Real Sociedad – Villarreal (Friday 20:15) Prediction: draw
Sociedad scored twice in the final 10 minutes at Balaídos to beat Celta last weekend while Villarreal were mugged by newly promoted Levante. Both sides will be expected to be in the mix for European places at the business end of the season and with the international break in September looming there is little time for anyone to get into a run of form this early. With that and the firepower available to both sides in mind a score draw might not look out of place on the coupons.
Betis – Celta (Friday 22:00) Prediction: home win
Betis are being widely tipped to make a bit of a splash this season under Quique Setién and did little wrong in a 2-0 loss at Camp Nou last week, a Tosca own goal and Sergi Roberto handing the hosts a far from convincing victory. Celta were dreadful at the back against Real Sociedad and Betis can take advantage to get off the mark in the Villamarín if they show a little more ambition than they did against Barcelona.
Alavés – Barcelona (Saturday 18:15) Prediction: away win
Meetings between these two last season were a curious affair. At Camp Nou Alavés stunned Luis Enrique’s side with a 2-1 victory that absolutely nobody outside Vitoria - and few inside it either – predicted, then Barça battered the Basques 6-0 in the return fixture a couple of weeks before they met in the cup final. The visitors are still without Luis Suárez and played a 4-4-1-1 last weekend with Sergi Roberto in support of Leo Messi. Stout defence may be Alavés’ only hope against Ernesto Valverde’s side, who should be boosted by the return of talismanic captain Andrés Iniesta. The home side certainly showed little attacking verve in Butarque against Leganés.
Girona – Málaga (Saturday 20:15) Prediction: home win
Girona turned a few heads - and the stomachs of a fair few Quiniela players - last weekend in holding Atleti and taking a 2-0 first half lead, both goals courtesy of a ball into the box and a Stuani header, the type of strike Diego Simeone’s side conceded around two of throughout the whole of last season. Girona look perfectly capable of achieving a comfortable survival campaign in their first-ever season in Primera, which cannot be said of Malaga. Michel’s ship is already rocking in all the wrong ways and the former Madrid midfielder, tipped by AS to be the first to jump or be pushed overboard, could be in for more misery up in Catalonia.
Levante – Deportivo (Saturday 20:15) Prediction: draw
Levante stuck a morale-boosting three points on the board in week one and they won't be too daunted by the side that finished 17th last season as the Segunda champions aim to do at least the same themselves to maintain their top flight status. Depor look extremely light up top this season and may have to consider targets other than Lucas Pérez - or offer to wash Arsène Wenger’s car for a month to make up the shortfall - to fill a worrying void in the squad. That said, Levante won't be bothering the Liga record books in the scoring department either and a no-score draw smells about right in the Ciutat de Valencia.
Las Palmas – Atlético (Saturday 22:15) Prediction: draw
Atleti are playing catch-up at the start of 2017-18 with three consecutive away games as the final licks of paint are applied to their new stadium. Even then, as West Ham and Spurs found domestically and in Europe last season, the Metropolitano may not prove a home from home immediately. Diego Simeone’s side were uncharacteristically slack at the back in Girona and Las Palmas boss Manolo Márquez will have noted the source of both goals conceded. In Mauricio Lemos and Pedro Bigas the home side have the weapons to wage a similar battle and Atlético will have to contend without Antoine Griezmann after the Atleti striker was sent off last weekend.
Eibar – Athletic (Sunday 18:15) Prediction: home win
Eibar have a chance to rubber stamp another tilt at an over-achieving campaign this season early on against Athletic, who will be feeling the effects of their midweek trip to Greece to get into the Europa League group stages yet again. Eibar got off to a flying start with an away win at Málaga and home advantage should be enough to see them past an Athletic side who will be grateful for the international break to regroup.
Espanyol – Leganés (Sunday 18:15) Prediction: home win
35 points was sufficient for survival last season and Leganés are off the mark early again this season after an opening weekend home win over Alavés. Espanyol took advantage of Sevilla’s ineptitude to pick up a point in the Sánchez Pizjuán with Leo Baptistao giving Eduardo Berrizzo a proper headache at the back. If the man for who Journey's don't stop believin’ was written can maintain that level on Sunday Leganés are in for a torrid time. Last season Quique Sánchez Flores’ side were a solid proposition at home and thumped Lega 3-0 in this fixture.
Getafe – Sevilla (Sunday 20:15) Prediction: away win
Sevilla have a lot of work to do if they are to replicate their spectacular 2016-17 but the suspicion is that with the tools at Berizzo’s disposal it is only a matter of time before he finds the right formula. Getafe took advantage of Athletic’s early-season timetable to nab a point in San Mamés last time out on the basis of solid defending but rarely threatened at the other end. Sevilla will be keen to get back on track and will find a way through in the Coliseum.
Real Madrid – Valencia (Sunday 22:15) Prediction: home win
Madrid will be without both Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos through suspension for the visit of Valencia, while Raphael Varane is a doubt and Jesús Vallejo injured, leaving Zinedine Zidane with a potential problem at the back. Mateo Kovacic is also unlikely to be available and Valencia showed plenty of attacking industry in victory last weekend over Las Palmas. If this match was at Mestalla it could be a banana skin for the champions but it’s difficult to see even a Marcelino-inspired team with an early-season free shot doing any damage to one of the strongest squads in Europe.