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 La Liga Weekend Preview: Matchday 1

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shiko!

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PostSubject: La Liga Weekend Preview: Matchday 1   Fri Aug 29, 2008 6:25 pm

Sat 30 Aug 2008 (all times CET)
20:00 Espanyol - Valladolid
22:00 Valencia - Mallorca
Sun 31 Aug 2008
19:00 Athletic - Almeria
19:00 At. Madrid - Malaga
19:00 Betis - Recreativo
19:00 Sporting - Getafe
19:00 Racing - Sevilla
19:00 Numancia - Barcelona
19:00 Osasuna - Villarreal
21:00 Deportivo - R. Madrid

RCD Espanyol - Real Valladolid

It's hardly the most glamourous of matches, but fans of Spanish football worldwide can't wait for this one, for the 78th season of the LFP is about to begin.

Tintín Márquez's Espanyol ended last season in disastrous fashion and are eager to get their fans back on side, but with question marks still hanging over the squad this could be a nervy occasion.

For coach Mendilibar of Valladolid, meanwhile, survival is job one. The Pucela only just scraped through the relegation race last season: games such as this will give his side a chance to smash-and-grab some vital

Valencia CF - RCD Mallorca

Also on Saturday night one can see Unai Emery's Valencia attempt to impress against a Mallorca side that's changed drastically over the summer.

Drastically, that is, but not quite as much as Los Che, who have altered their manager, president, image, directors, and anything else you can think of - except the squad, which still contains David Villa, David Silva, and even David Albelda.

Mallorca kept their manager but altered pretty much everytime else. Some of last season's key players - not least Jonás Gutíerrez and Dani Güiza - have sought pastures new, but coach Gregorio Manzao has some fresh, new signings to select from, too. In other words, expect the unexpected here.

Athletic Club Bilbao - UD Almería

Moving through to Sunday and Athletic Club meet Almería at San Mames. The Basque cauldron is well-known for being a hotbed of partisan support, but there may be a few boos and whistles tomorrow after fans' favourite Aritz Aduriz was sold on to Mallorca.

Even some of the players have questioned the wisdom of this move, but at least coach Joaquín Caparrós seems fine with it. His side finished last season strongly, and despite a questionable pre-season he's looking for more of the same.

Gonzalo Arconada has a tough act to follow as Almería coach, Emery having departed for Valencia. Still, his squad has been bolstered by the likes of Pablo Piatti, who could be in line for a competitive debut in a rojiblanco shirt.

Club Atlético de Madrid - Málaga CF

Having thrashed Schalke 4-0 midweek, Atleti simply could not be in higher spirits ahead of this Vicente Calderón encounter.

It's been another summer of bizarre transfer rumours and bizarre-r signings for the rojiblancos - but then, when is it not? - but one that's borne fruit as the colchoneros finally, finally return to the Champions League.

Málaga, meanwhile, are back in the top flight for the first time since 2006, although it seems like an age to the Rosaleda faithful, accustomed as they are to Primera football.

Buoyed by the return of club hero Duda, as well as some impressive signings like Fernando Fernández, they may just pull off a shock.

Real Betis Balompié - Recreativo de Huelva

Betis, the soap opera-cum-football club, are ready for an Andalucían derby to kick off the new season. It's been a typically eventful summer in the Triana, with erstwhile owner Manuel Ruiz de Lopera being in court (again) and no end of transfer drama taking place.

Still, for all the gossip there's been little movement. Rafael Sobis remains, and so do some so-called "released" players. Paco Chaparro's squad, though, has at least been bolstered by the ambitious acquisitions of Mehmet Aurelio and Nélson.

Recre would kill for players of such calibre in a summer that's seen them lose top scorer Florent Sinama-Pongolle and gain bargain-basement signings in return. Still, some of the incoming players - not least Sisi and Marco Rubén - have something to prove and could be surprise packages.

Real Sporting de Gijón - Getafe CF

Spanish football fans could argue black is white, but if there's one thing everyone in any given bar agrees on, it's that nobody wants to start a season with a trip to El Molinón.

The Asturian arena, a venerable old pile of some 100 years' use, will shake to its very foundations as the rojiblancos return to the top flight for the first time in a decade.

Getafe, no strangers to the journey north from their time in the Segunda, will nonetheless be in high spirits, given that Roberto Soldado is in line for his competitive debut in a blue shirt.

Víctor Muñoz, the new manager, has to win over the fans - a win here would go a long way towards doing that.

Real Racing Club - Sevilla CF

Last season's surprise package, Racing, will give Sevilla a tough test at the Sardinero. The verdiblancos have just been drawn against FC Honka Espoo of Finland in the UEFA Cup - a decent tie for them, and one that could see them through to the group stages.

Sevilla, for their part, got Salzburg in their clash - a game that coach Manolo Jiménez will deem eminently winnable.

Still, he'll first of all want to get off to a winning start here. The Nervión side lost three of their major stars over the course of the summer but nonetheless look the part thanks to some canny acquisitions.

Racing, meanwhile, didn't quite have the transfer window that they would have wanted, and with coach Marcelino having left for Zaragoza, Juan Ramón López Muñiz has some hard work on his hands.

CD Numancia - FC Barcelona

Little Numancia of Soria managed the Segunda championship last season for the first time in their history, capping their third overall promotion to the top flight.

This team, which survives on average gates of around 5,500, draws on a huge, rural area, and as such there's plenty of local pride right across the region. Whether that's enough to keep them up is another matter.

Barcelona are refreshed and renewed under new boss Josep 'Pep' Guardiola, and they will be absolutely itching to get off to a winning start away from home - something they failed to do last season.

Unusually the squad is virtually fully-fit, so the Pajaritos fans could be treated to the likes of Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi as they look for only their second season of survival in the Primera (and their fourth overall.)

CA Osasuna - Villarreal CF

Last season's runners-up Villarreal have been drawn against Manchester United, Celtic and Aalborg in the Champions League. A match against the European champions, then, is cause for distraction at the Madrigal.

Still, there's little room for such considerations as the Yellow Submarine look to atone for what's been an awful summer. It's been fine off the pitch as the squad's depth has been improved, but pre-season friendlies have been virtually all terrible.

Osasuna, then, will be quietly confident of a shock. The Pamplona outfit have established themselves as a mid-table side of late and while they may not be ready for a push up the table they are capable of starting well, not least at the Reyno de Navarra.

RC Deportivo de La Coruña - Real Madrid CF

Moving to the final game of the weekend, champions Real Madrid have the journey that they love to hate: a trip to the Riazor.

The capital side are 'cursed' up north, having failed to win a single Liga game there since the 1992-93 season. What's more, SuperDepor have actually won the last five!

Miguel Angel Lotina's side are in a good mood after their midweek UEFA Cup success, but they still can't rely just on tradition: after all, a look at the Madrid teamsheet, and then a glance at Depor's, spells out the relative strengths.

Still, the blancos are distracted by "Robinhogate." Will he go, or won't he? It may be after Sunday night's game before we know.

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Mahdiano
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PostSubject: Re: La Liga Weekend Preview: Matchday 1   Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:26 am

definatly all sights set on Real vs Depor

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shiko!

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Number of posts : 178
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PostSubject: Re: La Liga Weekend Preview: Matchday 1   Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:51 am

battle of riazor
real madrid nightmare
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Mahdiano
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Number of posts : 1001
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Registration date : 2008-08-22

PostSubject: Re: La Liga Weekend Preview: Matchday 1   Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:57 am

shiko! wrote:
battle of riazor
real madrid nightmare

what a tough start for the champions

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