After a bruising start, LaLiga returns on Friday for a weekend that will see Barcelona play their first competitive home game at Montjuic while Betis host Atleti in the pick of the matches. We’ve a full LaLiga matchday 2 preview below featuring win probabilities, analysis and predicted lineups for every fixture. There are also LaLiga fantasy football picks at the bottom.
LaLiga Matchday 2 Preview
Friday 18th August 2023
19:30 – Mallorca vs Villarreal
Mallorca and Villarreal kick things off with a game that sees coaches with very different ideas of how football should be played meet. The more direct, physical style of Javier Aguirre’s team got the better of Setien-ball on two occasions last season. They’ll fancy their chances of a repeat here with Sergi Darder likely to make his full Mallorca debut after coming off the bench to assist a goal last weekend. The visitors are hoping to bounce back from an early setback after losing at home to Betis.
Possible Home Lineup: Rajkovic – Raillo, Mascarell, Valjent – Costa, Morlanes, Darder, Maffeo – Dani Rodriguez – Larin, Muriqi (3-4-1-2)
Possible Away Lineup: Jorgensen – Pedraza, Cuenca, Mandi, Foyth – Capoue, Parejo, Terrats – Baena, Sorloth, Gerard Moreno (4-3-3)
21:30 – Valencia vs Las Palmas
Valencia were surprise winners on matchday one at Sevilla. They’ve a very young team and will surely need some new signings to come in before the window closes, but they’ve got a really good chance of making it two wins from two here. Las Palmas didn’t impress on their return to the top flight in their draw against Mallorca and are another team that looks light on quality across the pitch as we near the end of the transfer window.
Possible Home Lineup: Mamardashvili – Gaya, Diakhaby, Gabriel Paulista, Correia – Almeida, Pepelu, Guerra – Diego Lopez, Duro, Fran Perez (4-3-3)
Possible Away Lineup: Valles – Sinkgraven, Coco, Alex Suarez, Lemos – Kirian Rodriguez, Loiodice, Munoz – Viera, Sandro, Munir (4-3-3)
Saturday 19th August 2023
17:00 – Real Sociedad vs Celta Vigo
|Real Sociedad||Celta Vigo|
It’s back-to-back home games to start the season for Real Sociedad and after a draw against Girona, they’ve perhaps a better chance this week against a Celta Vigo side that is very much in transition. A big fee for Gabri Veiga of more than €30m should soon arrive which will help them strengthen, but it was a losing and fairly unimpressive start for Rafa Benitez. The former Valencia and Real Madrid boss will do well to prevent his team from losing again here against Champions League participants.
Possible Home Lineup: Remiro – Aihen, Le Normand, Zubeldia, Traore – Turrientes, Zubimendi, Brais Mendez – Oyarzabal, Sadiq, Kubo (4-3-3)
Possible Away Lineup: Villar – Sanchez, Nuñez, Aidoo, Mingueza – Bamba, Tapia, Beltran, Perez – Strand Larsen, Aspas (4-4-2)
19:30 – Almeria vs Real Madrid
Real Madrid were impressive on matchday one with their new-look midfield impressing, particularly Jude Bellingham who immediately settled into life in LaLiga with a debut goal. However long-term ACL injuries for Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao have overshadowed the start to the season for Los Blancos. They should win here against an Almeria side that lost at home to Rayo last weekend and is very much in transition with a host of new players having just arrived that are yet to fully settle as Vicente Moreno’s squad takes shape. They also still need to register some and will be hoping to have new keeper Luis Maximiano available in time for this.
Possible Home Lineup: Maximiano – Akieme, Chumi, Edgar, Pozo – Robertone, Baba, Melero – Embarba, Luis Suarez, Ramazani (4-3-3)
Possible Away Lineup: Kepa – Fran Garcia, Alaba, Rudiger, Carvajal – Camavinga, Tchouameni, Valverde – Bellingham – Vini Jr, Rodrygo (4-3-1-2)
21:30 – Osasuna vs Athletic Club
Osasuna turned what could have been a great Athletic season into a mediocre one last term by knocking their neighbours out in the Copa del Rey Semi-Finals and then beating them to 7th place in LaLiga and European football. Ernesto Valverde’s men have already lost twice at El Sadar in 2023 and their opening weekend performance suggests there is every chance they’ll lose again on Saturday against Jagoba Arrasate’s side who made a winning start in Vigo.
Possible Home Lineup: Aitor Fernandez – Cruz, David Garcia, Catena, Peña – Torro, Moncayola – Moi Gomez, Oroz, Chimy – Budimir (4-2-3-1)
Possible Away Lineup: Simon – Lekue, Vivian, Paredes, De Marcos – Vesga, Ruiz de Galarreta – Iñaki Williams, Sancet, Nico Williams – Guruzeta (4-2-3-1)
Sunday 20th August 2023
19:00 – Girona vs Getafe
Pepe Bordalas’ Getafe did what everyone expected them to do against Barcelona last weekend, which was defend well, frustrate their opponents and push the law to the very limit. Despite 26 minutes of Stoppage Time they held on for a 0-0 draw, but things don’t get much easier this weekend as they travel to Girona. Their opponents look to have plugged key holes in their team with new striker Artem Dovbyk netting a debut goal off the bench in Donostia. He’s the replacement for Taty Castlleanos and should make his full debut here.
Possible Home Lineup: Gazzaniga – Miguel Gutierrez, Blind, David Lopez, Arnau Martinez – Herrera, Aleix Garcia – Savio, Torre, Tsygankov – Dovbyk (4-2-3-1)
Possible Away Lineup: Soria – Gaston, Alderete, Duarte, Damian Suarez – Djene – Portu, Maksimovic, Alena, Iglesias – Latasa (4-1-4-1)
19:30 – Barcelona vs Cadiz
Barcelona face the somewhat difficult task of adapting to life away from their historic home which is being redeveloped. They’ll be at the city’s old Olympic Stadium all season and in truth it’s not a great venue for football matches. A positive start will be key and they’re overwhelming favourites against a limited Cadiz side, but one that consistently punches above their weight. Sergio’s team were deserved winners on the opening weekend against newly promoted Alaves but this will clearly be a very different kind of match.
Possible Home Lineup: Ter Stegen – Balde, Christensen, Kounde, Roberto – De Jong, Romeu, Pedri – Gavi, Lewandowski, Abde (4-3-3)
Possible Away Lineup: Ledesma – Javi Hernandez, Luis Hernandez, Fali, Iza – Machis, Alcaraz, San Emeterio, Sobrino – Roger Marti, Ramos (4-4-2)
21:30 – Real Betis vs Atletico Madrid (FEATURED GAME)
|Real Betis||Atletico Madrid|
Real Betis and Atletico Madrid clash in the game of the weekend on Sunday night. Both sides made winning starts with Betis striking late to claim an excellent win at Villarreal while Atletico Madrid saw off Granada 3-1 at the Civitas Metropolitano.
Betis are still in a slightly tricky spot in terms of player registrations with Marc Bartra and Hector Bellerin remaining unregistered as matchday two nears. What was interesting was Manuel Pellegrini’s decision to prioritise the registration of Isco and thrust the former Sevilla and Real Madrid man straight into his starting lineup at the Ceramica.
Isco played well and looked leaner than he has done for some time. It’s going to be really interesting to see how things develop for him over the coming weeks but Manuel Pellegrini is clearly a fan and will be hoping to get something like the best version of Isco. Fellow new arrival Marc Roca has also slotted straight into the team alongside Guido Rodriguez in midfield and the early signs at least are quite promising from a Betis perspective.
As for Diego Simeone, he’ll know this will be a good early test of his team’s title ambitions. Winning at places like the Benito Villamarin would be a strong indicator that Atleti are ready to challenge Barcelona and Real Madrid for the title. The Atleti boss may not throw complete caution to the wind though with a number of key defensive absentees still.
Reinildo, Jose Maria Gimenez and Nahuel Molina will all miss this game while deepest lying midfielder Koke is also out having picked up an injury early in the 3-1 win over Granada on Monday. Marcos Llorente may move over to right wing-back again as a result with new signing Cesar Azpilicueta set to start again in defence.
Possible Home Lineup: Rui Silva – Miranda, Pezzella, Luiz Felipe, Sabaly – Guido Rodriguez, Roca – Ayoze Perez, Isco, Henrique – Iglesias (4-2-3-1)
Possible Away Lineup: Oblak – Hermoso, Savic, Azpilicueta – Carrasco, De Paul, Barrios, Lemar, Llorente – Morata, Griezmann (3-5-2)
Featured Game Prediction: Betis 1-1 Atleti
This should be an even game with a big crowd at the Benito Villamarin certain to play its part. Atleti have selection problems in defence and in midfield but they have no problems up front with goals for both Alvaro Morata and Memphis Depay on matchday one. Overall, it’s tough to pick a winner here and we could end with the points being shared.
Monday 21st August 2023
19:00 – Alaves vs Sevilla
Alaves have a squad that looks very light in attacking areas but they’ve done a decent piece of business by bringing Kike Garcia in from Osasuna. A lack of options up front mean he could be handed a first start here as top flight football returns to the atmospheric Estadio Mendizorrotza. Alaves will be well backed but they’ll face a Sevilla side that will be eager to avenge their opening day defeat having since competed well against Manchester City in the UEFA Super Cup Final. They’ll be missing Bono here though with the Europa League winning Moroccan keeper heading to play his football in Saudi Arabia.
Possible Home Lineup: Sivera – Abqar, Sedlar, Marin – Duarte, Blanco, Guevara, Gorosabel – Rioja, Guridi – Kike (3-4-2-1)
Possible Away Lineup: Dmitrovic – Acuña, Gudelj, Gattoni, Navas – Rakitic, Fernando – Lamela, Oliver, Ocampos – En Nesyri (4-2-3-1)
21:30 – Granada vs Rayo Vallecano
Granada went unbeaten at home in last season’s Segunda Division and will be desperate to keep some of that home momentum going into this season. Rayo Vallecano will be hoping to play the role of party poopers and they’ve already got a road win on the board with Francisco making a dream start last weekend in Almeria. He’s opted to keep a similar system to that of his predecessor Andoni Iraola and will have a fresh attacking option here with Sergio Camello returning to the club on a permanent basis.
Possible Home Lineup: Ferreira – Neva, Miquel, Rubio, Ricard – Sergio Ruiz, Gumbau, Melendo – Uzuni, Omorodion, Puertas (4-3-3)
Possible Away Lineup: Remiro – Aihen, Le Normand, Zubeldia, Traore – Turrientes, Zubimendi, Brais Mendez – Oyarzabal, Sadiq, Kubo (4-3-3)
LaLiga Matchday 2 Fantasy Picks
Sorare Cap 240 Picks via @SorareLALIGA
Our Sorare Cap 240 team has a total cost of 240 points this week and features five players who barring late injuries look nailed on to start.
We’ve gone for two Girona players with Aleix Garcia looking great value at a cost of just 40 points. He was averaging around 60 in the first half of last season prior to injury problems and his L15 scores should rise rapidly in the next few weeks if he stays fit.
Defenders Hamari Traore and Andreas Christensen both have favourable fixtures that should see them outperform their cost. Meanwhile we’re backing Vedat Muriqi, who scored in both matches against Villarreal last season, to cause a lot of problems for a Yellow Submarine defence that has been weakened by summer departures.
If you’re not on Sorare, sign up here to get a free Limited card after your 5th purchase on the primary market. You can also simply play for free by entering the LaLiga Amateur competition each week.
Best Full Team Stack: Ter Stegen – Kounde – Pedri – De Jong – Lewandowski
It can only really be Barcelona from the point of view of the best LaLiga team stack this weekend. They should dominate possession again and ought to have a bit more joy in the final third than they did last weekend at Getafe.
With Ronald Araujo injured, Jules Kounde may move to centre-back while Frenkie de Jong and Pedri are the most obvious midfield starters. Robert Lewandowski started last season in prolific fashion and will fancy his chances of getting on the scoresheet here to kickstart his team’s 2023/24 season.