After an unprecedented break in play, Spanish football is about to get back on track with Barcelona taking to the field against Mallorca after over three months out. Here’s why you should make sure you’re tuning in on Saturday night.
Title race back on
With 11 games left to go and a jam-packed schedule brought to a close in just six weeks we could be set for a phenomenal finale never before seen in La Liga.
With only three points separating Barcelona from arch-rivals Real Madrid at the top of the table, we’re set up for a potential title fight not seen for some seasons.
After losing out to Madrid at the Bernabéu, Quique Setien’s side will have to hit the ground running if they’re to keep some distance between them and the club from the capital.
Barça have arguably the harder run-in of fixtures. Still yet to face Sevilla away and Atlético Madrid in quick succession, rivals Real only have to face two of the current top six.
La Liga odds are higher than ever
The break, as well as the bunching up of fixtures has fuelled the fire on La Liga’s title race this season. It’s led a number of online bookmakers to amp up their La Liga betting packages. Increased coverage, higher odds and more markets, as well as a number of bumper betting promos are just some of the major benefits La Liga fans can expect.
It’s no surprise that a number of free bet promotions are now being advertising as bet 10 get 30 offers are the most popular among UK punters.
Sitting in top spot, Barcelona are still favourites at around 1/2 with some operators, while a generous 3/2 on second-place Real Madrid represents a solid return.
The likes of Bet365, Betway and Betfred currently offer the highest outright title odds, while you can read more about everything the latter has to offer in this Betfred review.
La Liga have stepped up their coverage
Like in all of Europe’s major leagues still yet to finish their seasons, football’s return does come with a catch. La Liga will be played behind closed doors, and with no fans in attendance, it has left many organisers scratching their heads on how to make up for a lack of atmosphere in empty stadiums.
La Liga’s own answer to tackling this issue came with the unveiling of new broadcast features that fans can now enjoy the world over.
Images of fans will be superimposed onto stands that would otherwise look eerily empty, while audio backing tracks will be brought into play so that viewers at home can get the authentic experience. How to recreate an organic atmosphere has been a major discussion point, particularly in German football since it’s return last month.
Return of Suarez completes the set
After missing the majority of the current season with a five month period out of action due to injury, Luis Suarez is finally ready to return. The club’s no. 9 has been pictured enjoying full training sessions with teammates, and will be a massive boost as Barcelona surge forward in the hunt for silverware.
The return of Suarez will be a welcome relief as boss Quique Setien will want a full strength front three of Messi and Griezmann to accompany the Uruguayan in the coming weeks.
Setien in search of silverware
There were rumbles for some months, but it was back in January that was to mark the end of Ernesto Valverde’s mixed reign in charge of Barcelona.
In came Quique Setien, the Santander-born manager of Real Betis, a largely unknown figure outside of his native Spain. The new Barcelona manager will be desperate to claim the first silverware of his career in defending the league title.
Ensuring Barcelona’s fractured season ends with silverware could mark the true beginning point of Setien’s reign at the Camp Nou and would prove a statement of intent of what he can achieve in Catalonia.