Friday, August 17, 2012

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

Madrid finished the season nine points clear of a Barca side that still managed to lift 4 titles in what was to be Pep Guardiola's last season of a hugely successful time for the Catalans.

The two giants kick-off the new campaign on Sunday with home games against Valencia and Real Sociedad, with one eye on their two-legged Spanish Super Cup encounter over the next two weeks.

Valencia, however, ended last season third for the third successive year and will provide a severe test in Madrid's opening defence of the title.

New coach Mauricio Pellegrino will be able to choose from four new signings, including Mexican Andres Guardado and former Madrid midfielder Fernando Gago.

Forward Roberto Soldado, the highest-scoring Spaniard with 17 goals last season, should shake off a niggling injury in time.

Also on Sunday, Europa League winners Atletico Madrid start their campaign at last season's surprise package Levante, with a growing injury list ahead of next week's UEFA Super Cup tie with Chelsea.

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