Thursday, August 15, 2013

Toss a coin - the La Liga Preview this year (applies for foreseeable future)

La Liga kicks-off this weekend, and it's as simple as this: Barcelona or Real Madrid? Pick one.

It's that simple. Neymar will score 25+ for Barca, Messi will probably get another 40 or more. Cristiano is going to score 50 for Real, and Ancelotti will get more from his team than Mourinho did. If they add Bale, then I think Real become favorites, but without him I would put my money on Barca.

The Spanish league just isn't that interesting. It has similar issues to the German Bundesliga in that it's very predictable who the top two will be. All-time, Real have won the league 32 times to Barcelona's 22, but Barca have been stronger in recent years.

An interesting stat to look for this year could be whether Lionel Messi becomes the record scorer in La Liga history. He currently has 215 in 245 games, which is good for 7th on the list. Di Stefano, Raul and Hugo Sanchez are still ahead of him, with Telmo Zarra leading the way with 251. It's strange to say, but I can't see Messi scoring less than 36 in the league this year - and I can't even think when someone in any of the other league's got close to that in a season.

I'm taking Barcelona this year. Other teams like Atletico Madrid and Valencia have sold their best strikers to other leagues, while the two big boys are picking off the young, emerging talent too. Sad to say, but La Liga is going to be a two-horse race for a long time to come.