Which teams can upset Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico in La Liga this season?
By Guillem Balague, Nick Wright and Adam Smith
Last Updated: 18/09/17 12:34pm
Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico tend to dominate the discussion in La Liga, but which sides have the best chance of upsetting the big boys this season? Guillem Balague takes a look.
They may have been beaten by Real Madrid on Sunday night, but Real Sociedad sit third in La Liga and there is plenty to like about Eusebio's side this season.
They are scoring goals for fun. Celta Vigo, Villarreal and Deportivo have already been blown away, and with 11 goals in four games, Sociedad are joint-top of the scoring charts with Barcelona.
The 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid showed there are areas in need of attention, but Sociedad are exciting to watch, and Adnan Januzaj and Diego Llorente look like smart signings.
There's no reason they can't improve on last year's sixth-placed finish.
It was another summer of change at the Sanchez Pizjuan. Jorge Sampaoli departed and so too did transfer guru Monchi, but the club's capacity for reinvention remains.
Eduardo Berrizo is the new man in the dugout after his impressive spell in charge of Celta Vigo, and Sevilla sit second after a promising start to the campaign.
They may not have the firepower of Barcelona or and Real Madrid, but Sevilla have taken 10 points from a possible 12 so far and the stats show they rank third in the division for possession.
Berizzo, like Sampaoli before him, wants Sevilla to dictate play and dominate the ball. That might be difficult against the very best, but Sevilla certainly have the talent and technical qualities to cause any side problems.
With their 1-0 win against Girona on Saturday, they also made it three consecutive clean sheets in La Liga. Not bad for a team who leaked too many goals last season.
Athletic Bilbao suffered their first defeat of the season away to Las Palmas on Sunday, but overall it has been an encouraging start under Ernesto Valverde's successor, Cuco Ziganda.
There were no new signings in the summer, which is not unusual for Athletic, but defensively they look stronger - with only one goal conceded in their opening four La Liga games.
The Basque side are experts at soaking up pressure and hitting their opponents on the counter-attack, and Aritz Aduriz remains an effective target man for crosses and long balls.
Their directness can be difficult to defend against, with the pace of Inaki Williams and Iker Muniain providing the perfect foil for Aduriz.
Atletico Madrid will provide a big test in their next game - but you wouldn't bet against Athletic at San Mames.
It has been a miserable few years for Valencia, but are things finally looking up?
They have already held Real Madrid and Atletico to draws this season, and they remain unbeaten in La Liga.
Summer signings Geoffrey Kondogbia and Gabriel Paulista have integrated well, and new manager Marcelino has introduced much-needed defensive discipline and organisation.
It has made all the difference. Valencia are unbeaten in four games and they have already kept two clean sheets. Last season, by contrast, it took them 21 games to reach that number.
It is an impressive turnaround. It remains to be seen whether Marcelino will be able to sustain it over the course of the season, but the new-found solidity bodes well.
So, like Real Sociedad, Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao, Valencia look more than capable of springing a few surprises this season. And that can only be a good thing for La Liga.