Barcelona returned to Champions League action after the international break with a convincing four-goal victory at Dynamo Kiev. Ronald Koeman’s side strolled to victory despite a much-changed side without a host of star names including Lionel Messi, Frenkie De Jong, Gerard Pique and Ansu Fati.
It was a victory that sealed the Blaugrana’s piece in the Round of 16, making it four wins from four in the group – meaning the Catalan giants had won more points (12) in four rounds of Champions League action than they had gained points (11) through eight games in La Liga.
That quirky statistic hints strongly that opposition teams in the Spanish top flight are stronger than those that compete in the group stages of the Champions League. Of course, this is a small sample size but all the trends point to La Liga becoming more competitive each year with strength in depth across the league.
This is largely explained by the latest salary budgets confirmed by La Liga, which show big drops for the leading clubs – as is common throughout European football – but not insignificant gains for many of those in the bottom half. Whilst this will indicate a loss of power for the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, they will feel the impacts of this domestically much more than in Europe.
For instance, Madrid have already endured damaging results domestically through their opening league rounds – a home loss to newly-promoted Cadiz and a heavy defeat at struggling Valencia – yet won home and away to Italian giants Inter.
Atletico Madrid eliminated all-conquering Liverpool in last season’s Champions League Round of 16 and are on course for the knockout stages again this year.
Meanwhile, Sevilla have already secured their place in the knockouts and will look to build on their Europa League title last season, achieved by defeating Roma, Wolves, Manchester United and Inter. As with Barcelona and Madrid, their victories in Europe this season have coincided with patchy domestic form – suffering successive losses to Granada, Eibar and Athletic Club Bilbao.
All this means that predicting outcomes in Spanish football this season will be harder than ever, and successes may be easier to come by at JackpotCity online casino. There is something for everyone to enjoy from table games and video poker, to slots and progressive jackpots. Every time a bet is placed, the value of the jackpot grows and grows, with the best selection of online casino games from the comfort of your own home.
With the likes of Real Sociedad, Villarreal and Granada flying high this campaign, the final outcome of the league table is too tough to call at the moment. For the health and competitiveness of Spanish football, this can only be a good thing and sets up a fascinating campaign.