The 2023/24 LaLiga season is ready for launch and Matchday 1 is taking place this coming weekend, with multiple fixtures on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
That includes some tricky 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.
The opening weekend kicked off on Friday night in Andalusia, where two matches get the new season up and running.
Three more games follow on Saturday, starting with 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.
Next up is the battle of the two island teams of 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.
The action then moves to Bilbao for a Saturday night showdown between two of the most historic clubs of the competition, as Athletic Club and Real Madrid meet at 21:30 CEST. 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 in 2023/24 and as the likes of Jude Bellingham and Fran García make their official debuts for Los Blancos. 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 CF at 21:30 CEST on Sunday night, and 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.
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.