Getafe – Eibar (Friday 20:15) Prediction: away win
Eibar were caught on the hop by newly promoted Huesca on the opening weekend and will look to get off the mark against a Getafe side who were solid enough in defeat at the Bernabéu but rarely troubled Keylor Navas, mustering just one shot over the 90 minutes. José Luis Mendilibar may consider his team hard done by: Eibar managed 18 shots overall with six between the sticks. Sergi Enrich was the most active striker on either side in Ipurua and could inspire a narrow away victory.
Leganés – Real Sociedad (Friday 22:15) Prediction: draw
Asier Garitano will make a return to the club he guided to the top flight after getting his chance to make the step up with La Real during the summer. The Basques could scarcely have got off to a better start, snatching a 2-1 victory away at Villarreal, and the home fans will surely give him a warm welcome. What would be even more welcome at Butarque is three points as Lega face up to another season of struggle but the home side may have to settle for a draw against a team that did not travel at all well last season.
Alavés – Betis (Saturday 18:15) Prediction: draw
Betis’ hopes of “doing a Leicester” took a huge knock last weekend when Levante rocked up and, inspired by José Luis Morales, put three past Quique Setién’s side. The Betis boss enjoyed considerable success last season when he switched to three at the back but may think twice about repeating that formula in Mendizorrotza against a probable five-man midfield with pace on the flanks. Alavés won this fixture 3-1 last season but Setién is not a man to err on the side of caution and will aim to buckle his side’s swash towards victory in a game that could produce a few goals.
Atlético – Rayo (Saturday 20:15) Prediction: home win
Rayo’s welcome back to Primera mat was rolled up pretty quickly by Sevilla in a 4-1 drubbing last weekend and it’s difficult to see the newly promoted side making much of a dent against Atlético away from home. That Diego Simeone was able to bring Gelson Martins, Vitolo and Thomas off the bench in Valencia highlights the gulf between the two Madrid-based sides.
Valladolid – Barcelona (Saturday 22:15) Prediction: away win
Valladolid got off the mark against Girona on their return to Primera but only managed two shots in the entire game and were indebted to Jordi Masip for saving both of the home side’s efforts at the other end. Those are not the sort of statistics to inspire confidence in their ability to stop a rampant Leo Messi, who scored twice last weekend in a virtuoso performance, or to overly trouble Marc-Andre Ter Stegen at the other end.
Espanyol – Valencia (Sunday 18:15) Prediction: away win
Valencia are widely fancied to provide a bit of competition for what is rapidly becoming a closed shop between the “big three” and gave Atlético as good as they got in their opener in Mestalla. Hanging on to Rodrigo, the scorer of Los Che’s goal in a 1-1 draw, will be key to Marcelino’s season. Valencia’s summer business was solid but lacked the arrival of a player with that wow factor and it will fall to the Spain international to build on a decent 2017-18 campaign with a spectacular 2018-19. Espanyol were more expansive in their first game under Rubi than they mostly were last season with Quique Sánchez Flores in charge but that may play right into Marcelino’s hands.
Sevilla – Villarreal (Sunday 20:15) Prediction: home win
Any question marks over whether Sevilla’s early season Europa League commitments would drain the squad’s resources were emphatically answered against Vallecas. And so were any doubts about the last-minute loan signing of André Silva, who bagged a hat-trick to mark his Liga debut. Villarreal were tripped up at home on the opening day and it remains to be seen how the departures of Samu Castillejo and Rodri will affect the team in the long-term. Sevilla have come out of the blocks firing with five wins from five competitive games, scoring 18 times, and are firm favourites to continue that run.
Girona – Real Madrid (Sunday 22:15) Prediction: away win
Girona have not won a home game since March 9 against Depor but did pull off one of the shocks of an altogether incredible debut season in the top flight by beating Real Madrid 2-1 at Montilivi last October. Girona have added little up top in the close season and will be reliant again on the evergreen Cristhian Stuani to provide goals but may have pulled off a coup by landing Patrick Roberts on loan from Manchester City. It will take time for new boss Eusebio to get his side firing and it may be a little early in the season to expect a repeat of last season’s heroics against the European champions.
Levante – Celta (Monday 20:15) Prediction: home win
Predicting the outcome of football games is not an exact science but Paco López has made it a little easier since he took the reins at Levante towards the end of last season, winning eight and drawing one of his 12 games in charge, one of those a stunning 5-4 victory over Barça. In a league table based on results over the period López has been scribbling on the white board at the Ciutat de Valencia, Levante sit atop LaLiga ahead of Barça, Real Madrid and Atlético. Will the mighty Frogs fear Celta, who scraped a draw against Espanyol last weekend via an own goal? Certainly not.
Athletic – Huesca (Monday 22:00) Prediction: home win
Thirty points would have been enough to stay up last season and Huesca bagged a tenth of that figure in their first-ever top flight game to end the opening weekend in the Europa League places. Athletic are an alphabetical place above their opponents on Monday and will have taken a huge morale-boost away from their last-gasp victory over Leganés – precisely the type of game last season that they would not have won. It will be a fairly tight affair in San Mamés but home advantage and new manager bounce should combine to keep the Lions roaring for another week.