Can an outsider REALLY win LaLiga this season? We look at the contenders…
Barcelona and Real Madrid both lost over the weekend and Atletico Madrid were beaten by second bottom Alaves last week.
So with the big three in Spain stumbling, could this be the season for the outsiders of LaLiga?
Sports post looks at the clubs that haven’t won the title in years and are trying to ‘make a Leicester’ and take the crown from the usual suspects.
Frenkie de Jong looks dejected after Barcelona was beaten 2-0 by Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid also lost this weekend, away from Espanyol, as all the top LaLiga teams faltered
Julen Lopetegui’s side were also poor at the weekend, squandering their chances of getting to the top, but it is a measure of how strongly they believed their loss to Granada this season came as a surprise.
They kept both centre-back Jules Kunde and striker Youssef En-Nesyri over the summer and have added quality with former Wolves forward Rafa Mir and Tottenham player Erik Lamela, two of the standout signings.
The power in depth is there with two top players for each position. If Lopetegui can get the team playing as the quality of the squad suggests, why can’t they finish on top?
However, they have to believe in it. It’s been a long time since they won the competition. They may never have a better chance.
The last time they won the title: 1946. They only won it once. They have come second four times, but not since 1957.
Sevilla have cemented their place as the top four team, but can they do even better this time around?
Unai Emery took over at the start of last season with one very clear goal: to win a trophy. He won the club’s first ever silverware in the first campaign, so what’s the goal now?
At Villarreal they’ll tell you it’s all about finishing in the top four, but why not go for the top prize when the giants of Spanish football are struggling. They have a recent form to take on and compete against the biggest clubs in Europe.
In Pau Torres they have the best young defender in Spain and in Gerard Moreno they have the best scoring Spaniard of last season. This season they have drawn too many matches and are therefore in the middle of the ranking.
But former Bournemouth forward Arnaut Danjuma looks to be one of the best signings of the summer with four goals already and if they turn draws into victories anything is possible.
The last time they won the title: They weren’t even in the top flight before 1998. They never won the competition, but they finished 3rd in 2005 and 2nd in 2008.
Ex-Bournemouth star Arnaut Danjuma (left) flies high in LaLiga after his summer move
Unai Emery desperate to lift another trophy after sealing last season’s Europa League success
The best youth system in Spain is paying off and with David Silva’s class in the mix they are capable of beating anyone.
Players like Martin Zubimendi (22) and Ander Barrenetxea (19) are playing ahead of their years and with six goals, Mikel Oyarzabal has scored more than any other player in LaLiga bar Karim Benzema.
A lot will depend on how many games Silva stays fit – last season they won 70 per cent of their games when he played, and just 12 per cent when he was missing.
If he stays on the pitch and 19-year-old striker Jon Karrikaburu, who is currently scoring goals for Xabi Alonso’s B-team, continues his meteoric rise, then anything is possible.
The last time they won the title: They won it two years in a row, in 1981 and 1982.
Mikel Oyarzabal is one of the standout talents in LaLiga and has already scored six goals this season
And the outsiders of the outsiders…
Manuel Pellegrini has built an impressive squad with limited resources, making the most of one-time Liverpool target Nabil Fekir and former Real Madrid midfielder Sergio Canales.
It will not be easy to play Europa League matches as well, but they have started well.
The last time they won the title: Only once in 1935
Manuel Pellegrini (right) meanwhile has put on a great side at Real Betis
Marcelino was sacked by Valencia despite winning the Spanish Cup, beating Barcelona in the final and bringing the team into the Champions League.
It is never easy at Athletic with only Basque players, but with Unai Simon, Inigo Martinez, Iker Muniain and Inaki Williams he has a good backbone. The 21-year-old midfielder Oihan Sancet is also a huge talent.
The last time they won the title: The eight-time winners last won in 1984.
Ever-present for outsiders Athletic Bilbao, Inaki Williams will be vital to their hopes
They got off to a brilliant start and are in fifth place. Former Middlesbrough forward Kike Garcia leads the line and it’s hard to score against them.
The last time they won the title: They never won the competition, but finished fourth in 1991 and 2006.
Former Middlesbrough striker Kike Garcia flies and Osasuna is hard to break down
Pepe Bordalas has struggled with an injury crisis of late, but before that he had pitted the team against everyone.
Full-back Jose Gaya and midfielder Carlos Soler are two of the best players in LaLiga and if the partnership between Maxi Gomes and Gonzalo Guedes flourishes, who knows.
The last time they won the title: The six-time winner last won in 2004 under Rafa Benitez.
Pepe Bordalas has changed Valencia’s style of play this season and they are reaping the benefits