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Everything you need to know about the 2019/20 La Liga season

09 Jun | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Everything you need to know about the 2019/20 La Liga season

With La Liga restarting later this week, we assess the season so far and pick out some headline fixtures.

Where are we?

La Liga is restarting with 11 games remaining. There are 20 teams in the league and 38 games in a season, like the Premier League.

The team at the top of the table at the end of the season is declared the champion, while it follows the same model for European qualification as the Premier League.

The top four teams in the division will automatically qualify for the Champions League group stage, fifth place will go into the Europa League group stage and sixth will enter in the second qualifying round.

As in England, the bottom three sides are relegated to the Segunda Division.

Who’s going to win the league?

Barcelona are two points clear of rivals Real Madrid at the top of the table going into the restart.

The sides are comfortably the most successful in Spain, having won 59 league titles between them – 33 for Real Madrid and 26 for Barcelona – while Barcelona have won four of the last five.

Atletico Madrid’s league title in 2013/14 is the only time in 16 years that La Liga has not been won by either Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Who’s going down?

Espanyol are currently bottom of the league but, only six points from safety heading into the restart, they are far from down.

Leganes are three points above Espanyol and Mallorca another two above them.

Only four points separate third-bottom Mallorca and 15th-placed Valladolid, with Eibar and Celta Vigo also in danger of the drop.

What else is there to play for?

The battle for the final two Champions League spots is intriguing, with just two points separating third-placed Sevilla and sixth-placed Atletico Madrid.

Real Sociedad are currently fourth and level on points with fifth-placed Getafe, who have never qualified for the Champions League.

MUST-WATCH MATCHES

Sevilla v Real Betis (21:00) 11 June

What a re-introduction. The Great Derby is one of the most fiercely contested in Spain.

Real Sociedad v Real Madrid 21 June

With Real Sociedad and Real Madrid fighting on different fronts at the top of the table, this is guaranteed to be pivotal in the title race and battle for the top four.

Getafe v Real Sociedad 28 June

Real Sociedad and Getafe are fourth and fifth respectively, separated only by goal difference.

This game could feasibly be a top-four decider.

Barcelona v Atletico Madrid 1 July

This fixture is sure to be full of household names and, with both sides having plenty to play for, an important one at the top.

Barcelona v Espanyol 8 July

With Barcelona top of the league and Espanyol bottom, this derby game could have huge implications at both ends of the table.

Espanyol v Celta Vigo 19 July

With six points between bottom side Espanyol and fourth-bottom Celta Vigo going into the restart, this could be a final-day relegation shoot-out.

WHO’S WHO?

ALAVES

Manager: Asier Garitano

Captain: Manu Garcia

You’ll probably recognise

Striker Joselu spent four mediocre years at Stoke and Newcastle, while midfielder Victor Camarasa was on loan at Cardiff last season.

Scottish winger Oliver Burke, meanwhile, is on loan at the Betway-sponsored club from West Brom.

ATHLETIC BILBAO

Manager: Gaizka Garitano

Captain: Iker Munain

You’ll probably recognise

Captain Munain and Inaki Williams have between them been capped three times by Spain. The latter is one of the hottest properties in La Liga.

ATLETICO MADRID

Manager: Diego Simeone

Captain: Koke

You’ll probably recognise

Simeone is one of the most recognisable managers in world football. Jan Oblak is one of the best goalkeepers around, while there are few more exciting young players than Joao Felix.

Former Tottenham full back Kieran Trippier also moved to the Wanda Metropolitano last summer along with Alvaro Morata, who is on loan from Chelsea.

BARCELONA

Manager: Quique Setien

Captain: Lionel Messi

You’ll probably recognise

Everyone. Messi and co. need no introduction, especially to those who regularly watch the Champions League.

CELTA VIGO

Manager: Oscar Garcia

Captain: Hugo Mallo

You’ll probably recognise

Iago Aspas had a less-than-successful two-year stint at Liverpool between 2013 and 2015, while their manager Garcia has previously been at Brighton and Watford.

EIBAR

Manager: Jose Luis Mendilibar

Captain: Ivan Ramis

You’ll probably recognise

Those with a good memory will recall captain Ramis from his three seasons with Wigan between 2012-2015.

Striker Kike also spent two years with Middlesbrough before they were promoted to the Premier League in 2016.

ESPANYOL

Manager: Abelardo Fernandez

Captain: Javi Lopez

You’ll probably recognise

Argentine Jonathan Calleri spent a season on loan at West Ham in 2016/17, playing 19 games and scoring one goal.

GETAFE

Manager: Jose Bordalas

Captain: Jorge Molina

You’ll probably recognise

Brazilian forward Kenedy is borrowed from Chelsea and was with Newcastle last season, while Nigerian midfielder Peter Etebo is on loan from Stoke.

GRANADA

Manager: Diego Martinez

Captain: Victor Diaz

You’ll probably recognise

Spurs fans will (just about) remember Roberto Soldado from his underwhelming spell with the club.

French midfielder Maxime Gonalons should also be recognisable to most having represented France internationally and Lyon in the Champions League.

Elsewhere, defender Dimitri Foulquier and midfielder Yangel Herrera are on loan from Watford and Manchester City respectively.

LEGANES

Manager: Javier Aguirre

Captain: Unai Bustinza

You’ll probably recognise

Aguirre managed the Mexican national side at both the 2002 and 2010 World Cups.

In terms of players, Kenneth Omeruo was at Chelsea until August 2019, though he never played for the first team.

Marc Navarro and Guido Carrillo are on loan at the Betway-sponsored club from Watford and Southampton repectively, while midfielder Roque Mesa had a short spell at Swansea in 2017/18.

LEVANTE

Manager: Paco Lopez

Captain: Jose Luis Morales

You’ll probably recognise

Another club sponsored by Betway, Levante don’t have many recognisable faces, though Blackburn fans might remember forward Ruben Rochina after joining from Barcelona B in 2011.

MALLORCA

Manager: Vicente Moreno

Captain: Xisco Campos

You’ll probably recognise

Former Newcastle and Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng joined the club in February. Elsewhere, Fulham goalkeeper Fabri is on loan along with Watford’s Cucho Hernandez.

OSASUNA

Manager: Jagoba Arrasate

Captain: Oier Sanjurjo

You’ll probably recognise

Fran Merida graduated through Arsenal’s academy, while striker Adrian Lopez has been capped twice by Spain.

REAL BETIS

Manager: Rubi

Captain: Joaquin

You’ll probably recognise

There’s plenty of former Premier League representation at Betis, with former Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles, ex-Middlesbrough defender Antonio Barragan, and Javi Garcia, who own the 2013/14 title with Man City.

Other recognisable names are William Carvalho, former Barcelona players Marc Bartra and Cristian Tello, Sergio Canales, Nabil Fekir and the experienced duo of Joaquin and Andres Guardado.

REAL MADRID

Manager: Zinedine Zidane

Captain: Sergio Ramos

You’ll probably recognise

Like with Barcelona, few Real Madrid players need any introduction if you have watched the Champions League during the last five years.

REAL SOCIEDAD

Manager: Imanol Alguacil

Captain: Asier Illaramendi

You’ll probably recognise

Ex-Premier League players Nacho Monreal, Adnan Januzaj and Mikel Merino are all members of the Real Sociedad squad.

Captain Illaramendi, meanwhile, used to play for Real Madrid, while Martin Odegaard is on loan from Real Madrid.

REAL VALLODOLID

Manager: Sergio Gonzalez

Captain: Javi Moyano

You’ll probably recognise

Their owner. Real Valladolid are owned by footballing legend Ronaldo (the Brazilian one). They also have Frenchman Hatem Ben Arfa on their books.

SEVILLA

Manager: Julen Lopetegui

Captain: Jesus Navas

You’ll probably recognise

Most of the team.

Captain Navas and Nolito were both recently at Manchester City, while Luuk de Jong had a loan spell at Newcastle in 2014.

Suso, who is on loan from AC Milan, is a product of Liverpool’s youth set-up and Ever Banega has been capped 65 times by Argentina.

VALENCIA

Manager: Albert Celades

Captain: Dani Parejo

You’ll probably recognise

Ex-Arsenal players Gabriel and Francis Coquelin are both at Valencia along with former Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala.

Russian winger Denis Cheryshev was also one of the standout names at the 2018 World Cup.

VILLARREAL

Manager: Javier Calleja

Captain: Bruno

You’ll probably recognise

Santi Cazorla is still pulling the strings in midfield for Villarreal. The Yellow Submarine also have former Liverpool and Everton defenders Alberto Moreno and Ramiro Funes Mori.

In midfield, Vicente Iborra recently spent two years with Leicester and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa is on loan from Fulham.

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