Emma Oosthuizen
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The 2022 La Liga season is off to a strong start, and with three games already completed, it appears that the competition will be just as tight as it was the year before. 

With seven points each, Real Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, and Mallorca currently share first place in the table. Mallorca is ranked sixth. The top three teams in this year’s La Liga race, according to the oddsmakers, are Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid. 

One of these three teams has won the Spanish league championship in each of the previous 17 seasons, making them the three most consistent contenders for the trophy. Valencia became the most recent team from outside the elite club to win the championship when they finally broke through in the 2003-2004 season. 

The incredible activity during the summer transfer window has had an impact on all three of Spain’s powerhouses, and not always in a positive way. This opens up the title race and makes for a thrilling season for those who aren’t rooting for either team. 

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In the following sections, we will assess the chances of each of the three major teams winning La Liga this season, as well as the odds of each team doing so. 

11/10 for Real Madrid 

Real Madrid is the overwhelming favorite to win La Liga again, with odds of 11/10. Even though they have only won one championship in the last four seasons. They finished second in the table the previous season, just two points behind Atletico Madrid, who went on to win the title. Over the summer, they also had a managerial change, with Carlo Ancelotti taking over for Zinedine Zidane. 

Carlo Ancelotti failed to win the La Liga championship during his first season as manager of Real Madrid. Despite this, Ancelotti was able to lead Real Madrid to Champions League and La Decima titles. 

Despite losing defensive stalwarts Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane over the summer, his team remains the betting favorite. Despite the fact thatEven though they lost both of these players over the summer. Eduardo Camavinga, a hugely promising youngster, arrived from Rennes on the day of the transfer deadline. David Alaba has joined the team to assist in filling the void left by the pair. 

If they had been successful in their late bid to sign Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe, who now appears likely to join the club on a free transfer at the end of the season, they might have been more willing to sell for a lower price. 

Ramos’ departure as club captain is an undeniable setback, both on and off the field, but the team has retained a significant portion of its previous levels of talent despite this setback. Since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, Karim Benzema has scored 30 goals in all competitions, and the formidable midfield trio of Casemiro, Toni Kroos, and Luka Modric still has plenty to offer. Since Ronaldo’s departure, Karim Benzema has found his best form, scoring 30 goals last season. 

Eden Hazard is the wild card in this matchup because he has yet to reach his full potential in his two seasons with Real Madrid. 

5/2 – Atletico Madrid 

Atletico Madrid, the previous year’s champion, is currently second in the betting rankings, and their odds of 5/2 represent good value for Diego Simeone’s team. It had been seven years since their previous La Liga title, which they won in 2013/14, when they finally broke through and won it again last season, making it Simeone’s second league title. 

They had finished second in two of the previous three seasons, but they finally crossed the finish line with a two-point lead over city rivals Real, with the signing of Luis Suarez playing a significant role in their success. He was able to make his previous club pay for giving up on him so quickly by scoring 21 goals in the league after arriving on a free transfer from Barcelona, leading them to the league championship. 

This summer, they signed several notable players, including Rodrigo De Paul, Matheus Cunha, and the unexpected return of Antoine Griezmann on a season-long loan from Barcelona. This summer, they bolstered their team even more. The addition of all three players will be extremely beneficial to their team, and the addition of De Paul will help to compensate for the departure of Saul Niguez, who has joined Chelsea on loan. 

Atletico will always play with grit and ruggedness, adopting the characteristics of their ruthless manager, and you can always count on that. In contrast to some of its rivals, Atletico appears to be in better shape this year and has a good chance of successfully defending its title. 

11/4, Barcelona 

Barcelona is currently in third place out of the three teams competing for the La Liga title, as the club finished second in each of the previous two seasons but failed to win the league championship. Given the turbulent summer that has occurred at the Nou Camp, with the relatively minor matter of Lionel Messi’s departure from the club, it is not surprising that this has occurred. 

Messi was allowed to leave Barcelona and sign on a free transfer with Paris Saint-Germain due to the club’s financial difficulties. The Argentine’s departure has left a void that will never be filled. It leaves Barcelona starting the new season on a low note, and there are still plenty of questions surrounding manager Ronald Koeman, who has yet to win over the vast majority of the Barcelona fanbase. 

In addition to Lionel Messi, Barcelona has allowed Griezmann, Miralem Pjanic, Francisco Trincao, Junior Firpo, and Emerson Royal to leave the club. They haven’t paid any transfer fees to sign Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia, or Luuk de Jong, even though none of these players appear to be game changers on paper. They have also not spent any money. 

Despite having the most goals in the league (85), Barcelona finished seventh in the previous season, seven points behind Atletico Madrid. They have lost 43 of those goals because Messi and Griezmann are no longer on the team, and some of their younger players are under a lot of pressure to produce. The club’s main hopes for the future are Pedri and Ansu Fati, who are expected to play significant roles for the team during the current season.