La Liga Fixtures 2014 Week 1: Schedule, Live Stream Info, Picks and Key Players

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2014

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 17:  Club Atletico de Madrid fans celebrate at Neptuno Square after winning the La Liga match against FC Barcelona on May 17, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. The FC Barcelona match against Club Atletico de Madrid will decide the Spanish league title at Camp Nou. This is the third time in the history of the Spanish league that the title will be decided between the first and second placed teams in the league,Êon the last game of the season.  (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

After a disappointing summer when Spain's international side sank to its lowest point in many years, La Liga now returns to put a smile on the faces of its millions of fans.

Atletico Madrid shocked the world last season as they broke the stranglehold of Real Madrid and Barcelona on the league championship.

They will be hoping to defend their crown, but many of their top players have defected to different clubs around Europe.

Here is the full schedule for the first week of games with stream information for every match, as well as two or three key players to watch.

Sky Go is only available in the UK and BeIN Sports Connect is only available in the USA:

La Liga Week 1: Schedule and Stream Information
FixtureDateTime (BST)Time (ET)PredictionStream
Malaga vs. Athletic BilbaoAug. 236 p.m.1 p.m.1-2Sky Go / BeIN Sports Connect
Granada CF vs. Deportivo La CorunaAug. 238 p.m.3 p.m.1-2BeIN Sports Connect
Sevilla vs. ValenciaAug. 238 p.m.3 p.m.2-2Sky Go / BeIN Sports Connect
Almeria vs. EspanyolAug. 2310 p.m.5 p.m.0-0Sky Go / BeIN Sports Connect
Eibar vs. Real SociedadAug. 246 p.m.1 p.m.1-3Sky Go / BeIN Sports Connect
Barcelona vs. ElcheAug. 248 p.m.3 p.m.4-0Sky Go / BeIN Sports Connect
Celta Vigo vs. GetafeAug. 248 p.m.3 p.m.1-0BeIN Sports Connect
Levante vs. VillarrealAug. 2410 p.m.5 p.m.1-0Sky Go / BeIN Sports Connect
Real Madrid vs. CordobaAug. 257 p.m.2 p.m.5-1Sky Go / BeIN Sports Connect
Rayo Vallecano vs. Atletico MadridAug. 259 p.m.4 p.m.1-2Sky Go / BeIN Sports Connect
BBC Sport


Karim Benzema

Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

After having many doubters for years, it finally feels like Karim Benzema has been accepted by the whole of the football community as one of the world's best.

Benzema thrived last year as the point of the axis between Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, playing the role of centre-forward perfectly to every line on his script.

The 26-year-old Frenchman showed power and pace between the two most expensive footballers in the history of the sport and gave them the outlet their creative talents demanded.

Madrid's No. 9 had a fantastic goal record last season, which saw Los Blancos capture their La Decima European Cup. Benzema hit 17 goals in 35 La Liga matches, per, as well as smashing five goals in his 11 Champions League appearances.

But the striker is not only a goalscorer, as Real Madrid TV senior presenter Phil Kitromilides highlighted:

Benzema has always had a fractured reputation, but he has worked hard to heal that viewpoint of him recently. 

He has always been thought of as one of the next players out of the Los Blancos door, but he has taken his place amongst the team's most vital players.

This will be a big season for Benzema as he looks to help Madrid reclaim the La Liga crown. The sting of Atletico's victory from last year was soothed by the Champions League win, but los Galacticos will want to put right the domestic failings of last season.



Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

The world of Neymar must have been a very dark place in recent weeks. The World Cup in his homeland was supposed to be his breakout event, sealing his status as one of world football's elite.

But it was not to be, the young Barcelona forward suffering a serious back injury and Brazil then blown out of water by Germany in the semi-finals.

Neymar now has added competition for his Barca place after the arrival of Luis Suarez.

But the former Liverpool player's recent ban for biting will give Neymar time in the first team and the chance to eclipse the incoming Uruguay genius.

Indeed, Neymar outshone Suarez in a recent friendly and scored twice against FC Leon, per Jim White of The Telegraph.

The summer may have been a disaster for the attacker, but the new La Liga season gives him a chance to be born again. The focus will be less on him than last year and he can use this to his advantage.



Paulo Duarte/Associated Press

After his past two seasons in an Atletico Madrid shirt, it is amazing to think that Miranda was not selected for the Brazil national team's World Cup squad.

The 29-year-old has been the rock upon which Diego Simeone's success has been built, and he will once again be a pivotal element to the Calderon team's tactics this year.

The centre-back played in 45 domestic league and European games last season, per, and he starred from the back of the park. 

Miranda has been a late developer, but he is now rarely troubled by La Liga strikers, with his reading of the game so sharp and acute.

But he will have to be even better this year after Atletico's losses in player power, fragmenting the squad just when it was at its peak.

Simeone knows he must hold on to Miranda and Diego Godin to have any chance of retaining the league championship this season.

Their experience will be vital in keeping Atletico in the title picture. 


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