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La Liga Week 2 Preview


Welcome to the preview for Week 2 of the 2015/16 La Liga Season which sees Gerard Moreno head back to the El Madrigal after departing the Yellow Submarine for Espanyol, the Champions play host to the side which beat them at Camp Nou last season, a Basque Derby as Eibar host Athletic Bilbao, Las Palmas's first home game back in La Liga in thirteen years and the game of the weekend as Sevilla host Atleti at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.



VILLARREAL V ESPANYOL(FRIDAY 7.30PM UK TIME,8.30PM SPANISH TIME)
The Yellow Submarine have registered a point on the board after last Sunday night's 1-1 draw in Seville against newly promoted Real Betis and now host an Espanyol side at El Madrigal who won their first game of the season against Getafe last Saturday 1-0.

Villarreal for me last Sunday were mostly what I saw last season and that's a solid and compact unit defensively but going forward just not as bright but for me that's to be expected because Soldado and Bakambu are going to take time to gel.

You also have Marcelino who now needs to decide whether Baptistao and Soldado are his front two or whether Soldado and Bakambu is and to be honest if Baptistao is in his thinking in terms of his main front two then I'd be really concerned.

I've nothing against Baptistao but for me if you want a goalscorer he's going to get you goals don't get me wrong but in terms of guaranteed goals on a regular basis and a good amount you really must look to Soldado and Bakambu as your main front two and if you aren't I'm worried, really worried.

Betis away is a tough place to go especially on opening weekend so despite taking the lead Marcelino should be happy to take a point back to base on the East Coast but home games against Espanyol are the ones where the pressure is put on him.

Last season the Yellow Submarine were strong at El Madrigal and had the sixth best record in La Liga at home but not just that their seventeen goals conceded at home last season saw them with the joint sixth best defensive record at home along with Granada.

For me the lack of goals was a worry and 29 goals scored at home isn't enough and that gave them the joint seventh best attacking record at home in the whole of La Liga last season joint with La Real who struggled severely infront of goal last season.

With Soldado and Bakambu the Yellow Submarine should score more goals than they did last season especially at El Madrigal where they won 12 of their 19 home games last season and drew just one losing the other six.

Espanyol I expect to struggle this season and if they manage a top ten finish it's an excellent season and against Getafe they may have won 1-0 but even a week after that game I'm still left wondering how and why they've won the game.

The signing of Marco Asensio is a fantastic one on a season long loan from Real Madrid and this is a guy who drove the Spain Under 19's squad to success in Greece this summer, he's an extremely talented and gifted winger and at just 19 years of age he is one of the players to watch in La Liga this season, this will be the year he enjoys himself and shows his talent on the big stage in La Liga.

He is 19 though and whilst he will add goals and assist to the side they've still lost a huge amount of goals and assists with the departures of Stuani and Sergio Garcia and Moreno and Caicedo just don't fill me with enough confidence in terms of replacing those goals.

The attendance last Saturday saw the Power 8 Stadium more than half empty and clearly shows that supporters just like I am are very underwhelmed with the club's business in the transfer market this summer because apart from Asensio it's been poor. 

Boos rung out when Coach Sergio Gonzalez subbed Caicedo off for holding midfielder Canas and it just shows that not only are the supporters frustrated with the club's decisions this summer but that all is not all well at Espanyol and last week centre-back Moreno departed for PSV and apart from that exit all the other key players have gone to clubs who aren't the size of Espanyol and questions must be directed at President Joan Collet.

Getafe controlled the game extremely well, created the better chances and created much more chances than Espanyol but fortunately for Espanyol Getafe decided to be wasteful and late on their poor discipline seen in pre-season re-appeared and they ended the party with ten men.

This game ended 3-0 to Espanyol last season but it was in April and in the second half of the season when the Yellow Submarine was lost at sea and had no energy, it had nothing, it headed for disaster but this is August.

Espanyol's away record last season was poor and put them outside the top ten and saw them lose 10 of their nineteen away games last season but the 24 goals they scored on their travels gave them the sixth best away attack last season and just one goal behind Atleti.

Espanyol won't travel to El Madrigal with much confidence after opening up against Getafe so poorly but they won the game and that'll give them the belief to hit the Yellow Submarine again just as they did in April where they won 3-0 in a midweek fixture.

This is the Yellow Submarine's first outing at base and Marcelino must deliver, the team must deliver, Espanyol don't travel well historically and are a weaker side this season than they were last season but they'll be tough to break down as they showed against Getafe and this could be a pulsating encounter on the East Coast, it really really could.
REAL SOCIEDAD V SPORTING GIJON(SATURDAY 5.30PM UK TIME, 6.30PM SPANISH TIME)
Moyes's men host Gijon after both sides produced opening weekend performances to provide encouragement as La Real held Depor to a 0-0 draw at Riazor whilst Gijon returned to the Primera in style by frustrating Los Blancos and holding them a 0-0 draw at El Molinon.

La Real, La Real you are slightly better to watch than last season, you're as solid defensively as last season if not slightly more solid and you're even more slightly exciting going forward but in that engine room you lack a spark.

Things were promising off the pitch with La Real this summer with Reyes, Bruma and Jonathas signing Moyes had the squad to be more able to achieve a top seven finish even without more additions to the template.

Moyes's pre-match press conference before the game in Coruna last weekend concerned me deeply as he repeated his desire for more signings, a goalkeeper and a central midfielder and whilst they could do with a central midfielder to add the spark in midfield they lack and which showed brightly in Coruna Moyes must be quiet.

Moyes must understand and learn to understand the club's way of doing things, nothing is rushed in Spain regarding additions and whilst I agree that La Real lack a spark and creativeness in central midfield I worry that Moyes is already looking to find excuses.

It's no secret Moyes wants Illarramendi on loan from Real Madrid but it's down to both clubs in terms of finances as to whether a deal can be done or not but the question for me is has Moyes got a squad at the moment that is more than capable of finishing in the top seven? Without a doubt, YES.

Moyes must get on with the job now rather than looking for excuses, your squad is more than capable of finishing in the top seven and if you fail to bring the club to that level your contract won't be renewed, it's as simple as that.

Last Season at Anoeta La Real lost just five games and beat the big three but what must change is the amount of draws and whilst nine wins and five draws seems good it's not because if La Real had turned two or three of them into wins we'd possibly have seen more of a challenge for Europe from them last season.

Defensively they were solid enough and in Coruna last Saturday in their opening game of the season they showed their solidity again defensively and Reyes at just 22 years of age fitted straight into the backline and has made the defence a little more solid, he really impressed me last Saturday.

Going forward La Real are slightly better to watch and played some great stuff in parts of the final third last weekend and Jonathas had a superb chance to score which he would normally put he away but it's the first week of the season so these misses can be expected early on.

Vela played well considering he's had no pre-season in terms of games and his understanding with Jonathas already shows promising signs but it's just in that central midfield area where the real spark is lacking but La Real going forward will get there and they will certainly be in the fight for a European place.

Gijon may not have had a shot target against Los Blancos but boy did they do their manager, their supporters and themselves proud because they played against a side full of talent and against one of the big two in La Liga and played with no fear and no worry about going forward and trying to hurt them.

Gijon deserved a point in the end and even despite how poor Los Blancos were in attack take nothing away from Gijon because I felt they were sensational last weekend and proved that they can surprise people and achieve the ultimate dream of survival.

Gijon last season saw their away record cost them the title because an incredible thirteen draws away from home were recorded along with seven wins and just one defeat on their travels all season and whilst that's fantastic the amount of draws is far from good.

Defensively no-one came close away from home and with just thirteen goals conceded they had the best defensive record away from home in the whole of the Segunda last season but offensively on their travels they had one of the lowest and weakest attacks with just 21 goals scored.

Gijon showed last Sunday night at El Molinon is noisy with their loyal supporters but what they showed to me is that with their well structured unit and excellent organisation their games against the bottom half sides in La Liga this season can see them draw success.

Full credit to Coach Abelardo Fernandez because he set his team up extremely well and it's a fantastic result to hold Los Blancos on opening weekend and this weekend expect more of the same and if you offer him a point from this game he'll snap your hand off and then head off.

When we come back from the international break Gijon will be ready to go again and so will El Molinon the oldest ground in Spain and it'll host another one of La Liga's giants and this time we'll have a Saturday evening belter as Los Che visit Asturias.

Gijon now face another tough challenge and that's travelling to Anoeta where it is very tough to get a result at as La Liga's top three last season found out and Gijon will travel the 365km across to San Sebastian with the hope and belief they can break down Moyes's men and record an away success to head into a week's break with much optimism.

These two sides have never met before but you can bet that despite Gijon's attacking style we're unlikely to see a goalfest here because at the end of the day this game is at Anoeta and Moyes will have his boys fired up for this one and demand that Anoeta sees it's opening game of the 2015/16 season ended in success.
BARCELONA V MALAGA(SATURDAY 7.30PM UK TIME, 8.30PM SPANISH TIME)
Barca head into this one with much more optimism after a tough game in the Basque Country was successfully navigated and now they seek revenge against a team that flew out of the Catalan Capital last season with all three points in Malaga.

Barca for me may have reigned supreme in the Basque Country when the points were up for grabs but despite Suarez's strike it was far from a great performance and when the front three of Messi, Neymar and Suarez aren't all together on the pitch this side just doesn't function as well as it should.

To sell Pedro is a dreadful decision when you consider that Vidal and Turan can't play until January and if you tell me that if even one of the front three gets injured/suspended good enough cover is there you're telling me a joke, you really are.

I'm beyond livid at the state of the club, the best talent of La Masia in Adama is tearing extremely poor defences apart in the English Pound League whilst La Masia last weekend last their opening game of the season in the third division.

Bartomeu is a clown, Enrique a clown and people who question me regarding me wanting this clown of a manager out can come to me and explain why they disagree if they do but they must come with facts, extremely clear facts because if they don't I'll explain where they're wrong and why.

You can sit there on the bench Mr Enrique all you want whilst the majority of your front three bail you out but I know you're a clown, most of the Barca supporters know you're a clown, the Socio's don't but believe me you haven't got long left, not long left at all.

The squad is wafer thin and this is why that over 38 games this season Enrique and his men may not be so lucky and in May they may not be celebrating domestically because there's no Vidal or Turan until January and now Pedro has been sold.

Pedro wanted to go but the whole handling of the situation has been poor and take nothing away from Rafinha and Munir but they just aren't the quality of cover required at Barca when the MSN loses one of its components.

Busquets will be fit for the trip to the Calderon in Week 3 but he'll miss this one with an ankle injury he picked up at San Mames last weekend, Dani Alves will miss this game through injury and could miss the trip to the Calderon in Week 3 which is a huge blow to the club.

Alba and Neymar are set to return for this one but without Alves and Busquets going backwards Barca are severely weakened for this one and even with Busquets fit for the trip in Week 3 to the Calderon losing Alves could see a slip-up and drill home to the guys at the top that the squad depth is poor.

Barca had the second best attacking record at home last season with 64 goals scored and had the the joint second best defensive record at home last season with Atleti with just eleven goals conceded and only two sides won at Camp Nou last season, Celta and this week's opponents Malaga.

Malaga were the team to hurt Barca last season by producing the display you need to beat this Barca side and that's by having a gameplan, being well structured as a unit defensively, well organised and waiting for the right opportunity on the counter attack and taking it and in a nutshell that's how Malaga won this fixture last season.

Malaga are a weaker side than last season there's no doubt about that but they really did impress me last Friday night against Sevilla with some of the stuff they played in the attacking areas of the field and in Cop they have a guy who will give them a threat in the air for sure.

Malaga away from home last season in 2015 were nothing short of abysmal but overall they were in the top ten positions in La Liga on away records alone and their away record produced six wins, two draws and eleven defeats.

Defensively away from the Costa Del Sol Malaga had conceded 28 goals and scored just sixteen which means they very rarely score away from home and when they do it's very rarely more than one so when they do enjoy success on their travels as you saw last season it's normally a 1-0 away success.

Malaga for me are playing Barca at a very good time whilst Messi isn't at his full level, Suarez gearing up to his highest level, Neymar just returning, an injury worry over Busquets, Alves out and you can really see why Malaga fancy another beauty of a success in Catalonia once again.
CELTA V RAYO(SATURDAY 9PM UK TIME, 10PM SPANISH TIME)
Celta head into this one after a 2-1 win away to Levante on opening weekend whilst Rayo recorded an excellent point against Valencia at Vallecas but will fear the trip to Galicia after last season's 6-1 hammering at Balaidos.

Despite losing the majority of last season's attacking players Celta looked pretty much similar to the one we saw last season against Levante with brilliant football being played and their extremely offensive and expansive style of play going forward continuing.

Aspas produced his first goal for the club which in the end became the winning goal and not only do I feel he will get more goals this season than has in recent seasons in his career but that the expansive attacking style Celta play will benefit him so much and improve him as a player very much.

They'll look forward to playing Rayo so early on and no not because they beat them 6-1 in this exact fixture last season but the fact they're at the top of La Liga and Rayo play just as expansive as them and this game presents a really opportunity for Celta to head into the international break with six points from their first two games of the season.

Celta last season had a home record inside the top ten which produced 8 wins, 5 draws and just six defeats and offensively with the 30 goals they scored at Balaidos they had the sixth best attacking record at home in La Liga and defensively with 22 goals conceded at Balaidos they had the joint eight worst defensive record with Getafe in the whole of La Liga.

Celta scored 47 goals last season and conceded 44 and whether they play Barcelona, Real Madrid or Rayo or Gijon they'll always play the same way and that's by going right at the opposition from minute one and playing with the attacking attitude of 'We'll score more than you'.

Rayo will draw confidence from their 0-0 draw with Valencia at Vallecas because not only did they manage to weather a first-half Valencia storm in terms of the golden and glorious goalscoring chances they created but the intensity and pace which Valencia played the first-half with.

A draw at home to any of the top five for Rayo is regarded as a fantastic result and their performance overall was very good and if they can improve on the defensive horror show they produced at Balaidos last season then whatever the outcome they'll make their supporters proud of them.

Rayo offered much optimism last Saturday night for me with Bebe, Ebert, Llorente and Farina all impressing although Bebe can frustrate from time to time by being good one minute and awful the next when he's good he's very good.

Upfront I still have doubts over Miku and Manucho and they just won't go away because I just don't see them getting enough goals up top to help this side cope with the loss of top scorer last season Alberto Bueno and when the transfer window shuts in a week's time a striker must really have been signed, deadline day drama that sees a return for Michu would spark celebrations in Vallecas and after Granada signed Thievy Rayo must really get this striker and fast.

Last season Rayo's away record was superb and saw them have the 8th best away record in the Primera with 7 wins, 2 draws and ten defeats and offensively on their travels they held the seventh best attacking record and defensively with 42 goals conceded no-one else came close bar Getafe who also conceded 42 goals on their travels last season.

This is unlikely to be a 6-1 hammering again and Rayo need to avoid scoring after the first minute which angered Celta last season and didn't make them hold back but for me it's going to be a game that's a great advert for La Liga, full of great attacking football and excitement and goals.
 REAL MADRID V REAL BETIS(SATURDAY 9.30PM UK TIME, 10.30PM SPANISH TIME)
Los Blanos host new boys Real Betis in their first home game of the 2015/16 La Liga Season at Santiago Bernabeu with new coach Rafa Benitez under pressure already and deservedly so after an opening weekend disappointment in Asturias.

Los Blancos drew 0-0 away at new boys Sporting Gijon last Sunday night and that's not just unacceptable for Real Madrid and its coach, it's the result that orders a crisis and truly delivers one and Mr Benitez has the pressure on him with just one game played.

If you're the coach of the biggest club in the world and you produce four points (a maximum) from your first two games of the season which are both against new boys you're in the ground and have created a huge hole for yourself.

If you win both and don't entertain you're in trouble but Benitez isn't going to win both of them after last weekend's draw and the Madrid press take no prisoners and what I saw last Sunday in Asturias really really worries me.

I like Rafa Benitez and I am fully behind him, I even backed him immensely in last week's preview but he kicked me in the face literally in Gijon because although I still saw the superb Los Blancos in a defensive element going forward I saw an Abysmal Los Blancos.

The transition from defence into attack was far far too slow, there was no tempo, no pace and no intensity to any of the side's attacks and the side overall created very little in the way of chances and Bale in particular frustrated again despite playing in a role which is designed to get the best out of him.

Bale needs to man up and use his strength more against opposition defenders and whether we're in Week 2 or Week 22 if Benitez doesn't significantly improve things in attack his Christmas dinner will be served with a P45 wrapped in a envelope courtesy of Florentino. Work to Rafa, Work to do.

Betis on the other hand can be proud of their performance against Villarreal last weekend especially after going behind in the first-half after their high-line was punished by the Yellow Submarine's front as Soldado fired home past Adan.

Overall on the night I felt Betis were excellent and the way they regained control of the game and the possession impressed me alot and they showed that they can more than hold their own in the Primera this season.

Pepe Mel loves attacking football and even though Betis will be open at the back they look extremely capable of outscoring the opposition they need to outscore and that's not Villarreal, it's the likes of Levante, Las Palmas, Gijon, Eibar and so on but a point against Villarreal will be welcomed very well in the Andalusian Capital as Betis showed that the Benito Villamarin will be a tough place to visit this season.

Betis won't play open attacking football at the Bernabeu as it would be suicidal and it'll be another test of Benitez and his men to break down another one of the new boys, they failed in Gijon and failure at the Bernabeu against Betis would see Benitez heading for the 'Salida' this early, no it really would, Florentino is no mug.

Away from home Betis enjoyed themselves last season and had the second best away record in the Segunda with 11 wins, 6 draws and 4 defeats coming on their travels and with just 22 goals conceded on their travels they had one of the best defensive records away from home in the Segunda last season.

Offensively they scored 31 which was the joint best in the Segunda along with Catalan side Girona and if they can produce an away record that gives them a little less than 11 wins this season maybe seven or eight then that will take pressure off their home games.

Betis won't fear going to the Bernabeu, this isn't Ancelotti's Los Blancos, it's Benitez's and the Andalusians can draw confidence from the fact that they've scored on their last four visits to the Santiago Bernabeu.
EIBAR V BILBAO(SUNDAY 5.30PM UK TIME, 6.30PM SPANISH TIME)
The first Derby of the 2015/16 La Liga Season takes place on Sunday evening in Eibar as Eibar buoyed after their opening weekend victory in Andalusia against Granada host a Bilbao side who will want another Derby Day success in Eibar.

New Eibar Coach Jose Luis Mendilibar is Basque born and will relish this one especially after getting off to a perfect start by producing an excellent performance in Andalusia last weekend as his side swept aside Granada by recording a 3-1 away success.

Whilst Granada were individually sloppy and mistake prone I was extremely impressed by Mendilibar's men because not only did every single one of them do what was asked of them, they made sure the gameplan was executed and their success was deservedly rewarded, they did just what they needed to do in a game against a relegation rival and in the end they fully deserved to open up with a win.

Eibar last season stayed up due to Elche's situation which I'd rather not go into it due to how uncomfortable I feel about the whole thing but in terms of on the pitch their home record was a major worry last season.

It produced 5 wins, 3 draws and 11 defeats and was the third worst in La Liga last season and offensively 20 goals scored was an okay amount for a side fighting against relegation but defensively 29 goals was on the borderline of poor.

Athletic Bilbao are still on a high after their success against Barcelona in the Super Copa which saw them win their first trophy in 31 years and sparked real celebrations in the Basque City and gave their supporters a day they'll never forget.

The historic barge wasn't sailed down the river but Bilbao by river was a sea of red and white and Bilbao's supporters really are something else they are just fantastic and this club, this wonderful city and their supporters deserve success, it's a proper footballing city and a proper footballing city too.

Now it's back to the serious business because last weekend Barcelona got their own back despite being vintage or anything special they came away from San Mames with a victory but Bilbao played well on the whole and can feel a little hard done by to have lost that game in the end.

They now have a Basque Derby to look forward and a Basque Derby is a Derby I just love because not only is it the whole day itself but it's how special and unique of a Derby it actually is, it's just incredible.

From both sets of supporters packing out the host city/town's bars on matchday and drinking together from the respect and warmth they have and that they show towards each other to how they are proud of their roots and beliefs and love to display them.

Basque people despise Spain and I mean despise it and people outside of Spain who don't follow Spanish football don't really understand the problem and don't understand why the hatred is there and I'd love to speak about this issue with people.

I don't want to go into the ETA and their arrests in France this summer, we all know about how their past attacks and whilst some of you reading this may not it's not something I want to go into but what I will say is that I want them all brought to justice for what they did.

The good people of the Basque region who aren't terrorists use a Basque Derby to display their love for the Basque Country and display how proud they are of their roots, how proud they are to be Basque and how much it really means to them, this is a friendly derby but it's one I love and one the Basque people love as they have the opportunity to showcase their wonderful wonderful region to the world.

Bilbao last season on their travels were underwhelming and their away record produced 7 wins, 4 draws and 8 defeats and offensively just 14 goals were scored away from San Mames and that gave the club one of the weakest attacks away from home in the whole of La Liga last season.

Defensively they conceded 21 goals away from San Mames last season and that gave them the fourth best defensive record away from home in La Liga season so whilst they are solid they still lack goals and if they can remain as solid as they were last season on their travels and add goals to it then their away record can help them improve on last season's 7th placed finish.

There's been four Basque Derbies between these two sides, two in the Copa and two in La Liga and those two in La Liga came last season and whilst Eibar shocked Bilbao at San Mames by coming away with a 0-0 draw, Bilbao came to Eibar back in March and recorded a 1-0 away success.

The other three previous Basque Derbies between these two sides have all ended in draws and all four Basque Derbies between these two sides has never seen more than two goals scored in it, Bilbao want to head into the international break with points on the board and now eye up a second success in the same calendar year in Eibar.
VALENCIA V DEPORTIVO(SUNDAY 7.30PM UK TIME, 8.30PM SPANISH TIME)
Los Che head into this one looking to pick up where they left off last season as they produced one of the best home records in the whole of La Liga last season as they host a Depor side who narrowly survived relegated last season.

Los Che drew 0-0 away to Rayo last Saturday but again away from home they really frustrated me once again and it's not just because they were wasteful infront of goal wasting golden chances but how content they were to settle for a point.

Los Che away from home last season were far from impressive and it cost them a possible challenge for the title but listen Vallecas is a tough place to go and a point away at Rayo must be taken as a good point especially on opening weekend.

Defensively worries still remain without Otamendi but good riddance to a guy who forced his move in a way that disgusts me, so unprofessional and without respect and although he's a great defender he isn't a great person but once Garay comes in the Los Che defence will strength its solidity further.

Mustafi is still a young defender and how he's not in the starting eleven of the German National side is beyond me because not only is he a better defender than Otamendi he's also younger at just 23 years of age and if you're one of those not giving him the credit he deserves, watch him and then give him it.

Mustafi is an extremely solid defender who is very comfortable in possession and can play out from the back with ease and with Garay next to him who has the same attributes I see Los Che being as solid defensively as they were last season but it'll take time for the pair to develop an understanding defensively.

Los Che were formidable at Mestalla last season, only Barca won there last season and needed a stoppage time winner to come away with a success on their record and 15 wins, 3 draws and just one defeat saw Los Che pick up 48 points last season at home from a possible 60 giving them the third best home record in La Liga.

29 points were collected away from home and if their away form can improve this season there's no reason why they can't challenge for the title because that's what stopped them last season and in a season where both the big two have troubles, why not?

Depor however despite their wonderful business in the transfer market this summer continue to worry me because against La Real even though they looked much more comfortable and solid defensively than they were last season going forward remained an issue.

Again just like last season they struggled to create much in the way of chances and when they did I always felt like a goal was extremely unlikely to head their way and that's got to remain a major worry for the side and coach Victor Sanchez.

When Cartabia came on against La Real that is when Depor looked their most threatening offensively as he gave them the spark and although I praise them defensively so far I need to see much more of a threat in the final third because at the moment a similar season to last season beckons and this time Depor may not be so lucky.

Depor's template is now closed barring any late surprises and is wrapped up with the signing of young Uruguayan striker Jonathan Rodriguez who joins the club from Portuguese side Benfica and at just 22 years of age is an excellent signing.

Whilst Lucas Perez and Riera will add goals Depor needed a striker up top who can get the goals that were really lacking last season and I think Rodriguez will give them just that, he's been capped for his national side at Senior level six times already and had an impressive scoring record at Uruguayan club Penarol where he scored 15 goals in 38 games and at Benfica where he played for the club's B team scoring 7 goals in 6 games.

Manu has returned to the club from Alaves and the 29 year-old goalkeeper who was last at the club in 2011 provides good cover for Fabricio who remains the club's number one keeper and one I rate very highly.

13 goals scored, 30 conceded, two wins, eight draws and nine defeats was Deportivo's away record last season and only produced 14 points putting them in 16th position based on away records alone and they must improve that this season.

Depor have lost three of their last four visits to Mestalla and all three defeats including last season's 2-0 away defeat produced no goals for them but remember that Los Che are in Monaco for a huge Champions League game just five days before this fixture.
SEVILLA V ATLETI(SUNDAY 7.30PM UK TIME, 8.30PM SPANISH TIME)
The game of week 2 and the biggest game of the 2015/16 La Liga Season so far takes place in the Andalusian Capital on Sunday night as Sevilla host Atleti at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan as both sides look to record what would be a huge three points.

Sevilla drew their opening game last Friday night against Malaga 0-0 and despite starting the game at a fast pace and tempo and being the much better side after 30 minutes they fell away and Malaga secured control of the game.

Sevilla overall in the game were quite poor but this is going to be a pattern of their performances in the first weeks of the season for me because they've signed alot of new players who will take time to gel.

One new player I'm far from convinced in so far is holding midfielder Steven N'Zonzi signed from English first division side Stoke City because not only were his two bookings that saw him sent off extremely poor but at the moment his understanding of La Liga and opponents is a little poor.

N'Zonzi will improve as will his understanding but he must realise he's now playing in a far superior league to the one he was playing in last season and at a far bigger club but at the moment Krohn-Delhi must partner Krychowiak in the holding midfield part of the 4-2-3-1 formation in which Emery operates this side.

Krohn-Delhi knows the league and not only has he a older head on his shoulders but he has much more experience and is less likely to do the stupid things N'Zonzi did on the Costa Del Sol last Friday night, for now let N'Zonzi sit out his ban from the sidelines and hopefully he'll learn things.

Sevilla's home record last season was the fifth best in La Liga and the best in the whole of Europe in terms of a full year as only Real Madrid became victorious at the Pizjuan last season as the Andalusians had a home record that produced 13 wins, 5 draws and just one defeat.

Sevilla picked up 44 points from a possible 60 at home last season and just like Los Che it was only their away record that stopped them challenging for the title and seven defeats from 19 away games says it all.

Offensively at home last season Sevilla had the fifth best attack in La Liga with 38 goals scored which is an average of two goals scored every single home game and with thirteen goals conceded at the Pizjuan last season they had the fourth best defensive record at home.

The Pizjuan this season has had a facelift hence why Sevilla's request for an away game on opening weekend was granted by the LFP and the stadium looks so much better and less dated now and another historic ground in Spain is ready to host Champions League football this season and this club and Monchi in particular deserve it.

The club has never been better financially, there's now no pressure to sell players and with Emery at  the helm, the club in a fantastic financial state, Monchi's genius now extended with his new contract things at the club couldn't be better right now.

Atleti won their first game of the season last weekend against new boys Las Palmas 1-0 at the Vicente Calderon and despite being the finished article in attack they produced a comfortable enough display to suggest they can threaten the big two this season.

Defensively Atleti looked their usual solid selves but a little more comfortable with the addition of Filipe Luis at left-back who looked like he hadn't even left the club and adds further strength going forward for Simeone's men.

Jackson Martinez's movement off the ball was excellent and looked a threat but it's going to take until mid September-October for him to get used to his team-mates and his team-mates to get used to him which is the same with Vietto who will take time also to get used to Simeone's methods.

Correa and Oliver Torres are bright talents at the club and as they showed against Las Palmas not only can they breakthrough this season but they can be a major part of this side this season and no that's not because of their talent, it's because of their ability and their ability to play without fear and go straight for the throat of the opposition.

Atleti away from home last season didn't win the title because away from home in the season they won the title they got the job done and were consistent but their away record last season produced 9 wins, 6 draws and 4 defeats, something that won't get you titles.

Offensively they had the fifth best attacking record on their travels last season and defensively they had the second best away defensive record in the whole of La Liga but having Mandzukic held them back and lack of goals saw them draw too many and lose too many in the end to mount a title challenge based on an away record.

Now they have the pace with Griezmann, Vietto, Jackson Martinez, Oliver and so on and this season we should see a better time on their travels for Simeone's men and what a place to begin your away campaign, the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Sevilla haven't beaten Atleti at the Pizjuan since 2010 but their home record last season produced just one defeat and that came against Ancelotti and his men from the Spanish Capital and they held them to a 0-0 draw, both sides are far from the finished article and their new signings need time to gel, this could be a classic or a frustration.
GETAFE V GRANADA(SUNDAY 9.30PM UK TIME, 10.30PM SPANISH TIME)
Getafe host Granada at the Coliseum on Sunday night in a huge game for both sides given the head to head rule in Spain when level on points these games are huge no matter when they are played and both sides head into this one after losing their opening game of the season last weekend.

Getafe lost 1-0 at Espanyol despite being dominant and creating a hatful of chances but in the end they were wasteful and their pre-season sending-offs on their UK tour against Port Vale and Milton Keynes Dons continued into the regular season as Vergini was sent off for a rash tackle.

It was a stupid tackle and one that didn't need making and not only does Vergini anger me for what he did but the side's sending-offs and poor discipline is a worry and Escriba must get a handle on this before we head into September and before it gets silly and costs them hugely.

They were beaten by a great free-kick take nothing away from Salva Sevilla it was a great strike but I've got to blame the defence on this one because when a five man wall has just two players willing to jump is it any wonder you're open to conceding from that free-kick?

This is a much better Getafe than last season and is certainly one that is much better to watch but they must learn to take their chances because it's what denied them three points in Catalonia last Saturday and in games like these it could cost them even more.

Getafe last season had a decent enough home record which produced 6 wins, five draws and 8 defeats, 16 goals scored gave them one of the worst attacks at home in La Liga last season, only Granada and relegated rock bottom Cordoba were more weak infront of goal.

Defensively at home they let in 22 goals which gave them the 12th best defensive record joint with Celta at home in the whole of La Liga last season but this season with Escriba's attacking style they should produce more wins than the six they got last season and cut down on the amount of draws they got last season.

Granada come into this one after losing an opening game which they could look back on in agony next May as they lost 3-1 at Nuevo Los Carmenes to Eibar who were relegated twice this summer and promoted twice, it's also a game Granada drew 0-0 last season.

Already Granada have put themselves in dangerous water and you're a fool if you think it's only the opening game it doesn't mean a great deal because believe me it does, they've lost to a relegation rival and not only are they behind in the head to head stakes but they produced worries for their fans.

Too many sloppy individual mistakes happened against Eibar and you can't have that when you're Granada and even if they win in the Basque Country in the return game later in the season they're still likely to be behind Eibar in the head to head stakes due to the 3-1 scoreline Eibar produced in Andalusia.

Granada looked to have the comeback in them in the second half but Victor Ruiz's sending off killed any hope and although I don't think it was a sending off, when you put your studs in you are offering the referee a chance to make a decision and possibly send you off.

Nuevo Los Carmenes is a tough place to go so I was very surprised Granada were swept aside in the end and to see their solidity in defence not be there was extremely disappointing and I'm really hoping it was just a bad day at the office because if not, there's trouble ahead.

Granada on their travels last season were poor and had the second worst away record in La Liga with 3 wins, 4 draws and twelve defeats, offensively they scored 16 goals away from home last season which wasn't too bad but defensively they shipped 47 goals and that was the worst defence in the whole of La Liga last season away from home.

Granada won at the Coliseum 2-1 last season and have lost there just once in their last four visits and haven't lost to Getafe since October 2013 when the Madrid side were victorious in Andalusia recording a 2-0 away success.

This is an important game for both sides because you don't want to go into the international break with no points on the board and from a Granada point of view you don't want to head into the international break with no points on the board and two games lost both to relegation rivals.
LAS PALMAS V LEVANTE(SUNDAY 9.30PM UK TIME, 9.30PM LOCAL TIME)
Las Palmas are back in La Liga after thirteen years out of it and now the moment we've all been waiting for has arrived, their first home game back in the Primera and on the Island of Gran Canaria as they host Levante at Estadio Gran Canaria.

I'm extremely proud of everyone of the Las Palmas players that wore that yellow jersey at the Vicente Calderon last weekend and it's no surprise that their supporters, their coach and everyone on the island is too.

Las Palmas received a huge blow on Monday with the news that key midfielder Javi Castellano is going to be out for at least four months through injury and the news is a huge blow to the side which he is a crucial part of.

They deserved the welcome home in the Airport they got on Sunday from some of their supporters because the performance they produced against Atleti is something to be extremely extremely proud of.

They had a gameplan and it worked despite a defeat and they showed to me that the dream of survival can be achieved, they kept possession extremely well against one of the big three in La Liga to take the sting out of the game and had chances of their own and in the end probably deserved a point.

Defensively they extremely well organised and structured magnificently and if they can keep that level of performance up for the majority of the season they can stay up but whether they can or not is something we'll have to wait and see.

The Coach Paco Herrera complained about their attacking element in terms of the pace but against Atleti at the Calderon you can't look into the attacking element too much but games at home against sides like Levante you can and you can utterly scrutinize it.

This is the type of game Las Palmas have to win, they must use the advantage of the extreme heat on the Island that sides from Mainland Spain aren't used to it because Las Palmas are used to it, Levante face close to a 3 hour flight to reach the Island for this game and on top of the heat Las Palmas have an advantage, make it counts boys, make it count!

Las Palmas last season had an excellent home record which was the best in the Segunda and produced 49 points from a possible 63 and 15 wins, 4 draws and just two defeats with 44 goals scored which gave them the best attacking record at home in the whole of the Segunda.

Defensively they conceded just 21 at home which wasn't even in the best six defensive records at home in the whole of the Segunda last season and their defending at times last season and in the play-offs was very poor.

I saw something last weekend through at the Calderon and it's the levels, the performance, the structure and organisation and the ability to execute a gameplan to perfection and I didn't think this Las Palmas side had it in them but boy they have.

The question for me now is whether they can keep this up over a 38 game for a long enough period and how they can keep that structure and organisation when they are at home in games like this where they have to attack much more in games that will ultimately decide their fate come what May.

Levante lost their opening game 2-1 at home to Celta and the worries I had about them before the season started didn't go away, they contacted me, 36% possession and two shots on target at home is far from acceptable.

Defensively last season Levante were a shambles and with 67 goals conceded overall and 30 of them coming away from the East Coast it's a miracle they weren't relegated but signings in January and a good run at home in the second half of the season saw them survive.

Their away record last season saw them win six, draw six and lose seven and not only did the 30 goals they conceded give them one of the worst defensive records away from home in La Liga last season but 20 goals scored gave them one of the worst attacking records away from home and that matched two of the bottom three. 

Verza was an excellent signing for the club as I mentioned in last week's preview and his goal from a direct free-kick last Sunday was fantastic and nearly got the side an opening weekend point at home against a very good Celta side.

From open playing in the final third I saw little to reduce my worries about this side, they were their usual frustrating selves going forward and defensively they look even worse if that's even possible after last season.

This is a game Levante simply cannot lose because if you lose your first two games of the season heading into an international break you're in a sticky situation but when one of those two games is away to a relegation rival and when you come back after the international break you face one of last season's top five at home you're heading for disaster early on.

Celta are an excellent side but it's a side that Levante can beat and it's down as a winnable home game for any side fighting relegation for me due to Celta's expansive style but not only are Levante remaining poor defensively without Barral I don't see where the goals are coming from.

A free-kick is how they scored last week and these games away from home is what they seem to succeed in as they proved away at Almeria last season as they romped home on the counter but this isn't far Almeria away, far from it.

This is an away game in heat Levante won't be used to despite the night-time kick-off and they won't be used to a 3 hour flight for an away game in La Liga either and face a side who will be well organised, well structured and hard to break down.

This is a monumental game in size even though it's week 2 and defeat just isn't thinkable it really isn't, these sides have met before in the Second division of Spanish football and Levante's last three visits to the Island have produced three wins, Las Palmas can't afford a fourth.

Having Las Palmas in La Liga is something very very special and I'm fully fully behind them and I really really hope they stay up, I'm going to be behind them in every game this season I can't lie, do us proud boys, don't break our hearts, give it your best, it's all I'll ever ask.

I can't wait for this one, La Liga football is back on the Canary Islands.

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TheSportMatrix | We Live For Sport: La Liga Week 2 Preview
La Liga Week 2 Preview
Expert preview for the 2015/16 La Liga season.
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TheSportMatrix | We Live For Sport
http://www.thesportmatrix.com/2015/08/la-liga-week-2-preview.html
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