Gareth Bale became the latest Galáctico before the international break. His presentation in front of 20,000 at the Bernabéu was like the Welshman himself; modest and low-key in comparison to some of the previous superstars to receive the adulation.
Bale’s declaration of intent to help Real Madrid win their tenth European Cup went relatively unnoticed by supporters as it was spoken in English. His assertion that it was "a dream come true" went down much better as he delivered this message in Spanish.
Villarreal 5.75, a draw 4.00, Real Madrid 1.58
Villarreal are back and they couldn't have wished for a better start to life in the Primera División. It's three wins out of three and unlike most La Liga teams. they are debt free. Villarreal are naturally a different proposition from the successful Manuel Pellegrini side, but similarities remain in terms of counter-attacking ability and formation. Cani and Bruno remain from that golden era and provide the experience for this youthful outfit.
The arrival of Bale and departure of Mesut Özil has at least diverted attention from the great goalkeeping debate that has divided the capital. Goalkeeping coach Villiam Vecchi will have a guiding influence over Carlo Ancelotti's decision based on reports from training, whilst it may also depend on the opposition, with that in mind Diego López is expected to keep his place against his old side. Both Marcelo and Fábio Coentrão are injured so there has been the suggestion that Bale may make his debut at left-back, but as the former Tottenham winger has only played 30 minutes in the last two months, it's more likely that young Nacho will start.
With Isco a doubt, Madrid all of a sudden looks a little light in the central attacking midfield area. Luka Modrić may be pushed further forward, which would be a shame as he was superb versus Athletic in a deep-lying playmaker role, though this move would make him a reasonable price at 11.00 for first goal scorer.
The Yellow Submarines confidence could see a bright start, so try 14.00 for Villarreal to be leading at half-time with the match ending in a draw.
Score prediction: Villarral 2 Real Madrid 2 (12.50)
Barcelona 1.17, a draw 7.75, Sevilla 15.00
Its early days but the first signs that Neymar and Lionel Messi could combine effectively emerged as the Argentine scored a first half hat-trick at Valencia's Mestalla. The Brazilian assisted one of the goals and had one of his own wrongly ruled out for offside. He is yet to score his first league goal, but I think it won’t be long coming, so take the 4.90 get on him to open the scoring.
There's been a revolving door at Sevilla with key players Álvaro Negredo, Jesús Navas and Gary Medel all departing for the Premier League. It's a big test of the Director of Football known simply as Monchi, as new signings Kévin Gameiro, Marko Marin and Vicente Iborra arrive as replacements. It's hoped that the restructuring of the squad will offer fresh impetus, as a number of those leaving needed new challenges.
Manager Unai Emery has coped well with important sales during his time with Valencia, though that was spread out over a number of summers. Off the record some are already unhappy with the style of Emery's team, but it's not the first time he has faced disgruntled personnel.
Emery's record against Barcelona is poor, whilst Sevilla's away form is even worse. The Andalusians have netted just once in their last five visits to the Camp Nou. Back the home team to win without conceding a goal at 2.10.
Score prediction: Barcelona 3 Sevilla 0 (8.50)
Atlético Madrid 1.25, a draw 5.80, Almeria 12.50
The only other side with a 100% record is Atlético Madrid. They might be heading into the Champions League this week, but Diego Simeone won't allow for complacency and his team should be looking to continue their fine form.
It's three goals in as many games for Barça's on-loan forward Rodrí, as he has settled into life at Almeria quickly. He has already beaten last year's tally when he was at relegated Real Zaragoza - along with another borrowed player Suso - he has been the club’s stand out attacker. Suso has completed more dribbles than any other player this season, and even has three more than Messi. Take the draw in the handicap market that sees Atletico start -3, at 5.75.
Score prediction: Atletico Madrid 4 Almeria 1 (15.0)
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