plenty of teams.
After managing to stay in LaLiga last season, the Madrid side will be hopeful of retaining their top flight status for another year. With Ruben Perez, Javier Eraso and Joseba Zaldua in their ranks, they have the quality to survive again.
The best team in the Segunda Division last season, Levante will be a tricky opponent for many teams in LaLiga this year. The minimum expectation will be survival, but they have the quality to do more.
Michel will have a variety of systems to choose from this season, with Malaga having a good squad to take on LaLiga. Their main weakness will be the absence of Ignacio Camacho, who has not yet been replaced, though Zdravko Kuzmanovic may be able to fill that void.
Zinedine Zidane has the same team that made them Spanish and European champions last season, with the added strength on the bench in Dani Ceballos and an even better Marco Asensio. Isco’s form could allow for some change in tactics, with 4-4-2 acting as an alternative to the tried and trusted 4-3-3.
The Basques have held onto the core of the team that achieved a sixth place finish and the arrivals of Diego Llorente and Adnan Januzaj could help them go one better this term. Inigo Martinez staying put is another plus.
Jorge Sampaoli has left but was swiftly replaced by Eduardo Berizzo, meaning Sevilla will maintain their impressive attacking style of play. The Andalusian side have added well this summer, with Ever Banega and Jesus Navas returning while Nolito has also been signed from Manchester City. No doubt, they will be fighting at the top of the table again.
Another new project begins under the guidance of Marcelino this time. More additions are being worked on, with Geoffrey Kondogbia and Jeison Murillo of Inter high on their list of priorities, though Luciano Spalletti is making things difficult for Los Che. Simone Zaza will be the go-to guy for goals, while Carlos Soler and Daniel Parejo could be important players.
They have the talent in attack to give anyone a game this season and this side is built to play a fast possession-based game. Carlos Bacca and Cedric Bakambu could form one of LaLiga’s most lethal strike partnerships and at the back, they boasted the second best defence in the division last year after only Atletico Madrid.