Our match prediction:
Newcomers Alaves face an uphill task at the start of the season as they take on Champions League runners-up Atletico Madrid at Estadio Vicente Calderon. The underdogs have nothing to lose in Sunday’s football game, but there is every chance they will adopt a defence-minded approach on their return to the Spanish top flight. Atletico Madrid chiefs did well to sign Kevin Gameiro in the summer transfer window and the former Sevilla forward is likely to prove a handful for the opposition defenders. His compatriot Antoine Griezmann was scoring goals for fun in the 2015/2016 season and the duo should make life difficult for the Alaves back line. Los Rojiblancos were impressive at home ground last season and we predict that Diego Simeone’s troops are going to record a routine win over Alaves at the start of the season. In their last meeting in La Liga (2006) Atletico Madrid emerged triumphant.
Highligted Player (Vrsaljko):
Born in Zadar on 10th January 1994, Sime Vrsaljko is one of the most talented footballers from Croatia’s new generation, who has already made a name for himself in Italian Serie A and Europe. The right-sided defender came through Dinamo Zagreb’s famous youth school and he earned plenty of top flight experience at a very young age before moving to Italy in 2013. After spending a year at Genoa, Vrsaljko signed for Sassuolo with a view of moving to Juventus in the future, although he has yet to realise a big club move. Capable of operating on either side of defence, Vrsaljko has emerged as one of league’s top full-backs and it is only a matter of time before he joins a top European club. Having represented Croatia at various youth levels, the defender made his senior debut in 2011 and has since come very close to nailing down a regular starting berth. Vrsaljko has a bright future in the game and he will be present at international stage in years to come.
Highlighted Team (Alaves):
Alaves are a Spanish football club located in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Alava. The club were founded in 1921 and they play their home games at Estadio Mendizorrotza. The capacity of the stadium is 19,840 and it has to be noted that it is the third oldest stadium in Spanish football. After spending several years in the Spanish Segunda Division, los Babazorros returned to the top flight in 2016. The colour of Alaves’ home kit is blue and white and the club’s local rivals are fellow Basque sides Real Sociedad, Athletic Club, Osasuna and Eibar. Alaves made it to the UEFA CUP final in 2001, but they were beaten by Liverpool 5-4 in a thrilling football clash. Anyhow, that is still regarded as the club’s biggest success. Los Babazorros booked their place in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals on four occasions and they have yet to win the Primera Division trophy.