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LaLiga 2019-20: Five things to watch out for on Matchweek 1

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
4.87K   //    12 Aug 2019, 21:03 IST

Lionel Messi and Barcelona start their title-defence against Bilbao at San Mames
Lionel Messi and Barcelona start their title-defence against Bilbao at San Mames

LaLiga Santander 2019-20 will kick-off this weekend at San Mames as holders Barcelona will travel for an away fixture against Athletic Bilbao to kickstart their title defense on the 16th. Last season, the Catalan giants had a fairly easy path to the title, not facing any threats at any point of the campaign's closing stages.

This season is expected to be closer than last time out with Real Madrid reinforcing their squad heavily and Atletico Madrid making some excellent signings despite Griezmann's departure. Also, the mid-table and the Europa League spots will be highly open. Sevilla under Lopetegui, with Luuk de Jong as their premier striker, Valencia with two deadly strikers in Rodrigo and Maxi Gomez, Getafe, Betis with Nabil Fekir among their ranks, all could raise stakes for the 4th spot.

Not to forget some brilliant youngsters like Takefusa Kubo, Marc Cucurella, Sergio Reguilon, Martin Odegaard, all ready to take the Liga by storm with their new sides.

But before the kick-off, let's look at five things we should watch out for on Matchweek 1.


#5 Martin Odegaard's debut against a stacked Valencia midfield

Martin Odegaard will be up against Dani Parejo when Sociedad visits the Mestalla
Martin Odegaard will be up against Dani Parejo when Sociedad visits the Mestalla

Real Madrid's wonderkid Martin Odegaard completed a move to LaLiga after joining Real Sociedad. The Norwegian youngster, who is currently on loan at Sociedad, will be expected to start the game against Valencia. Odegaard took the Eredivise by storm last season, scoring 9 and assisting 12 in 35 games, playing for Vitesse.

The LaLiga loan would help him adjust to the Spanish game, which is way more tougher in terms of pressing, and a bit slow-paced than other leagues, in terms of build-up.

Odegaard cannot find himself a better first challenge which is against Valencia. The midfield of the bats in a flat 4-4-2 will accommodate captain and talisman Dani Parejo at its heart along with Francis Coquelin most probably, both of whom will be up in a lot of duels with the Norwegian.

If Odegaard is instructed to defend as well, then he has to deal with either of Goncalo Guedes or Carlos Soler, not alone of course. This would be a good experience for young Martin Odegaard who is a natural attacking midfielder.

Dani Parejo was LaLiga's best midfielder last season and it is better you keep an eye out for this epic midfield battle, between a hardened general and a young knight.

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