Sport360 Predictions: La Liga 2016/17 season

Sport360 staff 09:00 19/08/2016
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
It promises to be another exciting season in Spain.

Our Sport360 team picks the 2016/17 La Liga champions, relegation candidates and surprise packages, as well as the team most likely to miss out on the top four.

Who do you see winning the league, which players do you see excelling and who do you believe will be the biggest disappointments?

Share with us your thoughts by taking part in our polls below, using #360fans on Twitter and getting in touch via Facebook.

ANDY WEST – LA LIGA CORRESPONDENT

CHAMPIONS – BARCELONA

This is the toughest title race to call for years, with the big three all entering the campaign in good shape. But if they stay fit, MSN will make the difference.

DARK HORSE – MALAGA

One of last season’s best defences has been augmented with some astute summer signings in attack, and experienced new boss Juande Ramos knows how to win games in La Liga.

FLOP – VALENCIA

A horrendous summer has followed a horrendous season and there is no sign of Valencia’s freefall coming to a soft landing yet. They won’t go down, but it might be close.

RELEGATED – LEGANES, EIBAR, OSASUNA

Osasuna were lucky to achieve promotion in the first place, Leganes simply lack top flight quality, and Eibar’s meagre resources will finally see their remarkable story enter a downward curve.

PLAYER MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO – PABLO FORNALS

Malaga’s Pablo Fornals, 20, has the potential to become a world-class talent. The attacking midfielder’s languid style also makes him hugely entertaining to watch. Just needs to add more goals.

JAMES PIERCY – DEPUTY EDITOR

CHAMPIONS – REAL MADRID

Injuries dictate a lot in Spain, but with Gareth Bale given a full season and Alvaro Morata adding an extra attacking edge, a settled and cohesive Madrid under Zinedine Zidane can pip Barcelona.

DARK HORSE – LAS PALMAS

Last year’s surprise package can continue to improve with a brilliant ball-playing midfield unit.

FLOP – VILLARREAL

A brilliantly-run club but to lose your manager, less than a week before the season starts, plus a small squad having to deal with European football, means they will drop.

RELEGATED – LEGANES, OSASUNA, GRANADA

The first two just don’t possess the necessary quality to last 38 games. Granada shipped an alarming amount of goals last term and now have Spain’s most attack-minded coach in charge in Paco Jemez.

PLAYER MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO – INAKI WILLIAMS

When the Athletic Bilbao man scores they tend to be memorable. Will take on an enhanced role and how he deals with the responsibility could shape him as a player.

ALEX REA – SUB-EDITOR

CHAMPIONS – ATLETICO

Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro are a tantalising double act and Diego Simeone has added well to a united pack.

DARK HORSE – ESPANYOL

Quique Sanchez Flores appointment was shrewd and his attacking philosophy, coupled with the signings of Jose Reyes and Jose Jurado will provide support for main man Caicedo to fire them into Europe.

FLOP – SEVILLA

The squad turnover has been huge and they have essentially lost the spine of last season’s Europa League winning team. Add in a coaching change and they have their work cut out to assimilate.

RELEGATED – GRANADA, SPORTING GIJON, ALAVES

After a decade in the second and third division Alaves are back but have had to build a La Liga-capable set for another battle and Gijon have had an awful preseason.

PLAYER MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO – WISSAM BEN YEDDER

An exciting proposition, the pacy and tricky Sevilla striker will thrive in Spain having impressed at Toulouse.

MARK LOMAS – ONLINE MANAGING EDITOR

CHAMPIONS – BARCELONA

The Messi-Suarez-Neymar triumvirate remains world football’s most terrifying. Defensive reinforcements have also been added, meaning rest for the often overworked Pique and Mascherano.

DARK HORSE – SEVILLA

Most are expecting it go horribly wrong but Jorge Sampaoli is a supreme motivator who successfully interrupted the established order with Chile. If all else fails, they’ll just win the Europa League.

FLOP – VALENCIA

Los Che let the likes of Andre Gomes leave without adequately replacing them. Add a pinch of inexperience in Pako Ayestaran and a dash of inevitable off-field malaise and it’s a recipe for disappointment again.

RELEGATED – EIBAR, LEGANES, OSASUNA

Everyone loves Eibar but they can’t punch above their weight forever, while Osasuna and first-timers Leganes haven’t added enough.

PLAYER MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO – NICOLAS GAITAN

Has impressed in the Champions League and long been linked with a ‘big move’. Time to see if he can live up to the hype at Atletico.

MATTHEW JONES – REPORTER

CHAMPIONS – ATLETICO

Finished three points adrift of Barca last year and have strengthened considerably.

DARK HORSE – ATHLETIC BILBAO

Possess some stardust and have enjoyed a summer of stability, while they finished last season well with two defeats in their final 12 league games.

FLOP – SEVILLA

Have sold a host of key players and lost the man who orchestrated three successive Europa League trophies. A first finish outside the top 10 in 17 seasons could be a very real possibility.

RELEGATED – SPORTING GIJON, LEGANES, OSASUNA

Leganes’ debut in the top flight is a fairytale but will end in horror. Gijon survived by a point last season and sold their best player in centre-back Luis Hernandez. Osasuna are back in the big time but their stay could be brief.

PLAYER MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO – KEVIN GAMEIRO

Diego Simeone has struggled for a stellar partner for Griezmann up top for Atletico, but Gameiro could be it. Lightening pace, an eye for goal and, crucially, is proven in La Liga.

BRENDON NETTO – SPORT360.COM

CHAMPIONS – ATLETICO

I expect Los Rojiblancos to be quick off the mark after a solid preseason. They’ve had a much better transfer window than their title rivals and would love to win it in their last season at the Calderon.

DARK HORSE – SEVILLA

Whatever happens with Sevilla this season, it won’t be dull. With Sampaoli in charge, expect a spike in intensity which could catch teams off-guard. Several attack-minded new signings make their intentions pretty clear.

FLOP – VALENCIA

Valencia. Don’t expect things to get better at the Mestalla. They’ve made a fine signing in Nani but have lost Andre Gomes and could lose Shkodran Mustafi as well.

RELEGATED – OSASUNA, ALAVES, SPORTING GIJON

Osasuna’s 6th place finish in the second tier was hardly inspiring. Alaves are seriously lacking in quality as well. Gijon survived by the skin of their teeth last time and won’t be so lucky this time around.

PLAYER MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO – KEVIN GAMEIRO

Suits Atletico’s style perfectly and can see him forging a really good partnership with Griezmann.

Know more about Sport360 Application

Recommended

Most popular