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Nigerian twin brothers headline La Liga kick-off

Published by The Nation on Sat, 12 Sep 2020


Agency ReporterChukwuezes Villarreal would host newly promoted Huesca in its opening game of the new Spanish La Liga season with the Yellow Submarines generating interest as one of the clubs with high expectations this season after finishing fifth last season.Villarreal, with ex Arsenal and PSG boss Unai Emery now in charge, have lost Santi Cazorla to Qatari club Al Sadd. He will be a big miss as the 35-year-old put his injury struggles behind him and was exceptional for them last term.But Coquelin and Parejo should prove great business at just 6.5m combined, and Japanese starlet Takefusa Kubo is an intriguing prospect, on loan from Real Madrid.Starting on the right foot will be key, new Villarreal goalkeeper Gero Rulli said. Seeing ourselves at the top from the beginning will give us confidence and will allow us to work without pressure. It will be a difficult and competitive season, but we have a great team and we want to reach all of our goals.Kelechi Nwakalis Huesca topped Segunda last season and have retained a solid core of players which featured in LaLiga during their last involvement in the competition.Huescas Manager Michel has done a good job to guide the club straight back to the top tier at the first attempt, following their relegation in 2019.While it has been a relatively quiet summer by way of transfer dealings in Spain, the league still boasts some world-class players and remains one of Europes strongest leagues.Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla dont start until a bit later as theyre given extra time to recuperate following their European commitments in the summer, but soon enough theyll be in full flow along with 17 other sides.Real Madrid are the favourites to retain their crown as they aim to win back-to-back La Liga titles for the first time since 2008. They were behind Barcelona as Spain went into lockdown back in March, but emergedThings arent looking good for the Catalan giants, but theyve set a precedent of responding to adversity in the recent past. They recorded a record 100-point tally following Pep Guardiolas departure, and rallied to win a domestic double, and were one game off an unbeaten season, after Neymars shock move to PSG in 2017.Atletico Madrid went through a transitional season last term and struggled to integrate their new players, but improved as the season went on and still registered a third-place finish. Diego Simeone will be looking for further progress this year, and more from record signing Joao Felix, as he looks to capitalise on the big two looking less than vintage.Sevilla may consider themselves dark horses after the strong finish to last season, winning the Europa League and wrapping up a fourth-place finish with the longest unbeaten run in club history.Former Spain and Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui made a great start to life in Seville and sporting director Monchi will be looking to him for him to continue on an upward trajectory.Midfield talisman Ever Banega has left for Saudi Arabian club Al-Shabab, but Rakitic has returned to the club to replace him. The club will also have their work cut out to replace left-back Sergio Reguilon, outstanding in his loan from Real Madrid last season, and tipped to join Manchester United.Perennial basket case club Valencia have looked to do a total rebuild this summer, inviting fire from their fanbase after allowing key players Rodrigo (Leeds), Ferran Torres (Man City), Francis Coquelin and Dani Parejo (both at Villarreal) to leave. Its a bold strategy to say the least, and former Watford boss Javi Gracia has his work cut out to have them challenging for the top four
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