The new LALIGA EA SPORTS season begins with tricky away games for FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, who will take part in one of the three biggest matches of the opening round.
The 2023/24 LALIGA EA SPORTS season is ready to kick off, with Matchday 1 taking place this coming weekend.
The new season gets underway with multiple fixtures each starting on Friday through to Monday and this
includes some slippery road games for last season’s top two, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid while there is also a direct duel between last year’s two Europa League qualifiers, Villarreal CF and Real Betis.
Friday Night Football
The new era under EA SPORTS kicks off on Friday night in Andalusia, with two matches to set the tempo for what could be a pulsating season.
The first game is at the Power Horse Stadium and is a very intriguing contest between two of the teams who changed coaches in the off-season - UD Almería and Rayo Vallecano.
This will be the first proper test for the new managers, Vicente Moreno and Francisco, as LALIGA EA SPORTS 23/24 campaign commences on Friday evening.
Later on Friday evening, one of the top three matches in the opening round of the new season is also set to take place in Andalusia as Sevilla FC welcome Valencia CF to the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán.
Valencia CF haven’t managed to beat Los Nervionenses in their past nine meetings, so, Los Che will hope to change that through the energy of what is the youngest squad in the competition.
Three more games follow on Saturday, starting with Sadiq Umar’s Real Sociedad vs Girona FC. These were two of the most attractive teams to watch last season and their direct duels last term were brilliant fun – a 5-3 La Real victory and a 2-2 draw.
After his first season at Sociedad was blighted by injury, Nigeria’s Umar will be hoping for an injury-free campaign as he looks to repay the club for their belief and faith in him.
Next up is the battle of the island teams in this year’s competition, as newly promoted UD Las Palmas take on RCD Mallorca.
This will be the first LALIGA EA SPORTS game at the Estadio Gran Canaria since 2018, so there is maximum expectation on the island as Los Amarillos retake their place in the top flight.
Athletic vs Real Madrid
The action then moves to Bilbao for a Saturday night showdown between two of the most historic clubs in the competition.
In the second of the BIG THREE matches, Athletic Club will look to derail Real Madrid’s goal of reclaiming the LALIGA title when they take to the pitch in the late kick off on Saturday.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side finished second last term and will want to get off to a good start as they strive to retake the trophy from FC Barcelona and with the likes of Jude Bellingham and Fran García set to make their official debuts, Los Blancos look ready for another sizzling title race.
But, Athletic Club always make life difficult for Real Madrid and these two sides played out a 1-1 draw in the final fixture of last season.
Sunday brings up three more fixtures, starting with RC Celta vs CA Osasuna. This will be Rafa Benítez’s debut as coach of the team from Vigo and he’ll look to get off to a winning start after an impressive pre-season.
CA Osasuna will be a tough test, though, as they qualified for Europe last season and have kept the core of the squad together.
Then comes a heavyweight duel between Villarreal CF and Real Betis, two sides who’ll look to once again qualify for Europe this season.
Both these squads were already full of quality and they’ve each added to that in the off-season, with this match providing the likes of Alexander Sørloth, Ben Brereton Díaz, Marc Roca and Isco the opportunity to make their debuts with their new teams.
The reigning champions FC Barcelona then begin their title defence away at Getafe on Sunday night.
This could be a difficult opener for Xavi and his players. Barça haven’t won on each of their past three trips to the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, and they haven’t even scored a single goal across those three visits.
They’ll hope to change that this time around to begin the season with a three-point haul.
Monday Night Football
The final two games of Matchday 1 come on Monday night, with each involving a newly promoted club.
Deportivo Alavés, who came up through the playoffs, will visit Cádiz CF for a game between two sides who know they’ll need every possible point this campaign.
Then, LALIGA HYPERMOTION champions Granada CF visit Atlético de Madrid later on Monday night for their first fixture back in the top flight.
For Atleti fans, they’ll remember that they defeated Granada CF 6-1 in the first game of their triumphant 2020/21 campaign, and will flock to the Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano hoping to get another title challenge up and running.
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