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La Liga Predictions: #12-9

#12: Espanol

If there is any team in La Liga that deserves a good finish to the season it is likely Espanol.  The club has gone through a horrific last few months that puts frustrating season’s on the pitch into perspective.  While training for the La Liga season captain Dani Jarque died on the pitch of a heart attack in a preseason practice.  The newly named captain will be missed by the squad and La Liga as well. 

Unfortunately, the loss of Jarque right before a  season begins is not only a traumatic event for the squad, but it left Espanol with little time to bring in someone else.  Espanol will likely dip in the standings this season, but we hear at LLTO are pulling for the underdogs to finish with a top six finish.

#11 Athletic Bilbao

Bilbao had one of the worst defenses of any active club last season in La Liga.  The club conceded 62 goals and barely survived relegation by a two point margin.  But Bilbao also showed football fans their ability to play as a team in the Coppa del Rey.  Bilbao advanced to the tournmanet final only to be outdone by Barcelona 4-1.  Bilbao will need more results from a similar staff this upcoming year.

#10: Getafe

Getafe has been a club all over the board in the last four years.  After two straight top ten finishes in 05/06 and 06/07 the club has sruggled the last few years with finishes in 14th and 17th respectively.  If Getafe wants to be a top ten team again they will need some strong defensive efforts this season.  Last year Getafe conceded 56 goals; the first time the club has gone over 50 in the last four years.

#9: Malaga

Can young defnesive midfielder and Barca prospect Xavi Torres put Malaga over the top in 09/10?  Malaga sure hopes so because like many middle-of-the-pack squads the roster has not changed to much in the positive direction for the eighth place squad from last season.  But Malaga was a first year squad last year and they did outstanding, so you never know how well new squads will do in their second season.