La Liga Fixtures 2015: Schedule, Live Stream and Week 2 Predictions

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2015

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 21:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona competes for the ball against Malaga CF players during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Malaga CF at Camp Nou on February 21, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Rafa Benitez will hope to kick-start his Real Madrid era at home to Real Betis, while last season's La Liga champions, Barcelona, host Malaga. While Spanish football's two principal powers are safe bets to earn three points, the real marquee fixture of the season's second week takes place in Seville.

UEFA Europa League winners Sevilla will entertain last season's third-placed Atletico Madrid. While the hosts' striking options have been thinned this summer, Atleti has added a plethora of attacking talent to try to regain the title won in 2014.

Here are this week's full fixtures, complete with streaming information and predictions:

La Liga Week 2 Fixtures
DateTime (BST and EST)MatchLive StreamPrediction
Friday, August 287:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m.Villarreal vs. EspanyolSky Go / beIN Sports Connect1-0
Saturday, August 295:30 p.m. / 12:30 p.m.Real Sociedad vs. Sporting GijonSky Go / beIN Sports Connect1-0
Saturday, August 297:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m.Barcelona vs. MalagaSky Go / beIN Sports Connect3-0
Saturday, August 299 p.m. / 4 p.m.Celta Vigo vs. Rayo VallecanoSky Go / beIN Sports Connect2-1
Saturday, August 299:30 p.m. / 4:30 p.m.Real Madrid vs. Real BetisSky Go / beIN Sports Connect2-0
Sunday, August 305:30 p.m. / 12:30 p.m.Eibar vs. Athletic BilbaoSky Go / beIN Sports Connect0-1
Sunday, August 307:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m.Sevilla vs. Atletico MadridSky Go / beIN Sports Connect2-2
Sunday, August 307:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m.Valencia vs. Deportivo La CorunaSky Go / beIN Sports Connect1-0
Sunday, August 309:30 p.m. / 4:30 p.m.Getafe vs. GranadaSky Go / beIN Sports Connect0-0
Sunday, August 309:30 p.m. / 4:30 p.m.Las Palmas vs. LevanteSky Go / beIN Sports Connect1-1
SkySports.com

New-Look Attack Must Click for Atletico

Despite spending big on strikers Jackson Martinez and Luciano Vietto, Atletico Madrid scraped to an opening-week win over Las Palmas. It took a single goal to earn the three points, but BBC Sports' Andy West was not impressed with Atleti:

West has a point. Manager Diego Simeone's squad clearly missed talisman striker Diego Costa last season. But Martinez is certainly a solid replacement for the Chelsea man.

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The Colombian started against Las Palmas, while Vietto began his career with his new team on the bench. Simeone, who often prefers to deploy a lone striker, should consider starting both new boys at Sevilla.

It's a risk, but Martinez and Vietto offer complementary qualities. While Martinez provides bullish strength and dangerous short-area quickness, Vietto has the genuine pace to stretch a back line, as well as the flexibility to play wide.

At the moment, Vietto is content to bide his time, per Marca's Alberto Laz:

I'm becoming more integrated into the group every day, so I hope to continue gaining confidence and contributing to the team. I hope that I can make a contribution and feel important. Whatever the manager says goes, and all I can do is make sure that I'm well prepared when he decides to call on me.

This is a partnership offering ample scoring potential, along with the ability to pull markers away from the dangerous Antoine Griezmann. The French wide forward is a terrific attacker who utilises some of the best movement you'll see at the top level of the European game.

Simeone has often favoured a pragmatic, physical team. But now he has the players to be more expansive.

He shouldn't be afraid to use them.

As for Sevilla, things aren't as rosy up front. They couldn't be after the prolific Carlos Bacca was sold to AC Milan this summer.

Yet quick and bright Frenchman Kevin Gameiro is still around. He uses his pace well between the lines and should be a nuisance for a powerful Atleti defence.

Sevilla drew a blank against Real Sociedad in the opening week. It's not the best start to the post-Bacca era, but this is a club that always seems to find answers from somewhere.

Benitez Needs to Find the Right Balance in Attack

How do you fit Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Isco and Karim Benzema into the same team? That's a question sure to be rattling around Benitez's brain at the moment.

Benitez has to find the right combination for all of Madrid's attacking talent.
Benitez has to find the right combination for all of Madrid's attacking talent.Abdeljalil Bounhar/Associated Press

His first game in charge of Los Blancos, the 0-0 draw at Sporting Gijon, was marked by a lack of clarity up front. Writing for Sport360.com, West didn't think it was due to an absence of ambition or attacking intent.

He described how many players Benitez was willing to commit to forward areas against Sporting: "At times, it was like a genuine 4-2-4 formation – away from home, remember – with the front four pushed forward right to the edge of the Sporting penalty area."

That Los Merengues still couldn't find the net with so many options on the pitch spoke volumes about the confusion among the attackers. ESPN FC's Graham Hunter believes the absence of natural No. 9 Karim Benzema hasn't helped.

In particular, Hunter believes Ronaldo is better when Benzema is occupying space close to him:

Just as Fernando Morientes was the perfect foil for Raul, just like Sherlock needed his Dr. Watson, Benzema's admirable willingness to work and create earns Ronaldo time and space. Further, that Ronaldo has someone on the identical wavelength helps make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.

Patience is notoriously short in the Spanish capital, so Benitez must find the right formula soon. The last thing Los Blancos need is to surrender a big early lead to Barcelona, a squad that still boasts the best firepower in Europe.

Speaking of firepower, more goals would certainly be welcome during the second week of this La Liga season. Nets were hardly bulging last week, prompting almost historical ineptitude, per the Guardian's Sid Lowe:

Expect more goals this weekend as the top teams will find their shooting boots.