4 things to watch ahead of the LaLiga Return06.06.2020 08:25:44
It’s back! After a lengthy wait, it has been confirmed that the Spanish LaLiga will return on Thursday June 11.
The Seville derby between Sevilla and Real Betis will raise the curtain on the remainder of the 2019/20 campaign, and there will then follow an extraordinary period of at least one game every day until July 12!
Ahead of LaLiga’s big return, here are four things to keep an eye on:
No Messi, No Problem for Barca?
Rumour has it that Lionel Messi is an injury doubt for Barcelona’s trip to Mallorca on June 13.
The Evening Standard reports that the Argentine has a muscle injury and has missed training since the players were given the green light to return.
Messi has contributed 30% of Barca’s LaLiga goals this term and 19% of assists, and his sheer presence on the pitch alone is enough to improve the performances of his teammates.
But can Barcelona see off Mallorca without him? As of February 2020, the Catalan outfit have a win ratio of 57.7% without Messi – more than 10% less than when he plays.
Barca with Messi:
- P129 W88 D33 L8
- Goals scored = 303
- Goals per game = 2.3
- Points per game = 2.1
Barca without Messi:
- P26 W15 D4 L7
- Goals scored = 56
- Goals per game = 2.2
- Points per game = 1.7
Rocky Real Reeling
Given everything that has happened in the past couple of months, the form that teams showed prior to the season’s break has long been forgotten. And it may be of only relative consequence anyway given the water that has passed under the bridge.
But, all things considered, Real Madrid entered the disruption in hapless fashion, tasting defeat to Levante (0-1) and Real Betis (1-2) and dropping points against Celta Vigo (2-2) too.
Zinedine Zidane’s men are still well and truly in the title race, but they will need to sharpen up if they are to hit the ground running once more – the performance data suggests they have been below-par for quite some time.
They return on June 14 at home against struggling Eibar, before consecutive games against Valencia and Real Sociedad will provide a stern test of their credentials.
Atleti On the Offensive
For all their Champions League heroics – including that Diego Simeone masterclass against Liverpool, Atletico Madrid have struggled in LaLiga this term following their summer overhaul of players.
Down in sixth place, Atleti are really struggling in their hunt for fourth place, and while they remain tough to beat – only Real have lost fewer matches this term – some 12 draws shows how difficult they are finding it to see off their opponents.
Will Simeone abandon his normally conservative outlook in order to start racking up the points?
It feels like a lifetime ago, but Getafe head coach José Bordalás will be tearing out his hair when he remembers that three of his key players will all be suspended for his team’s return against Granada.
Midfield duo Nemanja Maksimovic and Mauro Arambarri, plus eight-goal attacker Jaime Mata, will all be forced to sit out their side’s return fixture, and between them they have made 71 appearances for the Madrid outfit this term – their absence will be sorely felt.
Granada will be no pushovers, and they will be fancied by many to take full advantage of Getafe’s plight.
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