Atletico can make life difficult for Barca & Real
With La Liga beginning this weekend, it's time to focus again on the favorites, Barcelona and Real Madrid obviously have the best squads, and with their financial power have only moved to strengthen their hold on the league over the summer.
The Spanish Championship has no doubt lost some of its quality over the past few years, with the gap between the 'Big Two' and the rest growing consistently. Teams like Deportivo, Valencia or Villarreal cannot build strong squads to compete at the top of the table, something that was possible in the past.
But Atletico Madrid are a different story, and despite their inability to sign new players due to legal issues, they are very well managed by Diego Simeone, one of the best coaches in Europe right now.
His work at Calderon has been nothing short of phenomenal and I wouldn't be surprised to see them there or thereabouts at the end of the season with the two favourites.
Lionel Messi should defend his Pichichi Trophy
The battle for the Pichichi Trophy has been confined to Messi, Suarez and Ronaldo over the past few years. This season, Lionel Messi is once again the favorite and I don't think he'll struggle for goals too much with Neymar´s absence in the side.
Luis Suarez however is more reliant on his team mates assists and could struggle without the Brazilian around.
Cristiano Ronaldo starts with a handicap as he is suspended for the first four matches of La Liga after pushing a referee, so if Messi hits the ground running, then this could be a battle that Ronaldo has already lost to his great rival.
Too early to judge impact of Neymar departure
After the Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid there are already many people complaining about Neymar's leaving and the problems that will raise at Camp Nou but I think it's too early to jump to conclusions. I prefer to wait 10/15 matches into the season to form my opinion as to how much impact his absence is really having on the team.
As I mentioned last week, Philippe Coutinho could be a good solution for Neymar's place, probably capable of picking up 60 to 70% of his Brazilian compatriots work. Although having obvious differences in their styles of play, Coutinho has excellent qualities that should suit at Camp Nou.
Paulinho has signed for Barcelona and while he's not been brought in to replace Neymar, he should be a good addition to the midfield as he easily gets himself into scoring positions and finishes well. He has good passing skills too which should see him fit in well at Barça.
Lionel Messi to win the Pichichi Trophy @ 1.78
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