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Takeaways From La Liga Week 1: Barcelona in Trouble As Other Teams Rise

This doesn't bode well for Barcelona.

The first week of La Liga is in the books, and there’s a lot to discuss. There were only three ties out of ten games, and some teams impressed, while others (Barcelona, mostly), fell far short of expectations – even though they managed to register most of their new signings. And though it’s impossible to draw conclusions from just one week, that doesn’t mean we can’t point out what worked and what really, really didn’t, as well as speculate on what that might mean for the future.

Barcelona Stumbles

It wasn’t a loss, but a 0-0 draw against Rayo Vallecano isn’t anything to write home about, especially when you got Robert Lewandoski on your team and sounded pretty confident you could actually compete. Barcelona tried and tried and tried, and couldn’t convert. Of course, it might just be that the team needs time to gel. There are a lot of new faces. But they had a full preseason, and they even looked good at times. So this draw, plus ending the match with only ten players isn’t just bad, it’s worrisome.

There’s plenty of time to right the ship, of course. And Barcelona has the players to do it. But inspire confidence, they do not.

Madrid Wins But Doesn’t Wow

For a while there, Real Madrid looked like they were going the Barcelona way. They were down against Almeria and they didn’t look like the team that had won everything last year. Unlike Barcelona, however, they rallied. They won 2-1, and though it wasn’t an easy game, they pulled it out. You know, the Real Madrid way. The way that made them a team of destiny not that long ago.

It was never about being the best team or looking in control the whole time. Real Madrid won last year by scoring when it counted and by always, always believing they could pull it off. The question now is, can they do it again?

Atletico, Villareal and Real Betis Off To A Great Start

Other teams, however, started off strong. Among them Atlético de Madrid, who won 3-0 against Getafe, Villareal, who likewise won 3-0 against Valladolid. Oh, and yes, Real Betis, who …you guessed it, won 3-0 against Elche. That’s three possible contenders looking much better than Barcelona, or even Real Madrid.

Real Sociedad, meanwhile, also won 1-0 against Cadiz. Not as comfortable a victory, but basically every contender won – except Barcelona. So, can Xavi’s team get back in the hunt? Can Madrid look like the team of destiny again? Is it Atlético de Madrid’s year? Or …is it time for a new team to rise to the top of La Liga? Only time, and more games will tell.