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Promoted Teams: Real Murcia, Real Valladolid and UD Almeria

Our preview ends with a look at the three promoted sides to La Liga this season. While many critics have already written off their chances of survivial, there may still be surprises in store before the end of the season.

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From mid table Obscurity to Europe: Real Zaragoza, Deportivo La Coruna, Real Mallorca, Athletic Bilbao and Villareal 

Real Zaragoza on paper were one of the most exciting teams to emerge from the pack last season. Built around the Argentine axis of the Milito brothers, Pablo Aimar and Andrés d’Alessandro, Zaragoza at times resembled the South American giants in style and play.

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Title Contenders: Seville, Valencia and Atletico Madrid

Recent events have dealt a huge blow to Seville’s championship hopes even before the season has even started. The rumours of coach Juande Ramos’s departure, the sudden death of Antonio Puerta and the boycott of Daniel Alves have all cast a huge pall on the club and it would not be easy to put these issues behind.

This is a pity because Seville should have won the la liga last year, two successive UEFA Cups notwithstanding. Their attacking style of play is a real breathe of fresh air and on the field at least, Duda on the left and Arouna Kone on the right can compensate for the gaps left by Puerta and Alves. The arrivals of Seydou Keita and Tom De Mul have also strengthened a midfield short of goals.

As long as the likes of Frederic Kanoute, Luis Fabiano and Jesus Navas keep up their high standards, and coach Ramos remains, Seville will still be the neutrals’ best bet to win the title outside of Barcelona and Madrid.

Valencia should also be better equipped to challenge the duopoly this season. Stalwarts like Ruben Baraja and David Albelda have returned to the club after missing the whole season through injuries while smart buys like Manuel Fernandes and Ivan Helguera add experience and depth to team. The continual growth of David Silva on the left and Joaquim on the right should create plenty of chances for the dangerous duo of David Villa and Fernando Morientes.

And as if the attack cannot get any stronger, Valencia has brought in the giant Nikola Zigic to add in a new dimension to their attack. Considering the trio plundered 42 goals amongst them last season, only a sustained title challenge will suffice.

Atletico Madrid is one of the most mysterious and exasperating clubs in world football today. They have splashed out the cash and the squad that they have built this season is definitely capable of challenging for the title. Yet had they showed this ambition earlier, then perhaps cult hero Fernando Torres would still be around to lead the charge.

Still on paper, Javier Aguirre’s team on full flow is an exciting, attacking unit bolstered by the likes of Diego Forlan, Sergio Aguero, Jose Antonio Reyes, Simao Sabrosa and Luis Garcia. Any coach in the world would be amazed at the rich attacking riches at Aguirre’s disposal. However even the strongest weapon is only effective if the ammunition supply is consistent so Atletico’s deadline failure to sign Juan Roman Riquelme may come back to haunt them eventually.