The first round of the Premier League is already done and now the time is here to take a look at three more exciting European top leagues. The Spanish, Italian and French leagues are all known around the world for their huge clubs, top quality football and superstars, now the time is here to see it all again as we get underway with La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1! Keep reading for a little closer look at each of these top divisions!
The Reigning King
Spain’s La Liga is by many seen as the best league in the world, it houses arguably the two best teams in the sport in Real Madrid and Barcelona and the matchups between the two are the most watched games of the season. Apart from the two giants, La Liga is also the home of clubs such as Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Valenica, all of which try their very best to snatch the league title from the top two every year, the last one to succeed was Atletico back in 2014. Many claim that nobody does football quite like the Spanish, and it’s certainly true that the people on the Iberian Peninsula go absolutely crazy for the game. And after yet another disappointing World Cup for Spain, people are dying to see some top-quality football again.
But it’s not only within their country’s borders that the Spanish clubs are dominating, also in the rest of Europe they are making their quality known. The 5 last Champions League titles have gone to either Real Madrid (4) or Barcelona (1), while 9 of the last 15 Europa League titles also have gone to Spanish clubs. This dominance can’t be ignored, and it says a lot about the winning mentality that exists within Spanish football.
Ahead of the new season most people hold Barcelona as the favourites to claim the title for the second time in a row with Real Madrid, as always, not far behind. If the Blaugranas were to succeed it would be their 26th league title, still quite a few behind Real Madrid’s 33. Another team more than capable of fighting for the crown also this year is Atletico Madrid who currently have 10 league titles in their trophy cabinet. As mentioned earlier we should never leave out the likes of Valencia, Sevilla and others as Spain is filled with top quality clubs. With so many strong contenders and just one possible victor, this edition of La Liga is set to be as exciting as ever!
La Liga will kick off on Friday the 17th of August at 20:15 (CET) when Girona host newly promoted Real Valladolid. The ones waiting to see the bigshots in action will be treated every day for three days as Messi and the rest of Barcelona get their league season underway on Saturday night before Real Madrid will test their strength without Cristiano Ronaldo on Sunday, then finally on Monday night we will get to see Simeone’s Atletico Madrid in this round’s definite highlight when they take on Valencia.
Biggest highlights of the La Liga season (first half):
Valencia vs Atletico Madrid: 20th of August 2018
Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid: 29th of September 2018
Valencia vs Barcelona: 7th of October 2018
Barcelona vs Real Madrid (El Clasico): 28th of October 2018
Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona: 25th of November 2018
Real Madrid vs Valencia: 2nd of December 2018
The Awaking Giant
The Italian Serie A is definitely on the rise again, last year we saw Juventus being challenged properly for the league title for the first time in ages and this summer we have seen some high-profile names make their way to Italy, such as Javier Pastore, Douglas Costa and of course Cristiano Ronaldo. This is sure to increase both the quality and entertainment value of the league for the coming season.
While teams such as Napoli, Inter, Milan and Roma are all looking increasingly stronger, there is no doubt that Juventus still are the big favourites also this year. The addition of superstar Ronaldo is sure to increase their goal tally in the league, but for the Turin-based club it’s becoming increasingly more important to mark themselves on the European stage as well. But no matter how strong Juve look ahead of the new season, we are of course hoping to see them get a good run for their money! Napoli got really close to snatching the Serie A title from The Old Lady last season but since then they have lost their manager, Sarri. The replacement isn’t a step down though, as he is the former PSG, Bayern and Real Madrid manager, Carlo Ancelotti.
It’s also worth mentioning that Inter finally return to the fine company of the Champions League this season and they will be looking to climb the league table even more this year. They will be led by their star-striker and captain, Icardi, who racked up 29 goals in the league last season. That’s the same amount as Lazio’s Immobile delivered as the two shared the top scorer title. But with Ronaldo ready to take the Serie A by storm, there could be a new sheriff in town as the Portuguese loves breaking records.
After 9 years in Madrid, Ronaldo will be used to crazy and loud fans, but the Italians aren’t much saner either. The atmosphere in a Serie A stadium is unmistakeable and the passion of the players and the supporters is plain to see and makes the games a joy to behold even through a tv-screen!
The Serie A season is full of highlights with derbies in cities such as Roma, Milan and Turin all over the schedule. Already this Saturday we will be treated to a very interesting matchup when last year’s 5th place challenges the runners up in Lazio vs Napoli.
Biggest highlights of the Serie A season (first half):
Roma vs Lazio (Roma derby): 29th of September 2018
Juventus vs Napoli: 30th of September 2018
Inter vs Milan (Milan derby): 21st of October 2018
Milan vs Juventus: 11th of November 2018
Juventus vs Inter: 7th of December 2018
Inter vs Napoli: 26th of December 2018
The Ruthless Challenger
When you hear the Ligue 1 being mentioned I’d be willing to bet that PSG is the first thing that springs to your mind. The famous club from the French capital have enjoyed great domestic success since they were bought up by a Qatari investment group back in 2011, claiming 5 French league titles since the purchase along with 15 other titles in the French cups. The dark blue shirt of the club has borne the names of superstars such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham, and now Neymar jr. and Gianluigi Buffon. They currently possess one of the most impressive squads in world football but outside France things haven’t gone quite to plan. The biggest goal of the project currently going on in PSG is to conquer the Champions League but judging by last season’s exit in the last 16 they still have a distance to go. Regardless of how they do in Europe though, they are still massive favourites to once again lift the Ligue 1 trophy at the end of the upcoming season.
The only club that has managed to sabotage PSG’s Ligue 1 title streak since it began is AS Monaco who lifted the trophy back in 2017. Led on by their star and captain, Radamel Falcao, they will be doing all they can to put up a good fight for the title also this year. Last year they finished the season 13 points behind the champions and they are fully aware of the challenge that lies before them if they are going to close that gap this year, but the winning mentality is certainly in Monaco’s DNA as they have won the French league title 8 times in the past, making them the 3rd most successful team in the league’s history.
Both Lyon and Marseille finished just a few points behind Monaco last season and they will both feel that second place and maybe even first is within their reach. Lyon have a highly competitive squad including the likes of Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay, Mariano Diaz and Anthony Lopes and could easily take the step up this year if they keep the good efforts from last season coming. Down on the southern coast of France, Marseille will be looking to the likes of Dimitri Payet, Luiz Gustavo and Steve Mandana to keep the ship sailing forward. The Olympians are currently the second most successful club in the French League with their 9 trophies and will be very interested in adding another one to their collection this year.
In case you were wondering; Saint-Étienne is the club with the most titles in the French League’s history with 10. But with a disappointing 7th place last year and nearly 30 years since the last title, the club from central France could really need an upturn. Could they surprise everyone and relive past glories this year?
Biggest highlights of the Ligue 1 (first half):
Monaco vs Marseille: 2nd of September
Lyon vs Marseille: 23rd of September
PSG vs Lyon: 7th of October
Marseille vs PSG: 28th of October
Monaco vs PSG: 11th of November
Lyon vs Monaco: 15th of December
In short; we have plenty of great football to look forward to in the coming months and already this weekend! Remember that you get great odds on all of these three leagues and lots of other fun events at ScandiBet! Bet like a Viking with us!