Last season we had a La Liga thread in addition to the Atleti and Barca threads (no Meringues allowed!) and I thought it was a solid addition. Frankly, there's not always a ton of action in the club-specific threads, so the Liga thread acts as a catch-all at times.I think this year's La Liga will be hard to predict. Real Madrid lost Ronaldo and Zidane. Barcelona lost Iniesta. Atletico has lost Gabi and Torres (maybe not as skilled as he once was, but he's still the team's hero).
If Dembele and Coutinho can progress this year, maybe Barcelona will remain the favorites with a very strong core of Dembele, Coutinho, Messi, Suarez, Busquests, and Rakitic.
This season in particular could be a good one for a league thread. Real has gone thru a ton of change, headlined by the departures of Zizou and Ronaldo. The only incoming transfer I'm aware of is Odriozola from Sociedad, which is a nice pickup, but Carvajal is still around (and 26 years old) so this is not some crucial change. I've heard that Benz is still a possibility to leave, but that doesn't seem likely. Bale will really have the onus to shape this year's edition of Real, but he will have plenty of help from Isco, Modric, Kroos, and Casemiro. Asensio will have another year to show that his coming out party two seasons ago was legit and not a flash in the pan. Kovacic, Theo Hernandez, and Lucas Vazquez are still around, so the cupboard is not bare. Nevertheless, this is the shakiest I can remember Real coming into a season since the Mourinho days. I do not know much about Lopetegui as a manager. He has guided the Spain NT since 2016 to a 14-6-0 record (9-1-0 in WCQ) and before that he had 3 OK seasons with Porto. Not that Real would ever admit it, but this would be a great season for them to run out their young guns and see who could be a starter for the next great Madrid team. The current team's core is getting old (Modric, Kroos, Benz, Ramos, Marcelo) and they need to break in some players. Or they could just accelerate the transfer of Mbappe and they will keep threatening for hardware.
Barca I discussed at length in the Barca thread, but I'm a bit worried about the attack. Luisito is on his last legs as a world class CF, Messi is getting older, Dembouz has all the promise in the world but is a teenager, and it's not clear what Coutinho's best role is for the club. The recent acquisition of Malcom gives Ernie an extra option, and there is some young attacking talent around in Denis, Alena, and Arnaiz, but Ernie has yet to show that he can create a world class attack when Messi and Suarez are not on form. Nevertheless, the club has made some intelligent defensive transfers in the past few seasons (Umtiti, Semedo, Lenglet, Mina, Digne) that will keep them very solid at the back, and if 1-2 players break thru in the MF (Roberto, Samper, Coutinho, Arthur), they could be very strong on a week-to-week basis, but the club may still have a problem in UCL.
Atleti supporters are likely pleased with the summer transfer window headlined by Griezmann surprising many folks by staying with the Colchoneros instead of hopping over to Barca. Although I didn't think much of his WC, I think Griezmann is a top 10 attacking player in the world and he will continue to improve as he gets more familiar with Costa and his other mates. Bringing in Lemar was a bold move and gives them another dynamic attacker, which is key for this mostly defensive squad. Snapping up Rodri from Villareal was also a shrewd move although the MF is crowded with Saul, Koke, and Thomas. I will be watching the development of Angel Correa closely and Vietto is back from loan, although time is getting short for him in a hurry.
Valencia are coming off a nice 4th place season and while they lost Cancelo (for $40M!), they grabbed Kondogbia, Diakhaby, Piccini, and Wass. They have a young hungry squad and Marcelino is a solid manager.
Villareal finished 5th last season and while they lost the aforementioned Rodri to Atleti, they brought in Moreno from Espanyol, Ekambi, Caseres,and Funes Mori. They play attractive football and La Liga is more enjoyable when this club is competitive.
Betis came out of nowhere last season and finished ahead of local rival Sevilla for 6th. They too attached like glorious bastards and scored 60 goals (only Barca, (99 lol), Real (94), Valencia (65), and Sociedad (66) hit that mark). They lost a promising MF in Ruiz to Napoli and a young CB in Pezzella to Fiorentina, but picked up Carvalho from Sporting.
Sevilla round out the top 7 and although they have some quality players in Muriel, Banega, and Nzonzi, this is a pretty old team that may be headed for tougher days ahead. I love Joaquin Correa on the wing (Argentina homer alert!), but Lenglet was probably their best player last season and Barca got him.
Last season's bottom 3 of Depor, Las Palmas, and Malaga were significantly worse than the rest of the league. Depor finished third from the bottom which was still 14 points worse than Leganes.
Huesca from the Aragon region is joining La Liga for the first time in their history, Vallecano return after a 2 year absence, and Valladolid (the only club in Castile y Leon) is back after a 4 year absence. There are no clubs from Asturias (Oviedo, Gijon), Cantabria (Santander), Navarra (Osasuna), La Rioja (Logrones), Extremadura (Merida, Badajoz), La Mancha (Albacete, Guadelajara, or Murcia (Murcia) this season.