1. Malaga – Villarreal [September 10, 2016 – La Rosaleda Stadium]
Malaga are now under the stewardship of Juande Ramos after two steady seasons under Javi Gracia. They have started the new campaign with two successive draws – 1-1 against newly-promoted Osasuna and then 2-2 against Espanyol – and will be eager to grab all three points against a side which is expected to finish around them in the league table.
Villarreal are still coming to grips with their new manager, Fran Escriba, after the sudden departure of Marcelino Garcia Toral. This should be a good clash between two sides still looking for their identity under new stewardship.
2. Celta Vigo – Atletico Madrid [September 10, 2016 – Estadio de Balaídos]
Last season, there were makings of an Atletico Madrid versus Barcelona Copa del Rey final until Celta Vigo registered an impressive 3-2 win over Los Rojiblancos in the quarter-final to put them out of the tournament. The Galicians challenged for a place in Europe for long stretches of the season before going adrift.
Atletico Madrid have had two draws against newly-promoted teams to start their season and will be eager to impose themselves in the title race with a convincing win over a side that has endured a difficult start to the new campaign.
3. Sevilla – Real Betis [September 20, 2016 – Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium]
The Seville derby is always a fiery affair and this one is expected to be no different when Sevilla, the reigning Europa League champions, host Real Betis at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Sevilla have seen a change of manager in the close season as Unai Emery has moved to Paris Saint-Germain. Former Chile national team boss Jorge Sampaoli has taken the reins of the Sevillistas and has so far set up his team in a typical attacking fashion that yielded a ten-goal thriller in their season opener against Espanyol. This promises to be a humdinger of a clash.
4. Real Madrid – Villarreal [September 21, 2016 – Santiago Bernabeu]
The reigning European champions have taken six points from their first two games with wins over Real Sociedad away and Celta Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu. They are looking for a first title in four years and this fixture against the attack-minded Villarreal should give us an early glimpse of Los Blancos’ title prospects.
Villarreal, on the other hand, missed out on Champions League qualification after losing to Monaco in their playoff, but will be keen to secure another top four finish as they get used to life under new manager Escriba.
5. Barcelona – Atletico Madrid [September 21, 2016 – Camp Nou]
This match between the two Spanish giants, who have shared the league title between themselves for the last four seasons, promises to be an enticing fixture in the early season.
Barcelona have started their title defence in splendid fashion as they dispatched Real Betis 6-1 at the Camp Nou, but Diego Simeone’s men have struggled so far, failing to register a win from their first two games of the season. Nevertheless, this clash between two league contenders will be one of the LaLiga highlights in September.