7 Reasons We Could Be Set for a Classic La Liga Season in Spain
With 12 places separating Barca and Real Madrid after just three weeks, the La Liga title race appears to not be the two-horse race everyone thought it would be.
Indeed, there are many teams emerging from the chasing pack who look very impressive as they bid to break up the dominance of the big two.
A host of fresh faces and new rivalries promises to make the 2012/13 season the most competitive in the last decade.
Here are seven reasons why it promises to be a classic...
Real Madrid: Jekyll and Hyde
Is it a good start or a bad start for Madrid?
On one hand, they have secured their first major trophy of the season and beaten their closest rivals for their La Liga title over two legs.
One the other, they have started their title defence in disastrous fashion, only managing four points from their opening three fixtures.
As far as their La Liga ambitions go, they have definitely surrendered the advantage, and whilst having the more difficult fixtures on paper, four points is certainly not acceptable.
But it's very early and after the Super Cup triumph, the advantage may well be Madrid's despite trailing by five points.
They may have to take four points from six in their league meetings to ensure a successful title defence—something that is easier said than done.
Who would have thought Tito Vilanova would have been the first manager of the La Liga season to be ejected?
The quiet calm thinker has certainly emerged from Guardiola's shadows, and has already shown the more vocal side of his management, although some officials felt he did so a little too vehemently.
But, it's good to see the thinking man showing the passion everyone was waiting to see.
In fact, the ejection was almost as unlikely as a Mourinho's apology, but that's exactly what he did when assessing the eye gouge of last season.
Don't expect these two traits to continue for the foreseeable future, and with Madrid already trailing by four points, expect some fireworks sooner rather than later, especially with El Clasico just over four weeks away.
Ronaldo vs. Messi
It's not just the managers that are at it.
The two best strikers in the world can play mind games too. Messi refused to shake Ronaldo's hand after Madrid's Spanish Super Cup last week.
We have not seen the last of this great rivalry!
They are the billboard boys of Spanish football and a little love loss is no bad thing indeed!
The Arrival of Modric
Madrid's long-term pursuit of Luka Modric ended in success, and that can only be a goof thing for the title race.
The EPL's loss is La Liga's gain, as the playmaker will provide a key role in the battle for top spot.
It could spell the end to Kaka's time at the Bernabeu, but the Croatian is definitely a long-term upgrade.
It will be fascinating to see how Mourinho uses his newest acquisition, but one thing's for sure, he'll improve the reigning champions.
The Chasing Pack Are Getting Closer
Getafe's 2-1 win over Madrid raised more than a few eyebrows in world football, especially after Valencia came away from the Bernabeu with a well-earned point just a week before.
Despite the likes of Cazorla and Javi Martinez leaving Malaga and Athletic Bilbao respectively, it is these teams along with Sevilla and Sociedad that can take plenty of points away from the big two.
To say they can challenge for the title is unrealistic, but the fear factor that was once there looks to be evaporating, and Getafe's early win will only entice others to play in the same vain.
Ronaldo Sulk Could Be Dangerous
Our hearts go out to the striker who must be crying himself to sleep at the lifestyle he chooses to lead.
Sometimes the superstar can be his worst enemy. Although the latest headline-maker may be seen as a negative for Madrid fans, it could work out to be the exact opposite.
Beware the scorned man: he still managed to score a brace despite his state of mind on Sunday.
He has since had clear-the-air talks with the Madrid hierarchy, so watch out when number seven gets his mojo back!
It can only be good for the league.
Cat and Mouse
Madrid's disastrous start to the La Liga season mean they are the firmly chasing their rivals from the start.
Their 1-1 draw with Valencia has already been bettered by Barca, while no one saw the 2-1 defeat at Getafe coming—apart from the most passionate home fan.
But Barca haven't set the world alight either, despite gaining maximum points from their opening three games.
Make no mistake, Madrid will be plotting their next move, and with an aggregate win over their rivals in the Super Cup, all eyes will be on their first league meeting on October 7.
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