Real Madrid ended their three-year wait for the La Liga title last term after displaying a terrific run of form following the coronavirus shutdown.
Barcelona had been a couple of points ahead of them when the season was disrupted by the pandemic in March, but the Catalan giants struggled for consistency after the restart.
While the Blaugrana dropped as many as nine points, Los Blancos went on a stunning 10-match winning streak to beat them to the top-flight title.
Neither of the teams managed to impress in the Champions League campaign which followed. Los Blancos lost out 4-2 on aggregate to Manchester City in the round of 16.
Meanwhile, the Blaugrana made the headlines for the wrong reasons with the shock 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the last eight of the elite competition.
As a result, plenty of changes are predicted at the Blaugrana, who recently replaced Quique Setien with Ronald Koeman as their new head coach.
Here are our predictions for the 2020/21 La Liga Season:
After a couple of disappointing seasons, Real Madrid managed to outclass Barcelona to the La Liga crown despite being the betting underdogs. If you are new to betting, it’s worth studying how betting odds work before placing your bets for the next season.
For the 2020/21 campaign, Los Blancos are the bookmakers’ favourites for claiming a second straight title, particularly with their arch-rivals set to undergo a mini-transition under Koeman.
The club are being fancied to part ways with a number of experienced players in the setup and they have already sanctioned the sale of Ivan Rakitic while Arturo Vidal, Luis Suarez, Samuel Umtiti have been linked with potential exits.
In comparison, James Rodriguez has signed for Everton from Los Blancos, but his departure may not have a direct impact on the team, given he was hugely out-of-favour last term. Ahead of the new season which starts on September 11, Los Blancos definitely have the settled side and that should give them the advantage over the Blaugrana, who may need some time to adapt to Koeman’s style of play.
Atletico Madrid, who finished 17 points adrift of Los Blancos last season, should close the gap this time around. However, there continue to remain doubts over their ability to challenge for the title, given the lack of a genuine goalscoring striker. Alvaro Morata was their main scorer last term with just 12 league goals while Joao Felix and Saul Niguez were the second best with only six goals.
Real Madrid to retain the La Liga title
Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are definitely strong candidates to make the top three, but there could be a potential tussle for the final Champions League spot. Europa League champions Sevilla can be considered as the front-runners for the position, but they could face fierce competition from Unai Emery’s Villarreal.
The Yellow Submarines were only three points behind Sevilla with five games to play, but a poor end to the season saw them finish 10 points adrift of the Andalusian outfit. That paved the way for the departure of manager Javi Calleja and they are now under Emery, who has a chance to redeem himself after a disappointing stint with Premier League side Arsenal.
The club parted ways with their influential midfielder in Santi Cazorla, who made the switch to Al Sadd on a free transfer. They have, however, brought in the experienced Dani Parejo from Valencia to fill the void alongside his teammate Francis Coquelin. Meanwhile, they have a solid striker in Gerard Moreno, who netted 18 league goals last term and we are fancying them to pip Sevilla to the final Champions League place.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal to make the top four
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has won the Pichichi Trophy in each of the previous four seasons after scoring more goals than any other player. The Argentine made the surprise decision earlier last month when he handed in a request to leave the Blaugrana by triggering a clause on his contract.
However, his efforts went in vain as the Blaugrana clearly mentioned that they would not release him with the option, having expired within 10 days of the original Champions League final date (May 30) for the 2019/2020 season.
In an exclusive interview with Goal.com, the Argentine has now revealed that he will stay put for the final year of his contract, considering no club is expected to meet the staggering £620m buy-out clause.
Messi is not someone, who will down his tools playing for a team, where he has spent nearly two decades. He should once more be among the goals for the Blaugrana and can be fancied to win the Pichichi Trophy for the fifth-year running.
Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and Villarreal’s Moreno could be the closest competitors to Messi, who may be entering his farewell season with the Blaugrana. He has netted a stunning 634 goals and 285 assists in his 731 games for the club to date.
Lionel Messi to win the Top Goalscorer award
Stats from Transfermarkt.com