When you’re coming back after a three-month hiatus, you want to come back with a bang. In that respect, the Seville derby makes for the perfect curtain re-raiser for La Liga.
But it’s far from the only impressive clash as the Spanish top flight returns with a bumper weekend of action. This much will become clear as you scroll down through the following predictions round-up, in which Squawka is going up against La Liga Lowdown‘s Román de Arquer (who you’ll find on Twitter here).
Updated: 13:00, 13/06/20
Result: Sevilla 2-0 Real Betis
Muhammad Butt: Betis are stacked with talent and could beat anybody but they will have lost momentum from their massive pre-lockdown win over Real Madrid. Sevilla meanwhile are a consistently creative outfit under Lopetegui and have won the last two showdowns between the sides. 3-2 Sevilla.
Román de Arquer: Football is finally back in Spain and what better way to start than with El Gran Derbi. Undoubtedly one of those games that defines LaLiga: historic rivalry, goals and very passionate fans, who unfortunately won’t be at the stadium. Although referee Mateu Lahoz will be present, and when he’s on the field, interesting things are bound to happen. 2-2 draw.
Player to watch: Lucas Ocampos is Sevilla’s top scorer in La Liga this season with 10 goals so far. Having scored in four consecutive games, Ocampos could become the first Sevilla player to score in five consecutive top-flight games since Alvaro Negredo (six) in 2011.
Result: Granada 2-1 Getafe
MB: Getafe are a defensive powerhouse and José Bordolas will have had weeks to prepare for this match, so expect Granada to be stifled and shut down in a dull but impressive encounter. 0-1 Getafe.
RdA: Granada 0-1 Getafe
Result: Valencia 1-1 Levante
MB: Both sides were somewhat in free-fall prior to the season hiatus, and while Levante are one hell of an “on their day” side, they haven’t won away from home in La Liga since the middle of December. Valencia will have the firepower for this one. 2-1 Valencia.
RdA: Valencia 3-1 Levante
Espanyol vs Alavés
MB: Not even free-scoring Raul de Tomas could lift Espanyol off the bottom of the table prior to the La Liga break. But new manager Abelardo will have had time to organise the defence by now, and with a goalscorer like De Tomas around, this should be the start of Espanyol’s great escape. 2-0 Espanyol.
RdA: Espanyol 1-0 Alavés
Celta vs Villarreal
MB: Villarreal will be looking to bounce back from some poor form prior to the break (lost four of last six including last three). Meanwhile Celta have drawn nearly half their games under new coach Oscar Garcia and are hard to beat at Balaidos. Can’t see that changing on Saturday. 1-1 draw.
RdA: Celta 1-2 Villarreal
Leganés vs Valladolid
MB: Leganés seem capable of winning two kinds of games this season: relegation six pointers against fellow strugglers (they’ve their three nearest rivals) or clashes against top-half sides they shouldn’t stand a chance in. Sadly for them, Valladolid aren’t in either of those two categories. 1-2 Valladolid.
RdA: Leganes 2-1 Valladolid
Mallorca vs Barcelona
MB: The league leaders and defending champions seem determined to set some kind of a record for dysfunction this season but no matter the mess the board seem to make, Leo Messi and Co. appear every weekend to clean it up. That won’t change here. 2-4 Barcelona.
RdA: Mallorca 0-3 Barcelona
Athletic Club vs Atlético Madrid
MB: If you made a list of teams who will be negatively impacted by empty stadiums you’d have Athletic Club right at the top. Atlético Madrid aren’t having a great or even good season (by their standards) but you can expect Cholo Simeone to grind out an ugly win. 0-1 Atleti.
RdA: Athletic 0-2 Atleti
Real Madrid vs Eibar
MB: Los Blancos regained and then lost top spot just days before La Liga went on hiatus so will be itching to push Barcelona all the way now things are back on. With Eden Hazard potentially ready to play, we could be in for a show in the Spanish capital! 4-0 Madrid.
RdA: Real Madrid 4-0 Eibar
Real Sociedad vs Osasuna
MB: La Real have been one of the best sides in La Liga so far this season and were in superb form before the break (winning 7 of 8 across all competitions). Osasuna won’t be able to do much against one of the slickest sides in Spain. 3-0 La Real.
RdA: Real Sociedad 3-1 Osasuna
To find out more about La Liga Lowdown, you can visit their website here.