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Sizing up La Liga title contenders

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno gives his take on the slow starts for both Barcelona and Real Madrid and believes there should be more concern at the Bernabeu than at Camp Nou.

For the first time ever La Liga will have five teams in the group stage of the Champions League. Of course, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are the big names while Europa League champions Sevilla and former Champions League finalist Valencia are also in the competition.

While there is an argument to be made that all five teams could very well advance into the knockout stage in Europe, the argument would not be as convincing when talking about all five teams having a chance of winning La Liga this season. With all due respect to Sevilla and Valencia, they will get an honorable mention and a participation certificate but will not do enough over the course of the season to challenge for the title. Breaking news: La Liga will be all about the big boys!

Here's a look at all three teams, including their strengths, weaknesses and why they will or won't win the La Liga title.

...

 By PA Sport

Southampton players to blame for Europa League exit - Jose Fonte

Norwich City manager Alex Neil believes their game against Southampton will be a tough one but hopes to get a win out of it.
Southampton exited the Europa League playoffs with a 2-1 aggregate defeat to Midtjylland.

Jose Fonte insists Southampton's players must accept responsibility for their European exit -- even if manager Ronald Koeman preferred to point the finger at the officials.

A 1-0 defeat to FC Midtjylland in Denmark on Thursday night was enough to send Saints packing from the Europa League playoffs, with former Celtic striker Morten Rasmussen scoring the only goal of the game to earn a 2-1 aggregate win.

Southampton had a number of chances in the early stages but could not get an all-important away...

Miguel Veloso back for Portugal's games against France, Albania

Miguel Veloso did not enjoy such friendly treatment from Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal's World Cup opener against Germany.
Miguel Veloso has returned to play with Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portugal squad after a year's absence.

Miguel Veloso earned his first call-up in a year as Portugal coach Fernando Santos announced his 24-man squad for a friendly against France and a European Championship qualifier in Albania.

The Dynamo Kiev midfielder was included Friday alongside full-back Raphael Guerreiro, who has yet to make his first full international appearance.

Portugal's midfield will be weakened by the absence of injured regular William Carvalho, and playmaker Joao Moutinho is still in doubt, but central defender Pepe is...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Adnan Januzaj out for Man United against Swansea with calf injury

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel commented on Real Madrid's pursuit of Red Devils' goalkeeper David de Gea.

Adnan Januzaj has been ruled out of Manchester United's game at Swansea on Sunday with a calf injury.

Louis van Gaal has said he faces a decision on who to play as a No. 10 at the Liberty Stadium with Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera in contention to take over from Januzaj.

The Spaniard scored his first goal of the season in Wednesday's 4-0 win over Club Brugge when he played as a No. 10 in the second half.

Swansea CitySwansea City
Manchester UnitedManchester United
3:00 PM UTC
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But Fellaini is eligible to make his first Premier League appearance of the season after...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Premier League team news: Updates on injuries and suspensions

 

Get all the latest team news and information for the next round of Premier League action.

SATURDAY'S GAMES

Newcastle UnitedNewcastle United
ArsenalArsenal
11:45 AM UTC
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PREDICTION: A 1-1 draw
FANTASY PICK: Alexis Sanchez
KEY STAT: Olivier Giroud has scored eight goals in six Premier League apps against Newcastle United; more than versus any other team.

- NEWCASTLE UNITED

Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren will make a late decision on midfielder Moussa Sissoko. The France international has missed the last two games with a groin problem, but has...


 By PA Sport

Saido Berahino could still leave West Brom; Jonny Evans is a target - Pulis

Is West Brom's Saido Berahino worth £30 million? ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop and Alexis Nunes discuss.
The ESPN FC crew discuss what Saido Berahino would bring to White Hart Lane should Tottenham agree to terms for the West Brom striker.
West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis spoke about his side's loss to Chelsea, as well as the current transfer saga surrounding Saido Berahino.

Tony Pulis admits West Brom could still lose Saido Berahino this summer, and hit out at those treating the striker like a "lump of meat."

Berahino, 22, is wanted by Tottenham, who have had two bids swiftly rejected by West Brom.

The England under-21 forward has had a transfer request rejected by the Baggies and held talks with chairman Jeremy Peace on Thursday, who reiterated that he will not be sold.

But Pulis is still cautious ahead of Tuesday's transfer deadline, saying: "I never say never about...